Jan 122011
 

As we’ve all learned by now, when it comes to colds and flu, the first line of defense is common sense. It involves not only good hygiene in public especially, but also keeping yourself humming along in a nicely balanced and relatively happy state.

But even with our best efforts, the best and most healthy of us sometimes succumb to the occasional cold, even if it’s only once every 3 or 4 years.

That was me over this last holiday season. I’m so not used to it and don’t have a lot of patience for it.

Here’s how I knocked it out in 4 days flat. (Of course, you don’t need to do all of these, just use whichever ones appeal to you.)

Note: I am only skimming the surface of most of these fields of healing. This is out of necessity else I’d have to write a book. If you look down the list I’m sure there will be some things you can apply right now depending on your level of knowledge, and I do offer a few links for more information.

1) Take homeopathic aconitum napellus

This is always my #1. This is the first action to take once you get the itty-bittiest hint that a cold might be coming on. I am convinced that this is the reason I only get a cold once every 3 or 4 years. This stuff is like magic. You feel the beginning of a symptom, you take an aconitum, no more symptoms. Voilà.

2) Use other homeopathy as indicated

It’s rare, but every now and then the cold gets a good enough hold of you that the aconitum doesn’t do it. At that point you may use a few other homeopathic remedies depending on your symptoms.

For me, I had some post-nasal drip so used kali bich and hydrastis candensis. I also began taking the Schuessler cell salts regularly.

All in all, over the whole 4-day period, as symptoms shifted slightly, I’d also used pulsatilla, influenzinum, occillococcinum, rhus tox, nux vomica, and bryonia alba. (Note: Some of my symptoms were more flu-like than cold, so I was hedging my bets. Since I don’t do flu shots, it could have been either or a combination.)

3) Get adequate vitamins and minerals

Vitamin C and zinc are good to be taking all the time, either in your diet or as supplements. I make doubly sure I am getting these if/when a cold is coming on.

4) Drink water

Drink lots of water! This can’t be overemphasized. On about my 3rd day I forgot about this and could feel the cold getting worse again. As soon as I picked back up on the water intake, the cold began to recede. Amazing stuff.

5) Keep your throat relatively germ-free

This is important early in the process but also good during, since you can actually reinfect yourself even as you recuperate. But the idea is that your nose and throat are often where the virus enters your body and if you can keep these areas clean you are likely wiping out a good number of those troublesome little partiers.

3 effective ways to do this are:

  1. Use a tongue scraper — very satisfying (these are good to use all the time, not just when you feel a cold coming on)
  2. Gargle periodically with water that has a drop of tea tree essential oil in it
  3. Take a zinc lozenge such as a Cold-eeze™.

6) Decongest

If you’ve got head congestion (and who doesn’t when a cold is starting?), there are several things you can do to minimize it.

  • One effective way is to put a drop of tea tree essential oil in a pan of water on the stove and gently breathe in the steam (not too close!)
  • Use 1/2 a drop of ravensara essential oil behind each ear
  • And one of the very best decongestant herbs is mullein. It grows wild around here and I collect/dry it to use, but you can get it at a health-food store. Just make a tea from it and drink it periodically throughout the day. You’ll notice a difference.

7) Drink ginger tea or spicy chai

This is based on the principals of Ayurveda, but a cold in the body is usually a kapha condition, and consuming food or drinks that help increase pitta is helpful. (If you want a reference book about Ayurvedic remedies, Dr. Vasant Lad’s The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Remedies is a good one.)

I like to do this by making some ginger tea; it’s fast and easy. All you do is grate some ginger root into a pan (I use the equivalent of about 1/2 a large carrot) and add 2 qt. of water. Simmer this for about 20 minutes. After it’s almost cool, add a touch of your (wholesome) sweetener of choice and strain it into a pitcher. Drink warm cups of this with soymilk added throughout the day.

The other drink I like is homemade chai. You can find my delicious recipe at the end of this article.

8 ) Stay warm

A cold is called a cold for a reason. It’s important to stay nice and cozy warm while you recover.

Sometimes I will use a heating pad (I know, this isn’t “natural” but it’s easy and I recommend it) but the very best thing is to take a nice hot bath with some epsom salts (they help pull toxins from your body) or a jacuzzi if you have one. Ahhh! This is especially helpful before going to bed.

9) Get a lot of sleep

When I have a cold, my sleep is disturbed. Even when I sleep, it’s lighter than usual and I wake up feeling like I was awake all night. Very odd.

Besides following general guidelines for getting a good night’s sleep, flower essences can help. I like the combination that is the equivalent of the Bach Sleepytime formula: White Chestnut, Rock Rose, Clematis, Impatiens, Cherry Plum, and Star of Bethlehem. I have a spray bottle of it and I also have drops which I put in my water glass near the bathroom sink, to sip if I get up during the night for any reason.

If I’m really not sleeping well at all I will sometimes resort to taking an antihistamine. Your body will not get deep natural sleep that way but in my experience it’s better than nothing so I do keep those on hand. Nothing’s better for healing than a good night’s sleep.

10) Avoid sugar

I had some type of sugar (a cookie or something, I don’t remember) and could immediately feel it in my body. It was as if I got set back to when I was feeling my worst. I suggest avoiding big doses of processed sugar if you can.

Subtle But Effective Remedies

I began by saying I would tell you how I managed to knock my cold out, but to be more precise, that’s not exactly what I was doing.

11) Get the message: You’re out of balance

First, don’t be mad at or feel you have to attack the cold. A better way to think of it is that the cold is a sign that you’re somehow out of balance or you wouldn’t have gotten it. It’s a messenger of sorts. And so, we get the message and take the actions that counteract our particular imbalance.

12) Think about what might have brought it on

I don’t mean that lady who sneezed on you at the grocery store. I’m talking about your life situation, especially some type of disturbance.

For example, this time I had just gotten a box of old diaries out of the closet. There was other old stuff in there that I started going through; old letters, some photos, cards I’d saved, etc. That is exactly when I first felt the cold symptoms. And they weren’t as obvious as sneezing or a sore throat (although they might be for you); it was just something “not right” with my body. But bingo, that was it. So make a note of that as it will be helpful as you move forward.

13) Do affirmations

Louise Hay wrote a book ages ago that I have gotten some great insights and benefit from. It’s called You Can Heal Your Life and toward the back she lists affirmations for each illness. It’s based on what she learned about the source of disease.

I looked up “Colds” and the probable cause she lists for that didn’t resonate with me (Too much going on at once. Mental confusion, disorder. Small hurts. “I get three colds every winter,” type of belief.) I looked up “Post-nasal drip” (yes, this gal gets specific) and that one did (Inner crying. Childish tears. Victim.) The moment I read it I felt an immediate  clutching in my heart area and felt like crying.

So I wrote the affirmation for that one on a piece of paper and repeated it often. Over the next day or so, and as I considered when my symptoms started, I realized that the probable cause for colds was a definite match too.

Here are the two affirmations I did, from her book:

Colds: “I allow my mind to relax and be at peace. Clarity and harmony are within me and around me.”

Post-nasal drip: “I acknowledge and accept that I am the creative power in my world. I now choose to enjoy life.”

As I look at these now, I see they might seem trivial, but if you’re familiar with the power of affirmations, you know they can pack quite a punch by addressing unconscious hang-ups.

14) Write or talk with someone

As you become more aware what emotional state is causing or related to your cold, it’s very good therapy to process that to some degree. I find writing in my journal is extremely enlightening and cathartic. Seeing the issue in black and white helps get your head around it, and solutions flow onto the page as well. I highly recommend it.

15) Use flower essences

I’m especially fond of the Bach Flower Essences. Although there are others I’ve played around with, the Bach set seems complete and sufficient for everything you might run into.

It’s helpful to use whichever essence will support you in healing whatever related emotional issue you’ve uncovered above. If you’re not familiar with these — or even if you are, I think Mechthild Scheffer’s book Bach Flower Therapy is one of the best available and pretty much the only one you need.

Two that I remember using were Crabapple and Rabbitbrush (this one is not Bach but I made it myself years ago and it’s for overwhelm, which matches Louise’s possible cause for colds, above.)

16) Practice Tolle’s method of being present in your body

In Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now, page 103, he gives a process for enlightening your cells with presence.

Essentially, you “flood” your body with consciousness. Close your eyes and choose a part of your body to focus your attention on briefly at first: hands, feet, arms, chest, etc. Feel the energy or life force inside those parts as intensely as you can. Stay with each part for 15 seconds or so. Then let your attention run through your body like a wave a few times, from feet to head and back again. Do that for a minute or two. Then feel the inner body in its totality, as a single field of energy. Be intensely present in every cell of your body. Do this for a few minutes.

This is a preventive tonic for the immune system and can also work as “medicine” for any current disease. It’s powerful. You can actually feel the difference immediately.

Specialized Techniques

If you have access to or are trained in these next/final modalities, I highly recommend you practice them since they may be the most powerful of all.

17) Reiki

I am a Reiki practitioner so I gave myself some Reiki treatments. Full-body is best and in the beginning I also focused on the swollen glands in my neck area. There are also some good books about which areas to focus on for certain ailments.

So here’s a reminder if you know how to do this. And if you don’t, you may consider getting a treatment. These can be done long-distance, even while you’re cozy in your bed.

18) Matrix Energetics

I am trained in Matrix Energetics and so I used this to help shift the imbalance into a more “useful” condition. There’s nothing magic here, even though it’s so surprisingly powerful that it seems like it sometimes, and I will be sharing over time some techniques you can use yourself.

I will also be offering Matrix Energetics related services pretty soon. Stay tuned.

19) Connect with healing guides

I actually have a few particular guides who show up regularly when healing is called for. I always feel a shift as they work with me, sometimes with the condition clearing up completely.

If you know how to connect with your guides, invite them to help you or ask them if they can usher in some other guides who specialize in healing.

If not, then you may want to get a session with someone who can call this help in for you. (The Matrix Energetics related services I just mentioned above will include connecting with guides as well.)

20) Actualism

My husband trained in and practiced something called Actualism lightwork for several decades and he led us through a session related to the Divine Mother energy. Powerful and soothing.

If you have any experience at all with using energy, light or consciousness to heal, now’s a good time to practice it! If you don’t, but would like to, stay tuned to this space since being able to effectively develop those skills is a large part of what I am here to share with you.

My Chai Recipe

These measurements are approximate. You want it to be fairly concentrated.

  • Ginger root (about 1/2 of a large carrot’s worth, grated)
  • Star anise (whole, about 2 T)
  • Cinnamon (1-2 sticks, or 1-2 t powdered)
  • Fennel seed (about 2 t, ground in a pestle)
  • Cardamom seed (about 1 t, ground in a pestle)
  • Black pepper (about 15 twists from a grinder)
  • Clove (about 1 heaping t whole or 1/8 – 1/4 t ground)
  • Nutmeg (about 1/8 t, grated)

Put all ingredients in a pan with about 2 qts. of water. Simmer, covered for about 25 min. After it cools some, strain into a pitcher. Sweeten just a touch with agave nectar or your sweetener of choice. Serve hot (Ayurveda would technically say warm) with soy milk (I use vanilla soymilk). Yum, and so good for you!

Here’s to a happy and healthy winter! (Or summer, as it may be. ;-))

I know there are lots more natural/vibrational remedies; these are just the ones that popped into my mind over those 4 days. Do you have any favorites you’d like to share?

Disclaimer: These suggestions are not meant to take the place of medical treatment.

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Dec 102010
 

Do you ever feel like this picture looks? Just a little too “out there”?

Yup, me too.

And I’ll show you a quick way to turn that around.

But first let’s take a look at a primary cause.

(Hint: And it’s not because you have too much to do.)

Who’s Calling the Shots?

In these fascinating days of interconnection, with web surfing, wiki everything, and gadgets galore, rarely a day goes by that we aren’t influenced by other people.

Yet most of our connections have a tiny hidden cost.

Around the holidays especially, with all kinds of parties and family gatherings, there are usually a lot of quiet demands on us. There are tenacious old patterns, unspoken expectations, and assumed obligations, all sneaking a little piece of our attention.

Or maybe like me, you’re learning some new skills and have a lot of “teachers” in your life. We absorb what they tell us like sponges. We watch who does it right and who does it wrong. We listen to what to do and then how to do it better.

Whatever the situation, we’re often so constantly connected that we don’t notice that little pieces of our attention are “out there”, scattered all over the place. And this is true even when the influences are good ones.

Before you know it, the voices of everyone else create a cacophony and added together are much louder than your own. To make matters worse, they don’t all say the same thing, in fact they often say the exact opposite.

They pull you every which way.

If you check in with yourself, you notice you’re scattered, spacey, off balance, and drained. You’re easily distracted. Maybe even little health issues are popping up or you find yourself mindlessly eating all that “bad” stuff. Again.

Aggh!

An Effective Practice

Believe it or not, there’s a quick and easy way to reclaim yourself. It’s something I discovered quite a few years back.

I’ve done this many times and every single time I’m amazed at what a huge difference it makes.

You’ll suddenly be calm and balanced. Collected, centered, and grounded. Best of all you’ll feel congruent and integrated again.

And it’s so simple.

You are going to pull yourself together. Literally.

“This is really America in therapy, people trying to get themselves together and be whole.”
David S. Viscott

A quick study of the words whole, holy, holistic, and health shows that they are all related. No surprise, is it? And holy is “that which must be preserved whole or intact, that cannot be transgressed or violated”.

Sounds pretty good to be whole, doesn’t it?

How to do it

It’s so easy.

1) First of all, decide you want to be all in one place again. Whole. (Speaking of words, did you know “decide” comes from the Latin decidere, to cut off? This is what you are doing when you decide, cutting away from the other options, the distractions.)

Deciding alone is a powerful step.

Do it right now. Can you feel the difference?

2) Next, be aware that all your connections are like tendrils going out from your body and connecting with everyone who’s influencing you.

Take a look at them in your mind’s eye, and who they are connected to. Who is influencing you? Who are the first few people who come to mind? Who are you trying to please? Or learn from? Or who are you trying to influence? Who are you keeping tabs on?

A few will be obvious, and you don’t need to worry about the ones that aren’t.

Spend a minute or so doing this.

3) And finally, just disconnect your tendrils and pull them all back in to yourself.

You can do them one by one, in groups, or all at once — whichever seems most effective for you.

See them all receding back in, so that you are a smooth, egg-shaped energy system.

Then put your focus on you … and take a few moments to notice how soothing and solid that feels.

And you’re done!

Don’t be fooled by how simple and obvious this sounds. It’s really powerful.

When I do this, I immediately feel a shift in my energy. Then for days — and I’m not kidding — I have so much energy I barely know what to do with it all.

I feel clear and uncluttered. I have laser-beam focus without even trying.

You’ll find that you not only feel much better, but you are much more effective at what is important to you. Even when you’ve got lots to do, you’re able to focus calmly on your priorities.

And best of all, you can still work and play with others but your own presence is more concentrated. And your relationships are more healthy again.

If you find the need to do this, I’d love to hear what your results were. Or do it preventively, even better.

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Dec 032010
 

Potent mediSometimes our healers show up in the most unexpected places.

Several years back, I found myself grieving deeply after suddenly losing our 6-year old yellow lab, Zak, to cancer. I knew I needed to heal and was searching desperately in all the conventional nooks and crannies, but to no avail.

I’m sure you’ve been there, to some degree. You don’t need to be on this planet for long before you experience loss of some sort. We look around for something, anything, to help fill that hole, to help us feel complete again. And sometimes we give up even looking because we’ve grown so discouraged and apathetic.

Fortunately, healing doesn’t require our looking in order for it to quietly enter our lives and begin to work its magic.

Out of nowhere, something mundane and ordinary happens.

And there it is.

Or rather, there it was. Because often, we don’t even know our healing has begun until we’re whole enough to recognize it.Kelsey

My healer came into my life in the form of a 14# bundle of fuzzy-faced love. And there I was, thinking she was just a puppy. Silly me!

And little did I know I was about to embark on a healing journey that would guide me out of the depths of despair and lead me dancing into the sunshine.

The cure that helped bring light back into my life was discovering the joy of fostering rescue animals, in my case dogs.

I’m thinking about this today because my first guest post has just been published on that very topic. It’s about The Rich Rewards of Fostering Dogs, and you can read about my healer Kelsey, as well as Rosie whom I also mention in my entry below.

It just so happens that the healing I experienced through fostering is touched upon in a few short journal entries I have from those days (I’ve kept diaries for 42 years now).  I decided to illustrate a bit of my experience by sharing them with you.

Here they are, and I’ll let them speak for themselves.

Journal Cover

Black journal with cover photo of Zak's grave

Journal entry

That was the last entry in the black diary.

Don’t you think it’s interesting that the healing juncture I’m telling you about happened in the junction between two diaries #26 and #27?

From the black and gloomy to the colorful and bright.

Journal cover

Journal entry

This was a major turn in the road for me.

So you see how remarkable the healing power of fostering animals can be? Not only do you get to experience the open heart I refer to in my guest post, but getting out of ourselves and being of service has great value, too.

And somewhere in that mix is where the healing occurs.

Note: Many thanks to Barbara Barth of Confessions Of The Unfaithful Widow for inviting me to guest post and share a little of what I know about the joys of fostering dogs. Visit her blog and also check out the gorgeous premier edition of her online dog magazine Writer With Dogs. It’s amazing! (Pssst: This is the only time it will be free, so hurry!)

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Nov 202010
 

Call me naïve, but I thought I would be told if I were about to step into an X-ray machine and get zapped.

Guess again.

A few months ago, I took a flight out of the Albuquerque International Airport which I’ve done many times before. Of course, I went through security, but there was nothing brand new or out of the ordinary that I ought to be aware of. Or so I thought.

But last night, with all the talk in the news about people being subjected to full-body scans and pat-down searches, I got wondering. I did remember stepping into a machine where they had me stand on a mark and put my arms up. I didn’t stop to think about it and assumed it was some kind of metal detector, but could that have been a body-scanner? And if so, was it safe?

Thanks to google, I soon had my answers. Sure enough, I had indeed been X-rayed. I saw no indications and no one said a word about it.

I was irradiated without my knowledge or consent.

Given the choice I would NOT have walked through that machine. I don’t even get dental X-rays unless absolutely necessary, nor do I get frequent mammograms like most women do. Extra radiation? No thank you.

I am quite angry about this.

I think we should have a clear choice about this kind of thing.

I decided to at least help YOU not be subjected to this unless you choose to be. Here’s the essence of what I found out.

Beware of “Safe” Scanners

More than 65 airports around the world, and especially in the U.S. currently do the full-body scan as part of routine security procedures.

There are two types of machines in use. Both use X-rays but of different types.

One is called backscatter X-ray which uses ionizing radiation, and the other is called millimeter-wave screening. 189 backscatter units and 152 millimeter-wave machines are in use right now and their numbers are increasing rapidly. The total number of imaging machines is expected to near 1,000 by the end of 2011, according to the TSA.

Of course, the TSA claims they’re safe, and here’s a fairly well-balanced article about the safety concerns.

But given the government’s track record so far, I tend to be skeptical of quick safety assurances, especially when big brother or huge monetary gains are part of the equation.

Update, March 2011. Read this article from USA Today about the TSA’s maintenance records on some of the devices showing radiation levels 10 times higher than expected.

According to one source (or read the full article Full-Body Scanners to Fry Travelers With Radiation):

Dr. John Gofman, Professor Emeritus of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley is a leading U.S. expert on the biological effects of X-radiation. His exhaustive research leads him to conclude that there is NO SAFE DOSE-LEVEL of ionizing radiation.

His studies indicate that radiation from medical diagnostics and treatment is a causal co-factor in 50 percent of America’s cancers and 60 percent of our ischemic (blood flow blockage) heart disease. He stresses that the frequency with which Americans are medically X-rayed “makes for a significant radiological impact.”

It goes on to state: Dr. Gofman believes that medical radiation is a co-factor in 75 percent of breast cancer cases. So why would girls and women want their breast tissues irradiated every time they take a commercial flight?

Hmmm, maybe because no one told them they were being X-rayed?

Welcome to the Machine: How to Recognize Scanners

Here’s what they look like:

The X-ray scanners are on the left, and for the backscatter method you stand in-between the two boxes. The metal detector on the right uses magnetic waves, not X-rays, and I’m not aware of any safety concerns with metal detectors.

And here’s a complete list of the types of scanners in use by which airports, from FlyerTalk Forums.

What You Can Do

So now you are educated and you won’t make the same mistake I did.

And just to be clear, by “mistake” I don’t mean getting X-rayed if that’s what you want to do. I mean waltzing through the machine without even knowing you’re being X-rayed and unaware of what kind of risks are involved.

  • Be aware that you may get no indication at all that you are stepping into an x-ray machine. Watch for it.
  • You have a choice. You can get X-rayed or you can opt-out and get searched manually instead (oh boy… but that’s another topic altogether).
  • You can boycott this practice either at the airport security gates or by not flying out of the participating airports.
  • You can contact the TSA directly at TSAContactCenter@dhs.gov or 1-866-289-9673. Good luck with that.
  • You can learn more and/or get involved with groups who want the system adjusted in some way.
  • You can continue to do whatever it is you do to help bring peace and reason-ability to humanity and all life on this beautiful planet.

Shine on! But don’t glow in the dark. 😉

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