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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Priming Our "Fountain of Youth" - Raw Foods in Winter

Cranberry Salad (A Wintertime Raw Food Energy Stimulator)

Winter is a time for meditation and reflection. Certainly, our bodies become quieter. Our need for sleep is natural at this time of year. But as we turn inwards, we need to cultivate a balance. We need a certain amount of liveliness in our bodies, even during this quieter time.

We know that raw fruits and veggies are good for us. Sometimes, though, a piece of raw food is not the first thing that crosses our mind when we want winter foods.

The trick is to work with raw food recipes that give us all the nutrients that we need, and which also feel satisfying.

Recently, I had some evening quiet time, after spending the day cleaning along with the Pick-Up-and-Put-Away (PUPA) steps so necessary to bring order, harmony, beauty and joy to life. At the end, I was bushed. Fortunately, I had quiet time alone, and so I petted my cats, gave them some treats, and sat down to watch TV with a chopping board on my lap and my favorite veggies-cutting knife in hand. I made the following recipe for a holiday cranberry salad – all raw – and very eatable on its own. And just super-full of healthy vitamins and such!

Alay’nya’s Christmas Cranberry Salad - Maximal Healthy Winter Raw Foods!

  • 1 bag of fresh cranberries, washed. (You might do this with half the bag, save the rest to wash and use later.) As you go along, feeling through them, toss out the ones that are soft. Cut the ones that are firm – first into halves, then again into quarters. (If you have a food processor, you might do a very loose and light chop. But if you don’t, or just want to have something to do with your hands while watching TV, then hand-chop.)
  • Oranges or clementines - For every cup of cranberries, you’ll want between ½ cup to a full cup of freshly cut orange slices. Just peel the oranges, pull apart the segments, then chop these into smaller pieces. Guestimate proportions; you don’t need to be exact. For a half-bag of cranberries, this could be two large navel oranges, or 3 or 4 smaller ones. You can use clementines if those are what you have at hand.
  • Celery – about two large, fresh sticks – choose from the inner part of the celery heart where the celery is sweetest. Cut off any green leaves (use to put in your raw foods juicer, a stew or soup or stuffing). Cut the celery into small pieces. All these fruit & veggie pieces should be about the same size.
  • Walnuts – about a half-cup. Cut into small pieces.
    Mix the chopped fruits, celery, & nuts in a large bowl. This is a lovely give-away present to health-conscious friends and family. You can eat this by the forkful as a snack.

This will last for a bit in the fridge, but should be eaten within 4-5 days. It's a great way to get a fabulous salad made while watching a bit of evening TV!

Remember the food-combining rules: Eat “like with like.” So it’s actually best NOT to put this raw fruit-based salad with other foods. Instead, eat it early in the day as a snack before other meals.

Remember also – your stomach uses different levels of pH and enzymes to digest different kinds of food. It digests protein differently from starches. So if you have a meal of meat, fish, or eggs, try to NOT have your starches (potatoes, rice, breads, etc.) at the same time – although you can eat as many veggies (cooked and/or raw) with your protein as you like. So choose whether you’re having a “protein-based” or “carbs/starches-based” meal.

And up your consumption of “healthy oils” during the winter – they help soften your skin, and they transport the fat-based vitamins throughout your body. Avocado is good. Make your own salad dressings with high-quality olive oil and/or grapeseed oil, with a nice balsamic vinegar or a splash of lime. Add some flaxseed oil as well. (Omega-3’s and other healthy things.)

Here's to your health, wellness, and overall well-being - as we bring the year to a close, and look forward to the year ahead!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"Where Are the Initiated Men of Power Today?" - An Answer to Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette

To Find the "Initiated Men of Power" - Seek Out the Martial Arts Masters

Leaders of the men's movement today are addressing the question brought before them by young men:

"In a Bill Moyers interview with poet Robert Bly ... a young man asked the question, 'Where are the initiated men of power today?' We have written this book in order to answer this question, which is on the minds of both men and women. In the beginning of the twenty-first century, we face a crisis in the masculine identity of vast proportions. Increasingly, observers of the contemporary scene - sociologists, anthropologists, and depth psychologists - are discovering the devastating dimensions of this phenomenon, which affects each of us personally as much as it affects our society as a whole."

(See Robert Moore's website page for this quote and also for an introduction to the excellent book by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette, King, Warrior, Magician, Lover, written to answer this question.

See also my review of Moore and Gillette's book on today's Unveiling webpage, Moore and Gillette; King, Warrior, Magician, Lover.

The question is a real one. In all of our mythic Heroic Quests, the young man is tutored by a sage, someone whom we'll call a Hierophant - a "wise older man" who can guide the young man towards full adulthood. In his excellent book, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior, Dan Millman describes his teacher Socrates.

In the movie Star Wars, Luke Skywalker is tutored first by Obi-wan Kenobi, then by Yoda. In The Karate Kid (1984 version), Dan is tutored by a martial arts master, Mr. Miyagi.

What is consistent here? Young men are taught by martial arts masters. This is the classic initial stage of the Hero's Journey.

Socrates, Obi-wan Kenobi and Yoda, and Mr. Miyagi - together with numerous similar characters in fiction and film - are idealizations. But the "real versions" exist!

In Unveiling: The Inner Journey, I credit two martial arts masters with whom it has been a great privilege to study. Robert Fusaro Sensei, 7th Dan, Founder of Midwest Karate Association, and Peter Ralston, founder of both the Cheng Hsin school and the martial arts discipline of that name, are masters who are substantial and very authentic. Further, diligent search of the martial arts schools and systems in most cities will reveal others who are competent teachers; not only of martial arts, but also of life.

Even those who prefer something other than martial arts can benefit by the pathway to becoming a "Superior Man," as described by author Davide Deida.

Deida states "The two ways to bring you right to your masculine edge of power are austerity and challenge." (The Way of the Superior Man, p. 191)

Women are aware of whether or not men are willing to do this. As we observe men, we note whether they are creatures of comfort, or if they are afraid to disrupt their own "status quo." In essence, we note their courage - their willingness to accept both discomfort ("austerity") and their willingness to step beyond their safety zone ("challenge").

So for all men who are looking for a pathway: Seek out austerity and challenge, as Deida suggests. Give up the TV and the video games, and spend time in a real dojo; study with a martial arts master. Push yourself into the wilderness and into your own wildness. Then see how your woman responds to you. (Or if you are not in a relationship, then observe what sorts of women begin to be attracted to you.)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Using Breathing to Heal

Breathing, Belly Dance, and Breakthroughs - Part II

A week ago, I was enjoying a fabulous breakthrough. Something had shifted for me emotionally. (Still am not sure what.) My body released, some tension patterns had all but disappeared, I was happy, joyful, and confident. What's more, my energy surged. On Sunday of a week ago, I could barely get through the day, no matter how much B12 and ginseng I took in. The next day, all but forgetting about supplements, I breezed through the day and worked hard into the late evening, enjoying every moment.

And I had three more days just like that.

Until, Thursday evening, I felt this funny little warning "hotness" in my throat. I knew instinctively what it was, and recognized that my body was craving Vitamin C. I still went out to a meeting that night.

The next morning, my throat was red, raw, and painful. There was no longer any doubt or question. Whether strep throat or simply one of the worst colds of my life, it had landed!

So I stayed (more or less) calm throughout the weekend. I pulled back from all human contact, and let friends know that I wouldn't be at some events - even those which we'd been anticipating for months. I even minimized phone time.

By Sunday, my energy was low, and I spent most of the day in bed, alternating naps with listening to a book on CD.

So what caused this magnificent "fall from grace"? Was the breakthrough not real? (Well, actually, yes it was. I knew that the tension release, the freedom in movement, and the increased energy were all very real.)

What happened was simply a big "word from the Universe" that it was time to settle down. I had taken on too much. (Have STILL taken on too much.) I was behind on almost every promised task.

Setbacks such as these - whether flu or colds, or something more serious - are often the way that our Higher Self pulls us out of our nearly compulsive "to-do" list - where our entire cognitive focus, our identify, and most certainly our attention and time - are wrapped up in our "things to do."

So I'm doing all the expected and appropriate things. Fluids. Lots of rest. Vitamin C. More rest. Chicken soup. (And more rest.)

In short order, I'll find my paperwork, and go see a doctor. And I'll probably get a round of antibiotics. But healing doesn't come from the anti-biotics, per se. (Not saying that they can't be of great help.) Rather, the healing has to come from a shift from within, and it is to this that I'm giving my attention.

And oh yes - using "breathing to heal"? Yes, I'm doing that as well. Consciously circulating energy. Reaching out with my awareness, and catching little "energy waves"; bringing them in and moving this energy around my body. Doing the Silk-Weaving Exercises (a form of Chinese breathing and exercising exercises.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Breathing, Breakthroughs, and Belly Dance

Emotional Breakthroughs Show in Our Breathing, Body Movement, and Dance

Just yesterday, I had a breakthrough.

Now my life consists of "breakthroughs." I have them intellectually. (This is what gives me ideas for everything from blogposts to patents. There are several "breakthroughs" in Unveiling alone.) And I'm used to having physical breakthroughs as well; these have made me an effective dancer.

But yesterday something happened that was a bit unexpected, and I want to share it with you while the memory is fresh.

For the previous few months - post-Unveiling-publication - I'd been having a lot of fatigue. Through being kind and gentle with myself, through rest and (not-too-strenuous) exercise, through better diet and supplements, I was slowly getting better. But this improvement was wobbly, and after almost three months, I still wasn't back to full strength and power. In fact, just the day-before-yesterday, I'd had one of those days in which all the supplements in the world - all the vitamin B-12 and ginseng - were getting me off the launch pad but not quite into stable orbit.

And then, yesterday, several little things happened. I can't quite put my finger on any single one. But somehow, in the midst of all these "little things" - a real breakthrough occured.

The "little things"? Working my daily exercise with the Course in Miracles, which I started about two months ago. (If there is anything that is life-changing, this is it. And I was in huge resistance about one of those exercises, but somehow, wound up adopting the premise that it offered - that may have been a "pivot point.")

The "pivot point" may have been when Nimeera, another dancer with whom I met the day before, looked at me and said, "Breathe." (I didn't even know that I was holding my breath.)

It may have been waking up, realizing that I was holding tension in one of my favorite tension-holding places in my back, and then starting to use undulations to release that tension, and also releasing the "emotional issue" that I felt was linked to the tension spot.

It could have been any of these; all of them, or none. What I do know is that somehow, sometime, yesterday I began to move again.

Now don't get me wrong. I'd been "moving" all these past few months. A fair bit of the daily yoga and core, stretch and resistance training. Renewed long walks. And lots and lots of housecleaning and other chores.

But I hadn't been doing much dance.

I'd attributed this to having put all my energy into the Unveiling-publication.

But there was something else, a sadness that had been a part of my life over the last three years. And somehow, it released, and my body began to naturally do the "belly dance movements" once again.

That's right, I started naturally and spontaneously moving - the undulations, the figure-eights (of all sorts). The stretches, the neck movements, everything.

And I realized, once again, that the beauty of Oriental dance as a body art (in comparision with other, equally good and very valid body arts such as yoga and T'ai Chi), is that the range of movements that it gives us are fabulously superb for releasing emotional tension. They are the best movements for real body/mind/psyche integration.

That's because an Oriental dance technique, such as an undulation, corresponds to releasing tension up and down our spine. When we release emotional tension, we can release the physical. And vice versa.

So if we have even a glimmering of how the two are connected - some attention and awareness of how our bodies and our "emotional selves" work together - then when we get the slightest little release in one area, we can use the dance techniques to help us release just a little more. We use our body/mind/psyche integration pathway to leverage this release.

So, for example, a little emotional release - leads to an undulation. An undulation leads to a figure-eight. A figure-eight leads to paying attention to what we have "stuck" in our lower backs and pelvic area. And then we bring our attention to the emotional aspect, process it, and get a bit more release again physically.

And this is why I love this dance form so much!

P.S. I write about this in Chapters 14-16 of Unveiling: The Inner Journey. And in those chapters, I credit Diane Richardson, who is a Co-Founder of Relational Energetics (see I also suggest chiropractic and massage, and other healing modalities - Reiki is good, as are others.

Friday, December 02, 2011

How to Use the "Fountain of Youth"

The "Fountain of Youth" - The Beauty Secret That Costs Nothing (and Makes Us Look Years Younger)!

Would you like to get out of bed looking ten years younger? What if something made you look even better than having a good night's sleep, or a rousing round of early morning sex? Both sleep and sex are good; no question. But what if there was one more thing that would increase your beauty, your vigor, your vital energy, your zest, and your overall confidence and sex appeal? What if there was a single, ultimate, "anti-aging secret"?

And what if this anti-aging secret cost nothing but time?

It's just because this "costs nothing more than time" that you don't see articles about this in the major women's magazines.

We all know that today, more than ever, beauty is "big business." We know that "Baby Boomer women" in North America make up the world's demographic with the greatest disposable income. Manufacturers and marketers know this, also. That's why TV shows and women's magazines are a vehicle for advertising all manner of skin care, hair care, and beauty products. They also promote services - ranging from cosmetics customization to cosmetic surgery.

All of these are good. I have no problem with any of these, and am as interested as the next woman.

But there's one more thing - a "special something" which no one mentions. And they don't mention it simply because there's no profit margin. Your favorite plastic surgeons won't get you under the knife for this. Your favorite "medi-spa" won't book you for a bit of Botox. Revlon and Estee Lauder - and all the many other cosmetics companies - won't post greater profits to their stockholders.

The 2011 Summer-Fall issue of New Beauty magazine has articles such as "Botox Breakthroughs" and "The Secret Surgery: How to Look Years Younger in 60 Minutes or Less."

These are all good - please, I am not suggesting that we don't take advantage of each and every benefit that these advanced beauty methods offer. From spas to supplements, from hormones to yoga, from restylane to revitalizing face creams - I'm for all of them.

But let's think about a "one hour beauty treatment" that doesn't involve a surgical procedure - or even visiting your favorite masseuse.

What could we do so that, as Lord Byron said, our lips would be "roses over-washed with dew"?

This is not some arcane secret that requires a lifetime of questing, and years of esoteric study. Rather, it is practical, efficient, and learnable. Moreover, it gives us instant results. By accessing and using our very own Fountain of Youth, we increase our beauty - we actually do look years younger - without the time and cost (and potential downsides) of cosmetic surgery, injectables and lasers, and other means that are common in our current "beauty culture."

The Fountain of Youth: What It Is, What It Isn't

In Unveiling: The Inner Journey I write about the very real Fountain of Youth that any one of us can access and use. It's all in Chapter 29, "Pragmatic Esoterics." And I was practicing it this morning, just after waking up.

And yes, I did look ten years younger getting out of bed today!

P.S. Do you want instant access to this "secret"? Go to: The Fountain of Youth: It "Really Is" Real!