Education

Probiotics over Prozac: Ketogenic Eating for the Best Brain. (Featuring, Your Microbiome, Butter Coffee, Anxiety, Fasting, Grain-free, Dopamine and More)

tumblr_mlou8gdI3I1qhtrpfo2_r1_1280 There are a lot of subjects here. They are important. And they connect a lot of what we’ve been talking about here, in separate strings, for a long time.

Many of the newest learnings in health are related to the significance of the microbiome.

From personal experience, I regularly feel what I can only describe as the health of my brain. Chemicals, transmitter-stuff, certain states. Which drives me into these subjects searching for if and if so, what, is going on. Because there is always a reason for why we feel the way we do. (These topics are also of significant personal importance to me in how they relate to anxiety, which is something I’ve had to handle my entire life. More on that in point 5, below.)

Otherwise, this is all just more of the same: learn, live better, prosper. Shall we?

1. We are our microbiomes. I’ve said it; you know it, but a few refreshers JIC:

2. Our microbiomes are best supported by probiotics, live food and excellent digestion via which to absorb the goodness.

3. Our microbiomes are responsible for not only our physical wellbeing, but also our psychological health. Here we go.

You have neurons both in your brain and your gut – including neurons that produce neurotransmitters like serotonin. In fact, the greatest concentration of serotonin, which is involved in mood control, depression and aggression, is found in your intestines, not your brain.

“Mounting research indicates that problems in your gut can directly impact your mental health, leading to issues like anxiety and depression.

“The gut-brain connection is well-recognized as a basic tenet of physiology and medicine, so this isn't all that surprising, even though it's often overlooked.

“There's also a wealth of evidence showing intestinal involvement in a variety of neurological diseases."

And, note this point “The fact that this study showed any improvement at all is remarkable, considering they used commercial yogurt preparations that are notoriously unhealthy.”

Now, consider what you can do with legit probiotics. (Legit = 1 billion CFU/serving for example. It’s pretty difficult to measure the amount of probiotics in packaged foods but a really rough estimate would put a high-quality Greek yogurt at about 1M per gram, from what I understand.)

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4. Therefore, our brains (physically and psychologically) depend on the health of our bellies.

“The trillions of bacteria living in a person’s gut can communicate directly with the brain via the Vagus Nerve that connects them. Bacteria can also communicate with the brain via the enteric nervous system, the nervous system of the digestive track. Believe it or not, there are actually more neurons wrapped around the gut than there are in the spinal cord.

“We are starting to find out that gut bugs can communicate with the brain, scientists say, by modulating the immune system or by actually producing neurotransmitters.

Mark Lyte, a researcher at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center who studies the effect that microbes can have on the endocrine systems (the body system of the endocrine glands and the hormones they produce)says, “I’m actually seeing new neurochemicals that have not been described before being produced by certain bacteria. These bacteria are, in effect, mind-altering microorganisms.”

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"Through this communication from the gut to the brain, the gut bugs can affect behavior and mood. Maybe those folks who coined the expression “gut feeling” were actually on to something! Recent research supports the theory that disturbances in the gut microbiome, or the combination of microbes living in a particular person’s gut, can play a role in some psychopathology such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and even autism.

  • Source: How Can Gut Bugs Communicate with the Brain? (And there are a lot of additional resources listed at the end of this article, as well as more information about anxiety types, and probiotic v medical treatments.)

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5. Personal experience has proven this to be the case.

I have a particular interest in this because I’ve dealt with anxiety my entire life. At age four, when my parents divorced, I started getting stomachaches. Or, that’s how I felt. Meaning I was anxious, uneasy, felt afraid (had separation anxiety, simply) that “felt” like a stomach ache – and which would often make me actually sick (throw up, frankly) but at times like: being dropped off at school or left with a babysitter; sleepovers at friends’ houses; camps – god I hated camps.

Thankfully, medication wasn’t an option because I simply “had a stomach ache” – like, maybe I took some Pepto-Bismol here and there. I learned two ways to cure the situation: 1. Find a corner and go to sleep, which I did in every acceptable instance, or 2. Forget about it, which was outside of my control. That being part of the point. Meaning, if I was distracted by something pleasant – a story that made me laugh or a friend engrossing me in idk a game of cat’s cradle – the “stomach ache” would go away. Meaning, it wasn’t (only) physical. It was psychological. With such severity that it could become physical and make me physically ill, but obviously the two are one.

This is a much longer story, that involves 20 more years of learnings about anxiety, +/- a visit to the emergency room, eventual medication, no-medication, therapy, lots of books and ultimately, understanding.

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6. Specific eating styles, and some lack-of-eating styles, are best for your brain.

We know why we don’t eat meat (and if not, watch Forks Over Knives).

And, why we don’t eat processed foods.

We understand raw and alive. No-sugar should be a given.

Which leaves us with that odd grain-free angle.

In researching my current eating style, and brain health, I stumbled onto the research subjects that connect ALL of this: “The Neuropharmacology of the Ketogenic Diet”

  • What it is: “A keto diet is well known for being a low carb diet, where the body produces ketones in the liver to be used as energy. It's referred to as many different names – ketogenic diet, low carb diet, low carb high fat (LCHF), etc." – Google (love that new algorithm)

“A diet that is high in fat (60-70% of calories), is almost by definition low in carbs, and this means that when eating a high fat diet, it’s likely that one is at least partially and some of the time in a state of ketosis. Ketosis is when the body switches over from burning glucose (the kind of sugar our body uses as fuel) to burning an alternate fuel called ketones, which are made from the breakdown of fatty acids in the liver when glycogen (how the body stores glucose) levels are depleted.

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“Basically, the body starts burning fat for energy when we don’t consume very much sugar or foods that readily break down into sugar — carbohydrates. While glucose is metabolically preferred by the body (meaning that if glucose is present, the liver produces only small, baseline amounts of ketones), it is interesting to note that ketones are a principal source of energy during early postnatal development, when our brains are growing and developing at the most rapid pace of our lives.

“Ketosis is an entirely normal and healthy state for the body to be in – in fact, most people will be in some amount of ketosis every single morning after ‘fasting’ while they sleep (you can often smell the acetone – a ketone – in your pee when you wake up), which is a sign of metabolic health."

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7. I am not on a ketogenic diet, but my diet is ketogenic.

Eating this way makes me feel amazing. Absolutely excellent. Strong, clear-headed, calm, (very) high-energy. “Humming” is how I often describe it. (It’s also supportive of my aggressive exercise routines, and compatible with intermittent fasting / bulletproof coffee (which in turn support each other) and all of the aforementioned “eat” or “don’t-eat”s.

So, it’s good. And, it turns out it’s good for your brain too.

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8. The ketogenic diet is exceptionally neurologically beneficial.

One area in which the ketogenic diet is completely uncontroversial is as a relatively effective non-pharmaceutical treatment for a set of common neurological disorders.

Another way the ketogenic diet improves brain function is through several kinds of antioxidant benefits. Oxidative stress can cause harm all throughout the body, and the brain is no different – oxidative damage has been implicated in a wide range of neurodegenerative diseases as well as simple brain aging.

The last mechanism through which a ketogenic diet may confer cognitive benefit is through the increase ofγ-aminobutyric acid(GABA) levels in the brain. GABA is the brain’s major inhibitory neurotransmitter.

It has been known since the time of Hippocrates that fasting is an effective treatment for seizures, and the ketogenic diet was designed to mimic the fasting state.

The diet is associated with a wide range of neurochemical changes, some of which may contribute to its therapeutic actions and others that are epiphenomenal.

During consumption of the ketogenic diet, marked alterations in brain energy metabolism occur, with ketone bodies partly replacing glucose as fuel.

“There is evidence that it causes effects on intermediary metabolism that influence the dynamics of the major inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmitter systems in brain.

Running brain on ketones considerably impacts amino acid metabolism, or more specifically neurotransmitters. Ketogenic diets [are] neuroprotective and improve cognitive functionimprove behavior in epileptic children, and [are] even efficacious in bipolar disorder.  Many of these effects could be attributable to alterations in glutamate and gaba signaling. Excitotoxicity. Brain fog.”

That’s probably enough for today, huh?

More reading:

All photos by Jana Styblova, whose work I quite like.

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Next up, we’ll get into GABA, which I’m trial-running now. And, how about prebiotics.

The End

INTERVIEW: MEREDITH MCMAHON, YOGA TEACHER, EMPATHIC HEALER, MEDIUM

MEREDITH MCMAHON

Name: Meredith McMahon

Profession: Yoga teacher, empathic healer, medium, general twitchy woo woo energy feeler and dealer in life.

What does that mean exactly: Generally I teach beginner yoga classes and private sessions which also include meditation if the student/s are comfortable with it, not everyone is at first. I can teach advanced students but I like to help lay a solid foundation in their practice. Empathic healing can be a separate thing if need be as well. Essentially I feel out what is going on in the person, body, mind etc. on the surface and deep deep deep down. What we work on that day really depends on what I see and feel. It's about what is for the person's highest good, not necessarily mine. With that information I try to energetically mend it and I try to teach them a meditation, or something along those lines, to do on their own if they feel overwhelmed, overcome etc. with what it was we were trying to heal. As far as medium work goes, sometimes that gets integrated with the empathic healing work and sometimes it's just medium work. What it means is that I can sense/see, talk to, communicate with spirits of those that passed or will soon, in some cases.

Passion: Life. My passion is to just live and to do it in a way that when people think about me they knew that I cared more about living than I did about sitting in a cubicle in order to pay my bills. I want to show people love. I always thought that through that, the healing they need would come. Life should be lived and not wasted on a job you hate or a relationship that no longer fulfills you. When you love you, you're happier, you make better choices, you spread it to those around you, your life just improves, and it feels effortless and easy. That's what true love is anyway. Making the choice isn't always easy... It's not always easy to step on my yoga mat, or to love someone instead of giving into my urge to tell them to fuck right off but, stepping onto my yoga mat has yet to be a bad choice and not make me feel good and choosing to act with love instead of negativity has never backfired. Don't get me wrong, I'm fiery, I bite back, I get mad and don't always make the loving choice but, I always try to.

Why? No idea. Can we ever really explain why we are passionate about something? I think it's just hard-wired in me to be passionate about it. I don't think you get to choose your passion, it's just there burning in you to do it. As it goes with love of any kind. You don't get to choose. You don't really get to choose what you love, who you love and why. It just is. That's what you love, who you love, and burn and breathe for. It just happens and your life is never the same and if you're smart you pursue it and don't look back.

Do you have a mantra? "Just keep breathing." Breathing takes me through awesome yoga sessions and hard ones, good days and moments and bad. It's how we keep living. Some days it's the most I accomplish and that's ok.

Favorite health approach: Fresh green juice, ginger, lemon, cinnamon tea, yoga, a hard workout... Good hugs. It sounds cheesy I realize but there isn't anything more comforting sometimes than a really good hug from someone you know loves you.

What one or few things have improved your quality of life most? My horse, my dog, my tribe of people, my yoga practice.

What matters most to you these days? That what I am doing, who I am around and giving my time and energy to creates happiness in me, and them if it's a person. If it doesn't, I let it go. I've felt stuck before and I refuse to ever stay where I feel stuck again. Life is just too short to sacrifice happiness to feel stuck and helpless.

What have you learned recently that you'd like to apply to your life? I went to a yoga workshop this summer, it was Kathryn Budig and she made the statement that every choice we make either comes from a place of love or a place of fear. That statement changed how I looked at everything.  The things and the people I choose now are choices of love. Fear just controls too much anymore for so many, it makes me sad, if you dread going home or to work, change where and what and who those things are.  I started choosing love more... It makes all the difference.

What do you know that you wish more people knew as well? Well, we are all broken and I think people forget that. With that though I wish more people would realize that people who love you who really love you don't use your brokenness as a weapon against you. Those that really love you would only see your brokenness as a place to put their love and light into. Love isn't pointing fingers and dragging someone else through the muck, it's simply being there for each other, open and honest and encouraging.

What do you wish you knew more about? Everything haha :). Human anatomy and herbology both of which I'm currently studying!

Who should we profile next and what should we ask them? Travis Taylor, He's a plethora of knowledge and wisdom. He was and in more ways than I can count still is my mentor and beautiful friend. He's a reiki master and empathic healer and all-around amazing being.

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Liked this? There're more.

Shamanism 101: Highlights from The Other Worlds

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It has taken me longer to report back with notes from the field before … I finally got to this, though only highlights from the first of two days before I can’t keep my eyes open any longer on this flight home from a very fast business trip to the west coast and back.

Maybe that I applied the free (/imprisoned) hours to transcribing these overdue notes for you evidences my dedication to doing so. Aka I’m on this high road for us, and until I make good on my promise to share the good word/work, it sits at the top of my to-do list.

Also, I took a hell of a lot of notes. Pretty excellent stuff if I do say so though.

Enjoy, I hope you will!

As “Cliff Notes” because, you don’t need a narrative and because my brain is at whatever altitude in whatever time zone and no one reads long-form anymore anyway, this is Shamanism 101: Day One:

“The Way of the Shaman: The Shamanic Journey, Power and Healing” was a two-day intensive from The One Center, as taught by Nan Moss in January, 2015.

Nan Moss did not look like this:

The teachings were cross-cultural, “core” Shamanism. That is, not regional.

And, they’re best received with a “beginner’s mind”. Frankly, our teacher simply instructed that logic be abandoned. I don’t do that well, but a happy middle ground revealed itself – you’ll see.

To open the course, she began with meditation. Lit tobacco and sage in honor of the earth; in a shell for water; with a candle, fire – and then honored the cardinal spirits, “winds of the edge of the land” (air).

Next, we moved. Physical movement changes vibrations – personal and within a space – which is magnetic, and “attracts the spirits”. Spirits, spirit guides, animal spirits, all of those concepts, which are central to Shamanism.

Movement is powerful. We are meant to. We don’t enough, anymore.

The movement was optional and drowsy – an entranced sort of compulsion to stand (should you be), march, dance, or simply not. Eyes open or closed. But if seated, some part of you at least was proceeding around the circle (e.g. psychologically).

That procession was counter-clockwise in order to undo “natural reality” and accompanied by a beat-matched drumming/rattling, lead by Moss.

After several minutes, the group disperses and Moss leads an invitation for the spirits “seen and unseen” to join the circle.

When she does this, immediately, I could cry. The sound of the rattle and her non-words, some sort of singing sounds are deeply penetrative and sweet, good, right, welcome, cathartic. I’m taken by how strongly they strike me. I smile and have no idea why it feels so good and so am further convinced that there are things we know from sources or experiences beyond our general understanding of, sorry but, “life”.

Soul Songs:

We sing. (Optional. I am shy – you may know by now.) A “soul song” is the song you were born with, to sing, but which we rarely know any more. Singing is powerful. Not singing is a wound, and “power loss”.

Shamanism:

  • Shamanism is about power. Accruing personal power in order to affect beyond oneself.

  • Shamanism is archaic but not obsolete.
    • “Excessive rationalism left behind the spiritual side of reality.”
  • Shamanism may be the earliest human spiritual practice.
  • Shamanism may be considered “the reality of the spiritual”. Moss calls this “non-ordinary reality” (NOR).

A Shaman:

  • Extraordinarily dedicated to “good work”
  • Wisdom keepers
  • Environmentalists, healers, psychologists, guides
  • Shaman are capable of channeling, and journeying. That is, traveling to the spirits, for healing, on behalf of others.

Power:

  • Is compassion and sentient.
  • Not, life-force. (Meaning, not the power you need to operate daily and healthfully, but a power beyond that – grander, wider reaching, more encompassing).
  • It is excess and connected to the helping spirits.
  • What we consider luck or the individuals we encounter who seem to be recipients or attracters of a good life, are likely powerful.
    • Those who appear unlucky or troubled, struggling, may be suffering from power loss. Or, more severely, “soul loss”.
  • It is possible to lose or gain power. And it is possible to lose or regain soul. (“Soul loss” is one of the first and more resonant tenants of Shamanism I’ve encountered. More on that in Day Two.)

Journeying: Non-physical travel, in pursuit of betterment on behalf of oneself or others. (my definition)

  • Journeying involves entering an altered brain-wave state. Alpha, or deeper (theta, delta). (A trance state, for those of you who’ve followed my Past Life Regression and Hypnotherapy explorations.) (If you’re intrigued here, look into BPM and audio meditations to help take you there. There are plenty on YouTube. +/- light drugs depending on your stance.)
  • We journeyed to drumming, at a specific rate scientifically shown to facilitate an intentional, “active” trance (aka induce an alpha brain-wave state).
    • While Moss felt strongly that journeying is not akin to meditation, I frankly disagree. It is different, but very similar – in my entirely personal opinion.
  • “Journeying resembles a waking dream.”

  • We are in control of our self, but not what the spirits will give us.

  • I journeyed several times over the course of the weekend. Each time for about 15 minutes “reality time”. I began with an intention – a question or a purpose – and then traveled to either the lower or upper worlds, each of which serves different needs. Without too much detail, as you should experience your first journeys objectively, I believe, (with a beginner’s mind!), the basic structure involves:
    • The intention or question
    • The direction
    • Encountering the spirit(s)
      • These spirits … could be external forces, or, I might believe, our subconscious. And if consciousness is collective, which I do believe at this point, then external and intuitive are one in the same. #absolutetruth, and gd if it didn’t take me 20 years of incessant pursuit to get to that.
      • This is where abandoning logic isn’t entirely required to be receptive to this stuff.
    • Thereafter, anything that occurs, relates to the answer to your question, or in address of your intention.
    • There are a lot of particulars and different approaches to getting into, navigating and leaving the journey – and it can be done in partnership as well, which we also did – but I’m not studied enough to get too into that for you. It’s also a personal experience and will be different for everyone.
  • When I take my first journey, to the lower world, I am again near tears. The process is slow at first and then suddenly vivid and strong. When I return, I think that I might well spend more and more time journeying – as I’ve started to feel the pull to with meditation, and hypnotherapy – reflection, introspection not that I’ve not spent so much of my life in my mind already but it is more expansive than, well, much of the “reality” we otherwise “live” in.

The Upper and lower worlds are compassionate and exist outside of time. It is only ever the present in those worlds. But, it always is.

  • The Lower World
    • To reach the lower world, we leave the middle world from a physical location that actually exists. A tree, a lake, a well – wherever you know, and that can take you down.
      • (I wonder, informed by The Field, which I’ve been reading and owe you notes on, is: Is this initial experience some sort of remote viewing? Which I also believe may be more integral to past life regression than I’d known previously. I’ll leave it at that for now and report back after I’ve reconvened with Dan Ryan.)
    • The Middle World
      • This is the world we “know”, which is only a shadow of NOR.

To be continued with Day Two, which will include:

  • The Upper World
  • Divinations
  • Power Songs
  • The Giants (Spirit Guides) and spirit animals
  • Partner Journeying
  • Ethics
  • Shamanic Healing
  • Soul Retrieval

And, Misc/Bonus material:

  • Consider that we are all here, exactly where we are now at the very moment that you are t/here, as a result of all paths, all choices and influences, all everything in your life to date that has lead you to the present moment.

  • The east is known as “dawnland”.
  • Do take the world personally; it does you. The natural world will always answer you. But, also know that you are not the whole story.

Quantum Physics & Reality 101. Amen.

quantum_physics_reality_consciousness_intention This isn't yet my notes from The Field (the book and the as a matter of speaking), but I wanted to share because it's such a succinct explanation of what I've been reading (devouring) for the last year+. Gospel as far as I'm concerned. Enjoy.

Physicists have proven beyond doubt that the physical world is one large sea of energy that flashes into and out of being in milliseconds, over and over again.

Nothing is solid. This is the world of Quantum Physics.

They have proven that thoughts are what put together and hold together this ever-changing energy field into the ‘objects’ that we see.

So why do we see a person instead of a flashing cluster of energy?

Think of a movie reel. A movie is a collection of about 24 frames a second. Each frame is separated by a gap. However, because of the speed at which one frame replaces another, our eyes get cheated into thinking that we see a continuous and moving picture.

A TV tube is simply a tube with heaps of electrons hitting the screen in a certain way, creating the illusion of form and motion.

This is what all objects are anyway. You have 5 physical senses (sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste).

Each of these senses has a specific spectrum (for example, a dog hears a different range of sound than you do; a snake sees a different spectrum of light than you do; and so on).

In other words, your set of senses perceives the sea of energy from a certain limited standpoint and makes up an image from that. It is not complete, nor is it accurate. It is just an interpretation.

All of our interpretations are solely based on the ‘internal map’ of reality that we have, and not the real truth. Our ‘map’ is a result of our personal life’s collective experiences.

Our thoughts are linked to this invisible energy and they determine what the energy forms. Your thoughts shift the universe on a particle-by-particle basis to create your physical life.

Look around you.

Everything you see in our physical world started as an idea, an idea that grew as it was shared and expressed, until it grew enough into a physical object through a number of steps.

You become what you think about most. Your life becomes what you have imagined and believed in most.

The world is your mirror, enabling you to experience in the physical plane what you hold as your truth … until you change it.

Quantum physics shows us that the world is not the hard and unchangeable thing it may appear to be. Instead, it is a very fluid place continuously built up using our individual and collective thoughts.

What we think is true is really an illusion.

Fortunately we have begun to uncover the illusion and most importantly, how to change it.

What is your body made of?

Nine systems comprise the human body including Circulatory, Digestive, Endocrine, Muscular, Nervous, Reproductive, Respiratory, Skeletal, and Urinary.

What are those made up of?

Tissues and organs.

What are tissues and organs made of?

Cells.

What are cells made of?

Molecules.

What are molecules made of?

Atoms.

What are atoms made of?

Sub-atomic particles.

What are subatomic particles made of?

Energy.

We are pure energy-light in its most beautiful and intelligent configuration. Energy that is constantly changing beneath the surface and you control it all with your powerful mind.

You are made up of a cluster of ever-changing energy in the form of electrons, neutrons, photons and so on. So is everything else around you.

Quantum physics tells us that it is the act of observing an object that causes it to be there where and how we observe it. An object does not exist independently of its observer. So, as you can see, your observation, your attention to something, and your intention, literally creates that thing.

Your world is made of spirit, mind and body.

Each of those three, spirit, mind and body, has a function that is unique to it and not shared with the other. What you see with your eyes and experience with your body is the physical world, which we shall call Body. Body is an effect, created by a cause.

This cause is Thought.

Body cannot create. It can only experience and be experienced … that is its unique function.

Thought cannot experience … it can only make up, create and interpret. It needs a world of relativity (the physical world, Body) to experience itself.

Spirit is All That Is, that which gives Life to Thought and Body.

Body has no power to create, although it gives the illusion of power to do so. This illusion is the cause of much frustration. Body is purely an effect and has no power to cause or create.

The key with all of this information is how do you learn to see the universe differently than you do now so that you can manifest what you truly desire.

Slightly adapted from: The Mind Unleashed: Quantum Reality: The Limitless Potential Within Everything

Video: A Rich Life With Less Stuff | The Minimalists | TEDx

This is a perfect video to close our abstinence conversation. And, to keep in mind as we head into the season of consumption. As I listened to this, I purged my single junk drawer and scoured my apartment - (a very regular, like weekly, occurrence) - for what could be thrown out, donated or otherwise exodus-ed from my life. It's quite gratifying, and allows more focus for me to find goodness like this to share with you.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgBpyNsS-jU&w=560&h=315]

Interview: Lisa Levine, Acupuncturist, Founder & Director of Maha Rose Center for Healing

LisaLevine Name: Lisa Levine

Profession: Acupuncturist, Founder & Director of Maha Rose Center for Healing, Reiki Master Teacher, Jewelry Designer

What does that mean, exactly? ha ha..I have my hands in many pots, but they all feed each other. Or are all making a beautiful stew together.

Passion: The light, service, raising my vibration and helping others to do the same.

Why? It feels so good.

Do you have a mantra? Yes, but it’s a secret one from my teacher.

Favorite health routine/recipe/trick/approach/go-to: Salt water baths, long walks, breathing it out, receiving healing sessions myself.

What one or few thing(s) have improved your quality of life most recently? My fiancé and the daily love and support that he brings into my life.

What matters most to you these days? Receiving, being present and clear.

What have you learned recently that youd like to apply to your life? To face the awkward and the uncomfortable, quickly and with grace. Not avoiding anything.

What do you know that wish more people did as well? The importance of doing the work- the inner work and how much grace that brings.

Resources, if applicable: http://maharose.com - <3 <3 <3

What do you wish you knew more about? Western and Eastern medicine- these will be my studies for life.

Who should we profile next and what should we ask them? Ava Gerber- and how she got so good?

thank you !!!

Tarot 101. + Consciousness & Intuition Bonus Material

[embed]http://tarotzodiac.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/II_The-High-Priestess003.jpg[/embed] I bet you all thought I spent Halloween, undoubtedly my favorite holiday of the year (it’s not) reveling in witch-ness and the opportunity to show off my magic sticks and rocks and stuff.

Yeah I didn’t. I actually passed the night working with an exceptionally experienced psychotherapist and mystic to learn about tarot, and ... life.

Ellen Goldberg M.A. “I have been a long-time (40+ years) student of both Eastern and Western spiritual philosophies, including Buddhism, the Tao, Kabalah, the Western Hermetic Tradition, Spiritual Alchemy, Mindfulness Meditation, Nature and the mystic sciences of Palmistry, and Astrology, the Tarot.” (Check her link for the extensive bio. Highly recommended; she’s amazing.)

Here’re the night’s highlights, and what gold:

On Consciousness. Intuition and Trance:

  • The words “man” and “mind” derive from the same Sanskrit root, which is “to think”.
  • Regarding consciousness, we still don’t know how thought arises. And, it is three-fold: subconscious; self conscious; and super conscious. The Lovers card represents this triad. The man (self) looks to the woman (sub) who looks to the sky/angel/spirit (super). Interpreted, this card suggests that the only way to reach the super conscious is via the subconscious.

“We must surely go the way of the waters, which always tend downward.” – Jung

  • Water represents the subconscious, and intuition, like muscles, can be strengthened with use. The word intuition means “inner tutor”.
  • Everything is the same, differentiated at it’s most elemental only by vibrations.

The Tarot shows us, pictorially, the path to self-actualization. Images are the primary language of the subconscious The archetypes are those of the collective consciousness, or memory deposits that we are born with.

  • Fascinating note: studies have found that animals, at birth, know friend+foe, safety+danger, before being taught. Suggesting that memories, or archetypes, are imprinted in DNA.
    • “… permanent memories are stored in altered genes. … our DNA creates ‘memory molecules,’ new novel proteins, from a unique blueprint that could be formed by neurons rearranging their DNA in response to each new experience.”
  • Trance (which we did that evening) is natural. And, the subconscious is protective. Even if in a trance, it will know how deep you can go, and if you need to wake up.
    • Note: Trance is another way to describe meditation or hypnosis. We love hypnosis. Especially via Daniel Ryan.

“Magic is the art of changing of consciousness at will.” – Starhawk (author, peace, environmentalist, global justice activist, Pagan and Witch)

  • The mind, “it is as difficult to control as the wind.” - Krishna
    • As a kid, I used to think that I could control the wind …

The Tarot:

  • In the Tarot, there are 22 Major Arcana, or trump cards. They begin with The Fool (0), which is the spirit and can weave itself between any card of the deck – it is the non-number. Following is The Magician (masculine, self-consciousness) and then The High Priestess (feminine, sub consciousness).
  • In order for the divine to manifest, it divided into light and dark, positive and negative, masculine and feminine.

The Fool: The “no thing”. The spirit – neither masculine nor feminine.

The Magician: Hermes. As above so below.

The High Priestess: Intuition and the direct route to the divine. Isis. The moon. She sits atop salt and between the pillars of negation and affirmation. She is the source of all water, which is the subconscious.

  • Throughout the deck, only variations of these three archetypes occur.
  • Tarot cards are a relatively new oracle system. The first deck was created during The Renaissance, whereas I Ching, rune cards, palmistry and astrology date back to at least 1,000 years BC.
  • In her opinion, they are just another means by which humanity reaches and receives diving intelligence (/ collective consciousness, god, truth – call it as suits you).
    • And, you need only one or two such experiences to last a lifetime.
    • (If you’re still reading at this point, I’m in pursuit of mine. It will be via Ayahuasca.)
  • For beginners, or just in general, an excellent question for the Tarot is “What do you think I need to know?” I posed a similar one for my very first draw from my new deck, and received The Fool. Considering it’s the very first card in the deck (yes, I shuffled), I read it as a perfect introduction.

http://instagram.com/p/uvEw0MhhmX/?modal=true

Following the learning, I did a reading, and spent some time in trance. This is long and modern attention spans are short so I’ll write up the reading separately.

Thoughts, questions, tarot experiences or otherwise? I’ll study up so I can give proper readings to any willing parties.

Love.

Fasting Tea

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http://instagram.com/p/qr2elZBho1/ A few of you have inquired about the ingredients in my mysterious "Fasting Tea". And so you shall receive, compliments of the owner of one of my favorite local herbal reup spots, The Herb Shoppe, Brooklyn. (For those of you on the West Coast, there's a location in PDX as well.)

- Licorice - Red clover - Raspberry leaf - Peppermint - Fennel - Nettle

Why fasting tea? Well, to support the fasting, naturally. (Intermittent Fasting: 101)

Carry on.

Superfoods 101 with David Wolfe

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David Wolfe is one of my favorite modern experts speaking in layman’s terms about what we know or should. Superfoods, to use a "buzzword" though they’re really just foods, 101:

(If you're an aesthetic, then don't watch - just listen. Meanwhile, I'll continue my compensation for our tie-dye-lead gestalt with white space and sans serif.)

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZZAGoA_fis&w=640&h=390]