body image weight

The Healthy Way to Get That Summer Body

body image weight

Memorial Day is the unofficial kick-off to summer, so chances are you’ve already been bombarded with images of perfect bodies in perfect shape in perfect locations. From bikini-clad girls and shirtless men like in those sunscreen commercials, to ads for fad diet products or lose-weight-fast exercise programs, the emphasis on bodily perfection this time of year can make you feel overwhelmed and depressed, which is never the right mindset for meaningful change.

It’s perfectly okay to want to get in better shape—as long as you do it in a safe, healthy way and for the right reasons. Energy medicine can be your guide to both the how and the why, and not only will you look great, but you will feel great too — and even more importantly, find confidence in your own body, just in time for swimsuit season. 

body image weight

Weight Loss Starts Within

How many times have you tried to lose weight? If you’re like millions of other people, probably quite a few. I can’t tell you how many crazy and unhealthy weight-loss tactics I’ve heard from attendees at my energy healing courses  and in my years as a spiritual teacher. Everything from cabbage soup diets to napping through mealtimes to hypnosis. But like you, none of my students found success with any of these methods because they weren’t really addressing the deeper problems.

The attitude that if you simply try harder—eat less and exercise more—you will look svelte and ready for Baywatch is a devastating lie. It’s true that eating well and exercise are an essential part of being in good shape, but that is not the only part of the equation, otherwise all my followers who starve themselves and live at the gym would have the bodies they desire. There is something deeper going on here, and recognizing that fact is the first step to getting and keeping that summer body.

Your Weight Is Not Just Physical

Losing weight and getting in better shape is not just an issue of physicality. Western medicine tends to treat healing as solely a physical process, and this culture treats weight-loss the same way. In both cases, the true healing needs to happen on the energetic level, which is where energy medicine comes in.

body image weight

The blueprint for your body is stored in your energy field, which means that if your energy field is distorted, your body can become out of balance as well, causing problems from headaches to allergies to weight gain. Energy healing addresses the health of your energy field, clearing blocks or imbalances in your chakras and directly influencing the health of your body. If there are energetic causes for your inability to lose weight or get in shape, until you address those, all your efforts will be undermined and less effective.

Here are a few ways you can begin the process of using energy medicine to heal your whole being, including your waistline.

body image weight
  1. Express Your Emotions, Don’t Eat Them
    As a child, were you given sweet treats or candies as a consolation for grief or disappointment? You may have created an association between comfort and food that has stayed with you into adulthood and is thwarting your weight-loss efforts. To combat that food-to-mouth response to emotional pain, be aware of when you are eating your emotions. A few tell-tales signs are mindless binge-eating and urgent and sudden cravings for sweet, salty, or fatty foods.
  • Drowning your sorrows in ice cream is bad for you in two ways: you ingest unnecessary calories while burying those feelings. When you don’t process negative emotions, they become lodged in your chakras and create blocks in your energy field. So eating your feelings creates current weight gain and can cause further weight gain down the road—a two-fold attack on your attempts to lose weight. Journaling your feelings will allow you to release them in a healthy way and keep your body from absorbing the emotional damage.
  1. Stress Less You probably know by now that stress takes a big toll on your whole being, but did you know it can also lead to weight gain? The stress hormone cortisol has been linked to belly fat, stress hampers your sleep which you need to maintain a healthy weight, and stress can lead to anxiety and depression which can make you lethargic. My first recommendation for stress reduction is always meditation. Meditation slows your mind and body down, allows you to connect with Source, and brings a sense of peace that lasts for hours beyond the meditation itself.
body image weight
  • Along with meditation, deep breathing techniques are helpful for lowering your stress. Try to inhale and exhale through your nose, and maintain fluid, regular breaths. This practice can help boost metabolism, and aid the body in removing toxins. Breathing deeply also helps you use oxygen more efficiently, which improves your ability to exercise. Exercise is a bonus weight loss technique since it burns calories and relieves stress.
body image weight
  1. Examine your intentions.
    Losing weight is a noble goal if your motivations are pure. Do you feel sluggish and tired? Has your doctor warned you of health complications from your weight? Is your figure causing you to miss out on things you enjoy or making you feel too depressed to spend time with other people? Do you just want to have more energy and feel better? These are some examples of healthy reasons to begin the process of trying to lose weight. Being motivated by a true desire to be healthier for yourself will keep you on the path when the work gets tough.
  • If you’re more motivated by the societal pressure to be thin, or by someone who has told you you aren’t beautiful, or a general shame about your body that will never truly be satisfied no matter how skinny you become, then you might not be as willing to put in the work needed yet, but energy medicine will help you with that. Not only will energy healing help you shed pounds, but it will help you to go deeper into your psyche so you can get to know yourself.

Losing weight is just one of the many ways energy medicine can improve your life and lead you on the path of discovering your true self, the self you came to Earth to become. To learn more, please join my LifeForce Energy Healing® I Certification Course.

Insanely happy

How To Be Insanely Happy (Even When Everything Sucks)

Insanely happy

When I was in my last year of law school, my lawyer father, on whom I doted, was in his 70s. Hearing on the family grapevine that I was in some kind of trouble, Dad came to the law school one day and took me out to lunch, telling me he had heard “I was unhappy.” Had I had a clue what I thought back then, which I did not, I’m sure I would have said I was insanely happy. After all, I was a size 4, what more could any 20-something want? Plus, I was at the top of my class; I thought Dad would be thrilled. Now, if truth be told, I was pushing a few things “under the carpet:” although engaged, I was having not one, but two affairs, I had serious issues with alcohol, drugs, and extreme sports, and, oh, I forgot to mention, I had just found out I had cervical cancer.

Over the fish course, Dad, out of the blue, volunteered, “the secret to life is simple, just don’t think about yourself. If you are always helping others, you’ll be happy your whole life.”

At the time, I thought, what does he know? All I wanted was to get done with lunch so I could get out of there and have a drink! At that moment, I was in complete agreement with the comedian George Burns, who said: “Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family… who all live far, far away!”

But you know what? It turned out, “father did know best.”

Insanely happy

There’s an old Chinese proverb that says “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.” 

For centuries, the greatest thinkers have suggested the same thing: happiness is found in helping others.

So, let me ask you, how happy are you? Right this moment. Well, let’s think about it. For starters, chances are, like me, you’ve cut way back on your social life and your travels because of the pandemic. There’s a lot less getting together than before. Maybe you’re still working from home but you’ve got kids or other family members under foot. Or worse, maybe you’re alone and screaming for companionship. Or maybe your partner was laid off and you’re trying to hold it together to pay the rent and the two of you are practically at each other’s throats these days. And to top it all, maybe you’ve got some health problems that you’re worried about.

So that can mean that you are pretty focused on your personal happiness, right? Your health, your finances, your relationships. I mean, isn’t that what we’ve been taught culturally, to focus on our own happiness, right? Actually, though, focusing on ourselves doesn’t make us happy.

Now, I bet right now you want to remind me that Thomas Jefferson wrote about the “self-evident” truth of our “unalienable right” to the pursuit of happiness. Turns out, if you read about him further, that he didn’t mean you need that Tesla you’ve been dreaming about to be happy! In the 18th century, the happiness the founding fathers wanted us to pursue was public happiness. They were interested in something much bigger conceptually that personal happiness: they wanted a country that would allow all its citizens a good life.

Insanely happy

So what are the steps to that kind of happiness?

STEP ONE is giving – just like Daddy taught me.

Scientific research absolutely shows that giving to others is the path to real, permanent, happiness. In fact, the act of giving activates the same sweet spot in your brain that food and sex do. And we all know how good those two activities feel! Altruism is hardwired into our brains and giving to others does more than make us feel good; it turns out, it’s also the secret to a meaningful life.

If you look at history, you’ll find this theory born out, time after time, culture after culture:

Insanely happy

Let’s start by looking at my field of expertise, the Vedic texts of East India. In Vedic times, over 5,000 years ago, the Vaidas, or Vedic physicians, taught that being happy in life was the key; helping others related to doing our dharma, our life work. They believed the main way to reach a supreme state of happiness was to serve the gods, the ancestors, and all living beings.

Flash forward to about 400 years before Christ, to the Greeks; they had a similar concept of happiness. Plato wrote that happiness stemmed from fulfilling our role in society and that determined happiness more than wealth or pleasure. So again, the Greeks pushed public, not personal happiness. Aristotle, a great thinker at the time, called happiness “human flourishing.” One of the prime virtues was bigheartedness, meaning charity and generosity. Yep, giving.

The Mayan civilization, which was from about 2000 years BC until the Spanish pretty much took over around 1500 AD, believed that a thing could only be good as long “as it harmed no one.” Compare that to our current corporate greed! In the Mayan language, the word “happiness” meant “having a glad heart,” and showed their central belief that the happiness of the other was critical: they greeted each other by asking “how is your heart?” And unlike our superficial “hey,” “how are you,” they actually meant it! Or think about what Chief Maquinna of the American Indian Nootka nation said after he heard about the banking system that we white people have, he said “We Indians have no such banking; when we have plenty of blankets, we give them away to other chiefs, and by and by, they return them to us, with extras, and our hearts feel good. That’s our bank.”

Insanely happy

Interestingly, history shows us that up until the 1700’s, happiness meant prosperity, thriving, and wellbeing of the whole society, not individual pleasure. So, when did society move from Jefferson’s “public happiness” to the contemporary concept of individual happiness? That happened in the 1800’s, when “individualism” became the new way to look at things. Turns out, though, that worrying about ourselves does not make us happy; giving to others is what creates joy.

So, how to get started?

First, think about giving your time. Sounds weird, but giving money is actually a distant second when it comes to making you happy. Let’s face it, our time is our most valuable commodity, whether it’s an hour of giving, or a day, or maybe, you will find out, as I have, that giving turns into a lifetime. Give whenever and wherever you feel inspired, as your happiness set-point totally depends on your motivation. When you feel somehow forced into giving, you will find it doesn’t do much to boost your happiness. Find the person, place, or thing you are most aligned with— relative, friend, neighbor, an organization, it’s whatever calls to you to help—and feel the warm glow. I remember being just big enough to get up into Daddy’s pickup when he would drive around the small town we lived in after work on Friday nights, giving away the bags of oranges he raised to those who looked hungry. And every time he would come home without his coat, having handed it to some poor soul who looked cold. Daddy taught generosity in action, not theory. During the day, Daddy took me down to the State Capitol, to his job as a Democratic Representative, working comfortably across the aisle to build programs of social justice for the poor and needy of our state. Back home, Daddy teamed up with a couple of other town leaders to build a private school. He hired a headmistress and told her to admit as many children whose parents could not pay tuition as those who could. When I became a young lawyer and joined Daddy in his small-town law practice, he taught me that for every couple of paying clients, I needed to take in someone who couldn’t pay, and help them as well. Daddy was all about giving in action, and he set the bar high.

Insanely happy

Now, let’s talk about giving money, not as powerful, but another way to increase happiness. When we see people who have lost their homes in a fire or flood or hurricane, and we send money, it sure beats, as Will Rogers put it, “spending money on things you don’t want, to impress people you don’t like.” You can also give money to any cause that appeals to you, from social justice to the environment, to whatever inspires you.

Keep in mind, we do get something back when we give, and that’s OK: whether it’s social approval or a boost in self-esteem, or a new skill, or new friends. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, it’s part of why giving makes us happier.

STEP TWO to being happy is accepting what is.

I remember waking up one morning 5 years ago in a hospital in Mammoth after I fell mountain climbing, and learning that I was going to spend a year flat on my back, with both my arms and legs immobilized. For once, unable to work much, and forced, out of the blue, to just kick back, I started listening to music part of every day. My normal type A++ personality would have never allowed that kind of seemingly purposeless activity, but thank God, over-achieving Deborah had, for the moment, been taken out of the picture. I was so happy it was hilarious!

When you look in a mirror, does what you see make you happy? How much happier would you be if you looked in the mirror and accepted that yes, you are a certain age and shape and, over time, things happen to the body. And that goes for every aspect of your life that cannot be changed. Aging is inevitable. Economic upswings and downswings occur. Loved ones come and go. Accidents happen.

When I was that unhappy young 20-something, addicted to booze and pills, I joined A.A. as the first step in my healing. What I learned there I can share right now: it’s one day at a time. I know it sounds easy but think of all the times you don’t do that, instead obsessing over what might happen tomorrow, like what if you get Covid or the forest fire gets even closer, or you never find work. You get my drift. As the Serenity Prayer of A.A. goes, “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

I’ve worked my way through so many rough situations, one day at a time, from illnesses, to family feuds, to lawsuits, to a whole slew of hospitalizations, wheelchairs and walkers, hey, I’ve lost count! And I’ve been happy enough the whole time, by doing it one moment at a time. Just this week, I was helping a student with stage 4 cancer, helping her find happiness in the moment, and I totally forgot all about my own aches and pains. Let me help you raise your happiness set point right now, simply by making “one day at a time” one of your favorite mantras.

Insanely happy

Here’s a corollary to that idea, that comes from South African human rights activist Desmond Tutu, who said “the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.” If something is overwhelming, right in the moment, or even seems impossible, just use that one bite rule.

Another totally helpful trick to staying insanely happy in the moment is, believe it or not, through meditation. And I don’t mean guided meditations; they’re nice, but you need the real McCoy to get deep enough to eliminate all the stress and hassles from the day that keep you from feeling happy. These days, that means a mantra-based meditation, like the one I teach, so you get deep enough. Meditation allows your mind and emotions to quiet down and plants you squarely in the present moment. It may seem passive, but actually, meditation is an active way to clear out the imbalances of your energy system and to erase anything that may be holding you back from true happiness. It is there, sitting inside yourself, that you can come to understand your worth, your purpose, your self-respect… and allow you to feel the joy of connection to everyone and everything. It’s the real deal! I encourage you to try my meditation.

STEP THREE is to develop strong intentionality.

I teach intentionality the way other people teach reading and writing and ‘rithmetic. It’s absolutely essential to your forward progress in life. If you intend to to be happy, you will be. It’s that simple. As Abraham Lincoln put it, “Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” In other words, it’s your own state of mind, not what’s happening in your external world, that determines whether or not you are happy. And the best way to enter that state of mind is by staying in the present. Not reliving the past; not fearing the future. Intend to live in the moment.

The Dalai Lama tells the story of how he became the head of his country, Tibet, when he was a teenager. And how the Chinese then overran Tibet and killed millions of Tibetans, making him run for his life. So, they took away his country, his people, and the entire plan for his life. When asked if he was angry about it, he said, “Why should I also let them take away my happiness.”

Focused attention is how you create healing; that’s what I teach in my energy healing school. There, I teach you how to use your intentionality to attract the light, then run it through your own energy field and body, and then conduct and transmit that light to the person who needs it. Remember that acronym: ACT – attract, conduct, transmit. It’s all based on intentionality. I remember the first time I actually got it to work and saw a woman’s broken wrist heal before my eyes, wow, that was a super powerful moment, and taught me the incredible power of intention. We can actually can move mountains if we want to!

What is your role? How do you shift your focus from your own problems, to what is happening with others, and actively give in a way that will make you happy?

Stop for a moment and think: What are you most passionate about? What news items really catches your attention? Which threads on social media do you notice? What is calling you? What do you enjoy doing? Do you slog through your work-day and light up with pleasure when you enter the kitchen to bake that perfect loaf of bread? Maybe you could take that passion and that bread and whip up some hearty sandwiches to take to the firefighters battling a blaze near you. That’s activating your passion. Turning what you love to do into a way to help others.

And, at the end of the day, let’s all go with the advice of Charles Schulz, the father of Peanuts, who summed it up by saying: “Happiness is a warm puppy.”

Pets
Collective Unconscious

The Collective Unconscious – Our World Tree of Emotions

Collective Unconscious

I was driving through Colorado last year, on my way to a wedding. I love weddings: young love in full bloom, familial love growing stronger; weddings are beautiful celebrations of love’s connectivity. The love is infectious.

As I was driving to the wedding, driving away from Denver and into the thin air of the Rockies, I passed groves of aspen trees. Thin, white, spindly. Like a whispering wood of spirits that guarded over the mountains themselves.

I had seen these groves before, and I certainly wasn’t the first to be moved by their quiet gravitas – John Denver beat me to it in Aspenglow by a few decades. But as I passed the aspen, I couldn’t help but feel that there were fewer groves than I’d seen previously. Where once there were ranks of groves of aspen – like a silent army of trees – there now appeared sparser outcroppings – a scouting party of aspen.

It turns out that aspen trees aren’t individual organisms. In a grove, each “tree” is a genetically identical “shoot.” All shoots are connected through an extraordinarily rich and detailed root structure. When you look at a grove of aspen, what you’re actually seeing is one giant organism – one giant tree dispersed among the thousands of shoots.

Aspen have been fading in Colorado mostly due to severe drought. When the waters dry up, the aspen die. Because they are interconnected, death affects the entire grove. The pain is experienced by the whole, connected organism – not just the individual shoot.

We wouldn’t know this simply by looking at the trees. We’d simply marvel and wonder how all these individual trees died all at once. Because we’re only looking at the surface. It’s only when we dig deep enough to see the vast, collective consciousness of these aspen can we see how they live and thrive and wilt and die as one.

I am reminded of the retreating aspen when I think about us today. We, all around the world, are hurting. Many of us are sick. Many have died. And many of us mourn the loss of the ones we love. We’re suffering. And while we know that there are millions around the world – just like us – carrying this burden of suffering, we somehow believe that our pain is contained only within ourselves. Our sickness is contained in just our own little shoot. Even though the shoot next to us is also in pain. All the shoots are sick. But we believe that the pain, the grief, the anguish is individual.

Carl Jung, one of the founders of psychology, posited that there existed a vast collective unconscious. Each individual’s psyche was a persona that emanated from this collective unconscious. This “world spirit” was the birthplace of our archetypes of father, mother, safety, danger, hero, and countless others. We, then, are primed to analyze our world through these hard-wired archetypes.

I want to take this one step further. This collective unconscious isn’t merely responsible for how we perceive the world; it’s a profound energy feedback loop that connects us all with each other. It’s our aspen root network. Look around: even in people who have been lucky enough to avoid the coronavirus, rates of mental illness have been skyrocketing. Anxiety, depression, and substance abuse have all increased. As individuals, we suffer when the whole of the world suffers.

There is a blight upon our connected unconscious – a blight that began with a virus whose initial pain sent shockwaves and secondary tremors through our collective psyche. We’re feeling the anxiety of the world.

Why is it hard to recognize this? Perhaps it’s because we’ve come to respect our own crucial roles in this pandemic. Each of us knows to mask up, wash our hands, stay six feet away from each other. We’re critically in tune with our own, singular bodies. But because we’ve been so focused on how we operate as individuals, we’ve lost sight of how we operate as a collective. And therefore we get surprised and confused when anxiety or depression is upon us. “I’m healthy,” we think. “I exercise, I wash my hands. I do yoga and take my probiotic. So why am I so scared?”

We’re scared because the grove is scared. We’re anxious because a soul we’re connected to is anxiously awaiting to see if her mother will make it off a ventilator. We’re depressed because another connected soul can’t see his grandchildren for the holidays. We’re sad because our collective soul is sad.
So what do we do when we know that there is a blight upon our grove?

I think back to my trip to Colorado, about driving away from the aspen and up to the wedding. I think about all the smiles, the tears, the dancing, the kisses, and the relationships strengthened at this celebration of love.

And I remember feeling invigorated and filled to my fingertips with love and generosity.

So my answer is to love. Love yourself, love your neighbor. Love your dog, your cat. Push the love out there like rain in a drought. Replenish your grove, because it’s the only grove we’ve got.

Join me, if you can, on a journey where I show you how to focus the energy of love and light into healing. Our medical intuition course will help you activate your higher heart, so that you can share that positive healing light with the world. Our class just began, but there’s still time to jump right in! We’re saving you a seat!

Connect with yourself. Connect with the world. And let the healing begin.

walk exercise

Today Is Take a Hike Day!

walk exercise

Nietzsche said “All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.” Going beyond the 19th century philosopher, I would add that walking will not only let you think great thoughts, but will also relieve you of the stressful ones. And who doesn’t need that these days?

You might be having trouble sleeping these days, with all that’s happening in the world with the pandemic its personal fallout for you. You’re stuck at home a lot—hunched over a laptop, sitting in front of the TV, sitting around the table eating more than you should. Sitting, sitting, sitting.

Where are you going to go? You used to walk through airports on your way to someplace other than home, but not now. No walking up and down the aisles of the grocery store: your groceries get delivered. No walking even from the car to a restaurant, as meals get delivered right to your car or your home. Amazon delivers everything and anything; all you have to do is walk to your front door. Doctors get delivered to your screen for telemedicine, and you only have to move as far as your computer to sit in front of Zoom for a business meeting (remember, you can be seen!).

Do you know what’s happening to your body as you sit, sit, sit? According to studies analyzed by the Mayo Clinic, those who sit for more than eight hours a day without much body movement have a similar risk of dying to smokers and the obese. Sitting for long periods increases blood pressure, high blood sugar, abnormal cholesterol levels, and leads to excess fat around the waist—all together, it’s known as metabolic syndrome.

The good news, from studies of more than 1 million people, is that 60 minutes of moderate physical activity each day can counter the problems posed by too much sitting. Stand up every 30 minutes—stretch, walk around for 5 minutes. Stand a bit when you are on the phone or watching TV. Look into whether or not a standing desk would work for you; they are very affordable. 5 minutes here, 5 minutes there, and voilá, you’ll have an hour by days-end.

You’ll burn calories (in studies, women who walk had less body fat than those who don’t), maintain your muscle tone, and improve your ability to move as you age as well as your mental well-being. As researchers at NMHU (New Mexico Highlands University) found: “The foot’s impact during walking sends pressure waves through the arteries that significantly modify and increase the supply of blood to the brain.”

Walking is a cardio exercise that is low-impact on your joints. If you haven’t been much of a walker before, start slowly, going just a block or two. Work up to 30 minutes a day of walking, less time than it takes to cook a meal. Even a short walk each day strengthens your heart and lungs, and reduces your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis.

And it reduces stress. Walking releases those natural painkilling endorphins, lifting your mood and making the day sunnier inside you. And you’ll be far more able to do away with insomnia if you’ve had a good walk.

Last, but far from least, walking gets you out of the house and into the natural world. If you’re in a rural environment, take note of the rhythms of nature—the colors of fall leaves, the crisp air, the flight of birds. Even in an urban area, you can still find trees and plants. Connect to the natural flow and beauty around you. Walk in the early morning to sing along with the birds. Walk at sunset to bathe in the glory of colors. Walk at night and absorb some lunar energy. John Muir, the great naturalist, said, “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”

It takes no special equipment. It doesn’t cost anything. It doesn’t require a lot of planning, or athletic ability. As an old proverb says, “one step at a time is good walking.” Just get up, grab your house key, put on a hat and mask, and go for it!

True Joy Happiness

The Secret of True Joy

True Joy Happiness

The secret of true joy is that it’s not actually tethered to outside circumstances. It has little to do with what’s going on around you. In fact, true joy is a well that you can fill with your internal perspective, thoughts, and attitude, and you can draw from that well to fill you up, especially in times like these.

Recently a student who heard I was working on a presentation on happiness shared the following with me. It’s from a post that’s been circulating around the internet for awhile.

Meet Mrs. Jones, who models the well of joy:

This 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud lady, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with her hair fashionably coiffed and makeup perfectly applied, even though she is legally blind, moved to a nursing home yesterday. Her husband of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary.

After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready. As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on her window.

“I love it,” she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

“Mrs. Jones, you haven’t seen the room…. just wait.”

“That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” she replied. “Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged, it’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away, just for this time in my life.”

She went on to explain, “Old age is like a bank account, you withdraw from what you’ve put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories. Thank you for your part in filling my memory bank. I am still depositing.”

And with a smile, she said: “Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less, & enjoy every moment.”

Isn’t that beautiful?

I would add that when you find what you’re meant to be doing on this Earth, you’ll have no shortage of fulfillment, joy, peace, resiliency, love, and everything else your heart desires.

Remember that true happiness and abundance is what you feel in your soul, and what you create with your mind, your heart, and every molecule of your being.

If you want more happiness in your life, the answer is to identify your unique gifts (the things you’re good at that make you FEEL good), to stay connected to Source, and to focus on service. With this knowledge imprinted in your heart, there’s no limit to what the universe can provide for you and for all the things that matter.

If you’re attracted to this kind of insight, I hope you’ll join me right here for my talk this coming Sunday on How to Be Insanely Happy — and invite your family, friends, coworkers, and community to join you!

7 ways to get grounded indoors

Can’t Go Outside? 7 Ways to Get Grounded Indoors

7 ways to get grounded indoors

Have you noticed that being outside lifts your spirits?

Take a deep breath and picture yourself in your favorite landscape. Imagine the warm sun on your skin, the twittering of birds in the trees, the smell of pine, flowers, or maybe the ocean in the air…are you smiling? Do you feel more relaxed?

The great outdoors is called that for a reason: spending time under the sky rather than a ceiling just makes you feel good. Mother Nature is full of healing power, and connecting to that earth energy can have incredible benefits for your mind, body, and soul.

But what if you can’t get outside?

Right now, as we are in the midst of a pandemic that has many frightened to go outside (and others legally prevented from doing so), how can you get the same benefits, the same feeling of peace and wellbeing, without leaving your house?

What is Grounding?

Your ancestors had no trouble connecting with Mother Nature, and getting grounded. They were outside every day, all day, rain or shine. You are lucky to have a roof over your head but the downside is a loss of that daily interaction with the earth, and a corresponding lack of grounding.

Grounding is the practice of energetically connecting to Earth. This releases negative energy from your field into the ground, and draws positive energy from Mother Nature into your field and chakras, which replenishes and recharges your whole being.

Feeling a Little Fuzzy?

Your first chakra, also known as your root or base chakra, is the foundation for the energy flow in your body. This chakra keeps you firmly in your body and grounded, and if it needs cleansing or charging, you may feel a little “spacey” or somewhat out of your body. Additional symptoms of a dysfunctional first chakra can include: lightheadedness or a “floaty” feeling, forgetfulness, clumsiness, a feeling of being lost or actually getting lost, having trouble staying focused or present, fatigue, and a general dazed sensation. With an imbalanced first chakra, your other chakras are likely to be affected and become dysfunctional as well.

Indoor Grounding 101

The best ways to strengthen your bond to Earth is to spend time outside—walking barefoot on sand or grass, swimming in the ocean or a lake, taking moon baths, and hugging trees. But as the weather shifts from the heat of summer to the crispness of fall and then the deep chill of winter, you are less likely to be spending time barefoot or sleeveless outside your heated indoor space.

So how can you stay grounded?

1. Sit in sunlight

If you’re lucky enough to live in a home that gets plenty of sunlight, take advantage of that!

Not only does the sun provide natural vitamin D, which boosts your immune system, it also charges and replenishes your energy field. Sunlight is like natural rays of energy healing from the heavens, so soak it up as much as possible.

Like a cat curling up for a nap in the window, have a seat in a patch of sunlight coming through a window and let it radiate into your skin, into your chakras and energy field. Twenty minutes in the early morning or late afternoon would be perfect!

2. Keep a stone handy

Stones are direct conduits to earth energy. They are literally earth, so they can help ground you just by touching them. Kyanite, hematite, and garnet are good choices for grounding crystals, but any piece of rock will do.

Be sure to bless it for the purpose of keeping you centered and connected to Mother Nature, and then keep it in your pocket for quick access anytime you start to feel disassociated from the earth or your body.

 3. Exercise

Getting out of your head and being present in your body is an important part of grounding. Physical activity can help to shift your energy from your thoughts to your body as you focus your attention on your body and the world around you.

Yoga, pilates or martial arts can be particularly effective because they center your mind, body, and spirit simultaneously.

4. Eat

Like exercise, mindfully eating brings your attention to your body. Gaining sustenance from the earth also helps to connect you to it—to remind you of that fundamental truth of energy medicine: you are connected to everything.

Try to eat as many fresh cooked vegetables as you can, and especially root vegetables which grow under the soil and carry strong earth energy.

 5. Take a salt bath

Salts have natural healing capabilities, as does water, so when you combine them in a warm tub, you take cleansing to a spiritual level. This helps to heal and cleanse your body, mind, and soul, including stripping unwanted negative energy you may have stuck to you from someone else.

Salt baths simulate swimming in the ocean, which is one of the best ways to ground yourself.

6. Visualize

There is an easy visualizations you can do from home that will help to connect you to the earth. Picture yourself as a tree, with roots growing from your feet. Feel your roots sinking into the soil, extracting nourishment and energy that you can bring into your body making you healthier. Imagine your roots sinking deeper and deeper, giving you a stronger foundation, a sense of calm, and a greater bond with nature.

7. Take a healing course

Healing courses are always a good way to get grounded: being in the presence of others and working on grounding exercise help you be in your body and connect to the earth.

We will hopefully come out of this soon (and hopefully stronger than ever before). But in the meantime, look at this is a great opportunity to learn a skill that will ensure you are grounded, happy, and healthy year-round, no matter where you are.

Dream journaling

Dream Journaling: Tap Into Your Inner Wisdom for Guidance & Healing

Dream journaling

Your dreams are filled with wisdom to guide you through every aspect of your life.

They give you access to knowledge beyond your ordinary, everyday awareness. They can show you the future, preparing you for challenges and opportunities. They can speak to your past, providing you with clues for healing old wounds. And they can guide you in the present, offering you wisdom for making the best decisions and honoring your soul’s desires.

A powerful way to start tapping into the wisdom of your dreams is to keep a dream journal.

Why you should keep a dream journal

The benefits of dream journaling are as vast as the realms your dreams take you to. Here are just a few of my favorite reasons to keep a dream journal.

Healing, transformation, and growth:
When you look back on your dream journals, you hold up a magic mirror that can reveal patterns in long-standing challenges. Your dream journal can even serve you as a data log that gives you insight into themes regarding your attitudes, beliefs, experiences, and actions.

You can also get precognitive glimpses of things that appear in your waking world later on. Dream journaling helps you develop a sixth sense, opening you to correct a course you’re on, restore your inner compass, expand your consciousness, or develop telepathic or clairsentient skills.

Brain balance:
Dream journaling can benefit your corpus callosum — the part of the brain that joins the right and left hemispheres, physically connecting your intuitive abilities with your analytic abilities.

In “Dreams Make Me Smarter,” one of our students wrote: “I let the dream images come to me, then write the dream in my journal, which engages my left brain. I pay close attention to any right-brain feelings about the dream. Then I brainstorm about any associations with those images or feelings. Working with dreams is a whole-brain exercise!”

Creativity:
Dreams offer you a treasury of images and symbols that can light your creative fire if you’re an artist. And even if you’re not, recording your dreams can inspire you to tap into the creativity inside you that yearns to be expressed.

Sketch that mountain or underwater temple when you wake up, then turn it into a deeply expressive painting or sculpture! Write down a dream-encounter as a short story, or see how it’s a clue into how to finish a scene you’ve been working on for your novel. Record that guitar line that came to you in your dreams. Whatever ways you express yourself — or would like to express yourself — journal your dreams to ignite your imagination.

How to keep a dream journal

Choose a notebook or a specially-crafted dream journal with thick, high-quality paper that you can joyfully write and sketch in.

Keep your journal near your bed and write your dreams in it as soon as you wake up. If you find that your bedside notes are barely legible, try transcribing them into a Google Doc later in the day.

While I suggest charging your phone away from your bedroom at night (so you can get a nightly retreat from constant digital clutter and melatonin-disturbing blue light), another option is to record a voice note as soon as you wake up. Then use a voice-to-text program to transcribe your dreams.

Ready to start recording the wisdom of your dreams?

Here are 5 journaling prompts to get you started:

  1. When was the dream? Note the date (including the year) so you can look back on the entry in the context of what was going on in your life and the world at the time.
  2. What happened in the dream? The key is to record your dream in as much detail as you can. Where were you? What was it like? What were the events? What did you do? Was anyone else there? What did they do or say? When did the dream take place? What did the events remind you of? If a detail seems too trivial or obvious to note, write it down anyway. When you look back on your dream entries, you’ll find that what might have seemed like useless details are highly significant in retrospect.
  3. What did you think or feel during the dream? Your internal experience is one of the most (if not THE most) telling aspects of your dreams. Did you feel elated, joyful, rejected, connected, relieved, anxious, relaxed, fascinated, blessed? Did you think “This reminds me of the time I…” Or maybe you thought “This is a place I’d love to….” Whatever your interior response was, make a note of it.
  4. How does the dream connect to your highest desires? This year, Spirit is really calling us to focus on what we want to create in our lives on this beautiful planet. We all long for something. Look back on the things you’ve desired in your past that you’ve manifested. That’s evidence that goals come to fruition, that “dreams come true”! So think about what you want at this point in your life. A new house? Healing from an illness? A fulfilling relationship? A rewarding career that suits your soul? Clean waterways? The end of injustice? Jot down anything about your dream that seems connected to your longing.
  5. What do you think the dream means? Don’t worry right away about dream interpretations like “owls represent wisdom” — you can look those up later if you’d like. For now, focus on writing down what significance the feelings, events, people, and images of the dream have for you. Because it’s your dream, you have the most insight into what it’s telling you.

 

Tap into the creative, healing wisdom of your dreams now!

If you want to start journaling right now, write down your response to one of these prompts:

  • Last night I dreamed…
  • When I was a child, I dreamed…
  • The best dream I ever had was…
  • A recurring dream I’ve had is…
  • The other day I had the strangest dream…

Start writing now or when you wake up tomorrow, and watch the wisdom flow from your soul, through your pen, and into your life.

Dream on!

To learn more about tapping into the power of your dreams, you can checkout my course on Astral Wisdom here.

astral wisdom course
Attached by an energy vampire

Do you have an ‘Energy Vampire’ in your life?

Attached by an energy vampire

You are born pure light…

In childhood, your light is vulnerable to the energy of those around you. If you experienced trauma as a child or were raised in a dysfunctional family or with an unhealthy parent, this changes your energy, and can even “darken” your light.

This sensitivity likely developed as a way to stay safe and get your needs met — scanning the energy of the room or the energy of your caregivers, and calibrating your energy and presence to match what was appropriate.

Over time, this way of being in the world can diminish your essence — diluting what makes you “you,” and negatively influencing your emotions, your health, and your ability to authentically live the life you were meant to live.

And now, likely a caregiver yourself, you’ve been conditioned to bond with others by taking on their energy, so loved ones can perpetuate this pattern even if they’re not an “energy vampire.”

Today, you can begin to clear out other people’s energy from your ENTIRE system, and call your energy back to yourself. The first step is to understand the types of “energy vampires” and how to establish boundaries to protect yourself.

And actually, the step before the first step is always meditation. If you feel like you are “under attack” from other people’s energy, spending time in prayer and meditation is the fastest way to reconnect to yourself and strengthen your grounding — the first line of defense against other people’s invasive energy. I recommend meditating twice a day, using a mantra, that I provide.

Energy follows thought. As you bring your attention back to yourself (with loving kindness!), your energy will follow.

Imagine that you are a big magnet, effortlessly drawing your energy back to yourself and then running that energy down through your grounding, expanding your base and strengthening your energy field around you.

Here are a few insights on energy vampires…

In general, energy vampires drain your energy. They are often creating or contributing to “drama” and often take a negative, “glass-half-empty” approach to life. They can be very critical and judgmental — of you and others.

They also tend to be filled with worry and anxiety, and look to you to fix them or solve their problems. And, of course, you’re quite good at calming them down and finding solutions!

They need you and suck your time, attention, and focus away from your priorities. Even when you’re not with them, you are thinking about them or their needs.

These exchanges can leave you feeling tired, melancholy, even depressed — even if you think you are being of service and helping at the time.

When your energy is depleted by others, your sleep can be disrupted, you feel sluggish, and lack mental focus. You become vulnerable to illness, poor eating habits, and even addictive behaviors.

Recognize anyone on this list?:

  • “Betrayed” energy vampireThis energy type, along with many of the energy vampire types, can feel like an “old” relationship or like there is more history to the relationship than this lifetime. Karmic ties likely keep you tethered to this person, and the dynamic is one of “winning the fight.” Their energy field can be highly charged and they can feel aggressive or like an invasive weed in your garden.It’s essential to reinforce your energy field and grounding when interacting with this type. Imagining a waterfall between the two of you will help protect you and neutralize their energy coming at you. Take slow deep breaths, lower your voice and slow your cadence.Dealing with this type involves an Aikido-style approach where you step out of the way of their incoming energy bombs.
  • Fear-based energy vampireThis type is full of fear and insecurity. They are unable to fully inhabit their bodies and connect to their own grounding. They are disconnected from their emotions and are difficult to have linear conversations with, they are “all over the place.” Being kind and helpful, you want to reassure them, troubleshoot their problems, or calm their anger. You become ensnared in their energy field.To care for yourself in this dynamic, will require you to have very firm and clear boundaries. You will need to maintain conscious awareness that their needs and feelings are never ending and you cannot fix or help them. If you cannot maintain your own energy and grounding separate from them, you may need to avoid this type.
  • Insecure energy vampireThis type holds the worldview of scarcity. There is not enough for them and they’re in fear that their needs won’t be met and they’re driven by a fear of abandonment. It is sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy, because they are afraid you will abandon them, yet they are so needy, you have to remove yourself to replenish your energy.The intensity of their “lack” is projected onto you with the expectation you’ll fill their bottomless cup. They are often compulsive, jumping at any chance to fix their problem (which is generally other people) or chase after the “next best thing” that is “going to change everything” and solve all their problems. Between managing their expectations and their irrational schemes, you become lost and massively drained.Similar to the fear-based type, to care for yourself in this dynamic, will require you to have very firm and clear boundaries. You will also need to increase your self-care routine to ensure that you are mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually fit to be around them without losing yourself. Again, if you cannot maintain your own energy and grounding separate from them, you may need to avoid this type.
  • Passive-aggressive energy vampireThis type brings lifetimes of victimization into this lifetime. Their worldview is one of victimhood and everything happens “to” them. They are unable to take care of themselves and they rely on others to do for them. They don’t communicate their needs or wants and then project that others are not caring for them or helping them. They blame everyone but themselves, however most of this is unspoken so it is through their energy and nonverbal communication. They are very manipulative and use a dynamic of switching between appreciation and validating how much they need you, with guilt and scorn. You are either helping or hurting, and everything is about them — from their perspective.Recognizing that this is not about you, that you have done nothing wrong, and that this is their storyline that they are living out, will help you stay sane and keep from merging with their energy trying to “prove” yourself and your intentions. Remembering that there is nothing you can say or do or explain, can shift this dynamic within them. Amplifying your own energy within yourself and deepening your grounding will turn up your vibration and keep you immersed in your own essence and anchored in the center of your energy field.

Understanding your role in these relationships will also help you to shift the dynamic from your end. Energy vampires will always “suck” so it’s up to you to put a stop to it and protect yourself.

If you’d like to learn more about how to protect yourself from other people’s energy, and turn your sensitivity into a healing tool, check out my signature LifeForce Energy Healing IV® training here.

Work one-on-one with Deborah
4 different perspectives COVID-19

4 Levels of Perception to Transform Your Perspective During the Pandemic

4 different perspectives COVID-19

There’s no doubt that covid-19 has taken up all the air in the room these days, but know that there are different ways of viewing the situation . . . and new perspectives that will let you breathe more easily.

Let’s take a look at what’s happening from the four different directions of the medicine wheel. In Native American symbology, the four cardinal points (plus Mother Earth, Father Sky, and the Spirit Tree) embody all the dimensions, everything from your health to the cycles of life. Think of how many things you know that are comprised of fours: the four seasons, the four directions, the four stages of life (birth, youth, adult, and death), and the four basic aspects of life: physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual.

Add to that the four brains, and their corresponding levels of perception. Here’s how you can shift your perspective on the pandemic:

At the lowest level, you perceive the world through the reptilian brain, comprised of the cerebellum and the brain stem on the physical level. In the energy world, this brain is connected to the first chakra. At a deep instinctual level, survival is uppermost. You need food and water and shelter from the storm. You’re on the lookout to avoid danger, ever ready for fight or flight. That’s the basic level of the evening newscast, the literal and physical level of what’s happening. What parts of the body is the virus affecting? Do any treatments work? What about your underlying condition? How many deaths have been reported in your local area? Is it safe to eat take-out?

The reptilian brain works through action-reaction. The governor says stay at home. You immediately react. Of course, I want to avoid danger; I’ll socially distance and wear a mask when I have to go out. Or hell no, you can’t restrict my freedom and tell me what to do while my business is collapsing. Danger to the left, danger to the right. You’re not looking for causes, for underlying meaning, for spiritual connection; you’re just wanting things to get back a.s.a.p. to “normal.” Meaning, safe.

As you rise a bit in consciousness, you enter your mammalian brain and the second level of perception. Physically, this is the limbic system, the structures in the brain involved in emotions and memory. Energetically, it is connected to the second chakra and to your mind and emotions. Here you’re going from the purely physical level to words and their meaning, and to your feelings. “Shelter in place,” for example, can evoke a feeling of protection and security, or a stifling feeling of imprisonment, depending on your perspective.

You seek solutions at this level; you’re not just running from fear but looking for possibilities. Maybe you are helping get surplus food to those in need. Or you’re a formerly retired health care worker who has returned to the front lines. Or you’re making masks for your local hospital.

You seek solutions to keeping yourself healthy, beyond simply social distancing. You combat your concerns about the virus by boosting your immune system—eating foods rich in antioxidants, taking supplements that support your health. If your livelihood has been compromised, you are busily working to secure PPP and other disaster loans to cover the gap.

Rising higher in awareness, you come into the human brain, which is the neocortex, the layers involved in the functions of the higher brain, such as perceiving with your senses, thinking, reasoning and language. This third level of perception is connected to your sixth chakra. You have the vision to frame your time at home as an opportunity to uplevel your care for yourself. You enjoy offerings online, from art to yoga to music. You are grateful for having the time to stop, to take stock, to clean out what is no longer wanted or needed in your life and embark on personal projects you simply never had time for before. And you continually find ways to serve others, reaching out on Facetime to an elder who is home alone, or helping home school a child online so his parents can get some work done.

You can envision this “time out of time” as a spiritual retreat, and do ceremony, meditation, soul-searching, diving deeper into your spiritual lineage or exploring new ones. You combat loneliness and isolation by connecting to others via WhatsApp or FaceTime or Zoom. You attend spiritual teachings you wouldn’t have had time for before. (Come to my teaching on The Spiritual Gifts today at 1:00 pm PDT or watch the replay later) You participate in online group meditations. (Join mine every Thursday at 1:00 pm PDT) In the Native American tradition, and most indigenous traditions, the importance of community is a bedrock of belief.

Here is where your beliefs are, as well as your ability to go beyond your ingrained beliefs, beyond your behavioral patterns, and redirect your efforts to walking the path.

And then you reach the fourth level of perception, the fourth brain, called the “God brain” by neuroscientists. Known more commonly as the prefrontal cortex, this is the part of the cerebral cortex that covers the front of the frontal lobe. Complex cognition, social behavior, and how you express your Self are all here, and are connected to the seventh chakra. It is the perspective of total wholeness. All is well at this level. Spirit is unfolding in the play of maya. You are living through your heart and know the truth of the heart. The virus is a small pinprick in your awareness, not a tidal wave of fear.

The God brain knows we are all One, and all is in Divine order. All those ads on TV blaring “we are all in this together” are more right than they know. At the energetic level, you trust the Universe, trust Spirit, to provide whatever you need to grow in awareness, to open your heart further, and to see the whole picture.

Remember, the more peaceful you are, the calmer you are, the more you can live with the silence within, the better prepared you are for whatever happens next. And the easier it will be for you to handle what is happening now, in your home, in your mind, and in your heart. You are never alone; Spirit is always with you.

Earth Day 2020

Earth Rising: How the Pandemic is Breathing New Life Into the Planet

Earth Day 2020

Today is Earth Day. And the Earth is smiling. It’s saying, look at my clear skies in cities known for industrial smog and air pollution as people stay home and fewer cars are on the road and fewer planes are in the sky. It’s saying, look at my waters running clearer than they have in ages. It’s saying, look at how animals are reclaiming their habitats. You can hear the birds singing in places that have heard only the sounds of traffic for eons. Look at how the hole in the ozone layer is closing. The economic slowdown has been hard for people, but look what it has done for the planet!

And then the smile stops. Earth says, can you see it now? Can you see how humans have created climate change? And can you see how this coronavirus, this Covid-19, is related to climate change?

Climate change matters. It’s as real as the struggle to breathe is for those suffering a bad case of the virus. The more we humans pollute the earth, the more the planet heats up, the more risk there is of pandemics. Recent decades, with a burgeoning human population and a more polluted earth, have seen more infectious diseases, most of which enter humans from animals. And since we live in a global community that travels far more readily than any previous time in history, these diseases are also globetrotters. And the density of humans living in cities makes for fertile ground for sharing an infected sneeze.

Cutting down large swaths of trees, especially deforestation of the Amazon (which acts as the lungs of the earth), changes animal habitats. When animals migrate, they share germs with other animals and people. When the forests in West Africa were cut down to grow palm oil trees, the bats that carried the Ebola virus lost their home and wound up transmitting the virus to humans. A virus that doesn’t harm its original host can turn into what we are seeing today with Covid-19, with projections of hundreds of thousands of human deaths.

Air pollution, a major factor in climate change, has been clearly shown to worsen the risk of pneumonia. Those who breathe dirty air have double the risk of dying from respiratory infections, as do smokers. Even the short-term decrease in greenhouse gas emissions as people around the world “shelter in place” has shown us what can be done if we stop using fossil fuels and harness electricity from wind and solar energy. Imagine what a major decrease in air pollutants we will have. Fewer heart attacks and stroke, less diabetes, fewer untimely deaths.

The U.S. spends over three trillion dollars a year on health care. By reducing air pollution, as well as eating less meat, stopping smoking, and exercising, we could pay fair wages to all workers, invest in education, take care of crumbling infrastructure, and make life a lot better for everyone. What we can’t afford is not to do anything about climate change.

As an energy healer, as a spiritual seeker, you know how energy works in a person. You can extrapolate that understanding to the way energy works on the planet, to seeing the connection between climate change and viruses. And today, on Earth Day, take a moment to send your thoughts, prayers, and meditations toward all of Earth’s inhabitants—its people, especially it’s health care workers, animals, and plants—that we may all work together towards a cleaner, healthier, lovely blue planet.

Battling Depression

One Key Ingredient for Battling Depression and Mental Illness

Battling Depression

It’s only the 3rd week of January in Southern California, but we are already welcoming the sun back into our daily lives. We missed her and our time outside under her sunny rays. 

Once the sun comes back into your life, go outside and make some vitamin D and you will feel a whole lot better, because, chances are, you are battling low-level depression.

Today, we understand better the role of vitamin D and its protection against depression. This little vitamin, best obtained from sunlight, not only plays a role in bone health, but also in the health of your brain. A plethora of neurological disorders have been linked to insufficient vitamin D, including depression and Alzheimer’s. 

Even more recent studies connect the ever-increasing problem of childhood mental health issues like bi-polar and schizophrenia, showing up in younger and younger children, to the lack of vitamin D; kids just don’t play outside like they used to.

But what about all the advice you hear to slather up/cover up at the first blush of the sun? It turns out that 20+ years of advice was dead wrong, and, as is often the case, your mother was right, when she urged you to get outside and get some sun.

Nearly three quarters of people living in the Northern Hemisphere have less than the required amount of vitamin D and nearly one quarter in the Southern Hemisphere are below par. People live indoors and when they are outside, they are covered with sunscreen. Not like our early days when we ran around all day under the sun, buck-naked and free. That all changed around 75,000 years ago, when we moved out from East Africa to points around the world, many of which required the wearing of skins and living under a roof of some sort. But even those folks were outside a lot, up until about 100 years ago, when we started living indoors, and more so every single year.

It’s no wonder that depression is becoming one of our biggest problems world-wide. 

You get 90% of your vitamin D from the sun; chances are, your bank of vitamin D (stored in your liver) is close to empty at the moment. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, your bank is even more depleted, as meat and fish eaters have higher levels of D. 

Dietary sources of Vitamin D

The problem intensifies once you are over 60, as your skin requires 4 times as much sun exposure to make the same amount of vitamin D as it does for someone younger.

What to do?

  1. Every day you see the sun in the sky, run out and get 10 to 20 minutes, on as much bare skin as is legal, and as the temperature allows. No sunscreen. Preferably before 9:00am and, in the summer, after 5:00pm. 
  2. Worried about skin cancer? Up your ingestion of foods rich in carotenoids, like carrots, tomatoes, pumpkins, kale, and spinach. These foods significantly lower your risk of skin cancer. 
  3. Add a little butter to those carotenoids as they are fat-soluble. Yum. 
  4. In the dark days of winter, supplement with vitamin D3, (make sure it is 3, not 2); supplementation is now known to be an effective treatment for depression.
  5. Finally, don’t laugh, but your mother was right about this too: take fish oil, specifically cod-liver oil, daily. 

The tried-and-true advice from days past is often still very viable today, but we tend to forget these simple pieces of sage wisdom. 

Ensuring you’re getting your proper dose of Vitamin D can not only help you be healthier and feel better in the present, but it can prevent serious issues in the future. 

So, make sure you make vitamin D a priority and part of your daily routine!

Get better sleep without drugs

5 Easy Steps to Get a Better Night’s Sleep

Get better sleep without drugs

This is the third blog in a row I’m focusing on sleep because we simply aren’t getting enough of it!

If you missed the first 2 blogs, you can read them here:

The Best Sleep Ever: Why You Need It and How to Get It

8 Natural Herbal Remedies for a Better Night’s Sleep

This week, let’s talk about 5 more easy, actionable steps you can take to improve your quality of sleep.

      1. Limit your exposure to EMFs.

        We are all very sensitive to electromagnetic radiation, and there’s little data out there on what it’s doing to us. How to counteract all that WIFI that’s coursing through your bodymind? Try grounding every day: in warm weather, walk barefoot. In cold, go outside and stand near a tree, even hugging it when the mood strikes you. Keep your phone a foot away from you, or, radical thought, put it on airplane. Turn off your WIFI in your home or apartment at night. Keep sections of raw silk where you work and where you sleep; silk absorbs EMFs.

      2. Exercise before noon, not after.

        The idea is to keep your core temperature lower as evening approaches, allowing you to sleep more easily because your body is cool. (more on that in my first sleep blog) Exercise will not only raise your body temperature but also release cortisol and adrenaline. Cortisol is a daytime hormone, that is the opposite of melatonin. When cortisol is high, melatonin is low. To get good quality sleep, cortisol needs to be low, so exercise early in the day. Plus, when you exercise in the morning, it produces feel-good brain chemistry that make you feel happy all day. Sleep naked, it will keep you cool and your partner will love it. Oddly enough if you keep your socks on, that will help lower your body’s temp, and you will fall asleep faster.

      3. Make sure the air in your bedroom is fresh.

        Even 100 years ago, we spent most of our day outdoors; now, we spend over 90% of our time indoors. Indoor air can be very polluted and dead, not carrying enough oxygen to oxygenate your cells. What to do? Open your bedroom windows during the day, if it’s too cold at night. Or install an air ionizer or a HEPA filter if your outdoor air is bad and opening windows isn’t an option. Bring in plants, they will purify your air for you. Sleep outside in the summer, like I do, and not only get great air, but exposure to the moon and stars, which balances the lunar, feminine energies in your body, relaxing you, and promoting good sleep.

      4. Take magnesium at night.

        Magnesium is necessary for good sleep; take it with a dash of calcium. Alternatively, eat a few bites of a banana (just a couple of bites, since they are very sweet), which will help you develop melatonin.

      5. Meditate for just 10 minutes, no more.

        That little bit of meditation will take off the edge and allow you to drop off to sleep easily. More would wake you up, so just 10 minutes.

       

Sweet dreams!

Get better sleep

8 Natural Herbal Remedies for a Better Night’s Sleep

Get better sleep

Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep? This may be due to a short-term issue or it can stem from longer-term sleep habits that are incorrect. Beyond a week, sleeping pills are not the solution. Prescription meds don’t address the underlying cause, and they have some serious side effects. 

In addition to the suggestions in last week’s blog, what about diet, can it help with sleep? It may be surprising, but what you eat at dinner or in nighttime snacks can affect your sleep. Certain foods, like cheese and turkey, are rich in tryptophan, an amino acid that helps produce serotonin, which will help you feel sleepy. Almonds also have tryptophan as well as calcium and magnesium, minerals that calm the body and the mind. However, you will want to avoid carbs at dinner (especially potatoes), as they convert to sugar and six hours later, you could very well wake up. You would avoid sweets after lunch for the same reason.

One study revealed that tart cherries help people with insomnia; they are the only food source of melatonin, that necessary hormone for sleep. Tart cherry juice works as well, but stay away from caffeinated drinks, alcohol, and spicy and fatty foods, all which can lead to sleeplessness. 

There are natural herbal remedies that make it easier to go to sleep and stay asleep. Here are 8 of them:

  1. Chamomile tea: it’s been used for hundreds of years as a sleep aid because it acts like a mild sedative. Brew for 10 minutes using two or three tea bags to calm your nerves and get a full night’s sleep.
  2. St. John’s wort: this flower can be brewed as a tea to ease anxiety and insomnia or taken as a supplement. Make sure you stay out of direct sunlight when you take it because it can make you more sensitive to UV rays.
  3. Valerian root: over 16 studies have shown this flowering plant helps you fall asleep faster and have a more sound night’s sleep. It’s the most commonly used herbal supplement to promote sleep in the U.S. and Europe. Taken together, valerian and hops are well-studied herbal supplements for sleep; they boost production of GABA, a brain chemical that reduces anxiety and has sedative properties. You will want to restrict your use to a week or two, so as not to overly burden the liver.
  4. Kava: Pacific Islanders have long used this root for relaxation. Like valerian, don’t use over a long period of time. Use a high quality supplement.
  5. Passion flower (also called maypop): is not only a delicious tea, but is also a mild sedative. Steep for 10 minutes in boiling water.
  6. California poppy: the bright orange leaves of the poppy should be steeped in hot water for 10 minutes to make a tea that gets you ready for a good night’s sleep.
  7. Lavender: the soothing fragrance of lavender’s purple flowers enhances sleep. Lavender aromatherapy is often as effective as pharmaceutical medications, with no side effects. Don’t take lavender orally. Use a good quality lavender oil in a diffuser around 30 minutes before bed.

So, forget counting sheep and brew a cup of herbal tea to catch some Z’s. 

And if you’d like to hear more about this and other topics, come join our live show on January 22nd at 3PM Pacific. We’ll be talking to expert herbalist and Deborah King Center Graduate Practitioner, Lisa Vander Kaay.

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Los Angeles Light Pollution

Light Pollution: What it Does to Your Body/Mind/Spirit and 5 Easy Ways to Reduce It

Los Angeles Light Pollution

In 1994, just before dawn, an earthquake hit LA and caused a city-wide power outage. Many residents who ran out of buildings for safety called 911 to report a mysterious cloud overhead in what was an otherwise clear night. That cloud turned out to be the Milky Way, our own galaxy, hidden for many years by the city’s lights.

We try to light up the night sky for a simple reason: we humans don’t see very well in the dark. But where a little light is a good thing, too much light, or the wrong kind, negatively impacts us, causing a host of undesirable effects, most notably, breast cancer.

The 24-hour cycle, or circadian clock, affects physiologic processes in all living things. These processes include brain wave patterns, hormone production, cell regulation, and other biological activities. Disruption of that rhythm results in ill health, unhappiness, and angst at the soul level.  

Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone which is released in the dark and inhibited by light. While any light at night can interfere with its production, the short blue portion of the light spectrum suppresses melatonin the most.

Exposure to our artificially extended daytime in the modern world leads to sleep problems and sleep problems cause weight gain, stress, depression, diabetes, and cancer. The American Medical Association has recognized light at night as a carcinogen.

The excess light we create in our environment endangers all ecosystems by altering biochemical rhythms that normally ebb and flow with normal light patterns. Perhaps more importantly, we’re losing our connection to the night-time sky, a sky that our ancestors depended on for connection to the cosmos. We lose something essential, some part of ourselves, when we fail to connect to the dark sky and its planets and stars.

Though it’s not as dramatic as a chemical spill, light pollution now rates at the top of the list of chronic environmental issues. In 2016, reputable scientists reported that 99% of the United States and Europe experience light pollution. A third of the planet can no longer see the Milky Way and light pollution is increasing at the alarming rate of 2% per year.

Perhaps even more disturbing is the absence of awe when the night sky is no longer part of our lives. Philosophers have long written about the sacredness of the night sky and its impact on us; somehow a half-lit smoggy sky filled with light pollution just doesn’t take our soul to that place of wonder.

What can you do to preserve the night sky and your health and well-being? Here are 5 easy steps to take:

  1. Get new light bulbs. LEDs are great for saving energy (and money) but check to ensure that your bulbs are not using the blue-white spectrum. Find lower temp LEDs and compact fluorescents.
  2. Turn off blue light devices an hour before bedtime. That’s your TV, your iPad, your phone. If you use a reader, use an app that filters out the blue wavelength. That absence of blue light which normally would begin at sundown will allow melatonin to increase, which will lower your body temp, slow your metabolism, and increase leptin, the hormone that reduces appetite. (It was important for early humans that they didn’t get hungry in the middle of the night, because if you’re out foraging for food, you become food) Increased leptin levels play a role in avoiding cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, and cancer, especially breast cancer.
  3. Make sure your bedroom is completely dark. (Turn off the TV!)
  4. Turn off or shield outdoor lighting at your home.
  5. Talk to the governing agencies about light pollution in your area; be the one to spear-head a light ordinance or enforce the one already on the books.

Finally, if it’s been a long time since you’ve seen a truly dark night, make plans to go somewhere soon where you can. I spent the Thanksgiving holiday camped at Joshua Tree National Park and I can still feel the grandeur of that night sky. Try it for yourself, it will fill your soul.

Overcome Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

7 Tips to Overcome Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

by Cathy Gabrielsen

Overcome Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Why are you so SAD? Maybe it’s because it’s that time of year—the transition from fall to winter, the death of the leaves and grass, and the onset of bitterly cold weather. Are you becoming more withdrawn, feeling depressed, anxious, or hopeless? Do you have unusual physical aches and pains or find yourself craving comfort foods, like heaping servings of pasta or popcorn? If so, Seasonal Affective Disorder may be the reason. 

Over three million people suffer through the change of seasons. There is not only the wintertime SAD, which is well-known and accepted as a serious condition, but also a summertime SAD, when the end of summer leaves you anxious and sad, with changes in appetite and insomnia. This is known as reverse SAD, when high temperatures and high humidity make you uncomfortable, and daylight is subtly shortening. Summer SAD can lead to major depressive disorder, which affects over 16 million people in the U.S.

Cathy Gabrielsen

Cathy Gabrielsen is a speaker, writer and Graduate teacher of LifeForce Energy Healing® at the Deborah King Center and founder of The Gabrielsen Healing Center.

Wintertime SAD can also be exacerbated by turning the clock back at the end of October. Winter hours can reduce your level of serotonin, the chemical produced by nerve cells that regulates your mood, and also melatonin, the hormone made by the pineal gland in your body that regulates sleep. With less of these mood enhancers in your system, you can wind up feeling depressed or anxious as winter comes roaring. It is natural to think that you should join the bears in withdrawing and hibernating for the winter, or that alcohol or recreational drugs will sufficiently numb the pain. But these are not optimum pathways for managing your inner pain. There are ways to ease the discomfort, depression, and overall negative feelings associated with this yearly time of darkness

Deborah King’s LifeForce Energy Healing® Program cured me of SAD, along with alleviating my anxiety. I took the time to explore and discover why I was feeling seasonal affective disorder and found that journaling provided me with an incredible way to release and heal my negative emotions. I also realized that self-care is vital in healing all types of conditions. Self-care involves taking the time you need to find ways that work for you. I found the best solutions for me were to take a clearing bath or walk in nature, find time for massage or acupuncture, and spend time writing in my journal. Find out what brings you joy, and try the following helpful tips to ease the emotional and mental suffering of the winter blues.

  1. Get outside in the fresh air and move even though it may be cold and dreary out there. Take a brisk “stroll” mid-day or evening and bathe yourself in the peaceful ambience of sunlight or moonlight on snow. Or walk for a few minutes at dawn, intending that you will have a glorious light-filled day. 
  2. Light therapy, also called phototherapy, works wonders! Lightboxes simulate sunlight and are an inexpensive and effective way to naturally stimulate serotonin and melatonin. Spend an hour each day under the lamp, working at your desk or doing the dishes or watching TV.
  3. Create positive new traditions in the winter. Instead of taking your vacation in the summer months, opt to get out of Dodge in mid-winter. It will give you something to look forward to, and if you head to a warm climate, you can soak up the sun.
  4. Stay in the Light. Stay connected with positive people, places, and things. If someone continuously brings you down, then stay away from that person. Watch an uplifting and light-hearted series. Stay in touch with your feelings and do what makes you feel good.
  5. Clear your chakras. Keep your energy field in balance and your chakras cleansed through meditative practices or energy healing. You will feel more energized and open to seeing things in a brighter light. 
  6. Create joy. Listen to music and dance. Use aromatherapy to surround yourself with uplifting scents. Splurge on a mani-pedi or facial and know you deserve to be pampered.
  7. Meditate. Next to using a light box, bringing more spiritual light into your life through meditation is a sure fire way to beat the winter blahs. Ramp up your meditation program, fitting in 20 minutes each, morning and evening. 

If you’ve been feeling out of sorts due to SAD, you’re not alone. There are literally millions of people struggling just like you this time of year. But now you know that there is something you can do to be happy.