Archive for the ‘alternative health’ Category

2014 SIMPLE Conference Day 1

I am at the 2014 SIMPLE conference in Albuquerque, NM this week. SIMPLE stands for Symposium of Integrative Medicine Professionals in the Land of Enchantment.

Let me tell you……these are my kind of people….and then some.

I am surrounded by those who seek to identify evidence based practice among the complementary and integrative therapies and who choose to take the very best of the allopathic (Western medical) model, traditional oriental medicine, traditional Mexican healing, and traditional Native American healing, along with a nice dose of Ayurveda all in an effort to truly heal rather than just manage symptoms. These are not people looking for the next great cholesterol medication. These are people who seek to eliminate the need for most pharmaceutical medications except as a last resort.

These are people with Ph.D. and M.D. behind their name who know there has to be a better way and they are putting together or finding the research that shows us what that better way is. These are some of the most highly trained medical professionals in the country, and I have the privilege of “sitting at their feet” to learn.

Our first day was considered “pre-conference”. I paid extra money to participate in a workshop on herbalism and a community healthcare visioning ritual. The herbalism conference had some very knowledgeable people presenting, and I did learn some things. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel it had the depth of knowledge I craved for the investment.

My greatest take aways from herbalism: 1) In areas where the water has higher concentrations of lithium occurring naturally, the suicide rates are much lower than in areas where the water has much lower levels of lithium. 2) Kava is used to allay violence in tribal cultures. 3) My use of prepackaged herbal teas in their little tea bags is pretty much useless, so I shall be acquiring some of the good stuff and putting it directly in my hot water to steep and float.

Oh, and I simply must get my hands on a sweet neem plant. It has such an interesting aroma.

And now for the highlight of day 1…..

Approximately 20 of us participated in what was called a Community Ritual for Visioning. Most had no idea what they were getting themselves into. I have been to enough of these types of things in this part of the country to know that “ritual” means somebody is going to shake and rattle something and chanting and fire will probably be involved. Some of the other poor souls thought they were going to write some sort of mission statement. I couldn’t help but wonder who in their right mind would pay money to do THAT.

We gathered outside by the hotel pool in a circle of chairs that had a chiminea at one end. The fire was stoked, and the guides for the evening led us in a Shamanic-type ritual. We began by honoring the four directions with a prayer to each. We were then asked to write on a piece of paper something we wished to release that related to our health care practice or to health care in general. I knew about this assignment, but it wasn’t until we were in the midst of the four directions prayer that what I was to release became crystal clear to me. That was a cool moment.

One at a time, we were invited to the fire to kneel and toss our “releases” into the fire to be consumed. Each of us was surrounded by the supporting energies of the five guides shaking their shakers and holding a bowl of tobacco. As our paper burned, we were offered the bowl of tobacco and each of us tossed a bit of the tobacco into the fire to finish our personal “burning” ritual.

After the burning, we lined up to go back inside as it was quite chilly in the New Mexico mountain air and wind. We were each cleansed with smoke from burning sage to remove negative energies and escorted into a dark room to lie down. I honestly don’t know if my mind finally decided to be quiet or if I fell asleep, but I was eventually startled back into reality with a whisper to arise and take the hand of the person beside me. We were instructed to keep our eyes closed and we were led single file while holding hands through the darkness until we reach a place where we were advised to get on hands and knees with shoulders touching.

Soon I felt the strange sensation of someone crawling beneath me through the tunnel that symbolically represented a birth canal. One by one, each ritual participant made the journey through the tunnel. I was next to last, so my journey was much shorter. Once all had completed the “birthing” experience, candles were lit and we were invited to allow our bodies to move freely (dance) to the sound of drums and flute. Most of us were quite shy about this process as it felt akin to being in a charismatic church and being asked to let the Holy Spirit move you. Gradually most began to make some effort to move our bodies with the rhythm of the drums to celebrate our rebirth.

Still sitting in the darkness, we turned to a partner and shared what we had experienced. Although I am open to this process and interested in it, having a “profound” experience to report back to others continues to allude me. I often feel as though I have to stretch a bit to identify something worthy of sharing and therefore feel compelled to apologize for my lack of awe. I shared my “aha” moment by the fire in which the knowledge of what I needed to release became crystal clear. Others were so moved and grateful for the experience of rebirth. I was grateful to be in a warm room and not on my hands and knees anymore.

Lest you think I was put off by this ritual, please know that I would pay my $30 and do it again in a heartbeat. An opportunity to be face to face with a small group of like-minded people in such an intimate space is one I will always pursue. The energy dynamic generated feeds me on a level I cannot adequately explain. It made the stress of being a lone ranger at a large conference so much easier. It gave me a glimpse of the hearts and minds of people from many different healing professions and from different parts of the country. It was yet another attempt to break down my wall in hopes that someday I WILL have that profound experience with the universe that knocks my socks off.

I topped off the evening by inviting myself to follow the ritual guides to a very late supper. Since I intruded on their space, I tried to keep silent and just listen to their stories. I felt a little bit guilty, as if I had crashed their private party, but I was hungry and didn’t want to eat alone. One gentleman had donned a long hooded black cape and appeared as though he were a warlock or a character out of Harry Potter. I wasn’t quite sure whether to be totally creeped out of admire his courage to be such an individual. I opted for admiration and amusement. It is definitely an experience I won’t forget. I later discovered that he was an M.D., as was the lead guide of the ritual. I’m not sure why I was caught off guard by that fact, unless I just never expected a doctor to be a Shaman.

As for what I chose to release, we shall see in the coming weeks how that works out for me. I released fear, doubt, and self-deprecation as they relate to my nursing practice. They went up in smoke. I will never cease to be keenly aware of the knowledge I do not have, but it is time for me to embrace what I do possess and to walk in some level of confidence with that knowledge while feeling confident that I can always ask for help with that which I do not know.

Oh, and I also “burned up” standard hospital food in hopes that someday a clear liquid diet will consist of healing bone broth instead of red jello, Sprite, and Gatorade.

And on that note, I poured my exhausted body into bed and slept like a rock. So ended SIMPLE Conference 2014 Day 1.

Getting My Summer Solstice On

Summer Solstice 2013 is here. In recent years, it seems to have become quite popular to have some sort of celebration or ritual on the solstices. Some suggest the earth’s energy is uniquely aligned at such times. Others simply mark it as a point of new beginning or transition in their lives. For me, it’s typically either the day of or the day after kiddo #3’s birthday. That means I SHOULD be celebrating in some form or fashion.

…SHOULD be.

I’m not much of one for celebrations, rituals, traditions, or anything remotely similar. There’s really no particular reason other than I’m just really lazy in that department. My kids have grown up highly deprived of the aforementioned experiences. Quite frankly, if it weren’t for their sweet daddy, they’d have no life.

Yes. I know. I rock. Just hand that mother of the year trophy over to me right now.  <sarcasm>

This year, however, I had an opportunity to participate in a real Summer Solstice event. With all of the usual obstacles and excuses removed and a very gracious invitation from the host, I couldn’t say no.

My alarm went off promptly at 5 AM and I was greeted by the usual pre-programmed pot of coffee, minus half enough coffee grounds since I ran out last night. Better make that “greeted by a very weak and nasty pot of pre-programmed coffee”. A quick shower and blow dry of the hair, application of non-toxic sunscreen, attention to clothing and teeth (much appreciated by those in attendance, I’m sure), and I was off for my 20 mile drive to the thriving metropolis of Nazareth, Texas.

We gathered at Casa La Entereza, the unique and beautiful home of Darryl Birkenfeld and JoAnn Starr. “A Labyrinth Retreat on Summer Solstice” began just as the sun attempted to peak through the morning clouds in the eastern sky. We were introduced to the first presenter and led to the labyrinth area. After a brief explanation, we each took a turn stepping into the labyrinth to begin our walk in concentric circles, silently meditating along the way. Upon reaching the center of the labyrinth, we stepped down into the kiva, pausing on each level to experience the power and energy of the seven chakra-aligned rock steps with their embedded crystal energy concentrators. The base of the kiva includes a place to sit where we continued our silent meditation. One at a time we exited the kiva and made our way back around the labyrinth returning to its beginning.

Some people are very good at emptying their minds of all thought and sensing the subtle energies that surface during a time of meditation. Me? Not so much.

My mind did something like this:

“Okay, Girlfriend. Empty your min…wow! Those rocks are sure crunchy sounding!”

“Focus, Angie. Pay attention to what you are feeli……Hey, there’s the Padre!”

“Yoohoo! You are supposed to be meditating. Pretty sure this distraction thing is………I wonder what’s for breakfast?”

I’ll spare you more torture.

Obviously I need a bit more frequent practice at the whole emptying my mind thing. Seriously, though, as I neared the end of the labyrinth two thoughts presented themselves with brilliant clarity.

Humans almost always tend to find some way to explain that which they do not easily understand when they are not comfortable with a simple I don’t know.

……and……

My typical description of the person I used to be is not supportive. I am, rather, an evolving human being, as are all other human beings. We are just at different places in our evolution.

Most probably won’t see the profoundness in such a revelation. That’s okay. It was significant to me, and that’s what the entire process is about.

Our day continued with a delicious home baked breakfast including casserole, salsa, fruit, dip, and some incredible sticky roles along with juice and coffee. A nice lady everyone calls Steve Ann (or something like that) was our cook. It was all I could do to keep my inner piglet from bursting forth and devouring the entire counter full of food. This lady can feed me anytime.

Two morning sessions followed. We divided into groups and took turns enjoying another labyrinth and kiva experience outside and a meditation inside the beautiful casa. The labyrinth activities were directed by Joe Franco of Dimmitt who designed and led their construction. When he indicated we’d be sitting in the kiva in silence for 20 minutes, I thought my brain might explode.

Might.

But it didn’t.

That proved to be the fastest 20 minutes of my life.

On my way out, I chose to walk the labyrinth barefooted. After all, the really good earth energy demands it. While it wasn’t like walking on hot coals (as if I’d know what that was like), it was quite stimulating to the pressure points. That’s New Age lingo for I’m-a-tenderfoot-and-it-was-all-I-could-do-to-tough-it-out-to-the-end. Nevertheless, I kicked some energy meridians into high gear with that trek. That’s New Age lingo for my spine tingled.

Once back inside, Elaine Sullivan led us through a guided meditation. I have some weird hang-up with my three year old self. I always have a hang-up with my three-year old self. Every “find your inner child” meditation I’ve ever done has resulted in that girl showing up. One of these days I’m going to get a shrink to help me find and unpack her baggage. Needless to say, it was an emotional and moving experience for me.

Lunch was next. The menu was a slice of heaven. We were served a delicious Paidom pot roast, mashed potatoes, brown gravy, green beans, home grown salad greens, and strawberry-rhubarb pie.

And hot rolls with sesame seeds…So much for being wheat free… I had two. Yum doesn’t do them justice.

I wonder if Steve Ann will marry me.

I’m pretty sure my husband would be okay with it.

We enjoyed a bit of after lunch relaxing and visiting with each other. I met some people who are a lot like me in their thinking and ideals. We had some good discussions about subtle energies, the link between emotions and health, and some of our personal stories. It is always comforting to find others whose journeys have led them down a path similar to mine. It certainly helps me feel much less like a total weirdo when I am in the company of others like me.

Our final session was a time of reflection and sharing led by Elaine. The connections with people, the beauty of our space, and the synergy were all so peaceful and comforting. It was a delightful end to a day of recharging and rejuvenation. Lemon bars made by a gracious retired Texas Tech professor of German topped off our day of self-reflection and healing energy.

My left-hemisphere-dominate self found the day to be well worth the time and the short trip. I am exceedingly grateful to Darryl for including me in the retreat. My brain knows it was good for me. For those who are more sensitive to subtle energies (and even those who are not), I highly encourage you to participate in the next Labyrinth Retreat at Casa La Entereza. Your body, mind, and spirit will thank you. If you are one who easily senses subtle energies, you will absolutely love it.

Once again to Darryl Birkenfeld, thank you for being such a gracious host and planning a truly unique retreat experience.

See you next time.

Redirected, Day 16

It’s been over two weeks since I got the news I already knew.

It’s been over two weeks since I decided to be the proof of what I say I believe.

It’s been over two weeks since I consumed dairy of any kind, and my only sugar has consisted of extremely small quantities of raw honey.

It’s been no less than five trips to my cool chiropractor dude in Amarillo.

It’s been no less than 20 cucumbers, 30 tomatoes, 25 avocados, a dozen bell peppers, 10 each cantaloupe and onions, 6 heads of garlic, 3 dozen lemons, and at least four heads of broccoli.

My cutting board and I are having an affair. I see more of it than my sweet hubby nowadays.

Oh….and I’ve nurtured 4 batches of home grown sprouts…

My chickens are making wonderfully nourished eggs from all the veggie scraps.

I have learned that not everything that should be good for me is. It seems food has energy, and sometimes my own energy treats otherwise healthy foods as if they are suspicious strangers.

I muscle check every new food I put into my body. I also keep a food diary and have my chiropractor check for any sensitivities. It’s really fun when he expects me to react to something and I don’t.

It’s not nearly as much fun when I want add something and he says no…..or rather my body says no.

There is no grapefruit, cilantro, cumin, or flax on this adventure. There are also no nuts or seeds….except Brazils. For some reason my crazy self is okay with Brazils, but I can’t handle almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, or even sunflower or pumpkin seeds.

It’s sorta complicated.

Why in the world would I go to this much trouble? Because I want to prove that uterine fibroids are a symptom to be addressed, not a nuisance to be yanked out.

And I want to prove that a female body can be nourished back to peak health.

I am cheating a bit, however.

I went to see a naturopath today with my sonograms, blood work, and medical diagnosis in hand. She gave me wonderful things to take with promises of feeling much better soon.

She gave me a prescription for bioidentical progesterone. It seems I have none.  But then I already knew that. So did my husband and children.

She gave me Vitamin D3 drops and Vitamin B6 & B12 drops.

She gave me iodine. (Didn’t know about that one.)

She gave me cabbage in a pill. (Something about extract from cruciferous veggies.)

And she gave me thyroid stuff.

She muscle tested every one of them to determine the dosage. I think muscle testing is so cool.

She told me to stick with the diet and skip all animal protein.

She also nixed any soy. That narrows down the vegan cookbook selections.

She pulled out a little book by Louise Hay called Heal Your Body. I smiled because I already have that book.

She asked if I was familiar with tapping, also known as EFT.

Yes. Yes I am, and we’ll be tapping next time I go to see her.

The good news is this thing appears to be getting smaller.

That makes me happy. I would do a happy dance, but I don’t yet have enough red blood cells to dance without running out of breath.

I will soon, though. I will soon.

Redirected

It’s funny how things come along in life to serve as a point of redirection.

Yesterday I got redirected.

Yesterday I was given the opportunity to decide whether or not I truly believe what I say I believe….

….about health, nutrition, wellness, medical intervention, and more.

Yesterday I learned that I have fabulous cholesterol levels. I also learned that as far as a sonogram is concerned, most of my internal organs look pretty good.

Most of them, anyway.

And most of my blood work was pretty good. Most of it….except the little detail of my hemoglobin–my almost non-existent hemoglobin. It seems a 6-point-something-or-other is a little low when ideal is 12-16. The doc commented that she was amazed I was even able to get up and walk around. Guess that explains some of the fatigue that’s been plaguing me lately. I just thought I was really out of shape.

Then there is the matter of my “baby”. It seems there is an alien thing growing inside and around my 44 year old incubator.

No, I’m not pregnant.

Thank God.

My diagnosis was basically exactly what I had already self-diagnosed and the reason I even went to see a traditional doc in the first place. I am exhibiting symptoms of a benign uterine fibroid. I had already decided I could manage one of those, although some things might have to change about my diet.

I had purchased the “Living with Fibroids” book, and  I had done lots of research before hand. I was pretty sure I could handle this.

The part I wasn’t counting on was just how big the fibroid collection turned out to be and the unexpected thickened endometrial lining they found. Seems I have 3 mm too much for comfort.

The medical approach in such cases is referral to a GYN for biopsy of the uterine lining and likely hysterectomy due to the size of the fibroid.

I am, after all, kicking out a good solid blood transfusion each month at this point.

And I mean it’s not like I’m gonna need that uterus to make more babies, right? So medical logic says let’s just cut that sucker out and eliminate the problem.

Except that doesn’t solve the underlying problem.

My diet and lifestyle have created this thing. Cutting it out isn’t going to solve all my problems. In fact, it will add a few to the mix. My hormones are already jinked up pretty badly. I’ve known this for a couple of years now, but I’ve procrastinated doing anything about it. I’m pretty sure cutting out an entire organ that contributes to what’s left of the production of natural hormones is probably not the greatest of ideas.

And the synthetic stuff is just totally scary.

I am not a horse.

Besides, where will the alien grow next if we cut out its host and don’t change the environment that’s supporting its growth?

After processing all of the information I have so far and considering things like the expense of surgery, I realized I was being given an opportunity. …

I preach that the body has the ability to totally heal itself if given the right nutritional and energetic support.

I watch people put their eggs entirely in the western medicine model of cut, slash, burn and shake my head in pity.

I am now faced with an opportunity to put my money where my mouth is.

Literally.

I can totally change my diet and the internal environment of my body, or I can continue consuming things that deplete my body of life force energy.

I can nurture my girl parts back to vibrant health by using food and herbs as medicine, or I can let the whackers take my parts away forever.

I realize some people hit a point at which there isn’t an option left. Cutting the body  part off or out is sometimes the only option for survival. My heart breaks for them.

I, on the other hand, still have time and a choice.

On this fourth of July, 2012, my choice is eating cake and ice cream in celebration of my second daughter’s 18th birthday, or eating homemade guacamole and cucumbers. One feeds the alien. One feeds me. Once creates the acidic environment that encourages tumor growth. One provides the alkalinity to feed, nourish and repair damaged cells.

My game plan includes my MD, my chiropractor, a naturopath, a hormone-compounding pharmacist and quite likely an acupuncturist. Gotta get the iron depletion resolved immediately. I even have a game plan for that. Just gotta run it by the doc and see if she can find a way to make it happen.

It also includes an abundance of raw alkalizing foods….all of which have to be washed, sliced, prepped, and more. Broccoli and cabbage are my new best friends. Dairy, sugar, and anything with gluten are the enemy.

I think I have a new full time job.

Good thing I like guacamole and cucumbers.

Anyone for a big heaping bowl of coleslaw and a cup of herbal tea?

 

PS: I don’t need your prayers. God didn’t make me eat crap and God isn’t going to fix it for me by some miraculous intervention. I need your encouragement, positive energy, and an occasional batch of organic broccoli and carrots that I don’t have to take time to wash and cut up. I also need your massage business. Eating healthy isn’t exactly cheap. Much gratitude in advance.

Simple Changes: Good for You and Good for the Environment

This morning I stumbled on an article by Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen entitled 4 Green Moves That Help You, Too. In the article, the docs identify a great starting point for implementing simple changes that could make a big difference. Hop on over and see what they have to say, then check back here for my thoughts.

I’ll wait………

It’s okay……..

Now would be good………

GO ALREADY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, now that you are back, here’s my take on it.

I agree with them for the most part. They suggest you say no to receipts at the self-serve gas station and ATM. Some are dusted with a substance that is toxic and has been linked to everything from birth defects to diabetes and heart disease. It’s an estrogen mimicking substance called BPA. Nasty stuff. Plus, by nixing the receipt, you save oodles of trees. No argument from me there. If you need a record of your transaction, keep a small notebook in your car. Besides, those receipts just clutter my car. I’m over it.

The second change they mention is skip the red meat. They cite several “ill” effects of red meat both environmental and physical. I would put forth that the “ill” effects can be countered by choosing meat that has been raised in a sustainable way. No one can argue that the mass production model of the feedlot is probably not the way to ensure production of meat that is healthy for both the individual and the environment. But that applies to non-red meats as well. Has anyone toured a commercial chicken facility lately?

Where meat is concerned, I believe the solution is two-part. First, choose pasture raised red (and white) meats. It won’t be the tender, juicy, melt-in-your-mouth steak that you are used to eating, and which entices you to consume large amounts. It will be much more gamey, a bit tougher, and WAY more nutritious. The omega 3 to omega 6 ratio in pasture fed meats is something like 1:6 whereas in grain-fed mass production (feedlot) meat, the ratio is more like 1:24—way out of whack. Prices for pastured meat is a bit more expensive, but not nearly as bad as you may have been led to believe. In our area, there are two good sources for pastured beef: Paidom Meats, and David Horn, both near Nazareth, TX.

Part 2 will probably take care of itself once you commit to eating pastured rather than commercial meats. Eat less. In this part of the country, beef is so pervasive in our diets that in some families, hardly a meal goes by that doesn’t include beef. The tougher texture of pastured meats will go a long ways toward reducing the amount you WANT to eat. But keep in mind, that texture can be overcome with a good marinade and/or a killer crockpot. You’ve not had a brisket unless you’ve had a slow cooked slab of meat with some Claude’s brisket marinade on it. Marinades break down the fibrous tissue and leave a tender, juicy treat.

And if the chewiness doesn’t reduce your consumption, your budget might. Prices are slightly higher, but still very reasonable from the two local sources mentioned above, however, a trip up the road to the health food store will reveal a price tag that will slow your consumption of any meat to a crawl.

That’s all I have to say ’bout that.

Idea #3 suggested get outside more. I heartily agree. We’ve been told for decades that we need to cover up to hide every bit of flesh from any sun exposure and slather on sunscreen every 30 minutes. Quite frankly it’s easier to stay inside that go to that much trouble. And yet as sunscreen use has increased and people have received less sun, the related heath problems associated with sun have continued to increase. Studies now indicate that some of those sunscreen chemicals are in fact carcinogens (cancer causers instead of cancer preventers) and avoiding the sun deprives us of crucial vitamin D which is in fact a cancer preventer and a preventer of lots of other illnesses. Plus being outside just does something on an emotional level that boosts your positive outlook, nourishes and oxygenates your cells, and gives you a glow that lasts for days. No, I don’t mean the sunburn. No one says you have to stay outside in the direct sun. Find a shade tree, grab a glass of iced green tea with a spoonful of  honey mixed in, and take in the negative ions of nature. It rocks!

Finally, these guys said to start an organic garden. To that I say, DUH!!!

ABSOLUTELY!!! There’s not a person within 50 miles who can’t grow something. No one says it has to be a five acre spread. You’ll hate it if you do that. Start simply. Get a kiddie swimming pool. Poke some drain holes in the bottom. Go get you some good dirt if you don’t already have a supply, then plant something. You’ll be surprised by what you can get from one tomato plant, one pepper plant, one or two squash plants, maybe a few herbs….whatever makes you happy. Just take some action toward controlling your food supply. And be careful what products you choose as your soil. Some of the stuff you get at the discount store is nothing more than a chemical factory, which will be absorbed by your veggies and thus your body. Good dirt is just that…good dirt….good animal poo….good mulchy stuff…..mixed together and cooked up by Mother Nature herself until it’s just right for your plants and your body.

Once things start rocking for you and production starts overloading you, consider taking your excess to a local farmers’ market and swapping out some of your bounty. You’ll be glad you did.

Simple baby steps to wellness. That’s what I’m talkin’ about.  Let’s get to it and make a difference.


The Woman with the Bleeding Issue

Five years ago, somethings begin to shift inside me. At the time, I had no idea just how much shifting there would be, but suffice to say it has been a lot.

I had begun to learn about the energy that flows in our bodies, and that information, combined with the extensive collection of Biblical information I had acquired over the years, started coming together in a way that pushed out some old beliefs and ushered in some new perceptions.

The story of the woman with the bleeding issue in Mark 5 fascinated me. I was new to the concept of the body’s energy system, but I had seen the evidence that it existed. As I read through that story over and over, the sentence where Jesus felt the power (some versions say energy) leave his body when she touched–not his skin, arm, leg, etc., –his cloak. She reached into his aura and didn’t even touch HIM, yet the healing energy transferred from his body to hers. That’s the part that really got me thinking.

Having grown up believing that all miraculous healing power of touch had passed away with the deaths of Jesus’ apostles, this was a bit of a stretch for me. Yet I reasoned that if HE did it, and if WE have that energy running through OUR bodies, why wouldn’t this still be possible? Could it be that through the ages of various oppressive religious regimes, we simply disconnected from the source of that healing energy? Could it be that we have excused ourselves from this responsibility to help others heal by claiming that it “passed away”? We are so willing to pray for one another, which is certainly a good thing, but is it enough for people who claim to be children of God?

Jesus spent HOURS with the Divine source of his power. Many Christians believe he WAS the source of the power, but I contend that he simply knew how to plug into and become one with the Source to recharge his own energy…..and so can we.

Seeing is believing for many people. When I began to raise these questions to spiritual leaders, I was asked if I had seen anyone healed…not the sneaky stuff that is subjective, but documented biggies like sight restored to the blind, paralyzed limbs regaining strength, cancer cured….which I had not. But there are those who claim they have seen and experienced exactly those types of healings. Obviously, theirs was not a circle in which I hung out, so the opportunity to “see” has been lacking. Interestingly enough, Jesus praised and called blessed those who believe without seeing.

I believe things are impossible because we believe they are impossible or non-existant. The first step to experiencing a miracle is believing one is possible. The woman with the bleeding issue had no doubt that all she needed was to reach into Jesus’ energy field. The second step is to find those modern day Jesuses who have plugged into the Divine source. They do exist. Maybe some day I will be one, too.

It’s certainly possible.

Bookstores, Health Food Stores, & Greenhouses

Everyone has at least one. I happen to have three of which I am aware. It’s my power place. Okay, in my case, PLACES.

It’s that place you can go where the world seems perfect, no harm can come, and time is irrelevant. It is a place that has a Zen-like serenity that nourishes your soul. It’s a place you may enjoy sharing with others. Me? Nah. If I’m going there, I’d rather go alone and just get lost….forever.

It’s that place where, if money were no object in your life, you would either work there for free, or just buy the whole organization. Yesterday, I had the privilege of experiencing all three of my power places.

I would have to say that my all-time favorite power place is a greenhouse in springtime. It’s the closest thing to a tropical rain forest I will likely experience in these parts. I love the foliage, the colors, the smell of jasmine and honeysuckle, and the protected environment that allows in the warming rays of the sun without the annoyance of our infamous winds.

I stopped by Lowe’s to check on a cabinet for the Wellness Center. As if drawn like a moth to a flame, the garden center beckoned me. Apparently they have snubbed their corporate noses at Mother Nature, because it was like an ocean of life, color, and fragrance. Beauty was everywhere. I just strolled along looking at it all, as if time had suddenly decided to extend my lunch break. There are other greenhouses that I like better, yet this one certainly filled the gap since I was already there for other things.

Reality finally kicked in, and I returned to my afternoon obligation, followed by my next power place. I had some time between the end of my workshop and the beginning of my yoga class (a power place in its own right), so I stopped in at the health food store. Yes, it’s another place in which I could stay for hours, spend a fortune, and stay some more. I think it’s the intention of such a place and what it represents that draws me in and keeps ahold of me. Energy is an amazing thing, and there’s just something special about the energy of a health food store.

Yoga class came and went. It was a nice experience: difficult, yet not; relaxing, yet requiring concentration. Since my brain has yet to figure out the concept of “shut up”, even in yoga class, I made plans to visit power place #3 to acquire a book on yoga basics. I am still feeling a bit lost and confused about the concepts, even though I work my way through the moves fairly well. Yep, a book on yoga was definitely needed. Oh darn! <sarcasm> That meant a trip to the bookstore and another dose of calm, peaceful energy. It was simply fabulous, and three great books plus a beautiful magazine found their way into my possession.

Just before heading home, I decided there were a couple more items I wanted to pick up from the grocery store. Hmmm….wally world or that other health food store down the street. Duh! No brainer! For the second time in one day, I cruised the aisles of a health food store. I actually like this place even better. The energy is just a little more flowing. It’s light and spacious, no crowds and very few “people of Walmart“, plus the selection is incredible for our area. Just an all-around nice place to be.

Yesterday really made me think about my life purpose and my potential new career. The recognition of which environments support me and allow me the space to experience peace and joy is a very cool thing. I thought about places I would love to work in each of these fields.

These three remain: bookstores, health food stores, and greenhouses. But the greatest of these is greenhouses. Now how do I roll them into one incredible career? Can we put a bookstore, yoga center, and a health food store here and pay me to hang out? I think I would be very happy with that arrangement.

Tapping Away Limiting Beliefs

About a week ago, I was discussing some things with a friend who lives between Austin and Waco. She has become my mentor of sorts in the field of Energy Healing. We were looking at options for bringing her to Tulia to see some clients. That’s a long drive unless there is a significant opportunity waiting at the end of the road.

In order to make it happen, I would need to market her availability and get committed clients lined up waiting to see her. Unfortunately, I don’t see myself as much of a marketer, so I suggested we try EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)  in order to move me past that marketing road block. It’s a pretty important thing to me since I will soon be needing to market myself really well in order to pay the bills. I figured this would help improve multiple situations, and hopefully get things to the point where she could come to Tulia to see and help several clients.

EFT is a form of energy work by which a person taps certain acupressure points on the body while making statements related to a limiting belief. Doing so releases the emotional grip that holds the limiting belief in place. It has a lot to do with letting go, changing perceptions, and in many ways bears strong resemblance to Brain Gym.

My friend’s name is Andrea Mincsack Bordelon. She’s a transplanted New Yorker  who saw the light and came to Texas, found love, and a bunch of long horn cattle. She’s a collector/gatherer of people, and she’s a clair-sentient meaning she has strong intuitive feelings. She’s a very cool person and an incredibly knowledgeable lady.

It didn’t take long for her to figure out that my marketing issues were probably tied in to emotions that would seem totally unrelated to the problem at hand. I won’t go into details, but basically I had guilt, resentment, and control emotions with a little bit of love and acceptance junk thrown in the mix all related to how I keep house. (Note: I don’t.) She was a master at talking me through the affirmations and tapping everywhere from my hand to my face to my collarbone and ribs to the top of my head. We cleared one emotion, or at least made some headway, then I would notice something else had come to the surface.

Andrea continued to work with me until I no longer felt the emotions at all. It’s a lot like I imagine an emotional lobotomy to be minus the side effects. It feels pretty good to go from that intense feeling of “everything is my fault and the world is judging me and nobody loves or accepts me because I’m a failure at this, but I don’t feel like I have any control over it” to “who gives a <bleep> what anyone else thinks?”

Oh, and we did this all over the phone. Very cool.

Every time I have an experience with any type of energy work, I am amazed at what surfaces for me. The thing about energy work is it can yield profoundly immediate obvious results, or its results can be subtle and barely noticeable taking days or even weeks to release the full impact of a session. A lot depends on the intuitive sensing abilities of the recipient. It doesn’t matter if a person sees themselves as intuitive or not, energy work works. Intuitive personalities simply tend to perceive the shifts a little easier.

For a skeptic, there’s always a way to explain away the experience. Fortunately for me, I left that skeptical world behind a few years ago. Some might suggest I am gullible. I prefer to think of myself as now being open to possibilities.

We are looking at having Andrea in Tulia near the end of June. She has quite a resource kit of knowledge and experience including Eden Energy Medicine, EFT, and Reiki, all of which are forms of energy work.

If you are interested in working with her in person when she is in the Panhandle this summer, please let me know. I trust you will be quite pleased with your investment.

Locally Grown On the Panhandle-South Plains

A few years ago, I made a serious effort to find high-quality food to put into my body. I read a book call The Maker’s Diet by Jordan Rubin, and decided to adopt the ways of eating he prescribes. Most people take one look at the book and and toss it aside as an impossible way to eat and live. Maybe it was my farming heritage, or maybe it was simply stubborn willful determination, but I committed to feed my body as he suggested, in spite of the challenges.

At first, it was no easy task. The book calls for eating REAL food, not things that come from a box, a package, or a can. It also calls for eating organic as much as possible. AND it calls for foods that I had no idea where to find. It declared that pastured-this, free-range that, and raw everything were far superior foods. Such would have been simple enough if this were still 1978 and farming/ranching were a part of my life. The only beef I ever ate back then was raised on pasture, and while WE didn’t raise chickens (the only thing we didn’t raise at some point), I knew plenty of people who had them roaming their barnyards. It certainly wasn’t a foreign concept.

Thirty years had past and something was lost along the way. I had to find the good stuff–real food–but where to look? The search was on. Being a techie, I scoured the internet. There were plenty of places where I could order pastured, free range, and organic food, but who wants to pay THAT much money. We’ve been conditioned to feed ourselves as cheaply as possible. It was painful to see what eating this way might cost.

Gradually I began to find local sources for these super foods. First came the eggs. Divine coincidence led me to a small family farm west of town where chickens roamed freely wherever they pleased. Later, I found out this family and another just up the road raised pastured beef to sell through local outlets. The prices are a little higher than grocery store products, but not so much that I had to leave my children unclothed and unshod.

Over the years, busy-ness has caused me to abandon my Maker’s Diet for the most part. Even so, I have continued to consume whatever I can find locally and healthfully grown. A few things I believe are worth having shipped to me. Here are some of the resources I have discovered in my search for quality food:

David and Debbie Horn, Nazareth, Texas–Free range eggs, pastured beef

Paidom Meats, Nazareth, Texas–Pastured meats of all kinds

Apple Country Orchards, Idalou, Texas–’nuff said

Tule Creek Apiary, Tulia,  Texas–Raw Honey, not specifically local, but a product of the central plains states. The raw honey price is VERY reasonable when compared to raw honey products in stores.

Soil Mender Products, Tulia, Texas–Organic soil conditioners, potting soil, fertilizers for wannabe gardeners.

Angie Cox (that’s me!), Tulia, Texas–Free range eggs, seasonal produce

One imported item I can’t live without:

Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil–I haven’t seen many coconut trees growing in these parts, so this is something I order off the internet. There are health food  stores that carry virgin coconut oil, but none that I have found have the taste, texture, and buying options available through Tropical Traditions. If you are using store bought canola oil thinking you are doing something great for your heart, you have been shammed. Do some research on the topic (somewhere other than the canola oil industry, of course), and I think you will agree that coconut oil is a healthier option.

One other recommended food item that can be purchased locally is raw milk. Unfortunately acquiring raw milk for human consumption is a bit tricky. Once a source is found, a person should respect the producer’s generosity by keeping that information quiet. It seems most state agencies frown on the sale of raw milk. Keep in mind, too, that consuming raw milk has its risks, which you must weigh and accept responsibility for. In other words, don’t blame me if you get sick and decide it was the milk. It’s probably healthiest to avoid milk completely, but if you are a milk drinking family, you might want to investigate the research related to consuming raw milk and then make your own decision. Personally, I feel guilty giving my family the store-bought stuff knowing what I know.

Keep checking back as the options for locally grown foods are expanding. Plans are underway for a Local Foods Day in June and subsequent Farmer’s Market. Would you like to be a part of the local foods move? Get a large flower pot and some Soil Mender products and plant something, even if it is nothing more than herbs in your kitchen window sill. Your body and your taste buds will thank you.

Do you know of any other sources for locally grown foods? Post them here!

A Yoga Sanctuary

As a mom to four beautiful girls, a tv-loving husband, two dogs, any number of cats, a few rabbits, my chicken-ladies, and a couple of horses, finding space for quiet solitude can be quite daunting. It used to be that I had the early morning hours to myself until the last minute hustle and bustle of getting ready for school kicked into high gear. Now with teenagers rising early to make the most of their youthful beauty, it seems the quiet time of peace has given way to the sound of showers, blow dryers, makeup clackity clack, and discussions along the lines of, “Where is my shirt? You borrowed it last. I was gonna wear that.” And so yeah…you get the picture. Peaceful solitude eludes me for the most part.

Fortunately, I have discovered that my new massage therapy business allows me the opportunity to experience that much needed peaceful solitude in the beautiful space that is my wellness center. Some have suggested that massage therapy is a physically demanding occupation requiring difficult strenuous labor. Instead, I am finding that it is a relaxing, peaceful space in which both giver and receiver are rewarded with calm serenity. It is proving to be my sactuary of sorts.

I am realistic enough to know that giving enough massages to maintain our current standard of living is probably not a good idea. It is somewhat taxing on the body, and there is always a certain amount of giving of oneself to the client. I want to be able to give my best to every client, and not just give what’s left over at the end of a long day. There are certain things I do, such as Energy Medicine routines, to help keep me at my best. However, my desire is to do more to benefit myself while also meeting the needs of my clients. I recognized this need in college when I decided to pursue a career in physical education and fitness. I knew that I would live my best life if I worked in a fitness related career field.

The vision and desire that has evolved from having recognized these priorities is to create a nature-centered space in which to practice and teach yoga. Of course, I know very little about yoga at this point, but I know enough to know I need it, I need what it represents, and my body will love and appreciate it very much. Input from others has indicated they would also appreciate having a space and the guidance to learn and practice yoga. I know from attending a yoga retreat last year that yoga in nature is food for the soul. Unfortunately, our West Texas “nature” is one of frequent winds, blowing dust, extreme heat and cold, and more variety than Baskin Robbins 31 Flavors. It isn’t exactly conducive to creating an outdoor yoga sanctuary.

Yet as always, once the intention is stated, the means begins to evolve. A couple of years ago, I began to study yurts as a possible structure for my wellness center. Their design has a spiritual and integrative quality that makes them ideal for a creative healing space. I released that idea once we decided to use the little two bedroom rent house for my wellness center. Ironically, the yurt idea did not release me.

Earlier this year, I publicly stated my intention to pursue yoga and an instructor certification. The question of where I would practice has been recurring in my mind ever since. Knowing how much I desire to experience yoga in nature, and knowing how much variety our weather gives us in this part of the country, I began to consider the idea of constructing a greenhouse for a yoga space. Shortly after, the yurt idea returned. Why couldn’t I use the structure of a yurt and the coverings of a greenhouse to create an almost perfect space to experience yoga in nature? Apparently I can. I contacted Spirit Mountain Yurts and presented them with my idea. They loved it and so the stage is set to create a beautiful plant filled space warmed by the sun, sheltered from wind and rain, carpeted with green grass and herbs in which to share the spiritual experience and wellness of yoga with friends and neighbors. It will be a yoga sanctuary.

Of course a few details remain. I intend to begin my yoga training this week, assuming our weather cooperates. I am most grateful for your prayers for safe travel as this will require a weekly trip to Amarillo. It will take approximately a year of training before I am eligible to pursue instructor certification. During that time, I would ask that you send your thoughts, prayers, and positive intentions toward this dream. I trust that you will help me make it a reality by seeing it in your mind’s eye as though it is already complete. I have no idea how it will be funded, yet I trust the way will become clear at some point.

Meanwhile, enjoy some images of yurts that were sent my way by Spirit Mountain Yurts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and let me know what you think of my vision.

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