dkss

Negative Energy, be gone!

It’s happened to everyone. You’re talking with somebody who’s in a bad mood and suddenly you’re feeling miserable, too. Yup, you’ve been “slimed.”

I’m not talking about the really heavy negative energy of a major psychic attack, like when someone’s stalking you, or you’re a victim of abuse, or your mother-in-law hates your guts because you stole away her precious son. Here, I’m talking about low level negative energy—just enough to put you off your game. You feel off-balance somehow, disjointed.

You might not even realize what’s happened to you. There you were feeling great, and now, out of the blue, you can’t shake the blues. Or you feel really tired, or cranky, like a three-year-old who’s just missed nap time.

Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to get rid of slime. I give the basic recipe for clearing away low level negative energy in an article called “Cleaning off negative energy” that is featured in Deepak Chopra’s new website—Negative Energy, be gone!.

This brand new site is inspired by Chopra’s visionary work. Time magazine called him “the poet-prophet of alternative medicine!” He’s someone I admire, and hope you’ll support his efforts.

radiation-2.jpg

Worried about radiation? 5 ways to release the fear.

Fear is such a limiting condition—it limits our enjoyment of life in so many ways. We can see the effects of fear as we watch people react to the damaged nuclear power plant in Japan.

I’m sure the Japanese people who lived in the vicinity of the Fukushima Daiichi plant are worried, and with good reason. The evacuation zone has been extended to 18.6 miles of the plant, and those within the 50 mile zone have been advised to stay indoors. Even residents of Tokyo, 140 miles away from the still-smoking plant, are concerned, as they learn that the level of radiation in their drinking water has rendered it unsafe for infants. It will be weeks before the situation at the plant itself can be brought under control.

Yet the Japanese people, on the whole, seem remarkably calm. So why are there are people in the U.S., thousands of miles away, emptying the shelves of stores of potassium iodide tablets? Fear. Fear can save us when we are in danger, but when we are not, as in this case, it can hurt us.

There is no need to panic. Please read my blog in the Huffington Post at https://www.huffingtonpost.com/deborah-king/radiation-panic_b_838004.html to learn five ways to release any fear you might be feeling about potential exposure to radiation.

spring-cleaning.jpg

Spring Cleaning the Mind

 

Spring officially started Sunday at 7:21 p.m. EDT, following Saturday’s “super moon” full moon. In one of those rare moments of total balance in the Northern Hemisphere, day and night were both 12 hours long. The sun rose exactly due east and set exactly due west. If only we could put our own lives in such balance!

The spring equinox usually heralds a compunction to sweep out all the dust bunnies, rearrange sock drawers, and tackle that mess in the garage. But this year, I suggest that spring cleaning can have a new meaning for those of you who truly seek an expansion of consciousness: try cleaning out your old beliefs, the ones that no longer serve you.

Whether we realize it or not, much of what we believe has its roots in our childhood, when we unconsciously absorbed the ideas and prejudices of our families, friends, teachers, and the culture we grew up in. For example, if you grew up in the south-west of the United States in the past 40 years, there’s a strong chance you assume all Mexicans are illegal and suitable for menial labor only. However, if you grew up in France during the same time period, you might assume that any Algerian you pass on the street should be engaged in manual labor.

Look carefully at the ideas you hold to be self-evident. Do you think that nobody should eat meat? That liberals (or conservatives) are responsible for all our societal woes? That women who are raped were “asking for it?” That cancer or other illness is your own fault?

Take the time to examine your beliefs. Start with the areas of your life that are causing problems. Are you unhappy with your weight or appearance? Why? What was your family’s attitude toward body image? Did they mock fat people? Praise those who were light-skinned? Make sure you had a nose job when you turned sixteen? Ban short skirts. Not let you out of the house unless you were wearing make-up?

Are you in financial distress? What was your family’s attitude about money? Were they content with and grateful for whatever they had? Were you desperate for food? Was philanthropy expected of you?

Are you an activist? Do you listen to a broad range of views before deciding where to focus your energies, or do you assume that your beliefs are the only right ones and the “other side” is completely wrong? Were political issues debated in your home, or were there simply pronouncements that determined which way you were expected to believe?

There are two main questions to ask yourself about any belief you hold: “Where did this belief come from?” and “Does it still work for me, or is it limiting me in some way?”

The most difficult belief to examine is about your basic identity. The famous Indian sage, Ramana Maharshi, started a lineage of spiritual self-inquiry with the critical question: Who am I?

Indeed, who are you if you strip away your dearly-held beliefs? Who are you beyond your occupation, your marital status, your sexual orientation, your bank account, your politics, your gender? Who are you?

One of his students asked Buddha, “Are you the messiah?”

“No,” answered Buddha.

“Then are you a healer?”

“No,” Buddha replied.

“Then are you a teacher?” the student persisted.

“No, I am not a teacher.”

“Then what are you?” asked the student, exasperated.

“I am awake,” Buddha replied.

Happy spring cleaning!

shamrock.jpg

My Irish eyes are smiling . . . and sober

 

May God, Mary, and Patrick bless you.

I greet you with this Irish salutation in honor of St. Patrick’s holy-day and my (half) Irish ancestry. Along with the other 36.9 million U.S. residents with Irish roots (eight times the population of Ireland itself!), I’ll wear something green in celebration of a man whose life was guided by his inner voice and visions. But I will also refrain from indulging the other part of my Irish heritage—addiction to alcohol.

First, St. Patrick, who wasn’t Irish himself. He was born in Britain near the end of the fourth century into a wealthy family, but when he was sixteen, Irish raiders attacked his family estate and took him prisoner. Captive in a pagan land, a frightened and lonely shepherd, he became a devout Christian.

According to his own writings, after six years Patrick believed he heard God’s voice in a dream, telling him to leave Ireland. He walked 200 miles to the Irish coast and managed to escape to back to Britain. Again, he experienced a revelatory dream in which an angel told him to return to Ireland as a missionary. He spent more than 15 years as a monk in Marmoutier Abbey in France and, after Pope Celestine ordained him a Bishop, he was sent back to Ireland—both to minister to Christians who were living there and to convert the Irish. And no, he didn’t chase actual snakes out of Ireland; snakes at that time were a symbol of Paganism.

Now for the second part of my Irish ancestry—drinking. St. Patrick’s Day comes during the Christian season of Lent (March 17th is the anniversary of his death), but prohibitions were waived and, after attending church in the morning, the Irish would eat meat, dance, and drink. And drink, and drink, and drink. Not only on St. Patty’s Day, but every other day as well.

I fell into alcohol as if I were born knowing how to swim in it. It was my rightful heritage.

If it hadn’t been for my diagnosis of cancer in my mid-twenties, who knows how long I would have continued my reckless romance with alcohol. How many more times would I wake after blackouts, not knowing what had happened. How many years of life would have been lost to liver damage. How many relationships would I have ruined.

Here are 10 signs that you, or someone you love, might be an alcoholic; be concerned if one of them fits:

  1. Your family is worried about your drinking.
  2. You sometimes drink alone.
  3. You drink even though you’ve told yourself you wouldn’t.
  4. You are sometimes late for work due to drinking.
  5. You feel guilty about your drinking.
  6. You sometimes get headaches or hangovers after drinking.
  7. You have had a drink when you wake up in the morning to “cure” a hangover.
  8. You get annoyed when people comment on your drinking.
  9. You feel like maybe you should cut down on your drinking.
  10. You have had a blackout.

If you have a problem with alcohol, get yourself to Alcoholics Anonymous (www.aa.org) and learn how this classic 12-step program will help you. You’ll never regret it. I quit cold turkey after my first meeting, and haven’t had a drink since.  You can do it, too.

Do I miss drinking? No, not even on St. Patrick’s Day.

 

 

alarm-2.jpg

Are you getting enough zzzz’s?

Were you cranky when your alarm went off this morning? Your body is probably still adjusting to the shift to Daylight Savings Time. Many of you are not getting enough sleep to begin with, and you just lost an hour of sleep when you sprang ahead on Sunday morning.

Like every other creature in nature, our physiology was designed to go to sleep when the sun sets and to get up when the sun rises. Of course, we haven’t done that since Edison invented the light bulb, but that is not very long ago in terms of human history. There are peaks and valleys in sleep patterns, so our bodies still perform best if we go to sleep before ten in the evening and get up before eight in the morning. You may find that if you stay up until midnight, you can’t go to sleep because your hormone curve is reaching its peak and your body has the juice to stay awake. Children and teens who stay up playing video games past midnight, and need to get up early for school, will be nodding off in class.

The amount of sleep you need is very individual and changes throughout your life. Maybe you needed 10 hours when you were in your teens, but in your forties you only need nine (although with kids and work, you probably only get six or seven). People who have a lot of the “air” quality in Ayurveda medicine will need less sleep in middle age, while those who have a lot of the “earth” quality will likely need more.

We start our sleep deprivation when we are pre-teens or teenagers, and by the time we are in our twenties or thirties, we may have built up quite a bit of sleep deprivation. There’s an easy way to test how close you are to sleep bankruptcy:

Let’s assume you have to get up at six or seven to go to school or work and you set an alarm because you don’t wake up naturally at that hour. Go to bed 10 minutes earlier. If you normally go to bed around 11, go to bed at 10:50—just ten minutes earlier—and leave your alarm set for your normal wake-up time. Do that for 3 or 4 nights. If the alarm is still necessary to wake you up, go to bed 10 minutes earlier, so now your bedtime is 10:40. After a few more days, try hitting the pillow at 10:30. It may take a month or two for you to find what time you need to go to bed so your body wakes up naturally at the right time without setting an alarm. Then you know that you are getting enough sleep.

Here’s a major tip: turn off the TV an hour before bedtime or you will have a lot of trouble dropping off to sleep. The moving images on television stimulate a part of our brain that takes a minimum of an hour to settle down. If you are going to program yourself to go to sleep at ten, you have to turn the TV off at nine. With Hulu.com, you never have to miss a single show!

And sorry, but computer images affect our brain the same way as the TV does. We need an hour of no electronic activity before bed. Spend that hour reading or taking a warm bath.

You will feel so much more joyous about your life if you get enough sleep. If you have to stay up late, go out or work late, it is best to maintain your normal wake up time rather than sleeping in, and then take a nap later that day. A nap, by definition, is always less than an hour and can be as short as 10 minutes. If you want to nap for more than 20 minutes, it is best to do that as early in the day as possible, preferably before noon.

I really want to encourage power naps, one of the best ways to refill your sleep bank. President Kennedy used to take three or four 10-20 minute power naps a day. Train yourself to go to sleep easily in a chair, maybe at your desk at home or at work. If you’re exhausted on the way home from work, pull off the road, turn off the car, shut your eyes, and nod off for ten minutes. This will give you the equivalent of an hour of deep sleep in the middle of the night.

In the meantime, enjoy that extra hour of sunlight in the evening. Now there’s no excuse for not taking a brisk walk after dinner!

Stress-2.jpg

Stressed out? 10 Simple Suggestions for Relief

You’re sitting at your desk, looking at your fingernails. When did you start biting them? They look awful. And why are there three half-empty cups of coffee on your desk? If you don’t bring your car in for an oil change pretty soon, who knows what will happen? Wasn’t today the day you were going to make an appointment to get that mammogram you’ve put off for three years. Or has it been four? Did you send a note to your kid’s teacher explaining why her science project is going to be late? It’s been hard keeping up with her schedule and your own since the divorce. Why won’t that knot in your stomach go away?

Then the phone rings and you’re back in real time. Wow, you’re really behind in your work . . .

Got a lot on your mind? Are you ignoring signals from your body that are telling you to do something about all the stress in your life? See how many of the following statements resonate with you:

  1. I’m aware of my heart beating too fast sometimes.
  2. My muscles are painful or tight.
  3. I go to the bathroom too frequently.
  4. I seem to have a lot of headaches these days.
  5. I feel sick to my stomach or get “butterflies.”
  6. I find myself making bad decisions.
  7. It’s hard to concentrate.
  8. I get angry or frustrated a lot.
  9. I’ve started biting my nails or grinding my teeth.
  10. I seem to get colds way too often.
  11. I’m eating much more (or much less) than usual.
  12. My skin is breaking out or getting rashes.
  13. My blood pressure has been creeping up.
  14. Sex? Are you kidding?
  15. I have trouble keeping track of things.
  16. I’m worried all the time and feel overwhelmed.
  17. I’m using prescription drugs or alcohol to get through the day.
  18. Sleep has become a problem.
  19. Indigestion has become a normal part of my life.
  20. My mind is racing, and I’m focused on negative thoughts.

If too many of these are familiar to you, you need to start doing something to relieve the stress before your health and emotional well-being go drastically downhill. Stress can make you sick.

So what can you do about it?

 

 

Here are ten simple suggestions:

  1. Limit the amount of disturbing or violent images you watch. Read the paper or keep informed online instead of watching the news on TV.
  2. Reconnect to the natural world. The snow and ice will melt, and you can sit in the park and eat your lunch with your back against a tree. In the meantime, take a walk outside. At least spend a few minutes looking out the window at the sky.
  3. Play with and pet your dog or cat. Animals are wonderful stress relievers.
  4. Reduce caffeine and try to eat small meals throughout the day with enough protein and fiber. Cut way back on processed food.
  5. Turn off the TV an hour before bed. Take a bath, read a book, stay off the computer and the phone.
  6. Get help with drug or alcohol abuse. Find a 12-step program near you. You’ll be amazed at how much support you’ll receive.
  7. Move your body. Walk, swim, do whatever feels good. Exercise releases endorphins and relaxes you.
  8. Write in a journal, one of the healthiest ways to deal with and release negative emotions.
  9. BREATHE! Whenever you find yourself tensing up, stop for a moment and concentrate on breathing into your abdomen. Breathe positive energy in through your nose, breathe negativity out through your mouth. It’s an instant way to release fear, anger, and anxiety.
  10. Meditate. The number one stress reliever is a regular meditation practice. Find 10-20 minutes a day to sit quietly with your eyes closed (with your cell phone turned off). You can learn more about meditation from my video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4YSsY6ltvM.
charlie-dk

Charlie Sheen and the Lesson of Addiction

Today is Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent, leading up to Easter Sunday on April 24th this year. During this time, Catholics used to give up something they enjoyed, say chocolate, or maybe nowadays it would be Facebook. During my Catholic childhood, I abstained at various times from dancing and skating, two of my favorite activities as a kid.

It’s not easy giving up an habitual behavior, whether it’s viewing a favorite TV show, gliding over the ice, or trying to break an addiction. I’ve been watching what’s happening with Charlie Sheen, and remembering my own addiction to alcohol, cigarettes, pills, extreme dieting, and promiscuous sex. In other words, I was addicted to escaping from myself, much like Charlie is these days. I don’t know what his ultimate train wreck moment will be, but mine came in my mid-twenties when I was diagnosed with cancer.

My very first step to recovering my health was to join AA, and I immediately gave up alcohol and Valium. I’ve heard Charlie’s rants against 12-step programs, and his deluded idea that he can conquer his addictions through will power alone. Trust me, he can’t. The genius of 12-step programs is that they show you how to admit that you are powerless over that substance or activity, and your best chance of remaining clean is to stay completely away from whatever it is you are addicted to (which is why food addiction is so hard to conquer; you have to keep eating).

Trying to come off a drug like cocaine (and there’s a strong chance that’s Charlie’s drug of choice) really requires two types of support: medical supervision to deal with the symptoms of physical withdrawal when you stop taking the drug, and the emotional and spiritual support of like-minded peers, like those you find in a 12-step program. I see Charlie trying to conquer his addiction with will power alone and going totally insane in the process. And he may have permanently injured his brain with too many years of cocaine, which induces a manic-like state. In the language of AA, he’s trying to “white knuckle” his addiction. And he’s looking crazier and crazier.

In the years I spent healing the cancer, I learned perhaps the most important lesson of addiction—we can’t get away from ourselves, no matter how much we drink, snort, smoke, shoot up, or eat. I could wake up in strange beds with no recollection of how I got there, but there I was again, facing another day of trying to escape from myself. It was only when I turned inside that I started to heal.

I was like a private detective, examining all the clues I had tried to ignore for so long. At first, it was simply noting my emotions throughout the day. Literally noting them in a little notebook I carried everywhere. Was I feeling jealous of a particularly thin friend? I’d write “jealous.” Sad, scared, angry, really angry, downright furious . . . whatever it was, I wrote it down. Just acknowledging that I had feelings was a big deal. Then I started writing in a journal. It all started to pour out of me— the difficult experiences of my childhood, my feelings of inadequacy, the pain of relationships, along with whatever I was going through that day.

At the same time as I turned my attention inward instead of trying to escape outwardly, I enlisted the help of alternative medicine and holistic practitioners to support my efforts—acupuncture, massage, and natural health remedies. I cleaned up my food. It wasn’t fast, and it wasn’t easy, but it saved my life in every possible way. Ultimately, in the hands of an energy healer, the cancer went into remission. Over the years, I went from being a manic corporate attorney to being a health & wellness expert, healer, teacher, and the author of books that are meant to help you find the truth of your life so you too can fulfill your highest purpose.

Do you want to give up your self-destructive habits, whether it’s  alcohol or cigarettes or being a couch potato or a food junkie? Start by shining a light on your emotions. If you need help naming what you’re feeling, go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_emotions or simply google “list of emotions.”

And take a moment to send some positive energy in Charlie’s direction. He needs all the help he can get.

lake-tahoe-winter-2.jpg

A Special Place

Lake Tahoe in Winter - Deborah King's special place

I paced back and forth in the doctor’s private office, waiting for him to complete his exam of my husband in the next room. I had a hunch the news wasn’t going to be good. A few minutes later, the door opened and the doctor came in. He said abruptly, “As I told you six months ago, you need to leave this area for your husband’s health. When I question your husband why the two of you are still here, he says that you refuse to leave. He says you’re involved . . .” And he looked at me questioningly. I turned bright red, turned on my heels, and left.

We went home and began packing. Heartbroken, I moved as far away as possible, swearing never to return. I engaged deeply in my other passions—healing and horses—but nothing could quite replace the love I had left behind.

Christmas, many, many years later, we were invited to visit friends back in our old hometown. I was reluctant to go, fearing I would reconnect with my old lover. Recognizing the depth and ferocity of my desire, I promised myself I would only visit for the day, not even spend the night.

We drove there through the high winter snows, and the moment I got out of the car, I was head over heels all over again. My senses came alive, as if they had been dormant all these years. My sense of smell was enlivened by that old scent and the shadows brought back memories. Within seconds, I was imagining myself back in the spacious arms of my lover, feelings the caresses.

Who is the lover I returned to? None other than Lake Tahoe—a jealous lover who would claim every moment of my time if possible.

I had never wanted to leave, but the doctors insisted my husband needed to move to sea level to alleviate the pressure of his head injury that came with high altitude. I had resisted. How could I leave those magnificent forests, where the scent of pine trees surrounded me and the sound of the trees crying in the wind carried me along? I loved the snow-covered mountains; I had traversed every peak and valley on skis.  The sound of the raging streams lulled me to sleep at night. The sights and sounds of the lake itself, which shimmered with different hues every minute of the day and night; I had explored every inch of its shores by, rowing my scull in the early mornings. My husband, a world-class skier and certified mountain guide from Chamonix, France, and I had spent more nights sleeping under the stars at Lake Tahoe than we had ever spent sleeping indoors. I had promised myself never to return, but now I was back and my husband was healed!

There is a power in place—an electric charge that happens when our individual matrix meets its perfect match in the energetic vortex of a specific location. Nothing can ever pull me away again from the arms of my true love—my beautiful Lake Tahoe. While I continue to travel the world, speaking and healing, I often think of Lake Tahoe, waiting for me, and return there whenever I can.

It’s this kind of high level of infatuation for place or subject or person that wakes up every cell in your body, making you feel more alive than you’ve ever been. Life is too short not to experience this kind of exhilaration, where all your senses are heightened. I love to heal others as much as I love Tahoe, but now I can have both!

What in your life inspires this kind of raging passion? What is your Tahoe?