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We Take so Much from Nature, Let’s Give Back.

The natural world is our bible. We don’t have chapters and verses; we have trees and fish and animals. The creation is the manifestation of energy through matter. Because the universe is made up of manifestations of energy, the options for that manifestation are infinite. But we have to admit that the way it has manifested itself is organized. In fact, it is the most intricate organization. We can’t know how we impact on its law; we can talk only about how its law impacts upon us. We can make no judgment about nature. (John Mohawk)

It is our obligation to hear Nature as we would a symphony, read her like a sacred book, touch her like a delicate flower, and feel her with all our heart because we are a part of Her.

Spending so much time in Nature and Meditation I can’t help but be lead to the more existential questions life poses upon me.

If everyone participated in meditation, especially with Nature, could we actually achieve world peace, love unconditionally, tap into the deepest of our intuition, and unlock all the mysteries of living by solving the problems or conflict in the world?

Because we are sentient beings who have been given the gift of free will and the capacity to achieve a higher consciousness, we need to utilize this powerful force not only to calm our chaotic minds, but to ultimately unlock the hidden secrets of our truth.

Meditation with Nature enables us to connect to our higher-self and unveil the healing powers of our soul. Nature is our guide using meditation, to show us our pure essence and the spirit or spirits that are always here to help guide us.

Meditation brings about awareness, and awareness of ourselves is one thing, but to expand that so that we understand other living being, including the planet, is the key. We have so many things in common with living beings, and if we were able to tap in to our awareness and practice compassion, then we could eliminate greed and selfishness. Our eyes would no longer envy expensive shoes, cars, or superficial material things, we would long to express and be a part of love.

Being in Nature and meditating opens clarity for our actions, feelings, and emotions. The stress and tension in our bodies can be eradicated, and the negative thoughts that bombard us can be defeated.
By taking this step in staying connect with Source, we are able to give more to other beings without judgement, knowing that our intentions are pure, and that is all we can really ask for in this life, is to try and stay as pure of heart as we can.

Could destruction and crime be eliminated too?

“Researchers found that crime could be lowered if less than 1% of the population meditated. A town in England where Transcendental Meditation was taught and practiced was studied for their relative crime rate to those who meditated.
Over a five year period, the crime rate went from being the third highest to the lowest of the eleven metropolitan areas studied. If we can reduce crime through meditation, perhaps world peace is within our reach.
The fact that we have this potential power is incredible.

These changes have also been measured during other group gatherings; during a silent prayer, full moon ceremonies, sacred sites in Egypt, and a prayer vigil. The researchers say that “Meditation involving a large number of people worldwide practicing an assortment of types of envisioning, prayer and meditations at the same time reached significance.” ( Power of Positivity)

Meditation can help us learn what our higher purpose is, filling in the empty void of yearning what our goal is here on Earth. What we are supposed to achieve in the short time and what we are meant to fulfill.

I think it is safe to assume more of us do not have a clue what our higher purpose is here, or where to begin. This is where Meditation can open the mind and Nature can show the symbiotic relationship we have with Her. This is vital in understanding our purpose here.

If all of us were able to obtain the knowledge and answers we seek to fulfill our spiritual longing, then we would be more driven and motivated to go do more with our lives then chatting about silly gossip, staying angry over petty fights, or dwelling on superficial issues. We now would all share a common goal and focus for the greater good.

Millions, even billions of people connected to strive in reaching the Divine, or peace. Talk about elevating our energies and happiness!

“You may not be a person of faith, but there are billions of people on this planet who are. There are approximately 2.2 billion Christians, 1.6 billion Muslims, 1 billion Hindus, 500 million Buddhists, 400 million followers of folk or traditional religions, and 14 million Jews.” (NPR, April 2, 2015)

Faiths and ideologies do not matter if they differ because it is our diversity that makes us unique, yet in that diversity we see the commonalities in the lessons each faith is trying to instill, like love, hope, tolerance, a belief in something more, and compassion.

This is not necessarily about a Deity, but a means to reach a goal of peace and harmony without religious connotations behind it. If you use Meditation as a spiritual tool believing in Source, then your fulfillment might be the realization that the purpose you have is instilled by the creator, and what made us, our spirit, souls, ability to experience love and stop hurt, only comes from a Source that IS 100% love, that if we stay the course, we will ultimately return to it fulfilled.

I would like to end this entry on a beautiful, profound quote:

“The old people came literally to love the soil, and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of being close to a mothering power. It was good for the skin to touch the earth, and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth. Their tipis were built upon the earth and their altars were made of earth. The birds that flew in the air came to rest upon the earth, and it was the final abiding place of all things that lived and grew. The soul was soothing, strengthening, cleansing, and healing. This is why the old Indian still sits upon the earth instead of propping himself up and away from its life-giving forces. For him, to sit or lie upon the ground is to be able to think more deeply and to feel more keenly. He can see more clearly into the mysteries of life and come closer in kinship to other lives about him.” (Chief Luther Standing Bear, Teton Sioux Tribe, 1868)

Meditate with Nature

Nature is the tranquil place that we can escape to in order to bring us back, connect with our bodies, and bring about a quiet mind. I always say to my clients, if you are not meditating and working on your mind in conjunction with your body, you are leaving out half the equation to heal.

When people think of wellness, their thoughts usually go straight to exercise, and hopefully diet and nutrition too. Of course these are vital in our lives, but the one key element that is far too overlooked is the mental component.

When Nature becomes an element in our daily lives, especially in meditation, it brings us to be more receptive to the natural world. We are able to feel the mysterious powerful healing it provides, and not just the beauty we may see.

By sitting and watching the landscape, swaying grasses, vibrant flowers, magnificent trees, sounds of birds singing, and the busy body insects threading new webs, or pollenating away, we understand how to learn from nature’s examples and metaphors to improve our life. Being in Nature is where we are intended to be.

Meditating in nature puts us in tune with the elements of the Earth, and by acknowledging its presence, we become more open to experiencing a higher state of consciousness and connection to our Spirituality. I love to show others how to tune themselves inward. Once we can be in the present moment and be mindful, then we can gradually include our senses.

Let’s start with hearing- the duets that birds may sing in their dance, the water of a creek nearby, the sound of wind, the cicadas on a warm day, all without getting too lost in the sound’s source. Next, we use our sense of touch and feel and Earth under our feet, the wind gently touching us, and maybe a butterfly that lands on our hand. Now let’s bring our eyes into the mix and use this as a way to stay grounded and support the present moment of being aware.

We are heightening our sensitivity level, quieting our minds, and opening them to receive whatever message we may need. Nature can lure our attention in a positive way from all the chaos and drama of our lives, and immerse us into the contemplative presence of the creation all around us. When we become aware, but not lost, in meditation, then the healing effects begin. The stressful aspects of life unveil themselves as just one small part that we hold in a much bigger picture of existence.

Expose yourself and be receptive to the answers that lie in something much greater than us. Do not just leave your footprints on land that is impressionable, but give back by taking care of it, yourself, others, and all the creatures that inhabit the planet. Understand that the greatest thing you can do for yourself, is not just what you do for your body, but also what you do with your mind.

Your Power Animal and How to Find It.

Ever notice how everything in life always gravitates toward animals? From stuffed animals, clothing, movies, masks and costumes, gifts, tattoos, cartoon characters, mascots, our beloved pets, and the list goes on. Animals and Nature are our guides to assist us with our journey in this life, and after. There is an important spiritual relationship with a healing spirit that unveils itself to you in the form of an animal. These guides provide us with protection, assurance, power, support, and even humor. Power animals can appear to you during meditation, dreams, visualization, or Shamanic Journeying (which I call Shaman Meditation).

Some people find they have a specific primary power animal or more throughout life. Others like myself find many on my spiritual journeys, so much so, that I keep a journal of them and seek to see the message in which they send. But the commonality in most Shamanic practitioners is a consistent one who always seems to appear on a regular basis when journeying. This is a wonderful connection to develop in your life and apply.

When your power animal appears, understand this has been shown to help guide and protect you. We may get answers to questions we have, or just the comfort in knowing we are never alone. These are helping spirits in the form of an animal that express something powerful that lies in ourselves. They can travel with us, provide us with information we seek, and protect us. Power animals want to help us in our time of need and bring us their specific power, without it, we might stumble through life. The moment your spirit healer arrives is a wonderful time of regaining your power, and restoring yourself. Once you learn to journey, you will get information from your power animal as to why they are there and apply it to your life.

After being shown your power animal, you may feel inspired to create something after the visits. Show your appreciation to the Spirit Guides by acknowledging its presence, and give thanks to it. This is not a one- way connection, so giving back is a vital part in growing spiritually. When you have a conscious relationship with your power animal, that is showing that you are aware of its’ presence, and are actively participating by giving and receiving.

If you are confused on how to reciprocate, just ask your animal guide on how to give back, and you can find ways to reciprocate and honor your Power Animal that resonates. You might draw a picture of your guide, photograph places in nature it would love, eat foods your power animal likes, write a song about it, or just say out loud how thankful you are to have such beautiful reassurances in life shown to you.

For me, as a Shamanic practitioner it is a form of God, or Source, that I take very seriously and gives me great comfort. God is in all of us, in perfect nature, and in all creatures, and I see this as God’s way of extending itself to aid me in this life, and what an amazing gift we can all experience if we just keep ourselves open to receiving it!

Once you become more aware of what a power animal’s purpose is for you, you can call upon it in times of need as well. If my anxiety decides to make itself known then I immediately call upon Moose to show me how to get a grip already and not succumb to fear. The Moose inspires me by showing how to stay strong and graceful, even though I might feel downright clumsy and strange to others.

My Moose guide gives me confidence to overcome obstacles, achieve goals, and set new ones. I am proud of all my achievements and will not stop until I get them done. The Moose was born into the world with eyes open, and therefore is aware right from the start. It is important for me to share this awareness with others.

When you start to be comfortable with such a gift, then you see the importance to apply in daily life with our physical sense. There becomes meaning in every little being that crosses your path. That Spider you once were so petrified of, doesn’t seem as scary, because now you see the significance in its’ existence. I’m not saying go hug a brown recluse, but I would say do not be so quick to kill or have a panic attack over those that have an important mission in life.

These complex creatures we are around, become a way for you to see how wondrous life is, and how repulsive it is for those that abuse it. The more you learn about the role that your power guide shows you, the more sensitive you will become regarding all animals, plants, people, and the Universal connection we have with everything.

As our life is shifted by the tides of our world, connect to your inner spirit for guidance, and the map that we hold reflects the universe we are a part of. When we look inward we become connected and spiritually heightened, but without that awareness, one cannot see or work with Spirit. I encourage everyone to take time to practice looking inward to your inner spirit, so that you can discover in the larger picture of life, the power and positivity that lies in yourself.

Decaf and Organic does Not mean Caffeine Free Always.

Almost every time I visit the store to buy my Swiss Water Processed Coffee Beans, I am always asked by customers- why am I buying that, what is it exactly, is there a difference, and does it taste good?

After my explanation, I am always met with a disgruntled employee who seems to know better and give the standard “it’s organic and therefore 0 caffeine”….wrong answer.

The reason I am so adamant about this is because of how crucial this was in assisting with combating the side effects of coming off prescriptive medications. Caffeine is a stimulant and can be harmful to our health, not to mention addicting.

It can increase anxiety issues, high blood pressure, heart arrhythmia, medication interactions, fatigue, heighten insomnia, and the infamous “I have the worse coffee headache ever”.

To be met by USDA standards to be accepted as decaf, coffee only needs to be 97% free. That means an average 12 ounces of “decaf” could legally be labeled so and contain 3- 18 mg of caffeine. Doesn’t sound like much, but if you have a true medical condition this can make an incredible difference.

In a Starbucks tall- you are going to get between 3-18mg of caffeine. In a good comparison, high energy drinks like Mountain Dew contain 55 mg, Jolt 71.2., Red Bull 80, and an average coffee between 140- 300 mg. This is not something to gloss over lightly, especially if you are caffeine sensitive. What astounded me was McDonalds stepped up to the plate and beat everyone hands down offering the McCafe which is not only organic, but Swiss Water Processed. Wow, maybe there is hope after all.

Interesting how Starbucks is rated one of, if not the worst on the decaf marketing label, yet still charges over $5.00 for a cup. But that is just it, we pay more, because we assume it’s better for us, and that it not always the reality, but a great marketing technique. You get what you pay for, but not in this case.

So how do I know for sure?

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There are 4 ways caffeine is removed: Indirect Solvent, Direct-Solvent, Carbon Dioxide Process, and Swiss Water Process.

Direct and indirect solvent processes mean just that- anything that is a solvent and its uses in the decaf process are not considered a health risk. But what is CH3CO2C2H5 (Ethyl Acetate) ? Oh, that is the nature hormone in fruits right, like the bad apple ruins the bunch, so it’s gotta be organic.

Not in a commercial sense.

Since it is so impractical on a commercial level to obtain, Ethyl Acetic is created from Ethyl Alcohol and Acetic Acid, which may either be produced from natural ingredients or petroleum originations. Conclusion without going back to Chemistry 101, is that most likely because it will pass to save money as decaf, and there is a good likelihood it contains some sort of chemical/s. Better to be safe than sorry.

Methyl Chloride which is used in the direct process is listed as a possible carcinogen by the National Cancer Institute, but FDA considers up to 10 parts per million to be safe for us to consume. And since it has the least effect on taste, then drink up right. Not just yet.

Which leads me to Organic. Cool, I’ll just buy that and be safe. Well, you’re getting closer, but sorry, more homework to do.

The Carbon Dioxide Process is where all the assumptions and mad grocery workers get with me. It is a step in a much better direction, but again not 100% decaf.

In the CO2 process, green coffee beans are soaked in highly compressed CO2 at 73 to 300 atmospheres of pressure for about 10 hours, which extracts the caffeine from the beans. The pressure is then decreased and the CO2 either evaporates or activated carbon filters to get rid of the caffeine. The CO2 is then used again. This is much better, and I do not doubt the sincerity in the defenders of this method, but be warned that it only removes 95%-99% of caffeine, and if you drink a 12-ounce cup, that would leave you with 5 mg of stimulant.

But the issue I have with the CO2 process is that it strips other chemical compounds that coffee is known for that are beneficial to our health. Also, it does not have the robust taste that I like, being a. ” I’ll take it black” kinda gal.

So, the winner is: Swiss Water Process (SWP)! This is the ONLY for sure, chemical-free, water decaffeinated method that will ensure you 99% decaf, as well as the best flavor. It is that simple, it is water processed. The green coffee beans are repeatedly soaked in hot water and made to pass through a carbon filter (charcoal which is organic), and pulls the caffeine out of the raw beans, but does not harm the beneficial properties coffee may give. It also does not harm the flavor like the other methods.

The SWP does not use any chemicals because it relies entirely on solubility and osmosis, therefore organic, and 99% caffeine free due to repetitive times of soaking.

It may cost a bit more, but let’s contribute to the famers and helpers of this world for taking the time to do such a great job, and put our brains at ease on what we are drinking.

The benefits you will have outweigh the costs, so just cut back on renting movies or iTunes, go outside in Nature with a cup of real fine tasting decaf and enjoy making yet another positive decision in your physical and mental health. It took my body about a month to get fully adjusted to the change. That was over 2 years ago, and one of the best health decisions of my life.

And don’t get me going on decaf teas! Just take the intensity of this article and times it by 3, and be aware of what may be attributing to your health issues.

Make Your Chores into a Ritual!

When people think of ritual, I think a dark image comes to their mind. Probably because that word has been misused and associated with in our society. Although some rituals may involve a dark cloak and chanting away, we perform them daily and don’t even know it.

When I wake, I immediately let my dogs out, brush my teeth, fill their food bowls, and clean the kitty litter. Then proceed to make my decaf. Blah!- how can that be fun everday?
Well it is, and here’s why. Rituals are a way of celebrating what has been given to you. These are ways we give back to those that heal us, and by doing so the circle continues. Rituals can reduce stress by entering your own sacred space and honoring all around you, including yourself.

Rituals increase your sense of self, accepting and nurturing your spirit, and reduce feelings of helplessness. This is a time when you can take time to reinforce compassion for yourself and the beings that give you love you.

But I hate pulling weeds! I talk to many people who hate it, but then there are others who really enjoy it. The common answer is, it just relaxes me. So break out a nice cup of coffee, or wine, and get out there and start pulling the weeds. Because by doing so, you are giving back to the Earth where we came from, and it especially needs our attention more than ever now.

So next time you feed the animals or change the litter, you are creating a healthy space for the little ones that depend on us, and you will get more in tune with your inner self and awareness of all around us. These are wonderful rituals to be a part of and be thankful for!

You deserve to stop whatever you are doing in exhaustion for others, and take this time for self-healing. Know that by taking care of yourself, you are directly taking care of what is all around you. Abusing yourself is abusing everything that enters your life.

So smile every morning when you change the litter, or pull weeds, because the greatest way to heal, is to give back and know you are a part of something much greater then we will ever fully understand.

The Rise of DSM Labels and Why

The drugs in this world are creating a whole new class of mental illness. The cure all class of prescription medications that are really intended for critical patients at the end of their life battling cancer, Alzheimer patients to take the edge off, or severe cases of PTSD, and psychosis, are now being over-prescribed at epic proportions, and when people try to get off them, they get a new diagnosis and a DSM label. ( I will expound on the previous blog here).

Benzodiazepines are prescribed so often because they work very fast, the consumer feels better quickly, and move on to the next patient. Intended for a few days, yes, they can be effective, but over that, they are ineffective and unsafe. They can cause more harm than the initial anxiety and stress that led the patient to seek out a doctor. Symptoms people are generally not informed of, are increased irritability, rebound insomnia, shaking, heart racing, confusion, rage, agoraphobia, and panic attacks. These side effects are listed in your medication pamphlet now-a-days, but I have never heard a doctor (at least in my experiences), warning of these possibilities or realities. But the good ole drug commercials sure do, yet we trust the physician more, and usually do not question.

As the side effects keep surfacing, the doctors keep adding more pills to combat your side effects from the initial treatment plant, and not only is it turning you into a drug addict, but it is disconnecting you more. More from you mind, your body, and your spirit. And when your spirit is broken, how do you fix that?

So here lies the new form of mental illness, because when you go back to the doctor addressing these issues you are having, you just now fit the criteria for depression, acute anxiety, erratic behavior, and the good ole over diagnosed bi-polar disorder. Here is your label. So, let’s address this patient, and add a mood stabilizer to even you out and help with that new chemical imbalance that was just created. Time goes by, you’re on 7 different medications, and all because you couldn’t sleep for a while? This can’t be real, am I bi-polar? I do find myself snapping at people lately, I’m disconnected from my friends and family, I don’t have a sex drive anymore, my weight increased, my hair is getting thin, I can’t sleep well, I find myself racing with more thoughts than ever, and then I just can’t get out of bed sometimes. High and low, high and low. I guess the doctors are right, I must be bi-polar. Never occurred to me, nor was I informed that the symptoms I’m experiencing can be side effects from the drugs, and not actual symptoms of a true mental disorder. The new panic attacks and acute anxiety are being caused by the drug, not you.

When I was 19, in 1992, I sought out help for my insomnia and PTSD caused by issues in my past, and was given Ativan and Ambien. The long-term side effects were not really known, discussed, or brought up in the medical conversation. This was a magic happy pill to take it all away. I was even told by my doctor it acts similar to alcohol, so it’s cool because you can just drink less when you go out for happy hour. “1mg Ativan is equivalent to about 2 glasses of wine.” That is a direct quote that stayed with me my entire life. 24 years of my life was stolen from a drug prescribed to help me. I always took as directed, but when I tried on my own to stop, the pain was too excruciating. I would tell the doctors I saw of my concerns, and the attitude was just to stay on it, it’s not worth getting off. So, I proceeded thinking the worst would be kind of like someone addicted to cocaine or heroin, and I anticipated the detox would be a typical 3 days or so and no worries. Little did I know this would take 24 months to safely taper off.

In retrospect, the Ativan caused me more depression, high agitation and even rage, rebound insomnia, night terrors, panic attacks, and major gastrointestinal problems where I even had a colonoscopy at age 40 because not one doctor out of 7 specialists looked at my medical history and even fathomed, hmm, maybe it’s the drugs. My colonoscopy was clear. My bloodwork was excellent every year, yet I was losing my mind and falling into physical and spiritual decay. I have never had suicidal thoughts in my adult life, but they did cross my mind when I was detoxing from the benzos. I use the plural form because Xanax was added into my drug diet for daytime use when I was in my late 30s. The withdrawal symptoms of these drugs are horrendous. Ativan and Xanax are 10x stronger than Valium, but I was not told this. (Benzo.org.uk.) The half life is short, and that is why it packs a punch.

The problem is doctors do not warn patients about this intense addictive nature or the long-term side effects, and so when you try to stop them, you might end up in a seizure and at the hospital. That happened to me twice. Finding a support system is difficult as well, because you don’t really fit the criteria of a societal addict mentally, although your body does. Your happy pill fun becomes a shaming part of your life that you hide. In my mind, I never craved a drug, so I couldn’t be an addict. It’s a hard topic because physically I was the same. I know now, I was never suffering from any genetic disorder of addiction, pre-disposition, or craved an easy fix. I was a person who sought out help from guided professionals, and because of the lack of education on these drugs, society created an addict out of me, and the labels that go with it.

I created a taper regiment to safely withdrawal from the medications (I just call them drugs). It took me 26 months to get off everything. Every 10 days I would diligently reduce my pills , and I experienced severe tremors, chest pains, sweating, insomnia, everytime. Agoraphobia and anxiety attacks were like nothing I’ve ever had in my life and were debilitating me. Sometimes I could not drive, walk, eat certain foods, it was terrifying. Grocery stores were very supportive in my journey and would delivery to me, knowing what I was going through.

Work had to be done, and since I am on my own, I kept going in any way I could to keep working. Working outside everyday forced my body to react to my surroundings and heal. Nature was giving me the energy to keep going. My clients that I shared this with, were extremely supportive, and I realized I’m not alone. I have a great company I created, adoring animals in my house who each in their own way attributed greatly to take away my pain. My plants and landscaping outside called me out to open my eyes and see the beauty.

When my cognitive issues arose about mid-way through, I was unable to form words. The word would be in my head, right there that I could see, but I was unable to speak. Partial dementia can occur during this because I was on the drugs for so many years. Photosensitivity is a big one as well, and on and off for weeks at a time, I could not be exposed to light. That was a tough one for me. It can shatter your heart, but you have to keep going.

As hard as the path has been, and anger I felt toward the doctors for aiding in my downfall, my spirit rose up, the gloves were off, and I persisted. I realized how disconnected I was with the Earth, and it hurt me. It hurt me because all these years have passed, and I was unable to connect with the one thing that ultimately healed me- Nature. The beauty of being able to be still, meditate again, practice Reiki, gaze at the moon, and feel my body reacting to what the Earth intended for me, is amazing. The road I traveled was a painful one, so I understand, and have empathy for others who experience this. I knew I had to extend myself to help heal others, educate them, bring laughter into their lives, and get outside with me to see that healing for anything is right in front of you. Meeting conventional doctors, holistic practitioners, bio-chemists to naturopathic doctors, everyone agreed- I have died many times over. This was a true testimony for professionals in the medical industry, other who want to learn more about how to form a taper program with their patients and stop over prescribing these dangerous drugs. Especially the suffering warriors who wake up everyday without hope but still fight. I am not a warrior anymore, that title is retired for me. I refuse to fight with myself or others. My purpose is to instill that hope with my professional and personal awakening and be a crusader and advocate. For those who need a voice, I am here to help you reach inside and reclaim it.

This is the heartbreaking facts of people who become addicted to benzos. They were never an addict to begin with, nor bi-polar, but according to the DSM, they are now. It is hard not to be discouraged at the time involved to taper safety, but time is going to pass anyway, so you mind as well take control of your life and do this. The longer you stay on them, the harder it is to stop, and the cognitive side effects can be devastating.

They are wonderful alternative ways to deal with the stresses of this life, and taking benzos should not be part of that equation. This is the creation of a society of sick people under addiction, so find your own path, and do not become a statistic. What I learned, is there are bad people on both sides of the health industry, but then there are good. It takes time and proper discernment to find the right match, but they are out there. The key is taking control of your life, and being aware of the misinformation, and disinformation that is all around us. Disconnect from that which does not serve you, and connect with what does.

You must reach deep within yourself and stay determined. Do not let a pill control your mind and your body. Being a part of this life is something to celebrate and find the joy in, not staying disconnected.

My journey was a painful path, but I am here to give back by healing myself, healing others, sharing my experience with doctors and helping them understand the ramifications this society of sedation is causing. Be grounded to Nature is what heals me.

I always remember the quote, “ I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it…People think pleasing God is all God care about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back. It wants to be loved too.” (Alice Walker)

Whenever the pain of the detoxing would surface, I always said that quote inside, and then I would find the strength to look at the flowers, touch a tree, dip my feet in water, and gaze at the moon. The more I gave back to nature, the more I healed. I realized every person, every animal, every tree, every illness, literally every single thing that exists, is as a spirit. Moreover, this Spirit can be accessed, engaged or encountered in ways that bring about positive change to enhance the quality of life, relationships, and health.

Break the cycle and do not become a statistic by a very flawed health system. If only we could train our health professionals to consider us as whole beings that include emotions, reactions, and a spirit, instead of just looking at us as symptoms.

Gardening’s Healing Effects

Plants and trees have been worshipped, adored, admired, and looked upon with devotion. Avid plant gardeners like me even go so far as to name them and treat them like a member of my family. Rightfully so, as these beautiful beings are the sustainers of the earth, and this earth includes us, and therefore being mindful to our connection will not only improve our health, but give back to the life that creates ours.

Every person, every animal, every tree, every illness, literally every single thing that exists as a spirit. Moreover, this Spirit can be accessed, engaged or encountered in ways that bring about positive change to enhance the quality of life, relationships and health. Considering the importance of eating healthily, getting plenty of rest, engaging in appropriate exercise and having solid emotional support, I would extend that list to include a mindful regiment of appreciating and participating in some way with nature. Learning how to garden is a great start to improving yourself.

There are a multitude of documented studies from the CDC to the UK, that show the healing effects of nature and developing self-confidence and individual empowerment as well as key physical, cognitive, and social skills. Dementia patients, brain injuries, visual impairments, mental health, physical health, autism, trauma survivors, weaning off toxic drugs or medications, the list goes on. Horticulture practices and gardening are effective for everyone from children to elderly, to those suffering from trauma or sickness whether physical or mental or both, or just wanting to learn more.

This is a very symbiotic relationship to have with plants, and understand the power that is all around us. By embracing nature and participate with your plants, then you ultimately are embracing yourself and can feel it’s restorative effects. Plants are such extremely intelligent and spiritual beings that have a huge responsibility to sustain life. People often ask me on many of my non-native and adaptables, how are they surviving? Not only surviving but thriving!

Besides being a very elemental person myself, I honestly attribute most of my gardening success to communicating with them. I do not use fertilizers whether organic or synthetic, ammendments, or alter them in any way. I do find Reiki very effective, but before I embraced being a Reiki Master, I have always been in tune with my earth babies and look at them as living beings who love us, and need us too.

But they can be sensitive too, and sometimes people forget that these are live beings and depend on you to get them established and acknowledge their healing power. They will usually gravitate to what the good caregiver likes, so if you like classical music, then they will too, or if you like blues and bluegrass, then they will dance to that too. Keep in mind plants have a vascular system that transports water and minerals throughout their bodies, kind of like us right? The communicate and support one another and possess 7 senses. Biologist Daniel Chamovitz is Tel Aviv University’s director of the Manna Center for Plant Biosciences and his career is groundbreaking in discoveries in the biology of plants. I encourage you to read “What a Plant Knows”, and learn more about these beautiful creatures all around us. Whether you believe in vibration and energy that is all around us, to ancient beliefs that plants are sentient (able to perceive or feel things) and possess a soul, or just that they are so darn pretty and make you smile, does not matter. Trust me, you’ll never look at a plant the same again. Do not be scared to learn new garden skills, nature does not judge. Plants will unveil their appreciation to you by your efforts, and in turn you’ll develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of nature back.

This picture is My Garden, where the Fairies come and play, and all that enter can feel it’s healing effects.

A Much needed Faerie Break

The Faeries the faeries the joy of the land, That gather in our hearts and dance in our hands. The shimmer of light we can see from afar, to grace in our hearts and see who we are. Don’t blink too fast or they might loose your eye, and make you dream wonders of where they do lie. The earth would not be without these protectors, who fly all around and get drunk off the nectar. Noises they make with the gnomes in soil, and make our lives happy extracting turmoil. Surveyors of plants we should treat them with care, so always smell the flowers and be very aware. For the Faeries will come to you when the flowers are in bloom, to tell you they love you and take away all the gloom.
Jodi Phillips

The New Form of Mental Illness

Mental illness can take on many forms and unfortunately many labels to go with it. It is My opinion as becoming physically and/or mentally dependent on prescriptive drugs-that were intended to HELP in the symptoms of the mental illness, can actually lead the individual with a DSM label, and now in an state of detoxing. The person becomes the same as the common definition of a “drug addict”, who might be constantly craving illegal substances in order to cope with life’s obstacles and also physically dependent. Make sense?

A person might walk into their doctor and say, wow, seems like I haven’t been able to sleep in forever and my thoughts are kinda racey lately. So the doctor prescribes a Benzo like Xanax or Valium for example to help slow those thoughts down, and create a relaxing night’s sleep. Intended for a few days or 1-2 weeks, a person might go back and say, “I feel so much better lately.” Work is good, stress is lower, and I finally can sleep. Those are the correct answers to get you a refill real quick. Time goes by, life is still good, but you kinda are waking up sometimes in the middle of the night and wondering why. Call the Doc and that’s ok, let’s try Ambien to take care of the sleep, it’s not a Benzo, so you’re safe using it with the other drug. Can there be drug interactions? Nonsense. Hey sleep now is great, but uh- why are my windows open and all my faucets on? Oh well, sometimes that darn Ambien can cause memory loss and sleep walking, but that’s ok, let’s just add an anti-psychotic with it at night. It’s NOT what you’re thinking ok, this is intended for sleep….not like you’re crazy or anything. It’s safe and non-addicting. So you comply, I mean, this is your doctor right? They would never steer you in the wrong direction concerning your health. Wow that worked, I can barely wake up, but boy what a good night’s sleep! This is the perfect combo. Yay this is gonna be the answer. So time goes by, you start to gain weight, your dreams become quite intense, you have emotional outbursts, you’re waking up in the middle of the night, you walk the earth like a zombie, and you find yourself panicky again during the day. Hmmm, what’s going on here. Wait a second here….. you went in 2 years ago for sleep issues and a bit of anxiety. What’s going on?

Welcome to the world of addiction. Sure doesn’t fit the good ole homeless person under the bridge drinking from a bag with a pipe now does it? But I have news- a drug is a drug is a drug, and when you become physically addicted to it, you ARE the same. The question is- if the doctor cut you off cold turkey, would you be okay with that? Or would you start making calls to other doctors or friends to find those drugs? Would you go through the pain of withdrawals and even seizures or worse? I think we all know the answer to that.

So here lies the new form of mental illness, because when you go back to the doctor addressing these issues you are having, you just now fit the criteria for depression, acute anxiety, erratic behavior, and the good ole over diagnosed bi-polar disorder. Bam, there’s your label. So let’s address this patient, and definitely add a mood stabilizer to even you out and help with that new chemical imbalance that was just created. Time goes by, you’re on 7 different medications, and all because you couldn’t sleep for a while? This can’t be real, am I really bi-polar? I do find myself snapping at people lately, I’m disconnected from my friend and family, I don’t have a libido anymore, my weight increased, my hair is getting thin, I can’t sleep well, I find myself racing with more thoughts than ever, and then I just can’t get out of bed sometimes. High and low, high and low. I guess the doctors are right, I must be bi-polar. Never occurred to me, nor was I informed that the symptoms I’m experiencing can be side effects from the drugs, and not actual symptoms of a mental disorder. Now I’m alone, all the doctors stopped trying, I am in the state detox facility because my insurance won’t cover a private one, my family and friends couldn’t understand, I lost my job, I lost my life, and I lost my mind. To be continued…….
by Jodi Phillips