And so to bed as sleep performs her magic spell ~
Her endless charms, that would disarm
The busy mind from all that was todays alarm.
There are times in our busy lives when sleep, for whatever reason, takes on the form of opponent - the ambivalent adversary we have to engage during the hours of darkness, if we are to recharge enough to plough through the commitments of the following day. Then, there are the unfortunate ones who feel powerless against imbalances which they know make sleep like catching the slipperiest of fish with your bare hands. Yes, for many, sleep becomes something we have to do but has ceased to be either natural or enjoyable.
Its easy to get caught up in doing and being busy so that sleep is shoe-horned into the remaining space in one's life. Effects of worry aside, perhaps you are unfortunate enough to be the subject of a biochemical disruption caused by faulty diet or medication, unwittingly driving a wedge of wakefulness into the rest you had planned and yearn for.
Whatever the cause of your diminished sleep, I do know that whenever people have received a good massage, it's like pressing the RESET button. Without fail, a good nights' sleep ensues and it becomes much easier to return to a realistic sleeping pattern. The niggles and agitation that have subconsciously built up are released and the whole body can relax fully - a case of reconnecting to a state we'd inadvertently moved away from and remembering how 'relaxed' actually feels.
A few pointers that help you get a good nights' rest:
- Eat your evening meal 3-4 hours before bed time.
- Don't go to bed hungry - snack if necessary.
- If your mind is full of thoughts, write them down before bed, so your mind doesn't have to remember them.
- Don't overdo the alcohol.
- Stay still if you want to meet sleep - movement makes the brain think you're still active.
- Avoid using up all your energy before bed - some is needed for the repairs that occur when you sleep.
- Sleep comes in 90 minute cycles to avoid setting your alarm in the middle of a cycle, or you'll feel groggy all day.
Because massage can address many issues that give feelings of unease and goes a long way to calming and balancing the nervous systems of the body, it is the tool of choice in terms of prevention. Consider incorporating regular massage into your life if you want to shrug off the frown of tiredness.
Winter is often a time of introspection, consolidation and a desire to hibernate - all good for a time, but not things you want to uphold for too long - it gets boring! So, with the absence of a defined lurch into spring this year, and the drawn out wet weather, many people are feeling pressured and worn by the lack of upliftment that we expect at this time of year.
With spring, we expect feelings of awakening, upliftment, forward movement. This year, a hiatus seemed apparent - things were somehow different. We found ourselves having to stop and think more about what we want, what we're doing and why - in other words, questioning what we've taken for granted. Indeed, these are times of change, so having a questioning mind would certainly be the order of the day if we are to consider the road ahead.
A renewed outlook highlights how we easily become complacent within a society that is built upon expectations of what we feel we should have access to and what should be provided for us. We see the uselessness of things we once held dear and how the need for some things we thought we needed is now no longer apparent. It becomes evident that being more responsible for ourselves and what we attract into our lives is essential if we want to build a more suitable foundation for our own future.
When you choose to wake up from the dumbed-down slumbers of the have-it-all society and have a more mindful approach to living, its easier to accept the power that being responsible for yourself brings. Making up your own mind about anything and everything that comes your way makes the weapons of guilt and blame useless against you because your own truth makes you stronger than you ever imagined. The trick is to drop the notion some would have you believe that life is about struggle - it's not. As my uncle once told me - "there are only two things you need to remember about life ... Acceptance and Humility".
Why not start each day by taking a long, slow breathe and letting the river of life take you where it will, knowing that all will unfold perfectly for your highest good.
From my truth to yours ...
There will be times when, despite what you thought were your best efforts, your body no longer behaves in the way you thought it would, 'should', or how it used to. There could be any number of reasons creating change within your body, but the main thing is to notice that a change has indeed occurred. If you back track a little, you may recall when something in your daily life changed, how you responded and hopefully gain some insight into the effects within you.
The above can be applied to most scenarios and can serve to help you join up the dots of your own experiences, thus enabling you to tune into the relationship of cause and effect in your body. When you've become used to questioning the situations or choices you make and their effects, the natural outcome is that you become far more conscious of the processes of change, even as they occur. In time, you are able to develop your own maintenance monitor to run permanently in the background of your daily life, providing the information you need to streamline your existence. We all do this naturally to some extent, but usually forget that it needs updating once in a while.
So, realizing you are no longer a well-balanced, functioning being is one thing, but it has become common practice to look around for a methodology or system that we can use to resume balance - a system that's been written by A.N. Other as an expert in their field. The problem with this approach is that we are all slightly different from each other, so at best, we can only achieve a degree of improvement. Now, as we all possess the innate ability to heal ourselves, why not try to write your own program to follow? If one of the main reasons to follow someone else's model is purely one of a lack of time to research and experiment, then making a habit of being more mindful about what works for you and what doesn't will highlight just how much you already know about yourself. (Keeping a notebook with you to jot things down throughout the day is useful here).
Perhaps we decide to try out someone else's diet - do we only use that model because in our subconscious we already know that there are aspects of that diet that will not work for us, but we sidestep responsibility and blame the diet for not achieving the desired results? If we take responsibility for ourselves and make a conscious choice about what we want to achieve, there is no reason at all why we cannot make that happen, because in our bodies, we already have the instinct, the innate wisdom, that tells us what we need to be healthy. Whether we choose to notice and take action upon this information is up to us.
The use of other peoples' models can suffice to provide us with an alternative angle, but if we utilize the mindset that helps piece together our own strategy, making our own model can be an ongoing work that fits more closely with our ever-changing lives and give us the confidence to make necessary adjustments a natural part of daily life.
This has been a tough year, one way or another - not because of anything dramatic, but because of the internal adjustments that have been needed to clear a path to the future.
My analogy of how this year has felt to me has been like an almost-empty tube of toothpaste, where the very last dregs have been squeezed up to the neck, awaiting their ultimate release into the wider world. The squeeze has been present, in one way or another, for many people in order to look back to the past and check for anything that has been overlooked, swept under the carpet or otherwise ignored. So as well as emotional shifts, we may have been physically clearing our own spaces to get rid of everything that no longer fits. We may have spent weeks feeling 'spaced out' as we've been re-tuned to a different frequency (now there's a thought!).
If we are to begin the change that our world needs, then everything needs to be cleared out before we can move forward into our personal and collective futures. The Ghandi saying 'Be the change you want to see' applies now more than ever before.
So remember - even when life makes you squirm, you're on the right path. Keep letting go of the internal struggle before it becomes external, and take small but confident steps towards what you know in your heart to be right, knowing that by the end of the year, the spade work will be done.
Everytime my body catches me out with some mechanism I'd forgotten about, I feel both amazed and delighted.
Recently, I picked up an innocuous cold virus from my grandson, not realising it would knock me out of circulation for a few days with its' severity. The first day it started, I was rather taken aback at the speed, from morning to evening, at which it developed into a fully fledged cold. That night, I didn't sleep well, feeling achy and restless, and the next day, I continued to get worse. My head and just below the base of the neck were marked by blotchy fever marks where most of the virus seemed to be active. The rest of my body felt freezing cold - probably because all hands were on deck with the inflammation. By evening, I had to go to bed. I was so cold that I piled on my winter quilt and had a hot water bottle between my thighs (quickest way to get warm).
I soon went to sleep, despite feeling nauseous, and woke 2.5 hours later really cooking! The fever had broken and I had already begun to feel a release. My head started to clear and breathing became easier once more. This was a natural, medication-free process.
The point of this tale is that the body has the innate wisdom to seize an opportunity to clean house whenever there is sufficient energy to generate such a response (this is good sign). Those who perhaps don't eat the foods necessary to generate this kind of response may take much longer to get rid of toxins or infections from their body (viruses can lay dormant around the spine and sacrum for many a while, just waiting for the system to be depleted enough for them to multiply).
Stop and think before you take any off-the-peg medications to thwart a cold. Know that it is a clearing process and should be allowed to run its course, if the body is to be given the chance to do what it does best. Sometimes, we just get in the way ;-)
Please do your own research and work on trusting your instinct more.
As the world at large lurches from one economic crisis to the next, petrol and therefore food prices continue to escalate, we all feel the squeeze. So, when I talk to people about buying organic foods and avoiding anything processed, the first thing they think about is the cost. Understandable, but is that what's best for you or I?
Over the years, with much experimentation on my family, I have found that everyone is happier and satisfied for longer on smaller portions of organic food than large meals of highly processed mass-produced foods. Think about it. Logic tells you that if food is grown/fed upon ground that is cared for with a mind towards it's nutrient levels and long term yields, against the rape and chemical feed ethos of large conglomerates - well, you can work out which will be the richer in nutrients. Remember, the higher the nutrient levels, the more quickly your body is satisfied, therefore the less you need to eat.
I could go on and on about mass-produced versus organic but you can find all that out for yourself. What I really want to suggest is that in order to start being able to find your own truth about exactly what is good for you, you might give the ancient art of dowsing a try. There are plenty of sites online that tell you how to get started with a pendulum but I'm suggesting you get practising (it can take a while to be a trustworthy device because you have to train your mind) so that you can use it to check out which foods are best for you to eat. You will, of course, find plenty of disparaging remarks about dowsing, but with persistence and detachment, you can train yourself to obtain an accurate response for yourself. This is a good exercise in taking back the responsibility for your own health and improving your instinct.
We're all different from each other and our biochemistry is prone to changes on a daily basis. You can get used to checking what foods are best for you at different meals whilst you're at home to retrain the instinct you were born with. Then, if you adopt the mindset of consuming only nutrient rich foods for the bulk of the time, you'll be setting yourself up to be much healthier and happier.
Experiment and enjoy bringing back the responsibility for yourself.
The long winter days are slowly retreating but much greyness yet remains. Our bodies echo the heaviness of hearts that long for sunshine and it takes more effort than usual to remain cheerful. So what can we do to see us through to the brighter days of spring and smooth the transition into summer?
To begin, we can choose foods that naturally help cleanse the liver, making us feel more calm and brightening up those thinking processes (cleaning liver and gall bladder also helps get rid of bags under the eyes). Eat lots of beetroot, in whatever form you like, but if you choose to juice your beets, no more than a small glass at a time or you may feel nauseous. A much more pleasant way to eat your beets is a raw beet salad - this is mine:
Peel and roughly chop 3-4 beets into the blender. Add half that quantity of peeled & chopped swede, salt, black pepper, a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a handful of fresh coriander. Blend all together for about 30 seconds until the big chunks have been broken down, then turn into a serving dish and enjoy, either alone or with a protein source of your choice.
Another great liver cleanser is something most of us can lay our hands on - dandelion leaves. The young ones are best as they are not so bitter (best ones grow in partial shade). Wash thoroughly before use. Tip: If you're ever away from home and suffer from an upset tummy, grab a few dandelion leaves and chew well.
Ease up on the consumption of grain foods as these tend to slow down food transit through the gut, and it is preferable to have good transit time, especially during a time of cleansing. Instead, step up consumption of raw foods - raw (organic) carrots eaten 1 hour before meals are superb for clearing endotoxins from the gut and ensure you're drinking enough water.
Just one more thing, we may be getting twitchy about the onset of spring but it's still important to get enough sleep. Aim to get to bed before midnight and get 7.5 hrs sleep (better than 8 which I'll tell you about another time).
Remember, you're still feeding the roots that support our emergence into summer so treat them nicely and you'll look and feel your vibrant best when you want to!
Nourish and nurture - always
These times of quickening energies increase our sense of urgency to finish those things we know we've swept under the carpet some time ago. But there's also a fear of the speed at which events are occurring (or perhaps you're feeling so stuck in fear that you're energy is literally constipated!) which is manifesting in a lot of arm/shoulder and gut issues now. As the ego battles hard to hold sway and we may unwittingly be clinging to outmoded ideas that no longer serve us, the harder we resist, the more turbulence will be felt - there is only one path now. The challenge then is to submit - totally. Scary? Possibly, but when we do, it's a dizzying experience of pure delight, and all the pain of resistance has the opportunity to fall away.
Go with what you know to be the truth in your heart of hearts - your truth. Rub that arm/shoulder/gut with the care it deserves (or come and see me to do it for you!). Acknowledge that your infinite spirit has a portion of its existence in this physical form - right here, right now. This does not mean that we need to be weighted down by the physical form in any way - for when we let go, our spirit is free to soar to great heights and laugh at our self-imposed misery. Be happy - life was never meant to be a struggle :-D
The speedy arrival of deepest winter has doubtless caught a few people off guard and some of you may be finding it hard to shake off that feeling of being chilled to your bones. Well, here are a few tips I use to keep warm without breaking the bank.
- Eat enough good quality protein and fat - your body needs more of these to stay warm. Every meal should contain protein, fat and carbs (not necessarily from grains) in the quantities that suit you individually. Best fats are butter, olive oil and coconoil.
- Drink enough water - it's a conductor.
- Breathe properly - if we're cold, it's common to shallow breath because we tense up. Breathing more deeply and making an effort to relax gets your circulation going better.
- Make time for a brisk walk every day to really get your heart and circulation pumping - you'll stay warm for hours!
- If you do find yourself chilled to the bone, quickest way to get warm is a hot water bottle between the thighs - there's a rich supply of blood vessels there and you'll be warm in around 2 minutes.
- Wear extra layers on the legs - thighs lose lots of heat. Other places where we lose a lot of heat from are neck, wrists and head.
- Be mentally prepared - resistance is futile!!
Although regular body maintenance is no stranger to me, my arms are not quite long enough to apply pressure to the soft tissues of the back in a way that another person could, so I have been getting by for too long on the flannel work that I advocate to one and all. It therefore came as a sharp reminder when I recently received a very thorough back massage from a friend and was so wiped out the following day that I actually fell asleep 3 times!
What this means is that numerous toxins and possibly viruses which had doubtless been enjoying a long holiday around the bones of my skeleton were suddenly disturbed (by the massage) and left to flow, unfettered, through my body, increasing my toxic load to the extent that my system had gone into overdrive to cope with them! Fortunately, I knew what was going on.
The moral of this story is that we can all benefit from regular (at least every couple of months) massage and that we should all get some form of regular treatment to clean out and stimulate the soft tissues of the body. Failing to do so only leads to increasing lethargy and toxic load and greater propensity for chronic health problems .
We can all stay in great shape by investing in ourselves and getting a regular massage, lots of fresh air and enough of water. If you want continual good health from your body, you have to be prepared to invest time and effort. This same advice goes for getting over the indulgences of the festive season ... good luck with that one :-)
.. says the Tao. To me, this phrase is often displayed in the bodies of the clients I see - manifest as painful symptoms of long term tension and the effect of much inward struggle.
I recently had occasion to work with a group of fairly enlightened people and was struck by the inconsistency of what some people subscribe to outwardly, yet have not assimilated into their inner reality. Instead, they seem happy (?) to put up with long term pain, gut problems, food intolerances - the list is endless - because they cannot bring themselves to trust enough to let go of the hidden fears that cause the physical problem. It is so easy to put the blame onto a condition that is accepted as a given, all the time pushing aside the wisdom that all we ever need to know is right inside of each of us. The real truth is that we create everything that occurs to us, and therefore, have the power to choose not to have something in our lives.
However, the struggle any of us carry for whatever reason is always tempering if we take the time to look at the issue and learn what the body is trying to convey ...
Lymph problems tend to be a warning that the mind needs to be recentered on the essentials of life - love and joy. Those who carry too much weight tend to be oversensitive; fat often represents fear and shows a need for protection (fear may be a cover for hidden anger and a resistance to forgive). Weight apportioned to specific parts of the body can have it's own significance - i.e. in the thighs, it equates to packed childhood anger - often rage at the father. Belly fat can be the effect of being denied nourishment - either physical or emotional.
During a massage treatment, clients are frequently surprised by how much emotion is stored in their body. The client feels this emotion initially as a pain but then as I connect to the source of the pain, their subconscious is able to choose to release it, usually because the control mechanisms and perception of pain by the brain are bypassed. These kind of emotional releases go a long way to helping clients understand that they cannot be in control all the time and that daring to feel ultimately plays a much bigger part in their well being than they previously thought.
A regular amount of time spent alone and free from distractions is a simple way to give to yourself and listen to what your inner voice and body are ready to tell you. Make that time a regular part of your life and open up to becoming more.
Today I was clearing out my bedroom when I came across something I'd jotted down some years earlier ... I want to share this short piece with anyone who finds it difficult to relax.
"The surest way to become Tense, Awkward and Confused is to develop a mind that tries too hard - one that thinks too much!" - Benjamin Hoff, the Tao of Pooh.
The universe will help us, but we need to do a part as well. Here's an acronym - My Part - to help you remember what it means to do that:
Too often, we tell ourselves the only way to get from point A to point B - or Z - is to tense up, obsess a little (or a lot!), and live in fear and anxiety until what we want takes place. That isn't the path to success - it's the path to fear and anxiety.
Accept, Relax, Breathe - let go. Trust yourself, God, and the universe to manifest the best possible destiny when the time is right for you.
Try this this affirmation whenever you feel anxious or fearful: "God (or Higher Self if you prefer), help me make the journey from fear and control to letting go and stepping into my true power".
From my heart to yours - Angela.
Picture yourself for a moment - at what speed are you rushing through life, working your way through the endless list of things to do, bringing balance and enjoyment by adding suitable distractions..?
The speed at which we operate on any given day will be dictated by how much rest we give ourselves and the food we eat but we also realise early on that we can falsely affect that speed with the use of stimulants to speed us up or alcohol to slow us down. Unfortunately, both of these have a direct effect upon the hydration of our body and, when you consider that this process can begin around the end of our teenage era, that's quite a lot of dehydration over the years.
So how do the degrees of dehydration manifest? Well, the body has to ensure that the brain is always sufficiently hydrated or our thinking processes and running of the bodily systems are affected. There's a pecking order of importance in the hydration needs of the body so, in order to ensure the brain has it's prerequisite, fluids may be taken from other systems of the body, thus creating malfunction there - so there may be inefficient digestion, constipation within the gastrointestinal system. Think more long term - a drying out of the synovial membranes which cushion the joints .... arthritis? A build up of proteins/ debris in soft tissue ... lymphatic stagnation/cellulitis...? Dryness within the lungs ... athsma..?
Obviously, these suggestions are very simplified and are presented only to give you the gist of what may occur. Suffice to say the ramifications of insufficient fluid in the body are far greater than most would perceive but the ramifications are huge. The operating system for adaptation to dehydration is the same as for stress. Dehydration is the number one stressor of the human body!
So ... minimise consumption of caffeine and alcohol, drink around 4 fluid oz of water per hour (4 gulps) and take a few grains of salt now and then. If you do this and keep notes over a week of changes you have noticed, you may be pleasantly surprised at what you observe.
Blessings to you all