Woman on top of a mountain because she supported her vision

I know it’s been some time since my last post however the inspiration has returned.  I was introduced to a fascinating Doctor’s YouTube channel and the first podcast that I listened to was all about supporting our vision.  This was timely for me as my recent eye checkup revealed that my eye pressure went up significantly over the last year and I was sent for a specialist appointment.  That visit resulted in me having a laser procedure to hopefully provide relief for the pressure.  My follow-up appointment is not until July 19th when I learn if it worked.

Needless to say, I have become more curious about ways to support my eyes and vision.  A most important part of our life experience. My first response after the ophthalmologist visit was to journal what I was not wanting to see in my life.  With the massive changes going on in our world, it is not difficult to acknowledge some truth there however I dug deeper and peered into the personal well.  I did come up with a few nuggets that needed to be addressed.  Tough work and yet very empowering.  This is also where the work with a great coach supports us in our greatest life!  Shout out to @soulinspiredgurl.  The other beautiful synchronicity came through a good friend and colleague, Theresa who told me about a great doctor’s podcast series on YouTube.  Dr. Andrew Huberman is an American neuroscientist and professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine.  I will summarize some of the 90-minute sessions in this post and will provide a link to the full recording which I highly recommend.

Top Take Aways To Support Our Vision:

The only way that light information gets into our body is through the eyes. They are an extension of our brain. (neural retinas)  The fastest reflex we have is our ability to blink.

The ancient cells of the eyes are called retinal ganglion cells  – they send information to the brain and influence our mood, wakefulness, sleepiness, metabolism, blood sugar levels and pain threshold to name a few important things. 

To support the retinal ganglion cells, we need to spend 2-10 minutes outside in the morning when the sun is rising in the east and again in the evening when the sun is setting in the west. This anchors our body in time and sets our circadian clock.

To reduce the potential for myopia, it is advisable to spend at least 2 hours outside each day without sunglasses.

Exercises to offset the amount of time our eyes are focused up close on a devise or any other up close activity. 

Every 30 minutes of screen time, take a 2-5 minute break to look outside at a horizon or provide a panoramic view.  Ideally not through a window.

Every 90 minutes of screen time, go outside for 20 minutes to relax your eyes and again look at distant views.

Go for a walk or bike ride each day to provide the opportunity to optic flow. “Optic flow is the visual motion that results from an observer’s own movement through the environment. The distinguishing feature of optic flow is that it covers the entire visual field, whereas object motion covers only a part of the field.” This distresses our body.

Focus change: This is one of several eye accommodation exercises

  • Hold one finger a few inches away from one eye
  • Focus the gaze on the finger
  • Move the finger slowly way from the face
  • Focus on an object farther away, and then back on the finger.
  • Bring the finger back closer to the eye.
  • Focus on an object farther away.
  • Repeat three times.

Smooth Pursuit Exercises (also called tracking) will improve vision and keep muscles strong as the brain follows the movement of the eyes. Do for 5-10 minutes, 3 times per week.  Here is a quick YouTube link

Whole Foods:  dark leafy greens and carrots or high carotenoid vegetables.

Supplements – this area is under constant study however Dr.Huberman suggests there is evidence to support the use of Lutein especially when combined with Zeaxanthin and Astaxanthin.  He references a website called examine.com for reliable information.

After listening to this podcast twice, I realized that one area of great improvement over the last year for me, was my close-up vision.  My prescription went from 2.75 to 2.25 due to the number of hours I spent outside walking and in the garden last year.  I look forward to incorporating many more of these suggestions and supporting my visual health.  Here’s a link to the full podcast

What have you learned more about in this last year?  I am always curious and open to new insights.  Till next time, enjoy the summer and get out in the natural light.

A good friend shared an article with me recently that really hit home.  It was all about the Reiki Triangle and how one Reiki master interprets its value.

I found it curious because in the 24 years that I have been practicing Reiki, I had not heard this term. What I found was a very practical idea that I can share, whether one is a Reiki practitioner or not, for it speaks of balance in our energy. Specifically balancing what we give and what we receive. This concept has been a real focus this year in my practice.

Are You Running An Energy Deficit?

I often share with new clients that in our busy society – where there is more focus on doing rather than being – we are usually running an energy deficit. Our output is much greater than our input.

This is where the true gift of receiving Reiki presents itself; to fill up our consistently empty energy tank. It is easy for us to understand output and many will ask how best to access more input outside of coming in for a session every day.

My response covers 3 aspects. We rebalance our own energy reserves through:

  1. Good sleep.
  2. Good food.
  3. Doing things that bring us joy or peace within our body, mind and spirit.

The last category is endless and definitely an individual preference.  It can encompass things like being with friends, being in nature, our hobbies, travel, enjoying animals… you get the idea. Interestingly enough, without realizing it, I utilized the triangle symbolism by having these three categories.

Striking a Balance on Your Triangle

Within the article, the author speaks of striking a balance between doing self-practice, offering Reiki to / receiving Reiki from others.  I love this idea because through personal experience, I am finding the balance of these to be critical in my ability to offer the best of myself to my clients.

I have a regular daily self-practice that helps keep me connected and as I have a professional practice, I definitely fill the category of offering Reiki to the full extent.  The third section of the triangle involves receiving Reiki from someone else.  This has historically not been an equal share of my personal practice. I did realize that it was an area I could improve upon last fall and have since added more regular sessions for myself into my month.  It is making a big difference!

We can incorporate this model into our complete self-care program. If you are honest, would you say that you have a balance between what you do for yourself, what you do for others and what you allow others to do you for you?  It could be a very easy thing to record for a specific period.

As we enter this period of Spring and new beginnings, why not incorporate a new level of balance in our own energy input/output? I would love to hear from you with thoughts of this idea.

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!

Until next time,

Karen

February Inspiration - Getting Through Winter - Reiki newmarket, energy Healing with Karen Armstrong

Here we are in our 7th week of 2019, still in the thick of winter here in Southern Ontario. And I am noticing that many around are having a tough time feeling happy.

Some are fortunate to head on a southern holiday in the sun and take time away with friends or loved ones. Some find a distraction in events like Valentine’s Day or the numerous shows taking place like the GTA Home Show, The Spring Camping & RV Show, The International Auto Show, The Woodworking Show, etc. Some just wonder how they are going to make it until Spring when our days are longer, the weather is warming up and the colours of nature come back to life.

The Search for Purpose & Meaning

My sense is that many are looking for purpose and meaning in their lives. When we can tap into that energy, it fuels us forward. How do we do that?  Of course, it is a different path for each of us.  A path that requires time, curiosity and patience.

Gregg Braden shares an idea in his book, The Divine Matrix, that when thought, feeling and emotion become one then miracles happen. When we can come from our heart, we are not in fear or anxiousness. This is huge because fear is everywhere around us. It takes consistent daily practice to disconnect from the cultural consciousness of fear and listen to the wise still voice within.

My consistent daily practice happens to be reiki.  It did not begin that way but has grown to become my spiritual practice.  It is the way I can tune into myself and the creative energy that unites all entities within our universe. It is the way I can have a touchpoint to my purpose. I remember that my life and all life are sacred.  I remember that I am here to share my love and light in all that I do.  There are many positive support tools available for us to infuse into our daily practice to instill a sense of peace and inner strength.  A couple are listed at the end of this article.

Making the Best of Winter

Winter provides us with time to hunker down in our own cozy place and read, listen and expand our own beingness past where we have been.  We can then bring this new awareness into the spring and into more of our doing activities.

Let’s take this time to seek our own inspiration so that we become the uplifter of our life. That will automatically ripple out to everything around us.

Here are a couple of resources to check out:

  1. Insight Timer App, a free app for your smart device. One of my favourites for meditation is Sarah Blondin.
  2. Mind Valley  another great site to explore for transformational global education programs.
  3. Finally, a link to a beautiful 11-minute uplifting video that was shared with me by Dean Noblett of Heartlight in Schomberg.


Please feel free to share your inspirational resources here for other readers to see. Remember to spoil yourself with some love this Valentine’s Day.  If we fill our tank, we always have lots to share.

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!

Until next time,

Karen

inside out healing karen armstrong change your focus york region

Happy fall! It is my favourite time of year. As I reflect on the activities of the past summer, I am reminded of one great morning at church where our minister decided to show a movie entitled, “Celebrate What is Right in the World” by Dewitt Jones. It was so rich in inspiration, both visually and literally, as Dewitt told stories from his life and work at the National Geographic Magazine.

I absolutely encourage you to watch the Tedx Talk at this link:

I would also love to share some of my take aways from this video.

I’m not sure how many of you are, like me, hesitant to take in too much mainstream media because it focuses so much on what is wrong in the world. I find that the news I need to hear comes into my awareness anyway. And I can always look into any headline that I may want to learn more about.

Dewitt’s message spoke to me because as an energy worker I know that, where thoughts go, energy follows. In his career life, he was a photographer for the National Geographic Magazine. One of his opening lines was, “Vision controls perception and perception becomes our reality”. He didn’t realize until well into his career how powerfully the focus of his work for the National Geographic helped to reframe his perception. He began to notice how the world of media operates, from a Fear – Scarcity – Competition focus, instead of a “What’s possible or what is here to celebrate,“ focus.

Focusing on the Negative

It’s so easy to fall into an unconscious pattern of sharing stories with friends and co-workers on what is troubling, because let’s face it – life can be really tough!!  We like to have company along for the struggles in our journey. By talking about our difficulties, we can always find an understanding ear, but this point of view can rob us of the joys in life.

Over time, we always get what we focus on. And I have noticed how many people are getting very tired of going down the path of negativity our society has developed. It feels heavy, like it’s dragging you down. That is true!

A New Perspective

If we instead find ways to appreciate special moments each day, we will begin to retrain the focus of our attention. The more we do this the more we will notice how many moments in our day we can actually enjoy and be inspired by.

Like Dewitt, I have been labelled as a Pollyanna in my life. Though I never did understand how that was a negative thing. Even with a naturally positive outlook, I can find myself spiraling down the negativity path occasionally. There are lots of reasons, but typically it is because I’m tired, and not looking after my own self-care needs. But, if I can take time to walk, meditate, journal or share with a wise friend, even when things are a bit rough, it is possible to shift my perspective and create new possibilities.

Dewitt’s message reminds us to connect to the energy of passion every day. To look for what is here in our world to celebrate… to fall in love with. And to remember that every day we get to choose which lens we will look at the world with.

Change your Lens – Change your Life!

At our recent Women’s Wellness Circle, we created Vision Boards.  They represent a focus of attention that we want to invite into our lives. The collage of words and images should be placed somewhere we will see them every day. This subconsciously programs our perception to watch for ways to bring these visions into reality. We begin to align our energetic vibration to become a match for what we want.

Fall Equinox can be a powerful time to refocus and inspire new intentions. What do you want to invite into your life at this time?  Brainstorm, clarify and begin the baby steps to celebrate your journey of life!

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!

Until next time, enjoy our beautiful fall,

Karen

 

 

Sadie - Pee & Walk Away - Pelvic Health Inside Out Karen Armstrong Newmarket Aurora Women's Wellness Circle

Sadie - Pee & Walk Away - Pelvic Health Inside Out Karen Armstrong Newmarket Aurora Women's Wellness Circle

I recently brought Nelly Faghani, a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist specialist out to the Women’s Wellness Circle to educate us on the importance of keeping our pelvic floor muscles healthy.  It was such a huge eye opener that I wanted to share the information I jotted down with as many people as I could.  As these are from my notes, they are meant to bring awareness only, please refer to your own specialist for personal questions and clarification.

Four Main Functions of the Pelvic Floor

1.  Support

The pelvic floor is a basket of muscles that support organs against gravity and intra-abdominal pressure as well as vaginal/rectal walls.

  • Pelvic organ prolapse is a functional issue coming from genetic predisposition, years of heavy lifting or constipation to name a few. This effects 41% of women over 60 who have not had a hysterectomy. It is a high level of bothersome. Pelvic floor training is highly effective.

2. Sphincter

The sphincter controls openings of the urethra, vagina and rectum maintaining urinary and fecal continence.

Types of incontinence:

  • Stress incontinence:  coughing, laughing, sneezing or lifting.
  • This effects 1-3 women and 1-9 men
  • Urge incontinence: urine loss associated with a strong uncontrollable need to void or an inability to delay voiding.
  • Functional incontinence: physical or cognitive impairment.
  • Mixed incontinence: pressure and intense urge to void.

Social Consequences of Incontinence:

  • Decreased self esteem
  • Impedes social activity
  • Impedes physical activity
  • Institutionalization – it is the Number 2 reason elderly are institutionalized!
  • Heavy economic burden of patients, families and society.

3. Sexual Function (blood flow, orgasm)

Dyspareunia – 25-40% of post-menopausal women find intimacy painful.

4. Stability

Assists in sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Pelvic Floor muscle problems can also cause pain in the sacro-iliac joints. Pelvic floor muscle tightness can slacken the posterior (back) ligaments of the SI joint, and weak pelvic floor muscles can create decreased stability in the SI joints. In other words, if your pelvic floor is too tight or weak, it will de-stabilize the sacroiliac joints.

Misconceptions:

  • Challenges are normal after childbirth.
  • Challenges are a normal part of aging.
  • You cannot do anything for it.

Pelvic floor exercises are not one size fits all such as Kegels!  Each person is different with some categorized as underactive or hypotonicity and some as overactive or hypertonicity.

When should you seek pelvic floor muscle training?

  • Before any surgery.
  • Before and after childbirth – Core stability training is recommended to prevent and treat back and pelvic pain during and following pregnancy.
  • Post-surgery rehabilitation improves strength, relaxation, control and assists in regaining a better quality of life.

Education Tips:

  • Wash vulva with water only, no soap.
  • Wipe from front to back after urination.
  • Use organic detergents.
  • Use cotton underwear or sleep without.
  • Remove wet clothes immediately.
  • Never use the feminine product brand “Always”
  • Stay well hydrated.
  • Normal is 5-8 pee’s per day with 1 overnight. (urine colour: light)
  • Constipation creates more risk of challenge.
  • Toileting posture – knees above hips. (*think squatty potty)
  • If you need to bear down to void, do not hold your breath. Nelly provided a super tip:  blow into a closed fist to keep your air moving.
  • Bladder irritants include caffeine, alcohol, citrus fruits, carbonated beverages, diet pop and artificial sweeteners.

It was a jam packed evening of information and very candid questions and discussion.  Life is life and education as always provides more choices.

A huge shout out to Nelly Faghani of Pelvic Health Solutions. Their website is very informative.

If you are in the area – consider joining us for the monthly Women’s Wellness Circles. My website also links to my colleagues in the greater GTA.

Coming up in the next few months for Newmarket/EG are:
June 28th – Wendy Purves-Lambie with Circle Dance
July 19th – Tanya Porter leading Rhythmic Reframing
Aug. 23rd – Elisha McMillan, “Movement as a tool for Healing & Manifestation”
Sept. 27th – Shari Miller creating our own Vison Boards.
Nov. 1st – Bev McLeish, Herbs for Natural Immune Boosting
Nov. 29th – Mickey Eves – Leading with your Heart – using your imagination with purpose and intention.

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!

Until next time, enjoy our beautiful summer,

Karen