We’re a couple of days behind, we had a severe winter and we’re still repairing damage from the ice and snow.
PELE March 08, 2017 Edition
Practical Everyday Life
Easy Does It:
Posture And Attitudes Are Reflections Of Mental Patterns.
Mindfulness And Photography:
Photography And Mindfulness.
Love, Connection And Flow Unify Life.
Thoughts On Creating Change.
The Dynamic Duo: Cinnamon And Garlic.
Exercises Oh My Aching Back:
Is that you after starting your new exercise program?
Copyright 2017 NewLifeRoadMap Larry and Celinda Miller
EASY DOES IT
© Celinda Miller 3-8-17 Photos © Larry R. Miller
Once in awhile I notice myself in the middle of some messy scene, as if I were a silent witness or an alien suddenly transported down at an awkward moment. My mindless reaction is frozen in time by a momentary awakening that beckons to a potentially different future.
Often what’s happening is inside of me, an imaginary dialogue or a niggling thought messing with my head, or an “ain’t it awful” feeling coloring my day a murky gray. Subliminal nonsense, but persistent and persuasive.
Sometimes it’s out there, an impatient or irritating or faultfinding exchange started by having a bad hair day. Okay, maybe I did get out of bed grouchy, but it isn’t my fault. Overworked, underloved, stressed out, burned out, misunderstood, unappreciated …you’d be grouchy, too.
Mindfulness, a neutral self-observation, is cultivated by conscious deep breathing. Belly breathing with attention on the breath and awareness of what is happening within and without, calls in here and now, allowing me to be fully in the present. When I can calmly observe my reactions, I see myself creating my life in every moment. My choices make my habits and then my habits make the “me” that creates my biography. Eventually this biography is stored in and affects my biology.
Posture and attitudes are reflections of mental patterns. As the yogis say, “The posture of the body is the posture of the mind made visible.” Breathing deeply into the belly evokes the relaxation response. Only when I’m relaxed and feel safe can I broaden my perspectives, dance with a new understanding and embrace more options for my life.
What within myself is valid perception and what is misperception? What do I want to change and what do I want to keep? Not all change is beneficial. Such questions help bring me back to conscious breathing, to the present moment, to what my body’s feeling, thinking and sensing.
Slowly breathing in, I affirm that life supports me, that it’s safe to take in. Slowly breathing out, I give back to life, sharing my more than enough or letting go of what is no longer helpful. I rest, remember, renew, transform.
Attentive, aware, neutral noticing offers many choices, each having different outcomes. Dare I leave the past behind and the future alone to accept, enter, and dance in the only moment that is…this here, this now? It’s said that letting go clears the way for letting in.
Or, as Rumi would say: Feel yourself being quietly drawn by the deeper pull of what you truly love.
Developing Your Photographer’s Eye Through Mindfulness.
Developing Mindfulness Through Your Photographer’s Eye.
Text and photo© Larry R. Miller
When we first begin our walk down the path of photography, we think that if we have the latest and greatest equipment we’ll also be able to take the greatest pictures. Very often we’re disappointed and some of us decide TO put the camera in the closet, close the closet door, and the door on a part of our life that offers the possibility to be very fulfilling.
Good equipment is important but even more important is developing your personal photographers eye for what happening in the world, big and small, around you. We constantly hear, “You have to find your niche” where making money is concerned. The same is true with photography. What sets your pictures apart from the many out there is finding your niche by seeing the world through your eyes in a way that others don’t, and can’t.
I find practicing mindfulness with a camera in hand allows me to be in the present moment, to capture the world around me as it happens and to develop my unique view of the world that’s constantly in flux around me. All too often I’ve missed an opportunity because I “wasn’t here”, I wasn’t in the moment, I was somewhere else and in a different timeframe. We all know the feeling, not just those of us who are photographers.
In photography, aperture refers to the opening in the camera’s lens that allows light to enter. By opening and closing the aperture you change the depth of field. The human brain is the same: the more you open or close the mindfulness aspect of your brain, the more or less you can take in about the world around you, the more you’re aware of your depth of field, your field of focus.
When we’re in a mindful state, we’re in the present, aware of our surroundings and noticing all the details. When we’re mindful, we make conscious choices. In photography those conscious choices can be the difference between ho hum and….
When you practice mindfulness photography, your camera can help you release anxiety, lower or eliminate depression by laser focusing on light, shadows, patterns, forms and those little things that we walk past in our rush through our daily lives.
Multi-tasking is a myth according to the latest neuroscience. The human brain can only be focused on one thing at a time. Most of us think we can multi-task but if we break it down we find we’re jumping from one subject to another and then back again, while giving none of them a full mind, our uninterrupted, internal full focus.
To get that WOW photo, focus your brain’s aperture on your chosen subject, compose the shot, capture it and if you got that WOW shot, you’ll know you just experienced a snapshot of mindfulness.
If you do that on a regular basis, not only will your photography improve, you’re likely to find your life works better.
So, how does one embark on their mindfulness photography journey?
If you live in the country like we do, you can take a hike. If a hike isn’t possible, take a walk or stroll around your neighborhood. While walking, think deeply about every step and what you see in that moment. You’ll be surprised how many new things you see in places where you’ve been hundreds of times before.
Focus your internal aperture and if the scene begins to fade or get out of focus, gently bring your attention back. Think about how the camera’s focus begins to blur the picture when you move off the subject, your mind is the same and neither get a real clear picture when that happens,
As you see new things that have been there all along, compose the scene, take your photo from a different perspective than usual. Try elevating yourself on a short wall or get down on your stomach. Instead of taking the picture the normal horizontal way, rotate the camera 90 degrees and see how that turns out. Play with your mindfulness, see how it feels and what new things in life you experience. Get that WOW photo you’ve always wanted AND…
Like the raccoon, “Be always curious.”
THOUGHTS ON CREATING CHANGE
© Celinda Miller 3-8-17 Photos © Larry R. Miller
Life is very simple. Every choice is either a life wish or a death wish. Consider the Biblical theme of the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It’s a great story to ponder.
Love , connection and flow unify life. Fear, alienation and control fractionate life. As a yoga teacher once said, “Always move towards love.” I think I’ll etch that on my heart.
I’m not my dysfunctions. Becoming aware of my inherent wholeness is an inside job. The magic healing elixir, formula or program isn’t “out there.” They exist deep within my being and are uniquely mine to create from the inside out.
I’m much more powerful than I believe. It’s simply a matter of redirecting my (will)power into more healthful, nurturing ways in service to myself and others.
Life is a series of choices, a smorgasbord of choices whether we know it or not. Choices have effects, so there’s no free lunch in this universe. Someone or something somewhere must pick up my tab if I refuse to be responsible for my bill.
My dysfunctions need remedy, so I do some kind of healing work, have some kind of positive spiritual support. Yoga, EFT, Touch for Health, Edu-K, qigong, tai chi, meditation, music or art, a 12 Step Program or other support group, an affirmative spiritual program, a trusted accountability mentor are all healing choices to guide me into a more informed and positive relationship with my life.
Languaging is also crucial. When mindful, I choose my words carefully. My unconscious is listening and remembers every thought and word. Habitual thoughts and words frame what I believe about my world and how I see it. Eventually they shape my behavior towards the world I see, reinforcing my sense of “truth” and “reality.”
As comedian Flip Wilson put it, “What you see is what you get.” Or as in the Talmud, “We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are.”
My subconscious judgement system (J.S.) comes from my subconscious belief system (B.S.), and they dictate how I will approach a person, thing, event, or my life. Even my deepest attitudes about life, others and myself are derived from my B.S and J.S.
So doing always follows feeling. Fortunately, belief is only a thought habit, and thoughts can be changed. Change the thought and the feeling changes. Change the feeling and the behavior changes. Change the behavior and I change.
I have three brains…a head brain, a heart brain and a body brain. (Think of the three legs of Yoga…knowledge, will and action.) Integration of my personality comes from the alignment and subsequent harmony of these three brains. That’s when my most fruitful learning shows up in Spades.
Paul Dennison, founder of Educational Kinesiology (Edu-K) wrote, “All finished learning is changed behavior.” When I see this statement as true, I envision my changed behavior before it even appears. My belief then propels me towards it, and Voila!, sooner or later my new behavior shows up in my life.
Cinnamon And Garlic.
Herbal Remedies For:
Blood Pressure Control, Candida Albicans And The Flu.
Text and photo© Larry R. Miller
Multiple studies have shown that cinnamon is the single best natural form of blood sugar control. Cinnamon (the water based extract type appears to be most effective) helped lower blood sugar levels between 10 and 30 percent. Cinnamon alone won’t allow you to discontinue your prescriptions but it’s a big step in the right direction. Always consult with your health care provider before embarking on a new path. Low blood sugar can cause problems too.
Cinnamon has also been used for centuries to treat colds and influenza. Start with a saucepan, add two cups of water, a stick, or equivalent of powdered cinnamon or cinnamon extract, plus two drops of clove oil, or a few leaves of fresh clove leaves and slow boil for about three minutes. Remove from the heat and add some dark honey or molasses, one formula includes two tablespoons of good quality whiskey but that’s your choice. After the mixture has cooled sufficiently, so as not to destroy vitamin C, add two tablespoons of lemon juice. Drink half a cup every three to four hours.
If you don’t have a head cold or flu but do a fungal infection, cinnamon has anti-fungal properties both externally and when taken internally. A few drops of cinnamon oil can help if you have athlete’s foot and can fight internal fungus infections like the overpopulation of candida albicans (C. albicans), known as candidiasis or thrush, when taken as a tea.
C. albicans is a diploid fungus, meaning it’s a form of yeast, and is part of the normal gut flora. C. albicans lives in about 80% of the human population with no harmful effects, although an overgrowth can result in candidiasis. Diets high in sugars can cause an overgrowth of candida.
Candidiasis can range from superficial to systemic to potentially life-threatening. Immunocompromised, such as AIDS, cancer, organ and bone transfer recipients and chemotherapy patients are more susceptible to blood and other systemic fungal infections (fungemias).
My personal experience with candidiasis stemmed from a recommended high sugar diet while attending an Olympic training camp seminar. The diet contained large amounts of sugar, sugary foods at every meal and at least one large tablespoon of honey first thing in the morning. That diet put a person on a sugar rush and, in order to maintain it, you had to continue consuming lots of sugar. Everyone I knew on that type diet eventually burned out and had health problems of some sort from mild to life threatening.
Males aren’t supposed to get candidiasis, according to some authorities. I consulted with various doctors, including a sports specialist, and didn’t find out what the problem was until I read a book on the subject.
The doctor who wrote the book listed all the pharmaceuticals and their side effects. At the end of the book he mentioned, as and aside, that raw garlic did as well or better than any pharmaceutical and there were no medical side effects. The only side effect I experienced was people keeping more distance between me and them than usual. In some instances, that was fine with me. I hadn’t heard or read about cinnamon being an effective fungal fighter or I would have tried it first.
Garlic can be easily home grown outdoors during nice weather or indoors during the winter in pots.
Oh My Aching Back!
Text and photo© Larry R. Miller
Oh, Ouch, Oh My!
Is that you after starting your new exercise program? Could it be that years of pushing the remote button haven’t kept you as fit as you’d hoped? Did doing too much too fast cause you to lose interest? Before getting into why we hurt, let’s see what we can do about not causing problems and the resulting symptoms in the first place.
Are your abdominal muscles sore from doing too many sit-ups? Before deciding you’re doomed to look like Jabba the Hutt, and making things worse by going into a state of depression, try approaching the problem differently. While sitting at the table, stuck in a traffic jam, anywhere it isn’t necessary to be alert or make much sense (does talking mindlessly on the cell phone qualify?), tighten the abdominal and chest muscles for 20 to 30 seconds and then relax them. Wait for 10 or 15 seconds, tighten them again and then relax. You can do that as many times as you feel necessary; keeping in mind if you do too many too soon you’ll be back to “Oh Ouch, Oh My.”
By combining that with an exercise known as Keggles, you can tone and strengthen all the muscles in the pelvic bowl, abdomen and chest and without anyone knowing what you’re up to. At first it may take a little practice to appear nonchalant but consider it a challenge; the rewards will be worth it. Since there’s more to Keggles than just tightening your muscles for 20 to 30 seconds, and the information is readily available, finding that information and giving it a try will test how interested in improving your health and fitness you really are. The complete exercise can be found at the library or by doing an Internet search. I could give you the URL but if you’re not interested enough to do a couple of minutes of internet searching, you’re not going to do anything anyway.
You say you have no time to exercise? Would you consider washing dishes or working at the bench in the garage while toning the legs, hips, and lower back muscles, plus improving your balance and coordination at the same time, to be worth while? If so, with your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent, try rising up on your toes and rocking back on your heels the next time you’re standing at the sink, at your garage bench or when just hanging out. Slicing veggies and making a salad at the counter can also be a good time to work on improving your fitness while improving your diet, win-win.
Doing the following at your place of employment may not work out but, if you have jobs that require you to stand in one place for long periods, try standing on one foot and then the other. Rock back and forth from toes to heels, bend the knees, raise one leg out to the side and then alternate legs. Use your imagination! Staying fit isn’t just about blood, sweat and tears at the gym, you can be fit and healthy almost anywhere, almost anytime.
Being stiff and sore from excesses are symptoms and can have many causes. One thing we need to keep in mind is; muscles are more easily conditioned and brought up to strength than tendons, and tendons heal much more slowly when we abuse them. Tendinitis can be a long and painful ordeal.
When we exercise and experience muscle soreness, it’s usually because we’ve made micro-tears in the muscle fibers. This is a somewhat necessary evil: going overboard isn’t. When the tear is repaired, muscle size and strength increase. Slight discomfort, and seeing slow gains over a long period of time, is more acceptable than being stiff, sore, in a lot of pain then quitting and realizing no gain.
Overdoing exercise can have the same stress responses on the body as walking face first into a Black Widow’s web in the dark. (Bears and lions are over used and not something most of us have had personal experience with anyway). No matter the stressor, the reaction can still be the same.
Under stress, certain body functions shut down in order to channel energy to areas more in need during fright, flight or fight. Stress, including overly stressful exercise, releases hormones and other chemicals into the bloodstream. Upkeep, maintenance and rebuilding are put on hold until the current emergency is resolved. Digestion, removal of waste, flushing of free radicals and toxins from the cells and muscles cease. Waste products in the muscles can become toxic, shut off oxygen to the muscle and cause an occurrence in the affected muscle similar to a mini-stroke. Theses same overload conditions and their consequences can lead to a heart attack like what happened to the star/guru Bob Harper of The Biggest Loser.
In the repair scenario, damaged muscle fiber is patched and rebuilt. If we overdo, a small portion of the muscle can die and we develop micro-lesions of necrotic (dead) tissue or cicatrix (scars). When that happens, there’s the possibility of an ulcer like occurrence in the muscle, inflexible scar tissue forming with future tears at its edges and the body expending large amounts of energy disposing of dead tissue. All of which leaves us more tired and with less energy at the cellular level for repair and fat elimination.