A True Friend

20150831_170038

In my lifetime I’ve had some amazing friendships. Every one of my friends have left a deep imprint in my life. They are the ones I reached out to in good times and in bad. For whatever reason some are in my past, I cherish the memories I shared with them and will forever be grateful for their love and friendship. The ones that are still with me are my truest friends. They were the ones that kept on holding my hand in my darkest hours. They are the ones that love me despite my faults. Here are the qualities of what a true friend means to me.

Loyalty,  True friends are a rare breed of people, those who don’t live life purely for their own self-interest, but take pleasure in seeing you happy and well.

Respect, they’ll never talk about you behind your back in a malicious, negative manner. Great minds talk about ideas, average minds talk about events and small minds talk about people.

Selflessness, they don’t contact you just because they want a favor. A friendship that leaves you feeling taken for granted leaves you helpless and angry. A true friend is a huge advocate and believer in “give and take”. They’re not the kind of people who will only contact you when they have a problem and need your assistance. They will pick up the phone just to say hello. Because they care about you as a person, they will always be wondering how you’re getting on, even if you spend lots of time apart because of work and family responsibilities.

Trust and honesty, a “friend” is one of the few people who you can trust completely with everything in your life. All your pains, your secrets, what is in your heart without feeling judged. In addition to trust, honesty is a quality that is really important to me. I’ve had friends ask my opinion about important things in their lives and when I have answered honestly they’ve been hurt. Some people feel so intimidated by their “friend” that they’re unwilling to criticize them when it matters most. I feel that sometimes we need to be told the absolute truth. I would want my friends to give me honesty when I ask for it.

To be present, it’s so imperative to me to have access to each other in times of pain and happiness. I have a friend who lost her beautiful mother recently and instead of letting me in to help or just to have as a shoulder to cry on she shut me out. I persisted to be there for her, calling her and checking on her but she never really took the time to communicate with me. I realized I was not that important to her, in fact looking back there were so many things she said and did that should have clued me in to that fact. I’m a loyal person and once I love someone, it’s difficult to let go but I knew it was time to let that friendship go. There is no such thing as a one-sided friendship.

Unlike family we choose our friends. We are tied to each other in mutual love and affection. Like family, we sometimes have miscommunications and disagreements. A true friend takes time to listen, express their thoughts and forgive. Someone who can easily toss your friendship away was never really a true friend. Nevertheless I cherish and think well of all my friendships, past and present.

During my childhood, I chose friends that made me smile and feel good. They made me feel loved and wanted. I think that is what we should look for in friendships in our adult years as well. As I get older, I still have a lot of wonderful acquaintances in my life but I have become very choosy with whom I spend my time.

11f7c6fc405b4900be6982d1f2af71c6Every wise person I have ever met or looked up to have the same message, spend time with people who will lift you up. c1ea100b5444c1228680fe690f82d1fc

Friends motivate and inspire you and will hope that you will do the same for them. As I get older I choose my friends wisely; quality should always take precedence over quantity.

cell phone 3 pictures july 2015 403

 

As I watch my little girl with her friends, I wish her the same kind of love, support and relationships that have sustained me throughout my life. Already I can tell how relevant her friends are to her. She chooses kind, sweet, loving little girlfriends. I pray she will always have the love and support of good friends.

 232323232fp83232_uqcshlukaxroqdfv334;8_nu=3285_359_557_WSNRCG=3_8_47_2__32_nu0mrj

Blue Mind

IMG_6586

If you are anything like me being near the ocean probably makes you feel calm and serene. I know that it’s the first place I go to when I feel stressed or melancholy. Being near the water always makes me feel at peace. Both the sight and the sound of it makes me feel happier.

7f3ea28b943b634fb66e5285bb3aa666I recently finished “Blue Mind,” a book written by Wallace J. Nichols. He is a marine biologist and conservationist. His book tries to answer questions about the connection between our brain and bodies of water. It looks into the reasons of why so many of us are drawn to the ocean, and how this scientifically connects to our health and happiness.IMG_6539

Nichols explores the scientific reasons for why we have such a deep connection with water. He says that there are cognitive and emotional benefits that we get every time we spend time by water. He began hosting “blue mind” seminars that are attracting neurologists and psychologists from around the world. He uses the term “Blue Mind” to describe a state of water-associated peace. It’s in contrast to what one neuroscientist calls a “Red Mind,” an edgy high, characterized by stress, anxiety, fear, and despair.

Here are some amazing facts, brain imagining shows that being near water floods the brain with feel-good hormones like dopamine and oxytocin. Levels of the stress hormone cortisol actually drop. Scientists also discovered that the brain prefers the color blue above all others and water increases our ability to focus.

IMG_6121

Our bodies consist of about 60 percent water and our brains, an incredible 75 percent! Nichols says when we see or hear water it triggers a response in our brains that we are in the right place. He says the ocean literally sucks the stress out of our bodies and out of our minds. I have to say, that is true for me. What about you?

The next time you want to relax why not try taking a soothing bath? Maybe you can go fishing, or swimming. How about a walk on the beach? You can also learn to surf, visit an aquarium or maybe place a water fountain in your backyard and just relax there.

Learning how beneficial it is for us to be around water makes a powerful argument for keeping our world’s waters clean, healthy, and free. Now go enjoy a delicious tall glass of water and relax. And while you are doing that be thankful that we have clean water to drink! Nearly two billion people around the world do not.

Think on that, and while you are thinking, here are some great ways to help.

http://www.ilovearc.org

http://www.projecthumanity.org/

http://www.buylifestraw.com/en/

Fight Cancer

Recently a mother from my community passed away after battling cancer. Although I did not know her personally, my heart ached for her loved ones. Especially her children. Ironically, just weeks after this young mother’s death, one of my closest friends was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her news really shook me up. She is a remarkably strong woman and I know she will be OK.

I’ve had people in my family battle cancer, thankfully they survived but I’ve also lost people who I love to the devastating disease. When my friend told me about her diagnosis all I could think of is after all the years of research why do we not have a cure for cancer? Why do we get cancer? Is it in our water? Our food? Is it the amount of stress we have to endure?

Another friend of mine who has looked into the same questions and has fought her own battle with cancer sent me an article written by Professor Keith Scott-Mumby, a British alternative doctor. He has what he calls his three pillars to beat cancer and advises that if we are serious about keeping (or getting) cancer out of our lives, we follow these steps.

Pillar #1 – Diet

1fc3d1262dada129c01906b2649760d5

Dr. Mumby says we have to beat the root causes of cancer. Diet is one of the root causes according to Mumby! The World Health Organization estimates that 40% of cancers are caused by diet. Mumby suggests a diet rich with fresh, organic foods (where possible), salads, smoothies, and brightly colored produce. He claims that dairy, soy, grains, and even certain produce can be unknown stressors. This is no surprise, white sugar, white flour, white rice, processed foods, dairy, and soy should be deleted from our diet!

Pillar #2 – Emotional Cleansing

c8d86b8203dc90ebca0ab04d2d8d817d

Negative emotion is also a root cause of cancer.  I can vouch for this! Some of the people in my life who went through cancer smiled through every bad situation in their lives. They never dealt with the pain they were going through.

A Stanford psychiatrist, was shocked to discover that at the ten-year breast cancer survival checkup, women who included therapy in their lives survived twice as long as those who didn’t. Another Yale research study found that cancer spread faster in women who bottled up their emotions.

96ccb9c7a983d2fc067376282e79c059

Stress is known to be a major cause of inflammation. In fact, inflammation has been discovered at the base of all known diseases.

In other words, stress will kill us through cancer or heart attack or autoimmune disease…if you allow it to control your life!

Pillar #3 – DETOXIFICATION

81c03dcc189bab38bc85a4a34e54f1dc

This pillar is the most difficult one to control in my opinion. I can’t wrap my brain around how much pollution we have around our lives! We are surrounded by pollution! There  are pollutants in our soil, water, and air and that means they are in our food supply. They are also in our cosmetics, household goods and everyday cleansers! From heavy metals and arsenic to formaldehyde and parabens…products we buy every day at our local markets are filled with endocrine disruptors, estrogen mimics, and poison the cells in our body.

Dr. Mumby suggests reading “The Politics of Cancer ” by Dr. Sam Epstein. In the book he tells us how cancers are essentially preventable diseases. He says there are hidden political and economic factors which have blocked attempts to prevent cancer.

 There are so many things stressing our bodies, junk nutrition, stress, and chemical contamination push these stressors past the brink of what we can handle. It’s important that we take it upon ourselves to be aware and do what we can to keep our loved ones and ourselves healthy.

 

An ageless life

“Getting older is inevitable, aging is optional.” Dr. Christiane Northrup, MD

232323232fp537;4_nu=3285_359_557_WSNRCG=345643799_32_nu0mrjDoes your age limit who you are? Remember the time when you couldn’t wait to celebrate your twenty first birthday?

665722c1611096bb85a14a61427fbb24

You proudly announced your age to anyone that would listen to you. It’s different when you hit your 30’s, 40’s and beyond. Many of us don’t really want to shout out our age. Although there are a handful of friends that say they feel empowered when they “own” their age.

ded0cfcbb3316267b1cf43df44c44876

Next Friday is my birthday. I’ve always hated getting older, even in my twenties. Unlike those that feel empowered to “own” their age I want to forget it! Don’t get me wrong, I like celebrating my birthday. I especially love getting presents! Honestly, I think moving through time is an opportunity to increase our value and our confidence. I just don’t want to state my age out loud. In fact, I’ve decided not to from now on! That’s because the second someone asks your age and you tell them they put you in a box and label you.  Our culture is all about the war on aging. How do we stay young? But why fight getting older? Everyday we all get older.

As the years pass we experience life, the good and the bad. With those experiences we become more wise, sometimes we are left with both emotional and physical scars. We really begin to know ourselves. We start to evolve and look within ourselves instead of looking out. We realize that the world does not revolve around us and we look to better ourselves as human beings. We learn to let go of our ego. We care less about what people think of us and more about how we feel about ourselves. We seek spiritual guidance. We realize change is inevitable and learn to become more flexible.

3916276587de23eabafec932f9ba622a

What I wanted in my twenties is not what makes me happy today.  I’m much closer to knowing what really matters in life now. I’m not there altogether yet, but I’m close. So it’s not that I don’t embrace getting older it’s just that announcing my age makes me feel like people put me in a box. “Oh she is 34, 38…oh she is 40..(none of them are my real age by the way.) A box of what I’m supposed to wear, where I’m supposed to be in life. How I’m supposed to act. I just want to be me. Take me as I am, don’t worry about my age. The essence of who I am will never change, no matter what age I am.

I’ve heard so many of my friends say “well, it’s all downhill from here…we aren’t as young as we used to be.” No we aren’t, but we don’t have to curl up and die! My parents often say ” well these are the last days of our lives”. I think why say that? Why think that way? It only brings you and others around you down. You are alive today, be in the present!

1a4058d9e604b63e6653804a5b90afd4

Do something that makes you feel great! One of the best ways to feel younger is to sourround yourself with things and people that bring you joy. The best is yet to come. It’s not over until it’s over. Don’t dwell in your own hell. Own the pain you have gone through. It could be a divorce, or a broken friendship, or a loss. We have to let ourselves feel the pain in order to heal. How you deal with loss and pain creates how you age. Burning off or letting go of the pain is how you heal and stay ageless. Let it go and live. That is the only way to live your life happy.

It’s not something I’ve mastered but it’s something I try to practice. Leave it to God.

 

 

Learning to Meditate

0ade664772d03c96a336f57615ecc5e8

I’ve been on a journey of spirituality for quite some time. It’s slowly helping me learn to be calmer, happier and feel more in control of my life. Things that would normally push me over the edge I can now manage to overcome. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not there yet, I have my really bad days but I’m getting there. Whenever things don’t go right in life my initial reaction has been to lose it. I get sick to my stomach and feel helpless and out of control. Now when things go wrong as is the case with life I just don’t focus on the negative. Instead, I’ve made it a habit to count my blessings. I try to look at the glass half full instead of half empty and it makes me feel better every time. I’m determined to keep adding positive tools into my life. I need to be OK in order to raise a healthy and happy child. I am the person she is mirroring. That is just one of  the reasons why I’m trying to make meditation a habit.

I have a lot of trouble keeping my mind clear of worries and thoughts during meditation. My goal is to conquer it because I know that it’s a great way to reduce stress, improve focus and help balance my life. God knows I can use all the help I can get!

f80772ad22bc98c15e3ee498956b4260

I know a lot of people who would like to meditate, but like me, they have a difficult time doing it. Over the years, I’ve tried meditating many times. I always find my mind wandering, my body becomes uncomfortable and achy. I get fidgety and even claustrophobic!

555e8f471f9659ebb3f1481cb1c972dd

This month I’ve made the decision to conquer meditation once and for all! I need to stop focusing on all things digital! I look at my cell phone way too many times. I’m always texting, tweeting or on Facebook communicating and connecting with friends. Too many digital interactions makes me a very jittery person! I much prefer seeing friends and family in person and speaking on the phone instead of texting. For me, I think connecting with people I care about is crucial to my happiness. I need to have people I trust and love in my circle. I need to spend time face to face with them. That takes time and sometimes our busy lives prevent us from doing that. So I plan on making the time because it’s important to me. I also spend very little time sitting still and just living in the present. It’s something I really want to do.

9d69835112b87ce95d60c96d4299ceda

Like most of you, I have so much going on with my life. Achieving “inner peace” is something that takes effort. So every day I force myself to sit and meditate, even if it’s only for a few minutes. I find that visualization really helps me get in the zone and it’s also important for me to be in the right space during my meditation. I have to have an organized clutter free space and the right scents, which is why I always use essential oils. Lavender is my scent of choice.

79b4c5f8f2c690b0fe29b6bfc08ef70b

At first I began meditating 5 minutes a day. You would think it would be easy to sit still for 5 minutes well, think again! It was such a difficult thing for me to do. Once I was able to sit for 5 minutes for a few days I realized I was becoming more calm so I extended it to 10 minutes. Now I can go as long as 15 minutes comfortably and 30 minutes not so comfortably. It’s still difficult for me to keep my thoughts at bay. Every time I have a thought come into my head during meditation I just push it aside. I acknowledge it but then I move it aside and try to stay focused on how peaceful I feel. I’m hoping the more I practice, the more comfortable I will become with my practice.

Last week, I recruited a wonderful friend of mine to join me. We meet once a week, every week to meditate together.  It’s a great way to get together for a positive step into our lives. We chat and drink tea for a bit then we sit together in silence and help one another achieve our goal of finding peace. It’s time well spent.

0ccdde94f7226fd93695bdffc3671c04

Here are some great tips to help you Meditate-

1.Find a quiet place, either lie down on your back with your feet on the floor or sit comfortably.

2. Set a timer for 2 minutes at first, then increasing as you become more comfortable and your ability to focus grows.  Take your time, and just do what you can.

3. Relax your body and listen to your breath.  Don’t do anything to try to control your breath, simply observe.

4.  Now, bring in some visualization.  As you exhale, picture being on the beach.  As you inhale, see the waves rolling out of the sea.  With every inhale and exhale, watch the waves go in and out– the sound of your breath is the soundtrack to these waves going in and out, and will set the pace.

5.  If your mind wanders, bring yourself back to the sound of your breathing and the images of the waves.  Again, do not try to change your breathing in any way– simply match the motion of the waves to the sound of your breath.

I hope you find your way to a peaceful life.

Namaste

671b24d0a01e6162e5e171a972ed881e

 

What are you thinking?

5003d644dc2f041ee5978e054b3b596f

What is your mind on, do you know? How many times have you caught yourself just thinking about the things that are going wrong with your life? Did you ever stop and really focus on what it is you are preoccupied with? It can be a conversation you had with your spouse or your friend. You may be going over what you said and what you should have said instead. You maybe thinking about everything that is wrong with your body or just criticizing your parenting skills. What would happen if you just stop the negative thinking?

Believe it or not, the things you think about shape your life. Philosopher Marcus Aurelius said, “The things you think about determine the quality of your mind. Your soul takes on the color of your thoughts. Color it with a run of thoughts like these:

1)Anywhere you can lead your life, you can lead a good one.

2) Things gravitate toward what they were intended for. What things gravitate toward is their goal.

bbd50435a6e3dfa98fa0de53dfec6b45

Basically, it means that the more you concentrate on the positive things in your life the more you attract them. It may seem frivolous but it’s something that has been taught by so many of the worlds spiritual gurus and philosophers. In every religious book it says that we should count our blessings. So even when things go wrong in life, we have to focus on all that is going right. That is the key to happiness.

I hope you keep your minds on all that is good in your life.

18461b38c4847735fac3c26eebe935ab

Winter skin

IMG_4075

I’ve always loved playing in the snow as a child and so does my little girl. Recently she had a great day being home and playing outside with friends. Being outdoors for long periods of time in this weather means a lot of chapped, dry skin and brittle hair. She is prone to dry skin every winter. So I’ve got some great home made remedies that will help make winter a lot more enjoyable.

There are a lot things you can do to nourish your hair but here is one I’ve tried and like a lot. It’s a hair-nourishing aloe mask.

Hair-nourishing aloe mask

  • 1/4 cup aloe vera gel
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 5 drops of rosemary essential oil

Just combine these ingredients, comb the mixture through damp hair and wrap hair in a plastic bag. After just ten minutes, shampoo and condition as usual. The Aloe and olive oil instantly restore moisture to parched strands while the egg’s protein fill in any damaged areas. The rosemary stimulates circulation to the scalp for healthier, thicker hair.

Homemade Body Butter

  • Coconut oil
  • Vitamin E oil
  • Lavender

d8180395d61a04849352307c9f619fa2

As for the skin, my daughter has eczema and it comes out with a vengeance in cold weather. I use organic, virgin, cold pressed coconut oil because of its healing properties. I add some vitamin E oil and a few drops of lavender for a soothing scent and mix it up until I’ve whipped it for awhile. It almost looks/feels like wax but that’s normal. Store your new whipped body butter in an airtight container, in a cool dry place. When you apply it make sure you give it a few minutes to soak into your skin before putting on clothes. And that my friends, is a great way to treat your skin to a natural home remedy.

Stay warm and safe in the snow!

Turmeric, it’s not just any spice.

Abstract image of Indian tumeric powder from vegetable market. Turmeric is a spice used to add color and flavor to your meal and it has some amazing healing powers. Both the Chinese and Indians use it as medicine. It’s used to treat everything from liver problems, depression, bursitis, inflammation and stiffness related to rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. It’s also used as a cleansing agent and a digestive aid in India. There’s not always much research to back up all it’s alleged benefits. Here’s what we know about the seasoning.

Several recent studies show that it HAS anti-inflammatory properties and that it modifies immune system responses. A study done about eight years ago showed turmeric was more effective at preventing joint inflammation than reducing joint inflammation.

A clinical trial found that a turmeric supplement called Meriva provided long-term improvement in pain and function in a hundred patients with knee osteoarthritis.  On the flip side, high doses of it can act as a blood thinner.

Some Great Ways to take Turmeric

  • Turmeric root can be eaten plain. Just wash it,  peel the skin off and you can eat it raw or eat it in your salad.
  • The powder can also be added to your salad dressing use it in your soup, make it a creamy dip by mixing it with dried onion, mayonnaise, salt and pepper.
  • You can use fresh turmeric root with other fresh fruits and vegetables and make it a delicious and healthy smoothie.
  • 5d76ebcaa69a4f96572d39b671dfed7e

Turmeric used for cosmetic purposes

  •  Turmeric is effective in treating acne because of its antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
  • Turmeric face mask helps to clear acne scars and inflammation.
  • Mix turmeric powder and sandalwood powder and lemon juice. Apply it on your face for 10 minutes and rinse off with lukewarm water. For acne scars, apply a mixture of turmeric and plain water on the marks for 15 minutes. For oily skin mix 1 ½ tablespoons of sandalwood powder and a pinch of ground turmeric with 3 tablespoons of orange juice and leave it on your face for 10 to 15 minutes and rinse off with lukewarm water.
  • For dry skin combine 1 egg white, 2 drops of olive oil, fresh lemon juice, rose water and a pinch of turmeric. Apply it to your face, neck, elbow, knees and let it dry. Wash it off with warm water.
  • You can use turmeric to heal your cracked heels. Apply 3 spoons of turmeric with a few drops of coconut oil on your heels for 10 to 15 minutes before taking a bath. If you do it regularly it will help soften your heels..
  • Turmeric with milk also treats skin conditions like poison ivy, eczema and soriasis.
  • Mix turmeric and olive oil and apply it on your scalp for 15 minutes before taking a shower to treat dandruff and other scalp issues like dermatitis, eczema that can lead to itchy, flaky skin, inflammation and thinning hair.

You can buy Turmeric powder or fresh organic turmeric root.The powder should be kept in tightly sealed container and stored in a cool dry. Fresh turmeric should be placed in the refrigerator.