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As we prepare for the beginning of a New Year, it is helpful to set our intentions. This poem is a poignant reminder. Thanks to Kaylani and Lani for sharing it with me.

Subject: Lost Generation a poem by Jonathan ReedI am part of a lost generationand I refuse to believe thatI can change the worldI realize this may be a shock but"Happiness comes from within."is a lie, and"Money will make me happy."So in 30 years I will tell my childrenthey are not the most important thing in my lifeMy employer will know thatI have my priorities straight becauseworkis more important thanfamilyI tell you thisOnce upon a timeFamilies stayed togetherbut this will not be true in my eraThis is a quick fix societyExperts tell me30 years from now, I will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of my divorceI do not concede thatI will live in a country of my own makingIn the futureEnvironmental destruction will be the normNo longer can it be said thatMy peers and I care about this earthIt will be evident thatMy generation is apathetic and lethargicIt is foolish to presume thatThere is hope.

And all of this will come true unless we choose to reverse it .

Read the message, then read it again in reverse.

Which generation do you belong in?

We all have our wish lists. We may be hoping for an indulgent treasure, an altruistic gift to help others in need, something to further personal growth or just a fun plaything. In any case, I hope you receive all you need this season and a little something more. These economic times force us to evaluate our purchases more closely and I am no different from anyone else in setting priorities and making choices for those on my gift list. I don't begrudge the season for that though. Rather, I embrace the opportunity this holiday gives me to show people that I care for them and give them the gift of my smile and warmth if nothing else.What are you giving yourself this year? I know all about New Year's Resolutions as being the time we evaluate our direction and the State-Of-My-Personal-Union and all of that but, what I am referring to as a 'gift for yourself', is far less judgmental and much more loving. I would encourage you to think along the lines of personal time to spend in meditation, weekly bubble bath night with candles and no interruptions, carving out time for that special exercise routine that keeps you centered, reading to your children before bed, giving yourself extra time in the morning before work so you are not so rushed at the start of your day, getting more sleep on a regular basis, committing yourself to a healthier lifestyle to improve your mood, energy and sense of well-being.These are gifts only you can give to yourself. The ripple-effect is enormous of course as friends and loved ones are affected by the more calm, thoughtful, healthy you. Have a warm and glowing day today and may this holiday bring good things that last well beyond the season.

Sometimes life presents opportunities that are just too good to pass up. Recently I was offered a chance to blog for my friends at the online store for Its Simply Zen (

www.ItsSimplyZen.com

). I have used, and recommended their site because I love their quality product lines, discount prices and free shipping. It is extremely important to me, however, to give my blog readers more than an advertising pitch. I promise to stay true to my real self and share my thoughts, trials, inquisitiveness and knowledge. My hope is that, through your comments, I will gain insight into what my readers are thinking and what they would like to hear more about. We will discuss product reviews, types of yoga, meditation tips, retreat reviews among other things.

Zen is a sect of Mahayana Buddhism which asserts that enlightenment can be achieved through meditation and intuition. I would add that nutrition and wellness are integral to developing those meaningful practices into everyday life. When people ask me how yoga has changed my life, I focus less on the flexiblity, balance and strength than the body awareness and daily mindfulness that my practice has bestowed upon me. When I began practicing yoga in earnest 7 years ago, I had no idea how much my classes would impact my breathing and, therefore, my headaches; my posture and, therefore, my gracefulness; my meditation and, therefore ,my relationships to everyone and everything.

I am still very much a student. It's reminiscent of the old addage, "The more you know, the more you realize how much you have yet to learn." Just as nutrition has a myriad of diets that are one person's panacea and another's poison, various types of yoga offer different experiences depending upon one's mood and needs for that particular moment on that unique day. Walk with me, my friends, on this trail in the dappled sunlight and we'll take it step-by-step. Let's be gentle with each other and meditate on all that life has to offer. After all, true enlightenement is about the journey.

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There is a rhythm to nature which we may want to recognize and incorporate into our daily routines in order to feel more at ease with the season. Too often we resist change to our schedules because our time is strapped with all of the things we need to get accomplished. Perhaps other people have come to expect us to behave, or even eat, in a certain way and we are afraid of any changes our bodies may go through if we vary our diet.

To achieve balance in one's life, why not allow ourselves to consider the seasonal availablility of local fresh foods? When night falls earlier, why not get more rest and spend time with loved ones, or just being quiet, indoors? And, in order to keep warm on these chilly days and nights, why don't we allow ourselves to nourish our bodies with more grounding meals such as root vegetables, hearty grains and juicy, organic meats?

I was tempted to call this blog "Ayurveda 101" but thought better of it because I didn't want to put my readers off thinking they had no interest in learning about this ancient system of medicine that has been practiced in India for more than 5,000 years. Instead, let's focus on the wonderful aspects of this traditional style of balance and holistic healing that looks to the natural cycles of seasons and the symbiosis of mind, body and spirit.

Briefly then, the traditional science of ayurveda is based on the 'Five Great Elements' (Panchmahabhuta) theory. The universe is understood to be made up of five elements: earth (prithvi), water (jal), fire (agni or tej), air (vayu) and ether or space (akash). Likewise, ayurveda comprehends people to be have dominant characteristics which mirror the elemental qualities present in body, mind and spirit.

The three human types are Vata (ether/air), Pitta (fire) and Kapha (water/earth). Our dominant type may give us insight into what foods are most attractive to us as well as our preferred excersize style and bone structure. If we are to truly respect what our body tells us we need nutritionally, physically and emotionally, we need to be aware that we are all parts of a bigger picture. We are, after all, nature's children and none of us are immune from the changing seasons of our lives. Most of us recognize that our sinuses and skin become more dry in the fall and winter due to the colder weather. One principle of holistic healing through Ayurveda is to keep your lymphatic season moist to prevent a viral attack and inflammation (the source of almost all illness). There are oil remedies for ears and skin and neti pots for sinus care; all sold at your local health store or online. Alternatively, there are many home recipies available online for making your own version of a cleansing and lubricating system.So let's try to listen to our body's rythm as it changes with the seasons and appreciate the fall leaves as much as the summer sun, and everything in between. Look around you, then look inside you. Are you in balance? How much can you notice about nature today? Breathe it in, my friends, and just go with the flow.

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday (my favorite), I am reminded of the gratitude I feel towards all of my fellow yogis that enrich my practice. My classmates share in my quest for uniting one's own consciousness with the universal energy flow which, of course, is the definition of yoga. Not everyone who practices yoga understands what it really means when we use the Namaste gesture. Although most peopele have a general idea that it means something loving and respectful, most put their own spin on it based on their experiences with the Catholic tradition of "Peace be with you" or the Hawai'ian "Aloha". Those words have a beautiful intention as well but Namaste goes deeper for me."Nama" means bow , "as" means I, and "te" means you. Literally then, Namaste means "I bow to you". Because our hands are together at the heart chakra to increase the flow of Divine love, my teacher has explained her understanding of Namaste as "The Divine in me recognizes and honors the Divine in you". To truly embody that belief can resonate on the dual levels of self-love and the recognition that we are connected in a higher way. For the teacher/student relationship, Namaste allows the ego and competitive spirit to leave us and the class can come together energetically to a place of cooperation and gentle, mindful poses and meditation.After practice is over and we are preparing to roll up our mats, I often give a small bow to myself, forehead to mat. I am so happy to have given myself the time to practice. I am thankful that my body has responded to my requests to practice strength, balance and spinal twists to the best of it's ability. Without fail, my hope is to take the experience with me outside of the yoga studio.So let me just say a heartfelt thank you to all who take the time to join me in the journey of wellness, mindfulness and happiness. You lift me up and I appreciate it. Have a wonderful holiday season and protect your peace. Namaste.

You've seen it happen. Your sullen teenage daughter is riding with you into the car; unhappy about all that is angst and parenthood (especially your brand) and then, upon seeing her friends and having them see her, she transforms into Susie-Sunshine-loves-the-world and races to hug her best friends as if they are the glue holding her life together. Usually squeals are involved with an occassional hair toss, which make me cringe, but I digress.Maybe the friendships we experience as girls and women really ARE the glue that keeps our sometimes frayed life together. I recently took a Girl's Trip to an Arizona Dude Ranch and had my emotional carafe filled with the easy-going support that good girlfriends can provide. We talked about everything, except work and petty gossip. Instead we shared our life experiences, laughed at the similarities and pondered the mysteries. We had a crazy yoga session after a long day of riding to work the kinks out. We shared meals, glasses of wine, sang karaoke and gave each other hugs just to show our appreciation that we took time for each other.Taking the time is the challenge, of course, but the payoffs are very real. How many times do we send emails to each other and sign it, "We need to get together soon!"? Oxytocin is the hormone released when women are spending quality time together. This hormone helps women to have a more calm reaction to stress versus the fight-or-flight reaction that men experience more acutely. It helps us to be more rational when our 2-year old cuts his toe on the sprinkler and blood is spurting, and it helps us process everyday stresses more efficiently.So, take the time to lighten your load by sharing some girl talk with a trusted friend. Smile over a cup of tea and be sure to share whats new and good in your life. Really focus on each other and refrain from advice giving and judgements. You'll be better off for it. I'll even tolerate a squeal here and there.

I share an office with a lovely young woman in her early twenties. We were talking about the legislation just passed in California which requires McDonald's restaurants to stop selling toys in their Happy Meals. I was elated at having the giant in the fast-food industry finally hit with a blow that sends a clear message that the majority of people in this state are tired of convenience food being marketed to their 5-year olds.My colleague gave a giggle and said she had eaten breakfast there only that same morning (Sausage McMuffin). Now, this woman is not overweight, and would not be considered frumpy or uneducated in any way. She admitted that she was never allowed fast food when she was growing up and had begun eating at places like McDonald's for convenience and price point. The folks at places like Mickey D's and other convenience stores know people like her and they tailor their packaging, commercials, taste combinations, and menu selections based on unparalleled research to people like my young friend.I realize that our disease epidemics related to nutrition, which, let's face it, are pretty much all of them, are not so easily attributed to some oppressive corporation or supermarket chain. Nor are our woes and wounds entirely sefl-inflicted as the opposition would like for us to believe. I am convinced that the solution to our problems lies somewhere in between. People, as engineered from the beginning, are eaters. We used to have to hunt and starve between meals and our bodies haven't kept up with the evolution of food production and distribution. We have CONVENIENCE and therefore an abundance of food at our disposal that doesn't satisfy much besides our tongue and portions of our brain. We overeat because we can. We eat poorly because it is affordable and ready when we want it to be and requires little effort. We eat in cars, by ourselves, in front of the TV, on the cell phone. Sometimes, we dont even pay attention to what we are eating much less where it came from or what it contains. That is called mindless eating and gets us into the mess our country is in today.Let's think about changing how we eat as a precursor to changing what we eat. If we pause for a moment and really inspect our food, the ingredient label and nutrition content, how far did it have to travel to get to us? was it genetically modified? Then we can change our behavior through education and self-diagnosis of why we're eating what we're eating. So next time you want a meal to make you happy, do your own research about what your body needs. Bon Appetit!

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Posted in Mental_Health Post Date 12/09/2019


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