Affluenza

images

affluenza, n. a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.

Some of my favorite ways to spring clean:

  1. Attend a clothing swap party. Go with three bags and return with one.
  2. Decide the remaining leaves from last fall make the perfect mulch for spring flower beds.
  3. Pack away everything but your favorite stuff from your main living space and wait a month to see what you miss. If you can’t remember what is in the box you must not need it.
  4. Donate all cloths that don’t fit or are the wrong color. What doesn’t work for one person will be a perfect fit for someone else.
  5. Learn to fix a broken household item rather than replacing it.
  6. Re-pot and fertilize your houseplants. Tell them a good story while you are at it.
  7. Oil all the wood furniture in the house.
  8. Arrange all the books in Dewey Decimal System (only half kidding) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dewey_Decimal_Classification
  9. Give the pets a spa day.
  10. Make sure every bicycle in the garage is in riding order. Now ride them.

Suggested reading:

  1. Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic (Bk Currents) by John de Graaf, David Wann, Thomas H Naylor and David Horsey (Sep 1, 2005)
  2. Too Much Stuff: De-Cluttering Your Heart and Home by Kathryn Porter (Mar 10, 2006)

  3. Living Simple, Free & Happy: How to Simplify, Declutter Your Home, and Reduce Stress, Debt & Waste by Cristin Frank (Mar 15, 2013)

  4. Wabi Sabi: The Art of Everyday Life by Diane Durston (Aug 1, 2006)

  5. The Wabi-Sabi House: The Japanese Art of Imperfect Beauty by Robyn Griggs Lawrence and Joe Coca (Nov 23, 2004)

Advertisements

Summer Break

I wanted to take a moment to say that I believe most of us work way too much and play way too little. With this in mind I have decided to take a summer break from my blog. In the last two years I have posted over 300 posts and you have probably heard plenty from me for awhile ;). I won’t be able to stay away for long, but just wanted to keep my subscribers in the loop. I hope you all get to enjoy plenty of summer sunshine. You will hear from me again in the not to far future. Nameste

Published in: on June 13, 2012 at 7:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Alternate Nostril Breathing

The first time a student is introduced to alternate nostril breathing (ANB) they usually feel silly or don’t believe it is worth the effort.  Luckily, most people try it and finish with an excited, “WOW”.  Students have reported feeling significantly calmer, their sinuses clearer and their breath deeper.  Some of the power of ANB comes from opening the sinus passages, but a lot of its power comes from bi-lateral stimulation.  I plan to talk more in-depth about bi-lateral stimulation in a future post, but for now let us keep it simple.  Bi-lateral stimulation refers to activating one side of the body-mind and then the other, which in turn alternately activates the two halves of our pre-frontal cortex.  The pre-frontal cortex is the part of our brain responsible for higher order thinking.  Well to make a long story short, these two halves of the brain communicate with each other through areas of the brain that are responsible for homeostasis.  This homeostasis or balance is both physiological and emotional.  In essence we are strengthening our ability to feel balanced. If you want to investigate further on your own, here are some places to start:

12 Great Reasons To Start Alternate Nostril Breathing: by Carole Fogarty

www.emotionaltuning.com

Mapping the Mind: Revised and Updated Edition by Rita Carter

Basic Instructions for Alternate Nostril Breathing

  1. Sit upright with your spine tall. If you are uncomfortable sitting cross-legged on the floor, you may want to sit in a chair with both feet flat on the floor. Keeping your spine tall will allow your breath to move in and out of the chest cavity with less resistance.
  2. Relax, close your eyes and breathe naturally for several cycles of breath. If your sinuses feel blocked you may choose to gently blow your nose. (Keep tissues nearby while practicing ANB.)
  3. Bring your right hand up to your face. Practice closing off one nasal passage at a time. Usually the thumb closes the right nostril and your middle finger closes off the left nostril.  Experiment using other fingers if this is not the most comfortable combination for you.
  4. Start by exhaling fully and then closing off the right nostril with your thumb. Inhale and then exhale through the left nostril. Switch and close off the left nostril. Inhale and then exhale through the right nostril.
  5. Repeat for three or more cycles. Return to your natural breath for a few moments and then begin ANB again.  When you feel ready you can extend the number of cycles of ANB.  If you begin to feel tense or panicky return to your natural breath and focus on a slow gentle rhythm of breathing.

Extra Tips for Practicing Alternate Nostril Breathing

  • Try to always stop and start with your left nostril. The left side is believed to activate the calming and cooling aspects within the brain.
  • Eventually you can work up to practicing for 5-10 minutes.
  • If you find your mind wandering, gently guide it back to attending to your breath.
  • If allergies make this practice difficult, using a neti pot can help tremendously.  The combination of the neti pot and ANB can greatly reduce the symptoms of seasonal allergies.

Digital Detox

My last post was over a week ago, which those of you who follow my blog know is a long time.  I so enjoy researching and gathering information to share on my blog.  There have been times blogging, for me, has bordered on an obsession.  I believe this is the case for many who have a blog and therefore I try to be compassionate with myself and recognize that my involvement with the blogging process will ebb and flow.

I recently decided to take a week to digitally detox.  I still emailed daily since my work requires it, but I tried to keep my computer time at a minimum.  Well, I can say from experience that cold turkey sometimes works like yo-yo dieting.  Three days ago I cracked when I discovered Pinterest!  If you don’t know what it is I am not sure I should tell you.  Short story is that it is kind of like digital scrapbooking……..and just as addictive.  So as always, I have discovered that the middle path is the healthiest.  I will be returning to my blogging and giving myself permission to follow my inspiration….of course with mindfulness….to lead me to how often I post.  I have found that thinking about the little choices I make everyday makes the largest impact to my quality of life.

Want to know more about digital detoxing, here are some links.  No need to read any or all….your time is valuable 🙂

  1. First Steps to Digital Detoxing
  2. Digital Detox: Take Over Your Headspace
  3. Does Your Relationship Need a Digital Detox?

Final Note: I find it very interesting that Wikipedia does not have a page for digital detoxing 🙂

Published in: on March 15, 2012 at 8:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

How many therapies do you see?

  1. Yoga – ‘legs up the wall’
  2. Full spectrum light therapy
  3. Pet therapy
  4. Meditation
  5. Positive Ion air purification
  6. Pranayama – deep breathing, breath awareness

The perfect way to start the day!

Tummy Resources

Thank you everyone for your great recommendations for information.

Websites:

But You Don’t Look Sick

diabeteshealth.com/read/2008/09/22/5283/when-diabetes-leads-to-a-lazy-stomach-the-goods-on-gastroparesis

Blogs:

Gastroparesis and Gastronomy

My Crazy Colon

My Sleepy Stomach

Published in: on December 8, 2011 at 5:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Tree City Juice Cleanse

I recently decided to try Tree City’s juice cleanse.  Tree City is Boise’s locally owned juice and smoothie bar.  I had heard about their juice cleanse from a friend who is also ‘gastrointestinally challenged’.  The juice regime is designed to “remove toxins, assist in weight loss and help with aches and allergies.”  The main reason I decided to try it is that my doctors had recommend that I remove as much fiber from my diet as possible.  What no fiber? Yes that is correct.  Fiber is great once it is in the colon, but really slows things down in the stomach. So if you have gasteroperesis, when the stomach muscles are already sluggish, then fiber just bogs down the whole system.

I decided to start with a three day regime.  Each morning I picked-up six fresh beverages for the day. There were four juices, one coconut water and an almond milk.  All the products are raw (unpasteurized).  Without exposure to heat the beverages retain the maximum level of vitamins, minerals and enzymes.  In total there were 1100 calories per day, so I knew it was going to also be somewhat of a fast for me.

To be honest, on the first day I felt miserable. I felt distended and nauseous most of the day. The juices didn’t taste very palatable, the flavors were very overpowering. Surprisingly hunger was not an issue, in fact I could finish all of the beverages.   I wasn’t sure I could stick to it for three days, but by the second day my stomach settled.  I slept better than I had slept in years, but continued to feel sleepy throughout the second day.  On day three I felt great!  The juices tasted wonderful and I actually found my body craving the next jar of nourishing liquid.

The experience has given me a new sense of control over my health.  I am working to integrate fresh juices into my daily diet.  When making your own juices, make sure to use the best produce you can and only make as much as you can drink that day.  Freshness and quality really count.  If doing it yourself is too labor intensive, I would recommend trying out Tree City.

Published in: on December 5, 2011 at 12:58 am  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , , ,

Lazy Tummy Muscles

I woke up this morning feeling wretched.  I was racked with nausea and stomach cramps.  I am regularly challenged with the symptoms of a condition called gastroparesis.  According to the Mayo Clinic, “Gastroparesis is a condition in which the muscles in your stomach don’t function normally.”  Basically I have very lazy tummy muscles and it makes it hard (often times impossible) to digest food.  Having this condition has made eating “the right stuff” a constant pain, literally.

I have spent so much time researching and asking every imaginable expert what I should do.  Results have varied, but unfortunately I still haven’t found myself symptom free.  I recently spent some time on a forum connecting with other people with gastroparesis.  They shared similar stories of mixed results and frustration.  If any of you have resources you think would be helpful I would be grateful to learn of them.

 

Published in: on November 9, 2011 at 8:28 pm  Comments (3)  
Tags: , , ,

Are you still afraid of the Neti Pot?

Many of my students have been commenting on allergies and colds.  Not only is weather likely to be effecting your quality of breath, but we are all turning on our heaters again.  Particularly if you have forced air heat, you may want to spend some time cleaning your vents, duct-work and replacing your furnace filters.  This will help cut back on the particulate matter blown into the air within your home.

This is also the time to be making regular use of your neti pot.  If you still feel hesitant to try it out, I highly recommend giving it another try.  To make the experience as comfortable as possible make sure you use plenty of salt and use warm water. It can feel a bit strange the first couple of times you use it, but after that you will wonder how you lived without a neti pot.

“The practice of nasal cleansing – known as Neti – has been used by practitioners of Ayurveda and Yoga in India for thousands of years. Neti is one of the 6 purification techniques performed prior to practicing yoga as a way of preparing the body for the yoga practice.”

The practice of nasal irrigation originated in India, but now many people around the world use it on a regular basis. It can be used daily or as needed. Using a neti pot one can use warm salt water  to gently cleanse the nasal passages. As the water flows through your nose it washes away pollens, mucus, viruses and bacteria. The nasal passage, with its fine hairs and mucus membranes, is one of the ways nature protects us from illness. The neti pot can have an amazingly positive effect on your body’s ability to stay healthy and fight off sickness.

Here in Boise there are a number of places to purchase a neti pot. I bought a very pretty ceramic one at the Boise CO-OP for about $12. They all come with clear instructions and the salt can be purchased right off the same shelf. Below are some basic instructions and a short video to give you an idea of how it is done.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFEXjzGagMI&feature=related

Neti pot instructions:

1. Fill the neti pot with warm water and the recommended amount of salt. Hot water is dangerous and cool water is not soothing. You may also play around with the amount of salt you use, to find out just the right amount for your greatest level of comfort.

2. Tilt your head to the side. One ear pointing down toward the sink and your forehead is lower than your chin in relation to the counter.

3. Insert spout of neti pot gently into the raised/top nostril creating a seal between the neti pot and the nostril. Try to relax. If you are too tense the solution just won’t flow. Breathe gently through your mouth throughout the process.

4. Raise the neti pot slowly to develop a steady flow of saline solution through the upper nostril and out the lower nostril.

5. When you’re done, exhale firmly several times to clear the nasal passages.

6. Reverse the tilt of your head and repeat the process on the other side.

Published in: on November 2, 2011 at 11:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,

What’s a sharrow?

“The hollow arrow surrounding the bicyclist was intended to reinforce the correct direction of travel for bicyclists (who were frequently observed riding the wrong-way, against traffic, in Denver).”

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shared_lane_marking)

My husband Stu is a committed cyclist and has worked hard to educate me in the safest riding habits.  One general rule that has been very important to learn is to make myself be seen by drivers by taking my fair share of the road.  I was always trying to squeeze over against parked cars.  I was worried about upsetting drivers, but by doing this I was endangering myself.  Drivers wouldn’t slow down when passing me and they would have a tendency to crowd me even more.  All this crowding would shrink my buffer zones not only from drivers, but also from the parked cars. Doors were opening in my path and drivers were pulling out without seeing me.  I had to shift my thinking from that of one similar to a pedestrian and more like that of a driver.  If you have ever ridden a motorcycle the concepts are similar. Recently the main dangerous activity that we have witnessed is cyclists riding against the traffic (on State Street of all places). Below you will find 10 reasons not to ride against traffic.  I retrieved this list from a biking forum.

10 Reasons not to ride against traffic:

1. It’s against the law

2. Riding against traffic reduces the reaction time of cyclist & driver since you’re approaching each other instead of going in the same direction.

3. Potential impact is greater: Bike going 20 mph and car going 40 mph
collision riding with traffic = 20 mph impact
collision riding against traffic = 60 mph impact

4. Coming over the crest of a hill, if riding against traffic you’ll come head on to an oncoming car, whereas when riding with traffic, the upcoming car on your path of direction will see you going up the hill.

5. Drivers making RIGHT turns will only look to their LEFT. Since they have to merge with that traffic and are not expecting vehicles to be coming head on from their right side

6. Drivers pulling out and making left turns will only look to their left, thus pulling out in front of you.

7. Riding on the right, a car can slow behind you and wait until it’s safe to pass. Riding on the left, you’re coming right at the cars, leaving them the choice of a head-on with oncoming traffic or a head-on with you.

8. Primary tenets of safe riding are to be visible and predictable. Riding on the left puts you where drivers aren’t looking for you, and you’re demonstrating a complete ignorance of traffic laws; so you get a FAIL on both counts.

9. It’s probably much more likely you’ll get doored driving against traffic as well. Most people are looking in their sideview mirror or behind them for a passing car before opening the door, since they aren’t expecting anything coming from the front.

10. The reason you ride with traffic is because when on a bicycle, you ARE traffic. you are subject to most all of the other laws that govern vehicles, so you must be in proper position to obey the laws AND be protected by them. Riding on the left, all traffic signs and lights for your direction are on the OTHER side of the road.

 

PLEASE RIDE SAFE!!!

Published in: on August 10, 2011 at 6:00 am  Comments (3)  
Tags: , ,