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Medicinal Teas – Nature’s Gifts

It wasn’t until my first son was born that I began using tea for its medicinal properties. He had a sensitive tummy and our Yugoslavian caregiver recommended using chamomile tea to soothe the discomfort. He loved it and it worked wonders.

Herbal Teas and Tisanes

I was born into a family of mainly English origin and therefore exposed to tea from a young age. It was a staple in my daily diet like coffee is for many others. However we only consumed black tea with milk. Though it is still part of my diet, today my cupboard is filled with so many more wonderful medicinal teas or tisanes.  Also known as herbal teas, tisanes (pronounced ti-zahn) are not actually teas at all. Instead they are infusions made from leaves, bark, roots, berries, seeds, and spices. Common tisanes include mint, chamomile, tulsi, and rooibos. I regularly consume ginger/turmeric, nettle, dandelion, pau d”arco, holy basil and mint tisane’s today. They are soothing and I experience results for what each one provides for my body. Most are good hot or cold as well.

Over the years hosting Women’s Wellness Circles, I have had a couple of amazing presenters who really know about our local vegetation and how to use some of nature’s gifts to make healing tisanes. They are; Karen Stephenson of Edible Wild Food and Sarah Feiner who is currently studying Herbalism and deepening her knowledge of this fascinating field. Let me share with you some of my favourites and why I love them.

Ginger/Turmeric Blend

This is my all-time favourite especially through the winter months.

Ingredients:

  • Slice approx. 1 inch or 2.5cm of fresh ginger root
  • Slice approx. 3 medium size pieces of fresh turmeric root

Instructions:

  1. Put in a non-aluminum pot with 8 cups or 2 litres of fresh water.
  2. Bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer for 20 minutes. Feel free to add fresh squeezed lemon juice and/or honey to taste. Also adding ¼ tsp of black pepper will increase the absorption rate of turmeric.

Healing properties:

Anti-inflammatory, pain reduction, boosts brain power, helps digestion, improves blood circulation and stimulates your immune system to name a few.

Here are links to some excellent medicinal teas:

Whether you are looking for the medicinal properties of teas or just looking for a healthy alternative to black tea or plain water, exploring the world of herbals teas is lots of fun. Let me know what your favourites are. As we move into harvest time may we be thankful for the abundance that grows in our area.

You can connect with me by email or telephone, or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook too!

To our health & wellbeing,

Karen

Life May Be an Illusion – Let’s Make it Epic!

Joy is daily visits from our wild turkey neighbours

Have you ever heard the expression that “Life is Just an Illusion?” Humans have always searched for meaning and longed for the truth on why we are here and where we actually came from and go to. I remember as a child having some disturbing dreams about this unknown territory, yet thankfully have come to accept that for me – I know for sure that I am here now! This life feels very real.

Life on Earth

I have been reading a book on my new Kobo entitled: “Life on Earth”, by Mike Dooley.  It is like reading a book that incorporates thoughts of many others I have read including The Law of Attraction, A Course in Miracles, Return to Love… you get the idea. I had to smile at a passage I read last night and wanted to share it with you.

Concerning the world or dimensions, “before” and “after” time and space? Let it go. That you are alive now is indisputable. The important question then, is really, “What are you going to do about it?” It’s like being a fish born in and living its life in a fabulous, million-gallon aquarium while wondering about life beyond. That beyond is truly “incomprehensible”, if you try to wrap your head around it, you will have little traction. You are here, period. Wake up, discover, celebrate, and rock on. So what if you now have little idea of how or why you got in your “tank” and no idea of what will come next? Through observation, you can see that you will nevertheless call this place home your entire life.

You can notice that you are phenomenally powerful, that what you resist persists, and that what you think about, you bring about. That the energy moving you is free, that love is everywhere, that those sharing your space are as awesome. Scared and hopeful as you, and that your “tank” is a blooming paradise of splendor, beauty, diversity, simplicity, complexity, and abundance – all quite indescribable. Your “tank” is actually more like a gigantic, whirling, living, loving sphere…called Earth that constantly provides for you. This is not an accident. It loves you. Be here now.

The author doesn’t say he has all the answers that occupy our questioning minds, he acknowledges that we all have them.  If searching for answers to where we came from and where we go after this life are comforting or exciting and bring you meaning… awesome! If they stress you, then maybe it would serve us better to accept that planet Earth is our home and to be fully present to all the opportunity here for us to discover.

Putting Our Energy into Being Present

I must say that my list of things I want to do in this lifetime are endless. We have so much to explore and learn here.  I believe if I put all my energy into being present to the magic of each day and not plan every moment, I would feel fulfilled. It’s a constant balancing act for me – how much to plan and how much to just let go and go with the flow.

I smile every time I read one of Mike’s daily e-mails as he closes with saying, “Thoughts become things…choose good ones”.  This message is so simple, yet as in all truths; challenging to follow all the time. However, I am ready and willing to keep at it.

I wish everyone reading this good thoughts and good experiences! I love to hear from you so I welcome your thoughts.

You can connect with me by email or telephone, or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook too!

Happy Spring!

Karen

stress and imbalance playing in the dirt

Stress & Imbalance: Don’t Blame the Bugs

stress and imbalance playing in the dirt

Don’t Blame the Bugs is the title of an article in the winter edition of Pathways to Family Wellness Magazine that really spoke to me.  Because people come to me when they are dealing with some level of imbalance, I am constantly reminded how the majority of us view germs, bugs, viruses etc. The sense is that they are lurking around every corner waiting to get us and make us sick.

We must be diligent about keeping everything sanitary, use hand sanitizer, wash with antibacterial hand soap, stay away from anyone with a sniffle. There is a lot of pressure and focus on us to keep the shield up and that in itself is part of the imbalance and cause of undo stress.

Building Healthy Immune Systems

It begins with our children and learning once again to assist their bodies in building healthy immune systems.  Dr. Maya Shetreat-Klein writes about this in detail in her book called “The Dirt Cure”. She believes that children’s bodies naturally have the capacity to be healthy and heal when they have the tools to do so.

In her book she details a plan that starts with the soil, using fresh foods and nature to heal children from the inside out and outside in. She reveals the profound connections between food, nature and children’s health and explains how food is constantly changing kid’s bodies, brains and even genes – for better or for worse.

Our Health is More Than Just the Absence of Disease

I believe we are really starting to hear more of and accept that our health is more than just the absence of disease. It is about living our life with joy, purpose and respect for how we treat our bodies. Instead we have been bombarded with messages that create fear and that will have a stronger negative effect our immune system than what germs we are exposed to.

This article ends with a wonderful summary that I will share with you here.  It is the premise that I believe in and bring to all of my clients because true health is a whole mind, body and emotional package.

A Better Outlook

The outlook is not as gloomy as it might appear. We don’t need to be afraid of illness and disease. We are not the inevitable victims of vicious external pathogens waiting to strike us down at every grubby corner we may frequent.

Our health is sustained by the dynamic interplay of our emotions (the way we think, act and feel); our structure (our posture and the physical condition in which we maintain our bodies); and our biochemistry (the way we use food and other nourishment to maintain our function). These are largely under our personal control.

If we become unwell it is usually the result of the breakdown of this balance, and the bacteria and viruses which proliferate are a secondary consequence of that breakdown. They may in fact, have a vital function to perform in bringing things back to normal.

So, the next time you feel ill, don’t blame the bugs! Try instead to see where things may have gone wrong with your internal balancing process. Find the real cause of the disorder and see if you can, in some way, start correcting it. Seek ways to strengthen and sustain your own resilience and immunity.

As you learn to do so, you will begin to respect and understand the wonderful self-regulatory powers of your own body and mind.  Above all you will gain confidence that can eradicate the leading cause of disease, which is the fear itself!  (R.Newman Turner, N.D., D.O., B. Ac.).

Let’s feed our minds with information like this that brings the power back to where it really exists – within us. After such a beautiful family weekend here that was filled with sunshine, it is hard to deny the impact sunshine has on our outlook and balance in life.

I was drawn to the work that I do to keep balance in my own life and be able to share that with others so we can enjoy life to the fullest. Please feel free to share your tips and experiences here for others to learn from.

You can connect with me by email or telephone, or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook too!

Till next time!

Karen

Intention Words for 2017

Karen & Family

Our first southern holiday!

Happy 2017 to all… from a numerology perspective it is a “1” year representing new beginnings.  If you have followed my blogs over the years, you know that I create my Intention Words for each year instead of typical New Year’s resolutions.  They inspire me to focus my thoughts and actions to create very real results.

I took time just before Christmas to go on a personal 2 day retreat at Grey Heron with Andrea Mathieson.  The retreat allowed me to step away from my office and home activities and focus completely on what the energy of this New Year was calling me to step into.  It was very insightful, nourishing and surprising.

Reviewing 2016 Words of Intention

My 2016 words were Explore, Plan and Create and as I review the year, they definitely showed up in so many ways.

Exploring brought me to the Simplicity Online Course, A Dundun workshop, joining a Course in Miracles group, meeting an amazing hang drum/flute musician and my husband and I co-owning a classic motor coach with another couple. A really big exploration was planned in 2016 and manifested the first week of 2017. Which was a first-ever family trip to a southern all-inclusive destination for my husband’s 60th birthday! Amazing!

Planning resulted in a fabulous year of Women’s Wellness Circles, a series of Enneagram workshops, a new organic mattress from Dormio Beds and finally a new office move in December.

I was able to Create a new Reiki Retreat with my reiki mastery initiate and use my creative juices to design the layout of my new office.

New Intention Words for 2017

The new expansive energy of 2017 is calling me to bring in Stillness, Recycle, Technology Flow and Fearless Living.  Here is what comes up around these words currently, though I know they may manifest in completely different forms as the year unfolds.

Stillness

I am realizing the value of stillness as I mature in my life. I have always been a person who wants to experience and be part of all that attracts me in life.  This can result in having a very full schedule and even if it involves everything I love – too much is still too much!  I intend to plan stillness into every day as well as 1-2 day get ways throughout the year.

Recycle

This refers to preparing for renovations at our home.  Room by room I would like to see what can move on to a new home and make room for new space and creative expression.  Simple but BIG!

Technology Flow

Oh my, I have dodged this one for many years.  Just ask my sons who bought me an iPod many Christmas’s ago that is still in my drawer not being enjoyed as I had envisioned. I am going to solicit help to get comfortable with the capabilities of my iPod, iPhone, Pod Casts, digital photobooks, video etc. Who knows where this may lead. LOL!

Finally, Fearless Living!

This was really inspired by a book I read on my holiday on my brand new Kobo entitled “Dying to be Me” by Anita Moorjani. A true story of Anita’s near death experience and the message she is sharing with the world.  It certainly spoke about so many things that I have heard, read and to a large degree, believe to be true, however it was the right synopsis and the right time that has really resonated deep within me. I do not know how this will manifest in the coming year and beyond however I do know I will keep open to exploring it in every way.

For those of you in this geographic area – Karen Strumos will be talking about the numerology of 2017 at this Thursday’s Women’s Wellness Circle in Sharon.

I have no doubt it will be a super amazing ride around the sun for 2017. So many of you shared this exercise last year and I hope you are moved to do the same this year. We are magnificent creators and we were made for these times.

What is calling you this year? I encourage you to share it.

It’s great to share and learn from each other. I would love to hear from you. You can connect with me by email or telephone, or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook too!

To our health & wellbeing,

Karen

Manifesting a New Office Space

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For the past couple of years, I have been listening to my inner urge to find new space to do my healing work.  Where I have been is wonderful and has served me perfectly for the past 11 years and I was ready for more.  More space, more possibility, and a place to make my own tea!

I kept my ears and eyes open and looked at few different spots but nothing was resonating. I realized how much I liked my current location. So if I was to stay there, the only space that provided more room and the flexibility I was looking for was a suite downstairs and it was occupied.  I knew from conversations with the business in there, they were also looking for another location that was bigger still for their whole operations. Read more

Reducing Our Sugar Intake After “That Sugar” Documentary

Woman handcuffed to a cupcake

This week we had a community viewing of a documentary entitled “That Sugar” hosted by the Green Connections Network.  It was a brilliant coverage of what happened when a perfectly healthy Australian soon-to-be father decided to do an experiment.  He had been clean of sugar in his diet for 3 years prior to the 60 day experiment. Then he decided to reintroduce sugar to his diet and the results were astonishing.

What Happened After Adding Sugar to his Diet After 3 Years Without It? Read more

Metamorphosis – Breaking Through Blocks

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A poem by Danna Faulds – Metamorphosis

“Called beyond the confines of this chrysalis by a force I cannot see or name, I am compelled by pain and something bigger than myself to leave the protection of all that I have known.

There is struggle, doubt, an awkward setting forth.  Finally I break free of the cocoon and find myself surrounded by air and light.

I dare to act, still not knowing what I am; instinct, or maybe faith bids me move forward, make the leap, explore this mystery of change and flight.

I find myself with wings that dwarf my former world. Unfurled, they dry quickly in the sun. I, who expected to spend my days crawling, now teach myself to soar.

Such a rush of wind and freedom – that first flight teaches me more that I had learned in a lifetime of crawling.”

Read more

Top Hormone Disruptors

happy-hormones

image courtesy of authenticdiscovery.com.au

I have been unable to ignore a message coming to me lately to share on my blog.  Hormone disruptors are a key component affecting our core health and the ability to keep our body strong.  I respect the research and work of The Environmental Working Group and as I reviewed their site, I found this wonderful blog post that I would like to share in its complete form with you. Read more

Fall’s Changing Cycles & Women’s Wellness Circles

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What an incredible summer we are experiencing!  Somehow as we arrive at September, our world still changes cycles.  We are in the rich harvest time of our area with Farmers Markets loaded with produce and for those ambitious few who capture summer in a jar; it is a busy time. I love seeing the beautiful colours of summer filling my jars ready to provide nourishment throughout the winter months.  On my to-do list are peaches, chili sauce, apple sauce and beets.  Yum! Read more

How I Decreased my Tooth Gum Pockets

Last year was a turning point for me with regards to my oral health. I have had receding gums since my 20’s and my gum pockets have continued to deepen over the years.  I am so happy to share with you today how I decreased my tooth gum pockets in the last year. Read more

Are you in Balance? What’s your Wake-up Call?

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Being out of balance is a result of not paying attention to our needs, physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually.  What is your wake-up call that brings you back to awareness?

Encouraging balance in life…

My tag line for Inside Out is “encouraging balance in life…” I chose this because it has been part of my journey and continues to require tuning in and presence.  I have identified some keys that bring me back to balance and the process just might work for you too. Read more

Collective Consciousness – Fear or Grace?

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I received a reflective writing from Caroline Myss in my inbox last week that struck a strong chord with me. The article was inspired by the Orlando massacre however she brought it to the level of the collective consciousness which we can also call the collective unconscious and that had me take a personal look.  If we are, at some level, one, then how am I being in my life?  Are there places in my life calling for more grace? Read more

Breathe – It’s Nature’s Free Medicine

Young happy woman enjoying fresh air in autumn, intentionally toned.

It’s something we take completely for granted – our breath; and yet it is one of the most powerful medicines we can utilize for so many benefits.  And, best of all, it’s FREE!  Being conscious of how we breathe can have many health benefits while, on the other hand, not being mindful of our breathing can affect us both physically and emotionally. Read more

Oil Pulling – A Super Simple Healing Process?

Trending oral health practice of Oil Pulling or Swishing

I have been reading a lot about the Ayurveda practice of Oil Pulling.

“Enthusiasts of oil pulling, also called Kavala Graha or Gandusha, claim that toxins and bacteria in the body build up in the mouth and that swishing or holding oil in the mouth for a prolonged amount of time will draw out these impurities or wash them from the mouth. Once the swishing is complete, the oil is spit out into a sink or trash basket.”

via LiveScience.com 

As someone who has had sensitive teeth and gums for most of my adult life, I am always curious about exploring oral hygiene practices. The information online regarding oil pulling ranges from the gamut of being a complete hoax to claims of it healing intestinal diseases, heart and kidney disease and sleeplessness. I tend to look for the relatable and common sense benefits that some people share.  These include: whiter teeth, less bleeding gums, and a decrease of halitosis. Read more

September Time Expectations – Life Balance

Munro Armstrong

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Here we are at the gates of September when life kicks back into high gear. Have you noticed the change in expectations on our time which plays havoc with life balance?

Whether you have children in school or not, life seems to jump into warp speed once September arrives at our door. I say ‘it seems to’ because we all know that time is a constant however depending on what we are doing, our experience of time can change drastically. If we are under a tight deadline to complete something, time seems to fly yet if we are sick in bed for a day unable to sleep due to discomfort then a day could drag on forever! There is a middle ground too. It happens when we are doing something we love and we’ll say we have no sense of what time it is and we don’t care.

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Commitments to Building Personal Resilience

Marise Foster - click image to enlarge

Marise Foster – click image to enlarge

This year I have been focusing on building my well-being and spiritual practices. I have always had many interests and love to learn. One of the challenges this brings is that I have not been committed to a specific personal practice on a daily basis. After 5 months of making a commitment to myself to do a daily practice; I am realizing just how much it contributes to building my overall personal resilience. Read more

Dream Projects – My Fairy Garden

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click image to enlarge

Last fall I decided it was time to take action on one of my dream projects…my Fairy Garden. I know – you are thinking, what constitutes a Fairy Garden? I have 3 sons so I have had that question arise a time or two. My vision was to have a garden located outside my home office window that I could gaze out to when I was home working on the computer. It would be a place that invited nature to interact and I could watch and enjoy the happy scenery. It all started when I bought a wonderful bird house from our church talent auction that was made by one of our elders. I asked my husband to put it up outside my office window where I could watch the birds come and go. Read more

Your Lifestyle Affects Your Body

biophoton and reiki treatment newmarket

In keeping with my last blog, I will continue on the path of our bodies from a different angle. How our lifestyle choices directly affect our body. This is something I experience in my practice all the time so I got very excited when I read Lissa Rankine’s book, “Mind over Medicine “, as she brings scientific proof to this very concept. Here is an excerpt from her book: Read more

Dear Body…a Letter to Me

reiki master NewmarketAs I mused about what to share this week, a client came and told me about an article she has just read in a local publication. It was a letter written by a woman to her body and my client said I am going to put this letter where I can read it every day and remember how special my body is! She believed that it was likely many of us could relate to the essence of the message. I agree…it is a common theme. Here is the letter:

Dear Body, Read more

Earth Month – Health Benefits of Beeswax Candles

reiki master NewmarketIn my reiki classes and practice days I always have a beautiful beeswax pillar candle set in the middle of a table alter surrounded by crystals. We light it at the opening of our time together and extinguish it after our final prayer circle. I always felt that it provided more than a beautiful centerpiece and after listening to a networking colleague share his wisdom on the health benefits of pure beeswax, I understood why.  And since it is earth month, I thought I would share what I have learned. Read more

Why Reiki?

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click image to enlarge

One morning after handing my middle son over to our new sitter while he cried hysterically, I also cried all the way to the office. I sat in the parking lot for some time to gain my composure and walked in the door. A close colleague saw me and immediately took my arm leading me to a quiet room to ask what was going on. I told her I just didn’t think I could keep going like this; that I didn’t bring my sons into this world for someone else to raise. I missed being with them more and I was exhausted. She smiled and said; “What you need is Reiki”. I didn’t even know what that was. “Why Reiki?” I asked. Her reply was that it would help me find my truth. Read more

Love Languages – Revisited

How to Love YourselfA few years ago I wrote about “The Five Love Languages” as shared by author/speaker Gary Chapman. See post here. I have found the wisdom in this work to be most valuable in the past for my own inter-personal relationships. The interesting thing with life is that common issues can circle around and present themselves in new ways as the years unfold. And that is exactly what I realized last week as thoughts and conversations were focused on Valentine’s Day both with clients and in the media coverage.

Let me back up a wee bit. As each New Year begins, instead of resolutions, I have enjoyed coming up with 3-4 words that represent my high level intentions for the year ahead. This year my words are: Read more

3 Secrets About Energy and Alternative Healing

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click image for more info

The last week of November, our presenter for the York Region Women’s Circle was Donna Smith-Montcreiffe who shared first hand with us the research she has just completed for her upcoming book to be released in March 2015 on Energy or Alternative Healing. We had an incredible evening that stretched our thinking of healing and of the whole human experience. Donna focused on 3 main areas for the evening which included past-life regression, alternative healing and out of body experiences. She read a case study for each of these areas after talking about some of her travels to meet healers and the corresponding healing sessions she had the opportunity to observe. Read more

8 Ways to Support Your Immune System

supporting the immune systemI participated on a panel of experts at the recent Annual Richmond Hill Library Health Fair with 7 other incredible practitioners. We were given the opportunity to introduce our specific health modalities and then the moderator guided us through a few questions pertinent to the season. It was a wonderful experience to realize how unified we were on our overall principals AND the different perspectives we brought to the table that served the whole spectrum of well-being. A super important focus for this time of year was being asked to give our 1 unique tip for supporting a healthy immune system. Here are 8 ways from the list of experts. (I hope I remember them correctly!)

Angela Dacey:  Bring the colour RED into your life. Red is for physical and sexual energy and passion. It is stimulating and energizing, therefore it is helpful for tiredness and lethargy, to stimulate low blood pressure, to boost sluggish circulation. Red helps build up our confidence so we can be more comfortable with our body. Read more

Weekend in the Woods

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click image to enlarge

I just spent the most amazing weekend in the woods out in the Hockley Valley; an event hosted by Visions in the Woods proprietor Deborah Kolody and a team of incredible leaders.

It was an outdoor event literally in the beautiful woods of Hockley with many vendors sharing their gifts and services with each other and the participants. The theme was experiencing the elements of water, fire, wind, earth and storm and I must say they were present at every level. Read more

What is the Message from the Red Tailed Hawk?

Red-tailed Hawk This past month we have experienced some wild weather patterns in southern Ontario and it was on one of those thunderstorm days that a Red Tailed Hawk shared a message with me and my friend.

We were waffling about whether to head out for our scheduled 5pm Nordic pole walk as the skies were quite ominous however; we changed locations and decided to give it a try. Leaving from my place on a rural road, we head out for a quick walk and chat before beginning the evening supper activities. The winds were quite strong which gave a sense of anticipation. My attention was drawn above to a beautiful hawk circling above…how I love to watch the birds of prey as they are on the lookout for their next catch. As we moved along, I noticed that the hawk was now about 200 meters ahead of us and just hovering in the sky on the north side of the roadway. Read more

Building Character – Growing your Own Fresh Veggies

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click image to enlarge

For the past few years I have added the joy of keeping a small vegetable garden for our family’s enjoyment. Though we are in the heart of the fertile Holland Marsh, nothing compares to the opportunity to go out your back door and pick your own freshly grown and nurtured veggies to accompany any meal.

Though we are on a country property with lots of wildlife around, my first year was clear sailing without even having a fence protecting the space. I did grow marigolds around the perimeter which gave happy colour all summer and seemed to distract curious four legged nibblers.

Read more

Personal Sustainability

Living healthyI had the opportunity to appear on Rogers Daytime TV this morning as part of the Green Connections Networking group I belong to. I wanted to link being healthy with being green and sustainable.  I have been part of this great green group for over a year now and am so impressed with the personal conviction that each of us shares towards living in a more sustainable way, no matter what our business segment is. I have noticed that people who take care of themselves also have a higher propensity to make greener choices overall in life. I prepared a multiple choice fact sheet to work with for the interview segment that I believe might be of interest to you as readers.  I have highlighted the correct answer.

Read more

Living Happy – 10 Ways to Longevity

Hawaii

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My husband and I just returned from a beautiful holiday in Hawaii where we toured around Oahu for a couple of days and then flew to Maui to live in a beach house shared with 2 other couples for 10 days.  It could not have been a more perfect holiday; with ideal weather, vistas to fill every sense, excursions to expand our knowledge and our athletic skills and good friends to laugh and share it all with. We certainly made some plans for the top activities we wanted to experience and the rest of the time we allowed the day to unfold by tuning into what felt good. I chose to be completely “off” of work mode and completely “on” enjoying the time with my husband and friends.  I arrived back on Friday and still had no idea what I wanted to share next in my blog.  As I was catching up on the inbox…I came across this wonderful article in a Hay House e-mail about 10 ways to live happy and was reminded how much I enjoyed Lissa’s book.  Enough so, that I have given it to clients and friends this year. It is a perfect segway for keeping a little Island feel inside as I live each day!

10 Ways to Live Happy for 100 Years

man_1125In her public television special Heal Yourself: Mind Over Medicine, Dr. Lissa Rankin shares a story of Stamatis Moraitis. (The New York Times featured him in a recent article called “The Island Where People Forget to Die.”)

Stamatis Moraitis was a WWII veteran from Greece who came to the U.S. to get treatment for his arm that was mangled in combat. He wound up settling in Boynton Beach, Florida where he married a Greek-American woman, had three children, had a good job in manual labor, bought a three-bedroom house and a 1951 Chevrolet.

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Reiki in the Kitchen

Karen Armstrong - Reiki Master Newmarket

Last weekend I taught a Reiki Level 2 certification class. It was a joyful experience in so many ways.  As we sat down to lunch, one of my students commented that he didn’t know what he looked forward to more, the teachings or the yummy home-made lunch!  He even suggested that I start a new blog entitled “Reiki in the Kitchen!”  Well, I chose to start out with a single blog on this topic because it really did speak to me on the capacity of bringing the healing power of reiki to whatever we do.

I love to cook and prepare meals that nourish our soul and to sit at a table with others to share just adds more joy to the whole event!  When we spend time at the reiki training to open our heart and learn the sacred teachings of the Usui natural healing system, it only seems to fit that we also take time to nourish our bodies with healthful food to support the day.  I love to take time looking through my cook book collection to find just the right dishes to share for the time of year. I tend to focus around a soup dish and this past weekend was no exception.  I chose a recipe from Julie Daniluk’s book entitled “Meals that Heal Inflammation” called Ginger Butternut Soup. I will share the recipe below.  Served along with a salad of fresh baby greens, basmati rice and bread, it warmed our bellies and prepared us for the afternoon session.

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Things to Remember When the Shift Hits the Fan

GoingWithTheFlowHave you been noticing the shifts lately?  You know the ones that are bringing up old stuff that are calling to be released!  Planetary influences are all about “releasing what no longer serves us” so I have been noticing with many clients and in my own life opportunities to release and to transform our thoughts and perceptions.  I took my reiki mastery training with Dean Noblett and Rebecca Couch of Heartlight in Schomberg.  Rebecca is an excellent writer and she posted this piece on Spirit Library that fits perfectly for the energies taking place right now. Here are some things to remember when the shift hits the fan!

Dean & RebeccaProcess Your Emotions Honestly Feeling makes you human. Allow your emotions to express themselves within you truthfully. Just be with them as they arise, because you have a right to feel however you do. Stay with them until you can name them – but don’t get stuck in them and don’t hurt yourself or anyone else with them! You are not your emotions; you are oh-so-much more.

Breathe and know that all is well.

Remain Calm and Carry On Just like any emergency situation, you can think and respond better when you are calm. Remember that there is great power and balance in neutrality. Don’t take anything personally. Be the neutral, objective watcher as much as possible. Have courage, and keep on keeping on…there are great insights ahead. Always put the oxygen mask on yourself first.

Breathe and know that all is well.

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Vision in Action

Harbour Breezes Nova Scotia

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My husband and I recently returned from a wonderful trip to Nova Scotia where we visited with friends in Musquodoboit Harbour on the Eastern Shore about 45 minutes from Halifax. While there we toured an incredible garden property called Harbour Breezes where owners Allan and Shane have created a visionary wonderland. I wanted to share this story with you because I was so moved by what I experienced walking these gardens and listening to the story of its “becoming”.  It truly is a “Vision in Action”.

The property was purchased in 2004 and opened to the public in 2006. Its location is ideal being right on the well traveled Hwy. #7 along the Eastern Shore at Jeddore Harbour with a south facing view of the water. From the humble home at the road, the property goes straight uphill behind.  The land is rough, covered in large rocks, trees and native scrub brush. As the story unfolded, we learned that every year Allan gave his creative dreams permission to grow with lots of hard work and research and determination. The core lines of products are Day Lilies and they currently have over 750 varieties with new ones being added every year.

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Let your Self-Expression Flow

2013 - Hawaii 2 307aTo continue along the same vein as my last post about taking personal responsibility, I found this passage in a wonderful book entitled, “It’s not what you eat, it’s what eats you.” by Jack Schwarz. And in this blog post, we’ll explore the barriers we have in life and how to overcome them by letting our own self-expression flow.

“Too often we set our potentials aside and put our desires on hold for someone else’s apparent sake. We create conflicts which don’t need to exist, either an inner conflict of, Should I or Shouldn’t I? or an attempt to justify our lack of expression because of what others expect of us.  Too often we create a time schedule by which self-expression, if it comes at all, can come only after we have fulfilled all social expectations, only to find that those never end.  We need to know what to do now, and then do it, in spite of everything else.  Spontaneity is not easy, especially for those of us who have family or obligations incurred by other structured situations.  Expectations repress natural spontaneity.

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Time to Take Personal Responsibility

taking responsibilityIs what you are experiencing in your life what you want it to be?  We all want to put responsibility on outside influences for things that are causing us stress, challenge and discomfort, but that is so limiting.  The most powerful stance we can take is one of personal responsibility because then there is hope for change. This is definitely not implying blame and guilt, far from it.  We only know what we know and we are generally making choices in each moment based on that!  So – the opportunities are endless if we come from a position of personal responsibility.

“We don’t see the world as it is, we see the world as we are.”

We are incredible beings with such inner resources to interact with the world around us and our bodies do an amazing job of trying to keep up with what we put them through every day.  Sometimes though, it just feels like we don’t have enough to get through whatever is going on.  Many of us live in an exhausted state, with commitments pulling from every direction and a feeling that there is no time for ourselves.  This is not an empowering feeling and the body will find a way to let us know that we are not in balance!  Whether we experience headaches, tension aches, digestive issues, insomnia, high blood pressure, anxiety; the list is endless; it is the bodies messaging system at work.

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Part 3 – Understanding Vibrational Medicine – The Chakra System

Chakra System

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Continuing from my previous posts Understanding Vibrational Medicine, and Understanding Vibrational Medicine – Acupuncture- Meridian System, in this final post of this series, I will focus on a basic outline of another of the body’s “Life Energy systems” which we refer to as the Chakra System.

We have discussed how a balanced flow of chi energy through the acupuncture-meridian system is crucial to achieving health; but the chi flow through the meridians is only one of the many human subtle-energy systems that must be in balance in order to maintain health.  Blockages in the flow of subtle energy through the chakra system can be an equally important contributor to dis-ease. In the yogic tradition, the chakras are said to function as emotional and spiritual energy transducers.  They take the prana, the subtle nutritive life energy component of sunlight.  Although chi and prana are life energies, prana is a distinctive and different form of life energy from chi.  The seven major chakras absorb and distribute prana to various organs and tissues of the body.  It seems anything that causes a blockage or disturbance in the flow of subtle energy through one or more chakras can also lead to the development of illness in the body. One of the most important causes of chakra blockage is chronic emotional stress and emotional energy imbalance.  Just as physical toxins can produce illness, emotional toxins can poison the spiritual as well as the physical bodies in various subtle ways. Chronic anger, hatred, bitterness, greed, hopelessness, loneliness and depression may lead to illness, because these negative emotions create chakra imbalances that shut down the flow of pranic life energy to our body’s vital organs.

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What Energy Does 2013 Hold for You?

EnergyHappy 2013 to all!!  As we move fully into this new year and new beginnings, what energy do you feel it holds for you?  I typically begin my new year not with resolutions but a few words or phrases that hold a feeling of what I want to invite into my year ahead.

Last year my words were; Clarity, Focus and Expansion and it definitely was the overall feel of my year.  I added the Biophoton Light Therapy to my practice with a certification course led by Paul McDonald of Meridian Energies in Clarksburg which was an expansion in many ways for me. I began the year with a 10 weeks Holistic Nutrition course with Shawn Nisbet and an 8 week early morning Yoga Challenge with Corrine Penstone at Yoga Source.  I also nurtured my spiritual journey with a program called Tending My Soul Garden with Andrea Mathieson of Raven Essences.  It was a focused and big learning year.

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2013 – Preparing for New Beginnings

new-beginningsWell – here we are 1 week before Christmas day and 2 weeks left in 2012!   I know you may be fully engulfed in preparing for the activities that are abundant right now so what am I doing talking about “preparing for new beginnings”?

This is a new beginning time for me every year because I happen to have my birthday in December.  I seem to be drawn to completing unfinished projects before my birthday and to begin thinking about my next year.  The other pattern for me in December is to give my home a thorough cleaning before I put up any Christmas decorations.  The thought of adding beauty to clutter just feels like adding clutter to clutter.

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The Intelligence of the Heart

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I am reading a fabulous book right now entitled “The Secret Teachings of Plants: The Intelligence of the Heart in Direct Perception of Nature” by Stephen Harrod Buhner.  This may take 2 blogs to complete, however I am interested in sharing my experience of this book with you.

The majority of modern peoples, if asked to find the place within their body where the unique self resides, would say that they live about an inch above their eyebrows and about two inches into the skull.  But most indigenous and historical peoples would locate the self someplace very different.  They would gesture in the region of the heart. For most of our history of habitation on Earth, that is where the seat of intelligence, the seat of the soul, was located.

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10 Self Care Strategies

How do we balance the effects of stress?  That’s been the focus of a majority of my clients lately so I felt it time to share some thoughts on this incredibly important subject.  You see, most of us have grown up with the idea that Self Care is Selfish!  We were taught to always look after others first however in any emergency situation, we are taught the opposite.  When you travel by air, the safety instructions in the event that oxygen masks are needed is to put yours on first and then you can be sure you are able to assist others! So – it’s time to revisit the importance of self care and create a new plan of action so that we keep our energy fuel tank at a healthy operating level.  I found a wonderful article from Elizabeth Scott, M.S. that I agree with on for 10 self care strategies.

You can’t always control the circumstances that life throws your way, but you can control how well you take care of yourself. Taking proper care of your body, soul and mind can keep you in optimum shape for handling stress. The following are some important basic self care strategies that can keep you functioning well and ready for life’s challenges.

1. Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is very important for your emotional and physical wellbeing. Lack of sleep can negatively impact your ability to handle stress, be productive, and function properly. Unfortunately, busy schedules and stress can make sleep more elusive. Here are some important ways you can make sleep come more easily. And if you really aren’t able to get enough sleep at night, don’t underestimate the value of a power nap!

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Biophoton Therapy

I mentioned at the end of my last blog entry, that I have added biophoton therapy to my offering at Inside Out.  So why did I do that and how will it benefit my clients?

I have shared with you that the core of my work is providing an opportunity to connect my clients with their truth.  Your truth is the core of who you are and what brings you Joy!  In that process I guide you to notice where you get in your own way.  Once we bring awareness to what is limiting you, it brings you choice on how to move forward.

For the past 12 years, I have incorporated the wisdom of the Enneagram personality system as well as the healing energy work of Reiki.  They compliment each other perfectly and to be honest, though I am open to many other modalities, I did not feel the need to add anything else to my practice.  Then in 2011, upon return from a phenomenal trip to South Africa – something new entered my field of awareness. My stepmom became very ill immediately after arriving home from our trip and after a trip to the doctor’s office to have blood work done – a friend recommended that she see a Biontologist in her area.  By this point she had been extremely ill for a week and my father was quite concerned.  So they decided to go and she felt immediate relief from the illness.  Cool.  This same situation repeated itself when my father was the next to get sick.  That was enough to peak my curiosity and over the next 6 months, I explored and researched this therapy. My experience resulted in a deep knowing that this was indeed something I needed to continue with.

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Managing Your Energy or Personal Power

iStock_000002617232XSmallDo you find your happiness is dependent on the external circumstances of your life?

I have noticed a theme lately in working with clients and chatting with friends.  The discussions have reflected on how other people’s energy, actions and words affect our current state of happiness.  This is not new or unusual; however, we keep running into it at different levels.

We know our true happiness comes from inside, that we are responsible for how we respond to others and for our own perceptions, though putting it into practice is one of life’s greatest challenges!  So how do we tackle this challenge?

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