TRUSTING Your BODY

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This is something I have had on my mind for quite a while guys.  Who are we and how did we get here?  Did our ancestors constantly wonder how their organs were working?  Did they stress out about the diet they were eating?  I would guess that they other pressing issues to work on.  Enter modern civilization.  Educated.  “High-technology.”  Junk food, traffic, blogs =), INFORMATION OVERLOAD.  What is the end result?  We have been taken from nature.  We are not living in natural environments.  We have EMF, garbage in our food supply, chemicals in our air and water, a bad mindset, and more.  We eat junk food.  We don’t sleep enough or get enough sun exposure.  We don’t eat a lot of the foods that we desperately need.  We exercise too much or not enough.  We have become so OUT OF TOUCH with how things work. I think this lands a lot of us with health challenges and we start doubting ourselves.  We start doubting our bodies ability to keep us well.  After-all, it isn’t much fun to have things going wrong inside.  So what do we do?  We educate.  We analyze.  We use our western brains to “think” our way out of our problem.  This is part of the solution.  It is however, far from a COMPLETE solution.  Education is always important and there is a lot of good information out there.  But a lot of it is conflicting.  Is it wise to eat whole grains or not?  Should we eat animal fat or not?  Maybe eating fruit or cutting out fruit.  What about cleansing?  Let me tell you something.  There are two modes that our body can be in.  Fear/FIGHTING or Love/GROWTH.  Those are the extremes.  The more you can achieve a love and growth mode the better off you will be with your health.  Stress over how you are living 24/7 lands you in the fear category.  Sometimes fear is good.  It drives us to find the answers we need.  But what happens when there is no definite answer?  We always want that answer so we keep searching.  Well I’m here to tell you that there is no “definite” answer.  What works for me may not work for you.  What works for some person in a hot and humid climate may not work for you living in the cold north.  So this lands us to where we are now.  Let’s look at some remedies to these issues.

EDUCATION:  Educate yourself.  This does not mean spend thousands of hours researching ways to improve yourself.  Learn about nature as much as you can.  Imitate it.  Focus on the basics here.  Eat whole, fresh, local food when possible.  Cut out the junk.  Junk food screws up our own natural instincts. The basics also include getting enough sunlight, sleep, exercise, grounding, and pleasure in life.  Understanding that emotions and mental/spiritual states affect our health as well is critical to well-being.

LISTEN:  Take time every day to listen to your body.  TRUST IT.  How do you feel right now?  Do you feel hungry?  Stuffed?  Does your body want a piece of fruit or a piece of meat?  How about your emotions?  Do you feel empty inside?  Do you hold a deep conflict that hasn’t had the chance to surface?  What is going on inside?

TRUST:  Trust is such a huge factor in health.  It is rarely discussed, but it should be more.  A lot of health challenges ultimately stem from a lack of trust.  This could be a lack of trust in God, relationships, how we were raised, etc.  It can also be a lack of trust in our bodies or that they are failing us or faulting in some way.  The body is not to blame guys.  Life is intelligent.  It understands what is going on even when we don’t.

My favorite definition of healing?  “Healing is the application of LOVE to places inside that are HURTING.”  The body knows what it is doing.  What inside is hurting?  That is our ultimate job.  What is the message that your body is sending to you?  What does it want from you in order to better come into balance and serve you better?  We are spirits in bodies guys.  The body is a vehicle.  We are all our own mechanics.  Would we blame the car?  Let’s ALLOW the car to run how it runs and become “body mechanics” to help tune up our vehicles.  Trust that Love and Life are made to be here.  We just need to figure out where we went wrong.  Life is always right =)

-Joe

LIVER Cleansing

Liver superior

Most of us need to do some liver cleansing every now and again.  It is one of the largest organs in our bodies.  It easily gets gunked up with years of dietary abuse, eating late at night, lack of exercise, bad emotional states, and more.  As with most things; the end cure is to change the lifestyle that creates the problem.  However, getting things running smoothly again may require some sustained effort.  Let’s look at some of the strategies to implement when attempting to cleanse the liver.

DIET MODIFICATION:  This step needs to be first.  Without it, attempts will often fail or fall short of expectations.  This is not about being perfect here.  This is primarily about cutting out the things that are causing the jam to begin with.  What are the worst offenders?  As usual; fried food, pasteurized dairy/cheeses/butters, gluten, any high-heated fat/oil including animal fats, and eating late at night.  Fat is not the enemy here.  For good sources of fat choose from raw olives/olive oil, raw coconut/coconut oil, avocados, raw dehydrated nuts, raw/lightly cooked egg yolks, and lightly cooked animal fats.  Adding in more fresh fruits and vegetables is key as well.

JUICING:  A juicer may be invaluable in your attempts to cleanse your liver.  Juicing enables you to intake large quantities of raw vegetables and herbs.  Adding in things like dandelion greens, spinach, ginger, lemons, garlic, etc are all great.  Blended smoothies may help as well.

BOWELS:  In order for the liver to want to unload the bowels must be functioning properly.  Are you going to the bathroom every day?  If not, you may need to aid elimination for a while to help get things moving.  There are several good bowel tonics and herbal cleanses out there to help stimulate this functioning.  After achieving good bowel movements, you may start working on the liver.

MILD:  Mild things you can do to help the liver usually involve juicing and herbal formulas.  Notable herbs would include dandelion, milk thistle, turmeric, yellow dock, burdock root, ginger, and red root.  These help gently stimulate the activity in the liver.  “Stone breaker” herb will also help soften up and dislodge gallstones.  Eating lightly during these periods is often helpful.

MODERATE:  Moderate things to do may include castor-oil packs over the liver, coffee enemas, and fasting regimes.

FLUSH:  Liver flushing is serious business.  Most of these recipe’s involve using large amounts of olive oil and lemon or grapefruit juice.  They involve fasting for half a day and drinking epsom salts to open the bile ducts.  This procedure is very powerful and should be attempted with caution and respect.

Those are the main things guys.  As usual, prevention is the name of the game.  Let’s get things moving again. =)

-Joe

CONSTIPATION?!

The current product box.

Constipation.  The topic that seems to plague many American’s but nobody wants to talk about.  I wouldn’t want to talk about it either.  But the statistics don’t lie.  We use up a hefty portion of our paychecks every year on laxatives, herbal teas, and other “remedies” to help move things along.  What is going on here?  Our systems don’t really like to be irritated by these things all the time.  Admittedly, going to the bathroom is of utmost importance.  So what do we do about this problem?  Most people deal with this at one point or another during life.  It is probably one of the first things to address when dealing with health challenges.  If you can’t get stuff out; you have a PROBLEM!  You should be using the bathroom regularly.  Wild animals don’t have any problem accomplishing this feat, so why do we?  First we will look at some common CAUSES for these problems and them some short and long-term solutions to the issue.

CAUSES:  Poor diet and emotional stress are the two biggest factors here.  We simply don’t eat anywhere near what we were designed to eat most of the time.  Packaged foods.  Pasteurized cheeses. Bread.  Sugar.  Improperly prepared grains.  These are not things our systems are designed to take in.  Couple this with emotional issues.  We need to be somewhat relaxed to digest our food effectively.  This cannot be accomplished watching stimulating television, arguing with people we love, or driving in rush hour traffic.  When we are stressed, we are in protection mode.  Protection mode is the opposite of growth mode.  Growth, healing, digestion, repair, etc.  Years of dietary and emotional abuse to the system leads it to become very sluggish.  It needs a tune up.  Let’s look at a few ways to do this.

LONG-TERM SOLUTIONS:  I am putting this before short-term solutions because I think it is far more important.  There is always room for an emergency “toolkit” or for situations that we screwed up on our diet, etc.  Long-term problem resolution is the goal here.  So what to do?  Most of us have somewhat screwed up digestive/elimination systems from years of eating junk food and stressing out.  Our other organs of elimination are often gunked up as well.  One thing I have learned is that bad food stresses out ALL the organ systems.  The liver is one of the most important here.  The liver helps digest fat.  GOOD FAT!  If we ate good fat all of the time then this problem would not be so prevalent.  With bad fats our livers get clogged up over time.  We then can’t produce very much bile in our intestines.  Bile helps us digest fat and moves our bowels.  It’s a vicious cycle.  What are the bad fats to avoid?  Pasteurized dairy products, anything fried, high-heated vegetable oils, high-heated meats/eggs, roasted nuts, etc.  What about the good guys?  Fat is not to be demonized either.  Humans have consumed healthy fats for a very long time.  In fact, fat can be very essential to your health.  Fats to CONSUME from the vegetable kingdom would include raw olives/olive oil, avocados, raw coconut/olive oil, maybe a little unheated sesame oil, and raw soaked nuts/seeds.  I would use caution with the nuts as they can cause some people digestive distress.  Fats to CONSUME from the animal kingdom would include raw or lightly cooked egg yolks, raw butter, bone marrow, certain organ meats, organic meat that is lightly cooked, etc.  You have to be careful with fat.  In general, the more lightly cooked or unheated it is; the better it will process in your body.  Stopping the process of taxing our livers is a KEY to fixing constipation.  Kidneys are similar.  They help with protein.  Again; focus on lightly cooked, easily digestible proteins here.  Especially avoid any fried, heavy meats.  Things like really well-done steak, fried chicken-wings, etc.  Round out the rest of your diet with fresh fruits and vegetables primarily.  Grains/beans are somewhat harder to digest.  You may find it easier to heal without them initially.  I would eat some fiber, but go easy with it.  Munching on raw salad and carrots all day will probably not fix your problem.  Add in probiotic fermented foods to help digestion as well.  As far as emotional stress goes; there are really three main things to do.  AVOID IT, REFRAME IT, OR SOLVE IT.  If watching the news or driving in traffic stresses you out; don’t do it after eating if possible.  You may also choose to fix conflicts in relationships instead of letting them fester.  Take time to realize when you are stressed and solve the problems.

CLEANSING: This probably going to be required if you have been eating junk-food for a good portion of your life.  Things like liver, colon, and kidney cleansing.  Eating a healthy diet is a great start.  Sometimes our organs want a little more help.  But even the best cleansing will not help much without changing the diet and lifestyle.  Gentle cleansing is usually best as a long-term solution.  There are a great many herbs that slowly get the organs filtering and de-congested again.

SHORT-TERM:  All of us slip up from time to time.  Most people probably know short-term “solutions.”  I would advise against using harsh chemicals and drugs to accomplish this.  Herbs are great here.  Senna leaf tea will work well for most people.  Enemas or coffee enemas can help get things moving as well.  Generally speaking, I would avoid digestive enzymes on a regular basis.  In cases such as holidays, birthdays, or other events when you are eating and living in a “different” manner, it may be wise to take a few of these.  There are certain enzymes that help digest gluten/dairy so they aren’t as much of a burden on the system.  There are really endless short-term remedies out there.  Just don’t become dependent on them if you can avoid it.

These are the basics.  Ultimately, long-term diet and lifestyle modification is your best bet here.  Cleansing is a short-cut back to health.  Short-term solutions are great for emergencies but should not be relied upon on a regular basis.  Hope this got your brains moving guys =)

-Joe

 

Emotional Release Series: WRAP UP

Fear Yourself

Wow.  Did not expect this long of a series guys =)  Hope it was helpful.  I have a few remaining tips to help manage all of this stuff and perhaps avoid some common pitfalls along the way.  Let’s see what they are.

RESISTANCE:  We need to figure out and conquer any resistance we have towards working on our emotions.  This usually is a fear of some kind.  It is up to us to figure out what this fear is.  Maybe it is a fear of being vulnerable, a fear of losing control, a fear of failure, etc.  Sometimes resistance comes in the form of addictions to food, drugs, or sex.

VULNERABILITY/TRUST:  In the end, we need to become vulnerable.  Most of us are taught to never enter into this state.  Just remember that it is part of the work.  In fact, it feels good to be vulnerable and find out that you don’t fall apart.  Relying on friends, family, and God are all good ways to do this.  God is a good place to start if you feel uncomfortable talking with others.  This ultimately involves trusting yourself and others and providing a “safe space” for this stuff to come up.

FORMALITIES:  Drop the “formalities” guys.  There is no right formula with this stuff.  The goal is not to do it perfectly  We need to let go of the performance mindset and allow things to come how they come.  We are taught to be able to control everything.  Well, sometimes being “out of control” in a safe and constructive way is how to accomplish our goals.

CONTROL:  Usually this stuff builds up because we hold on to this control so much.  Most of us are afraid to ever lose control.  We are afraid to lose control of time.  We are afraid to lose control of our relationships.  We are afraid to lose control of ourselves.  God forbid that we have a slip up on our diet, someone sees us being emotional, or thinks that we don’t “have it together.”  I have a little secret.  There is a huge difference between having it together and maintaining the APPEARANCE of having it together.  Most of us are trained to keep up appearances.  Sometimes underneath there is a different story going on.  Your body carries and tells that story for you.

LOVING YOURSELF:  This is the ultimate goal guys.  People that respect and love themselves do not ask their bodies to carry the weight of this stuff.  Being human and alive is to be emotional.  It is part of who we are.  It is a major reason why we see so many disorders and health challenges that seem so resistant to medical treatment.  When you love yourself on a deep level and begin to FOLLOW love, instead of thinking that WE know best, amazing things start happening.  All of a sudden things make sense.  You let go of past hurts and grudges.  You see yourself in a new light.  You see other people in a better light.  When you love yourself, all of the other “barriers” will be dropped down on their own.  There are only two true emotions in this world; LOVE and FEAR.  Which one is running your life?

-Joe

Emotional Release Series: MISCELLANEOUS

emotion icon

 

OK guys.  This could literally go on forever here =)  There are so many countless ways to address and deal with our emotions.  How lucky is that?  As we near the end of the series I will note a few techniques that have helped many people deal with things in a somewhat simple manner.

EFT/ENERGY TECHNIQUES:  You are behind on the times if you haven’t heard of EFT.  It stands for emotional freedom technique. It relies on the same system as acupuncture.  Instead of needles, you use tapping.  You tap on points that are primarily on your face.  While you tap, you purposely address certain emotions, beliefs, mental patterns, etc.  This is basically like rewiring something and discharging the “static.”  Most of us have so much built up that it needs periodic cleansing.  This is a great way to do it.  It can also be used in combination with other therapies such as journaling, art, and more.  It is fairly easy to learn how to use.  Once you know it, you know it.  There are other similar therapies that rely on the same fundamental system.

PROFESSIONALS:  This may or may not be something you choose to use.  Professionals would include counselors, psychologists, therapists, and psychiatrists.  These may be valuable if you have nobody else to turn to, but can also become expensive very quickly.  Figuring out if this is right for you takes careful consideration.

CRYSTALS/STONES:  Stones and crystals have been used in healing for a very long time.  Stones are natural objects from the earth.  They carry certain energies to them.  I am not sure why or how this works.  Different stones have different properties.  Some may help you to ground out your energies.  Some may help to discharge or get in tune with certain emotions.  This is definitely an avenue worth exploring.

BOOKS:  Books cannot always help to do the deep energetic work that is required.  They can, however, help us to mentally and logically understand how and why things work the way they do.  More and more books on energy psychology, inner child work, shamanism, and other techniques are coming to the foreground in society.  We have a lot of wounded people here.  We are simply not taught most of this stuff growing up in westernized school systems.  Most of this is wisdom that was usually passed down from generation to generation.  We have forgotten much of how it works.  Brushing up on your “energetic know-how” is always a wise thing to do.  Just don’t fall so deep into the books that you forget to do the work =)

SHAMANISM:  This is an ancient technique that is starting to gain more attention in our current age.  As far as I know, this practice has always been around to some extent.  I will not even attempt to go into it much here.  The use of drums, rattles, and deep meditation help the practitioner reach altered states of consciousness.  It is in these altered states that the individual may receive guidance or wisdom from spiritual teachers, inner wisdom, energetic information, or deeply held unconscious minds.  This is a very powerful system that requires a lot of caution, respect, discipline, and contemplation.

MUSIC:  Music is a very powerful healer.  Creating your own music may be especially powerful.  Music has the natural ability to bring up emotions in people.  I remember something I read in a college course on music therapy a while back.  “Music is a part of ALL known cultures.”  This stuck with me.  It wasn’t that most cultures participate in music.  All of them do.  Music is fundamentally human.  There is a type of music for whatever mood you happen to be in.  Angry music.  Sad music.  Inspiring music.  Spiritual music.  There is no end to the list.  You would be hard pressed to find some music that doesn’t match how you are feeling.

CHAKRAS:  The chakra system is an ancient system as well.  It utilizes 7 major energy centers in the human body.  These correlate to 7 primary spiritual lessons/life issues and also to 7 colors.  Using this as a template to pinpoint your issues is an excellent idea.  The chakras each correlate to different regions of the body as well.  Color therapy can be used in conjunction with this system.

Those are some of the more common ones guys.  The possibilities are truly endless.  Find a few that really work well with you and stick with them.  Slow and steady is the name of the game here.  Try to work on stuff a bit each day.  The series will wrap up in the next post.  It will be on some pitfalls to avoid as well as advice on how navigate your progress.

-Joe

 

Emotional Release Series: PHYSICAL EXPRESSION

Figure 15 from Charles Darwin's The Expression...

Ok guys.  The series was getting a bit long so I am lumping a few together here =)

Physical expression is a primary way of releasing or resolving our emotions.  Emotions are energy.  They need to be expressed in one way or another.  Whether this means sitting in your body and causing “dis-ease” or being expressed constructively is up to us.  The problem often actually lies in the mind.  A lot of us had trauma growing up or were raised with faulty belief systems.  Look around at the advertisements and marketing.  Much of it plays on people’s fears.  We have airbrushed supermodels and actors.  We are usually taught that “good enough” is not really “good enough” and that there is always better or something more to achieve.  Changing some of these mindsets is often critical to achieve lasting results.  It is definitely important to EXPRESS your emotions, but it may be even more important to change our mindset.  So how do we physically express our emotions?  We have already talked about journaling and art.  These are more about putting your thoughts or feelings onto paper.  They are excellent for figuring out HOW we feel about things.  They can help us understand what we need to work on more.  They can help us grieve.  But what about the powerful stuff?  What about the rage?  The fear?  Sometimes emotions are so powerful that they like having other modes of expression.  Each “negative emotion” is an expression of fear, but I believe those fears can be broken down into a few subcategories.  Let’s take a look.

PLAIN FEAR:  Plain old fear.  This can be fear of physical or emotional things.  This can mean the fear of a near-death experience.  It can be the fear of getting in front of a class and speaking.  It can be fear of any type.  In chinese medicine, fear is stored in the kidneys/adrenal area.  Energy doesn’t flow through here well when we have fear locked in our systems.  What is the natural response of the body to fear?  SHAKING.  TREMBLING.  Shaking and trembling are the things animals use to discharge fear.  It can become almost a static buildup for people.  Try identifying your fears.  Identify things that you were afraid of in the “past.”  If we don’t discharge them; they are stuck in the body.  Once you have identified these fears try shaking.  Shake your arms.  Shake your legs.  Shake whatever you feel like.  Flap your arms.  All of these will help discharge the energy.

ANGER:  Everyone’s favorite.  How many of us can honestly say that we don’t hold grudges?  That we don’t harbor hostility towards certain people (often ourselves)?  Stored anger usually results when we have a problem that doesn’t get resolved.  Maybe we have a conflict with a friend or family member, but it gets dropped because neither people want to “get into it.”  Anger can be directed at people or situations. Anger can even be directed at God.  I would advise resolving that one as soon as possible =)  There are many things that come in the name of anger.  Frustration, resentments, grudges, rage, hatred and jealousy.  Sometimes healing is greatly retarded by bitterness and anger.  So how do we fix it?  Anger in chinese medicine is stored in the liver and gallbladder.  Sometimes we have stashed it away for so long that we don’t even realize what we are angry about.  Physical actions for releasing anger?  There is plenty on this list.  YELLING, HITTING punching bags, pillows, beds, etc.  Yelling on a solitary drive is good.  Exercising with angry music often helps.  Anger is a very physical emotion.  Anger is designed to get us to “ACT” on something.  When we don’t act, all that physical energy is trapped.  So the natural way to “unblock” it is to ACT.  Be careful with this one as we want to express anger in a constructive way.

GRIEF:  Grief is a tough one.  Many of us are carrying around a lot of grief.  Grief over the past.  Maybe relationships didn’t work out.  Maybe we lost loved ones.  Maybe there were situations that caused great suffering in our lives.  A lot of us are taught NOT to grieve.  Many of us are taught not to show emotion.  Definitely not in public.  It has gotten to the point that it seems many people are afraid to show emotion to their own families and even THEMSELVES!  What is going on here?  This is a huge problem as we are human beings.  To deny our own feelings is to deny our humanity.  We need to grieve to heal.  In chinese medicine grief is stored in the heart and lungs.  Death-fright conflicts are said to be stored in the lungs as well.  Unexpressed grief will hurt these organs.  Expressing them will help heal these organs.  Weeping, crying, moaning, and groaning are all ways of discharging grief.  We all grieve in our own way.

So is there a formula for all of this?  Not really.  There is no one path for everyone.  The basic formula has two parts.  The first may include doing a little digging to discover how you feel about what.  When we suppress things they get backlogged until we dig them back up.  Journaling and art are good techniques for finding what we might work on.  The second step involves releasing these emotions.  Try using techniques that EXPRESS what you feel.  We are often taught to analyze, think about, or figure everything out.  This just does not work here.  We can’t always think our way out of problems.  We need to feel them through =)

-Joe

Emotional Release Series: ART

Colouring pencils Français : Crayons de couleu...

Art has more or less been used as long as humans have been around.  From cave drawings to modern sculptures, there is something about art that intrigues us.  It moves us.  It captures our attention.  Why is this?  I would wager that the reasons are about as unique as we are.  Some people enjoy color and bright pictures.  Others may enjoy large sculptures made out of metal.  Personally, I think wood is beautiful.  Wooden art, furniture, carvings, etc.  Art is more than a form of expression.  It is a way to show the world (or ourselves) what is inside.  Some people create art that is very light and fun.  If this is a true expression of themselves it is great.  If there is something dark going on inside of yourself that needs resolution, then making some dark art is perhaps a good idea.  I love going to art shows and looking at the people with their artwork.  There is often so much in common between the two.  Some people show and sell their artwork.  Some people choose to keep it private.  Either way, it is a great form of expression and emotion.  This can be a cheap hobby.  It can also be an expensive hobby.  For our purposes, we will focus on the basics that everybody can easily pick up.  Where to start?  A good place would be to checkout a local art store and get a few basic materials.  These may include sketch pads, colored pencils, ink, crayons, paint, etc.  Whatever calls to you.  I will say that the less messy stuff is usually easier to work with on a regular basis.  I would definitely recommend getting something with COLOR.  So what are the steps here?  I don’t think there is any one way to create art.  Remember that this does not have to be something that you publish or show to anyone.  It can even be something you throw away as soon as you finish.  The less formal you make it, the better for expressive purposes.  Try not to use your “brain” so much and instead allow your heart and feel it out.  As usual, give yourself some time and space that you can get into a vulnerable space.  Allow whatever comes to come.  If you have a health challenge, you may wish to “draw it.”  You may be surprised what comes up.  Drawing yourself or those close to you may provide some valuable insights into how you feel about these people.  You may create art based off of past events.  Create things that have happened in your life.  It is important to focus on good things, but you shouldn’t be afraid to confront your “darkness” either.  Everything that is dark inside of you truly wants to find its way back to the light.  We often just need to confront it to get it to come out.  Art can be as simple or as complex as you desire.  From sketching to creating giant sculptures, truly there is something for everybody within the domain of art.

-Joe