“Blue Blocker” Sunglasses

A Pair of Sunglasses

 

Excuse me, what?

This is a relatively unknown topic related to modern living that is getting more and more attention these days.  Like sitting at desks, eating processed foods, and sitting in bad electronic pollution; we are finding another caveat to our modern lifestyle.  Enter “BLUE LIGHT.”  Light itself has its own complications, but blue light seems to be more problematic.  What is blue light?  We are talking neons.  We are talking the blinker lights on your wireless routers and television screens.  The glow from the alarm clock.  The blue LED nightlight in the bathroom.  It is hard to escape this stuff in a modern household.  What is the problem?  Our bodies have evolved rhythms revolving around the sun for thousands of years.  It isn’t just light for us.  It literally stimulates the production or restriction of certain hormones in the body.  Sun comes up, wake up, move around, think, exercise, etc.  Sun goes down, slow down, sleep, recover, rest.  What happens when these hormones get tricked?  

More and more research is piling up suggesting that light (especially blue light) interferes with our bodies own mechanisms for producing or inhibiting hormones.  A big one is melatonin.  So logging onto your email at night may end up keeping you awake.  Is your insomnia actually from looking at your computer or television screen late at night?  Can you not fall back asleep because you check your cellphone at night?  Maybe that blue light in the bathroom wires you back up.  The problem is that we are only subtly aware that these things are happening.  So what is an average “JOE” to do?  Surely you don’t want us to sell or give away all of our technology, ask us to turn the T.V. off, and check all emails before 7 at night RIGHT?  Correct =)

Enter “Blue Blocking Sunglasses.”  These are inexpensive.  They are effective.  They don’t interfere with our lives much at all.  What are they?  Basically just plastic sunglasses that have strong filtering technology.  They are specifically designed to filter out 100% of that specific light spectrum.  Keep a pair or two around the house for work at night.  Just pop these babies on and go about your business.  This is even more important in the winter when the sun goes down early.  

BENEFITS?  Better sleep.  Improved mood.  Deeper sleep.  Easier to “unwind” at night.  Better recovery from exercise and stress.

That’s it guys.  Simple.  Other tips?  Replace as many “blue” or LED lights from your living space as possible.  Switch to old-fashioned night-lights and battery or wind-up alarm clocks.  Try to get as much computer work done before bedtime as you can.  REST WELL.

-JOE 

 

Advertisements

“ACTIVE” RELAXATION.

Dandelion wind

You REALLY should relax man!  Take a deep breath.  Find your center.

Is taking a small break from our stressful lives really all that we need?  A moment in the midst of calamity can do wonders, don’t get me wrong.  But are we actively unwinding our clocks on a regular basis?  Stress winds us up a lot.  We don’t usually take much time to just BE and RELAX.  This is especially true if we are going through stressful events, rough jobs, health problems, bad relationships, problems with children, etc.  Add to that bad food choices and malnutrition.  It is so easy to wind up and never unwind.  Enter “Active Relaxation.”

ACTIVE RELAXATION:  This is something you set aside time for.  It can be anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour or longer if you wish.  10-20 minutes would seem ideal for most people.  What does active relaxation look like?  It can look like anything you want it to.  The main ideas?  SLOW your breathing, relax, and let go of tension.  Some good examples of activities that promote active relaxation of the body would include tai-qi and qigong, some slow yoga, very slow walking, belly breathing to meditation music, laughter, slow spiritual reading, or plain old meditation.  Affirmations is a great way to relax as well.  Repeating phrases with our breathing can help rapidly calm the system.  Phrases like “I unwind and relax with ease,” or “I deserve a breather” are great.  Affirmations can be anything you want them to be.  Anything that helps put you in a state of deep calm.  For most of us, we only realize how stressed we have been when we truly relax.  It is unfortunate, but most of us rarely reach the state of true relaxation.  We let the worries and stresses of the day wind us up more and more, then we get stuck there!  So let’s learn to un-stick ourselves and practice a little “active relaxation.”  I can’t help but share the 5 principles of “REIKI” with my readers.

JUST FOR TODAY I WILL NOT WORRY

JUST FOR TODAY I WILL NOT ANGER

JUST FOR TODAY I WILL DO MY WORK HONESTLY

JUST FOR TODAY I WILL HONOR ALL LIVING THINGS

JUST FOR TODAY I WILL COUNT MY MANY BLESSINGS

Enjoy =)

-JOE 

WE vs. I?

Herd of elk

WE vs. I.  What does that really mean?

We come into this world as an “I.”  If conditions are met, we slowly realize that we are also a we.  WE are part of a larger whole.  We are part of the rest of the people who are also I’s and We’s.  The more deep healing work we have done, the more we realize this to be true.  From a biological standpoint; this makes perfect sense.  A baby needs its mother.  It will not survive on its own so it needs to think about itself first.  We can’t help the world if we don’t survive =)  If the baby has a mother, situations are non-traumatic, and all is well; the child starts the slow but steady climb into personhood.  It learns as it grows that it is not as dependent on everybody else around it.  It has autonomy and a “self.”  Therefore, it does not need to be focused on “I” so much.  What if the child doesn’t think it got the love it needed?  Another block in the road.  We all have issues growing up.  We all have stuff that could use a little work.  If I drew a picture of how most of us live, would we be connected?  Or would we be SEPARATED PEOPLE LIVING TOGETHER?  What is the problem with all of this?  WE ARE WE’S!  We live together.  We are all part of this thing going on here.  The irony of it all?  The best way to help the world is to help yourself first.  I am not talking about material goods like helping yourself to bigger tv’s, nicer clothes, and more women.  I mean helping yourself spiritually.  Loving yourself enough to go through the hard work and grow.  What starts happening?  The more we resolve the “I” issues that we saw as unmet growing up; the more present we can be in the world today.  We become more INDEPENDENT.  We don’t live in FEAR as much.  If we don’t live in fear as much, we live in LOVE more!  What does love naturally want to do?  HELP others.  GIVE.  SHARE.  BE WE’S.  In fact, noticing how often you think about and do things for others seems to be a pretty reliable gauge (unless you are doing it for yourself).  Ultimately, we are human beings.  How does the system work?  In my view, God has created it pretty wonderfully.  We are designed to love ourselves enough to grow.  To go through the hard stuff.  As we grow, we can then in turn help others to grow as well.  We become “part” of the collective whole.  As we realize this, we want to help others as well.  If we haven’t found or acknowledged the pain and suffering in ourselves; how are we supposed to see it in others?  There is nothing that says we can’t work on ourselves WITH others.  Many people in the world are afraid to show others their true feelings.  Does this sound like WE behavior to you?  Love is said to be the only thing you can give away and have more of.  Let’s see if this is true.  Let’s start working together on becoming WE’S

-JOE
.

HEAVY METALS

English: Glam metal/Heavy metal and Hard rock ...

No, not the music.  

Most people have heard of “heavy metals” before.  Especially things like mercury, lead, etc.  Mercury is the big one most people talk about.  What is the problem?  The levels of these poisons is ever larger in our environment.  It is in our air and water.  It is in our food.  It is in our dental work.  This stuff is NOT designed to be inside the human body.  Add to this the fact that most people are highly deficient in minerals and vitamins.  Our bodies need this stuff.  When it does not show up, the body will often use another substance in its place.  Enter heavy metals.  There is also an interesting emotional link with heavy metals.  Toxins tend to get trapped in areas of the body that have stored emotions.  For example, the liver will store anger and frustration.  The lungs and heart may hold death frights and grief.  When we don’t acknowledge these feelings, the toxins can’t move freely.  This has always been a problem and is the reason spirituality has been a part of healing since humans have been around.  The problem now?  There are astronomically more toxins coming into the average persons body!  The other problem with metals is that they seem to be harder to remove than some other toxic substances we have been dealing with for much longer such as alcohol, tobacco, etc.  Heavy metal poisoning has been linked to most illnesses.  Especially included are the “modern” or “untreatable” conditions like autism, MS, some cancers, autoimmune conditions, and lyme disease.  This is NOT good stuff.  It also happens to be an area of a lot of disagreement between practitioners.  There are several different methods of treatment.  Some are somewhat dangerous.  There are risks that go along with most styles of chelation.  Honestly, I am no specialist in heavy metal detoxification.  I feel that working with an advanced practitioner is a smart idea with this one.  However, nature has blessed us with some amazing substances to help MILDLY get this stuff out of our bodies.  Let’s look at the natural things we can do to start lowering our heavy metal count without jeopardizing our immediate health.

FOODS:  Food truly is our best medicine most of the time.  There are certain herbs and foods that have been known to chelate metals gently from the body.  Among them are common kitchen herbs like CILANTRO.  This is the big one used in most supplements designed to remove metals.  Combining cilantro with a binding agent such as GARLIC or CHLORELLA is often a good idea.  This prevents the bad stuff from moving around to other areas of the body somewhat.  Garlic is said to be a mild chelator as well.  HEALTHY FATS are great mobilizers of metals.  Think raw fats.  COCONUT OIL, OLIVE OIL, RAW BUTTER, BONE MARROW, EGG YOLKS, AVOCADOS, ETC.  They provide our body with a lot of helpful stuff to get this gunk out.  KELP and some other seaweeds may help replace minerals.  An easy recipe I learned from Klinghardt is to make a “cilantro pesto” to use regularly.  Take maybe a cup of olive oil, a few bulbs of raw garlic, and a bunch of cilantro.  Blend it up to make a pesto.  Add a little sea-salt.  Store in the fridge and use with your food or on salads.

HEAT THERAPY:  Sweating has long been used as a way to purify the body.  Heavy metals can be sweated out.  Using things like saunas, steam-rooms, epsom salt baths, steam-showers, etc all can mildly eliminate these substances.  Be careful not to overdo though.  I would also advise adding in plenty of minerals into your diet, as you will sweat some of these out as well.

MILD CLEANSING:  Mildly helping the liver, kidneys, and lymph to eliminate their poisons will always be useful.  Using herbs, juicing, coffee enemas, and other mild things should help give your system a breather.

EMOTIONS/SPIRITUALITY:  This is a big one with metals.  A lot of us have repressed emotions.  A lot of us have bad mental conflicts going on inside of ourselves.  How big are yours?  Do you have a problem with God?  Do you feel unloved by your parents?  Did you get in a bad divorce?  What is causing you problems?  Maybe there is a lot of repressed anger you could deal with.  Figure out where your conflicts lie and address them.  This often means working on deep childhood issues for many of us.  It is worth the effort to restore health and balance to your system.

There are other therapies guys.  Hardcore chelation.  Injections.  Synthetic vitamins, etc.  These are best left for people who really know what they are doing.  Removing the sources is always the biggest first step.  Avoid fish and other foods that are contaminated.  Drink spring water from a clean source.  Try to breathe clean air.  Work on the emotions.  These are the main things.  Let’s start building awareness and get this problem on its way out =)

-JOE

 

 

OUT WITH THE OLD / BEING PRESENT

English: My closet

OUT WITH THE OLD.

The old standby right?  Sometimes the only way to take in new in our lives is to get rid of the old.  This doesn’t necessarily mean throwing things away.  It can mean altering things.  It can be a new frame of mind.  It can be getting rid of old habits.  A lot of times we think of throwing out old junk.  Well let’s look at different types of “junk” we carry with us.

STUFF:  This is the one most people think of first.  It is an important one as well.  Physical “stuff” weighs us down if we let it.  Extra furniture.  Clothes we never wear.  Gadgets we have long forgotten.  Maybe a bunch of spare books lying around.  It is very hard for us to let go of our “stuff.”  We are taught to accumulate things in this country.  To save things.  To build up your stuff.  But does that really do us much good?  Look at the other animals in the wild.  They are not burdened with stuff.  They move wherever they go.  For most people, moving is a big deal.  Moving when you are young, energetic, and have relatively few belongings seems simple.  As we get older, less vital, and accumulate more; the idea of moving becomes a lot bigger challenge.  Take inventory of what you really need and get rid of the rest.  Often times, getting rid of old things makes room for new things that we actually need in our lives in the present day.

WEIGHT/BODY GUNK:  Gross I know.  But this is the case with many people.  Our sedentary lives and eating styles cause us to gain weight.  In my opinion, it isn’t just the weight that is the problem.  It is the toxins, gunk, and clogging that come with it.  We get bogged down.  Our livers, kidneys, and colons get clogged up.  We feel heavy after eating.  All of these things bog down our lives.  We can’t go through life with much enthusiasm or energy when we have all this stuff in our bodies that is not supposed to be there.  The answer?  CLEANSE.  IMPROVE THE DIET.  Cutting out processed foods, gluten, and pasteurized dairy is a great place to start.  Doing some simple herbal cleanses can make a world of change as well.

EMOTIONS:  We have emotions for a reason guys.  When we stuff them down, they just come back later.  Have you cried lately?  Hit a punching bag or some pillows?  All of us accumulate this stuff.  We hold frustrations towards people, God, ourselves, life, etc.  If we want to be truly present in our lives, we need to let these things out every once in a while.  

MENTALITY:  This is a tough one.  Is it worthwhile?  You bet.  Sometimes the biggest thing holding us back isn’t our weight or our stuff.  It is our mentality.  Do you think you will never get ahead?  Do you worry all the time?  Maybe your view of yourself, God, or society isn’t a good one.  This isn’t so much about removing bad mentality as it is about reframing your own view on things.  This is a basic problem for all people.  It is hard to change our mentality.  We are taught to think a certain way.  Usually, changing our mentality means facing resistance from ourselves, friends, and family.  Sometimes changing mentality will lead to big changes in our lives.

FEAR:  This is the big one guys.  All of these things usually boil down to a fear on some level.  Why are you afraid to let go?  What is the underlying issue really going on here.  Look at what you are afraid of eye-to-eye and face the tough stuff.  When you can start truly facing your fears of your own past, present, and future; you will be on the path to living in the moment.

Ultimately, removing the old from our lives is one of the best ways to make room for the new.  Don’t all of us want a little new in our lives?  New clothes, new jobs, new vacations, new LIFE!  Our old baggage, unhealthy bodies, and fear usually is what stops us from living our dreams and passions.  Let’s learn to constantly take out the “used” and make room for the PRESENT.

-Joe

GROWTH Vs. PROTECTION?

Worried

ARE YOU GROWING? OR ARE YOU PROTECTING?

 

 

Bruce Lipton, author of “Biology of Belief,” asks this very question.  Honestly, I haven’t read the entire book.  I have skimmed portions of it.  It got a little too much into the science of everything than I wanted to go at that time.  So what is the idea?

 

 

There are two main modes for animals (including humans) to be in.  Growth and Protection.  Let’s look at a few characteristics of each of them.  There is no good or bad here, just observations.

 

 

GROWTH:  Anabolic, building, healing, repairing, relaxing, recovering, digesting, eliminating, love, joy, laughter, etc.  This is the phase most animals like to be in.  It is one of peace with the world around us.  It is one without fighting, fear, or striving.

 

 

PROTECTION:  This is the realm of fear.  Fighting.  These are mechanisms in place that help us defend against “threats” in our world.  These threats can be real or “perceived.”  The belief is what truly makes it real for you.  Worrying about work.  Worrying about our children.  Fear of getting in car accidents.  Fear about the economy.  Fear about our lives.

 

 

Now, I don’t want to criticize protection mode here guys.  I believe it has its uses as well.  But you have to take an honest look at your life and figure out which one you are living in most of the time.  This is not a black and white thing.  More like a scale.  The greater your level of protection, the less your level of growth and healing will be.  Most people do not have to worry about being too stuck in growth mode.  But what happens when we get stuck in protection mode?

 

 

On the short scale we may worry about the little things.  Will we be late to our appointment?  Did we forget to check the mail?  Maybe there was something that NEEDED done that we just couldn’t remember to do.  This scale unfortunately progresses.  Are we making enough money to feed our family?  Will our child survive his health challenge?  Will we be able to comfortably retire?  Is our mate going to be happy with who we are?  Will the people in my life accept me with all of my faults and flaws?  These are all questions that tend to provoke protection reactions in us.  These reactions are a bit more severe.  They tend to focus on LONG-TERM SURVIVAL NEEDS.  As humans, we have the ability to look into the future with greater accuracy than animals (for the most part).  As such, we plan more.  We worry more.  This has it’s benefits and drawbacks.  Finally, there are SHORT-TERM SURVIVAL NEEDS.  These are those which immediately snap us into protection mode.  This is the realm of PTSD.  Of trauma.  Of terrible accidents.  Of health crisis.  Of war.  These are things that we cannot ignore “for the day.”  Hostage situations, torture, mauling by animals, and terrible car crashes all fit into this category as well.  These are actually scenarios that often demand protection mode.  I would hope that if you were getting attacked by a grizzly bear you would not be in healing mode =)  So what is the problem?  In nature, these events are not meant to happen for long.  But what happens when they are continuous?  War veterans.  Serious health challenges.  Our energy and psyche tends to get so locked in fighting for survival that it can get stuck there even when we are through the trauma.  So what is going on with all of this?  WE GET WOUND UP!

 

 

We get wound up so tight in the modern world.  When is there a day that goes by that we don’t worry about something?  We worry about work.  We worry about our families.  We worry about bills.  We worry if we are doing a good enough job with taking care of ourselves.  When does it end?  This is not about ignoring the issues of our modern world.  It is about learning to live in harmony WITH them so that we don’t take the burden of living in protection all of the time.  Is there anything we can do?  There is always something you can do =)

 

 

INVENTORY:  This step is often the most painful.  It requires us to take a good, hard look at what we are afraid of.  Are we worriers?  Are we living in the past?  Do we have unresolved emotional trauma or conflicts that are keeping us locked in protection mode?  Maybe an old scar from a past relationship.  Maybe some health problems that have plagued you for years.  Did we not have enough food or money at a time?  Looking at your fears means looking at yourself.

 

 

DECIDE:  Decide on the things that are WORTH being afraid of.  The problem with our modern world?  There are a lot of small things that we let ourselves get wound up about.  Most of them have nothing to do with SHORT-TERM SURVIVAL.  Decide on the things that you can let go.

 

 

WORK:  Often the things most worth doing take the most work.  This may mean taking a good hard look at the “man in the mirror.”  Are you trapped in an abusive relationship?  Are you fearful for your health?  Maybe you are a war veteran with PTSD.  This stuff is not easy.  It’s like a muscle that has been holding on for a REALLY LONG TIME.  It gets really tired and probably cramps up a lot.  The way to fix it?  Massage, unwinding, meditating, rest, etc.  I would like to point out that sleep and rest are related but different things.  You can sleep in a very stressed out state.  True rejuvenation comes when we blend the two together.

 

 

TOOLS:  Use tools to help you work through the tough stuff.  This doesn’t happen over night.  Often, we need tools to work with to help us along to our goals.  There are no right or wrong tools here.  Whatever helps you unwind.  Good tools may include massage/bodywork, meditation, affirmation exercises, EFT, self-care, water-work, laughter, joy, love, etc.  Anything that makes you SIGH RELIEF afterwards is probably a good thing.

 

 

ULTIMATE SOLUTION:  The ultimate solution is to realize every day that we have limited power on this planet.  We REALLY don’t like that do we?  We want to be able to control all the little details?  Why?  Because we were taught that this was the only way to control the outcome.  But is it really?  Is living in fear really the way to go?  Most people I know live with some level of fear in the background at all times.  Maybe not death-fear.  But fear.  Figure out the things you can let go of.  You may find that you need to make some changes in your protection mode along the way.  There are many people blissfully unaware of things they are doing that thwart their long-term survival, health, and happiness.  Listening to the universe is the correct step to figure out where we are off-balance with it all.  Protection mode has its place.  For most of us however, its “place” has become the norm.  Let’s scale back on the protection and move back into growth where we belong 90 percent of the time =)

 

 

-JOE

 

 

 

 

 

RECOVERY?

Rest

What does recovery mean to you?  

Does it mean rest?  Relaxation?  Time off?  Healing?  All of these could apply.  What is my definition of recovery?

RECOVERY:  Giving your body, mind, and spirit everything that it needs to recuperate after periods of stress.  Giving yourself time, space, and permission to allow different parts of you to affirm this recovery. 

What kind of stress depends on what type of recovery you may need.  Do you lift weights too much?  Maybe you need some time off from that.  Maybe you work too hard with your mind and need some time-off to recharge.  Sometimes our daily lives are so hectic that recovery is not possible without changing critical factors in our lifestyles.  Maybe you are in an abusive relationship that is creating havoc in your emotional world.  Is your job physically exhausting you beyond your capabilities?  Maybe your diet isn’t one that advocates good health.  There are several factors that will determine your ability to recover.  Let’s look at a few of them.

DIET:  Diet is critical to recovery.  WHERE you need the recovery may depend on what types of things you are working on.  Fresh, whole foods are best for everyone.  A wide variety of foods are good for everyone.  After that, things start to differ.  Are you primarily a mental worker?  Possibly more fruits, veggies, plant fats, etc.  Doing a lot of physical stuff?  You may be  drawn to more protein and animal products.  Just make sure whatever you eat feels right for you.  If it is non-processed and properly prepared (ie: not fried, roasted, pasteurized, boxed, etc), trust your taste buds to let you know what is right for you.

SLEEP:  Sleep is obviously huge.  This simple step is missed by a lot of us.  We either get distracted and busy, or we get overly stimulated by stress and our environments.  The end result?  Most of us don’t sleep enough.  We “get by” on a certain number of hours.  Sleep is our bodies recovery system.  It is like recharging a battery.  Sleep with the seasons if possible.  A lot of new research is pointing to stimulation of hormones by our favorite electronic gadgets.  Blue lights, computer screens, microwaves, HD tv’s, etc.  People attempt to sleep next to power strips, cellphones, computer cords, etc.  These things all have the ability to “trick” our bodies into hyping up.  This is a tough one to crack.  As far as the lighting goes; there are really only two solutions.  One is to avoid looking at these lights past about 7 at night to let your body naturally wind down.  The other is to get an inexpensive pair of “blu-blocking” sunglasses.  These things block out the stimulating effects of the light while allowing you to check email, write blogs, surf online, etc.  Making your bed an “electronics-free zone” will also produce noticeable improvement in your sleep.  Most of us sleep in the midst of dozens of wireless networks these days.  Turning off your wireless at night is a great thing to do.  Getting grounding mats is another wise choice.  These things help discharge static build-up and negate much of the negative effects of airborne wireless devices.

EMOTIONS: E-motions are HUGE.  Emotions can dramatically interfere with our ability to relax, unwind, and sleep.  Are you constantly in conflict over something that happened to you last year?  Are you fighting with your spouse?  Do you worry about the kids or your job?  Mental and emotional states are big.  Technically, they are separate categories but I am throwing them together here.  Figure out where your stress is coming from.  There are only two places.  Externally or internally.  They are tied together, yet distinct.  We can both have the same experience and perceive it differently.  Maybe flying down the highway is fun for me.  Maybe it freaks you out.  The external event is the same, yet the stress created in you will be dramatically more.  So what is the point?  Figure out what stresses YOU out.  Is it something coming from the outside?  Things like a bad work environment, bad relationships, financial pressures, working too much, etc can all fall into this category.  These are things that tend to stress most of us out.  Internal events may include worrying, depression, emotional conflicts with family members, God, or friends, and thinking too much in general.  All of these can interfere with your ability to recover.

ACTIVE RECOVERY:  Active recovery would refer to things you can do to “aid” your recovery process.  These include working-in exercises like qigong, tai-chi, gentle stretching, slow walking, etc.  They also include bodywork such as massage and physical therapy.  Things we can do during the day to aid our bodies in their processes.

TIME:  This one has the potential to be annoying, yet it is a huge part of the process.  We live in a society that is driven by time-constraints.  Everything takes up time.  Recovery is no exception.  Are you willing to put in the time to recover?  Are you willing to change some of your other plans?  Sometimes intense periods of stress require large periods of time to recover from.  Sometimes we take our boat pretty far away from shore before we realize that we need to get back to the island and sleep a bit.  Sometimes we end up having to sleep on that boat on the way to the island =)  Let’s create the time to dedicate to recovery.

Recovery is a big part of life guys.  Ultimately, the goal is to not wear yourself thin in the first place.  Take steps to ensure that you are living within your own limits.  We are human beings that sometimes choose to live more as robots or machines.  We need good food.  We need sleep.  We need connection and love.  We need time off.  We need time off.  These really are not optional.  Let’s give our bodies, minds, and spirits room to recover =)

-JOE