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"The really efficient laborer will be found not to crowd his day with work, but will saunter to his task surrounded by a wide halo of ease and leisure." --Henry Thoreau
I've always liked Thoreau's take on the pace of daily living. It was he also who said that to find one's leisure is to find one's soul. And, Carlos Castaneda was told repeatedly by Don Juan that the true sorcerer never hurries. Indeed, all the great works of art could never have been created had the artist been in a rush. Therefore, how can we make an artwork of our lives by hurrying from one urgent task to another? In interviews with centenarians it's common to hear them say they just don't stress or worry, and that leisure is a very important part of their lifestyle.
Summer makes me think of these things, probably because the days are so long (especially here in the Pacific Northwest), that it seems to amplify the spiritual truth that we all have forever. Australian breatharian, Jasmuheen, has a mantra she recommends: "I HAVE FOREVER. Our spirit, our inner being goes on forever in one form or another. Also, if there is something that is in our destiny that we really should be doing, the intelligent universe that surrounds us will bring it to our attention. We can't escape it. We can't avoid it. It is destiny. So again, we can relax for what is truly important to us will never pass us by."
Although I am a professional drummer, I always try to approach my music performance with what I call "dynamic relaxation." Only the exact force necessary by the least amount of muscular energy is used to move the sticks from one drum or cymbal to another. In this way, I never get tired playing the drums. There are other reasons for this, as brilliantly espoused by master rhythmist, Michael Drake, in his recent article, "The Therapeutic Effects of Drumming" on the ByRegion.net website:
Drum therapy is an ancient approach that uses rhythm to promote healing and self-expression. From the shamans of Mongolia to the Minianka healers of West Africa, therapeutic rhythm techniques have been used for thousands of years to create and maintain physical, mental, and spiritual health.
Current research is now verifying the therapeutic effects of ancient rhythm techniques. Recent research reviews indicate that drumming accelerates physical healing, boosts the immune system and produces feelings of well-being, a release of emotional trauma, and reintegration of self. Other studies have demonstrated the calming, focusing, and healing effects of drumming on Alzheimer's patients, autistic children, emotionally disturbed teens, recovering addicts, trauma patients, and prison and homeless populations. Research studies indicate that drumming:
- Reduces tension, anxiety, and stress
- Helps control chronic pain
- Boosts the immune system
- Produces deeper self-awareness by inducing synchronous brain activity
- Accesses the entire brain
- Induces natural altered states of consciousness
- Creates a sense of connectedness with self and others
- Helps us to experience being in resonance with the natural rhythms of life
- Provides a secular approach to accessing a higher power
- Releases negative feelings, blockages, and emotional trauma
- Places one in the present moment
- Provides a medium for individual self-realization >>>> MORE
So, in sauntering through these leisurely summer days, try some drumming--bare hands on dashboard, wooden spoons on pots and pans, palms to Yellow Pages... Strike a rhythm--it feels good, and it's good for you!
In vibrant health,
Pure Energy Rx
The Power of Relationship
Our resident Life Coach and Synergy Specialist, Charly Emery, explores the amplifying effects of partnering--either with a friend, a family member, or most importantly--yourself! If you're not even on your own side, what chance do you have of achieving the success, fulfillment and peace you are striving for? And, as Charly points out, "When you agree to work in partnership with yourself, you will also attract more individuals and opportunities that will support your intentions." >>> MORE
F.Y.I. - Interesting Health News Tidbits
Mythbusters: Shower in a thunderstorm?
THE CLAIM: Never bathe or shower in a thunderstorm. THE FACTS: It has the ring of an urban legend and seems too bizarre to be true. But the claim that taking a shower during a lightning storm can electrocute you is no old wives' tale, experts say. The basis of the claim is that a bolt of lightning that hits a house or building--even one that is protected against severe weather--can travel through plumbing, into metal pipes, and shock anyone who comes into contact with a faucet or appliance. Metal pipes are not only excellent conductors of electricity, but they also carry tap water laden with impurities that help conduct electrical current.
In the real world, the odds of being harmed this way are extremely minute. But it is not unheard of. Ron Holle, a former meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who tracks lightning injuries, estimates that 10 to 20 people in the United States are shocked annually while bathing, using faucets or handling appliances during storms. "There are a ton of myths about lightning," he said, "but this is not one of them."
In a storm, a protected building acts somewhat like a metal cage. Electricity from a lightning strike is conducted around you and eventually dissipates into the ground. There is no real risk unless you touch something connected to plumbing, electrical wiring or another conducting path.
Dr. Mary Ann Cooper, who runs the Lightning Injury Research Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said people had been shocked and even killed washing dishes, doing laundry and sitting in bathtubs in storms. A database of these incidents is online at struckbylightning.org. >>>> SOURCE
One Big Gulp a day, and...
Americans have sipped and slurped their way to fatness by drinking far more soda and other sugary drinks over the last four decades, a new scientific review concludes. An extra can of soda a day can pile on 15 pounds in a single year, and the "weight of evidence" strongly suggests that this sort of increased consumption is a key reason that more people have gained weight, the researchers say. "We tried to look at the big picture rather than individual studies," and it clearly justifies public health efforts to limit sugar-sweetened beverages, said Dr. Frank Hu, who led the report published last week in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
He and others at the Harvard School of Public Health reviewed 40 years of nutrition studies that met strict standards for relevance and scientific muster. The work was funded by ongoing grants to his lab from the federal government and the American Heart Association.
Soft drink trends have marched lock-step with the growing obesity epidemic, but industry groups have long fought efforts to say one directly caused the other. Not all studies conclude that beverages are at fault, and the new analysis ignored some that would have discounted such a link, the American Beverage Association said in a statement issued in response to the study.
However, Dr. David Ludwig, director of the obesity program at Children's Hospital in Boston and a longtime advocate of curbs on soda, said blaming other factors misses the point. "Could you imagine somebody saying we should ignore the contribution of hypertension to heart attack because there are many causes? It's ludicrous. Yet this argument resurfaces with regard to obesity," Ludwig said.
About one-third of all carbohydrate calories in the American diet come from added sweeteners, and beverages account for about half of this amount, the new report says. A single 12-ounce can of soda provides the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of table sugar, the Harvard review says. Increasingly, sugary drinks are being restricted in schools. In May, top beverage distributors agreed to stop selling non-diet sodas in certain schools and restricted sales in certain settings where young children buy them. >>>> MORE
West infects East...
The rapid spread of Western business practices in Japan has caused widespread mental illness and is responsible for a deepening demographic crisis, government officials say. Statistics indicate that 60 per cent of workers suffer from "high anxiety" and that 65 per cent of companies report soaring levels of mental illness.
Meanwhile, the size of the Japanese population is shrinking, and for the first time the Government has acknowledged that the falling birth rate is linked to job-related factors. Directors of the Japanese Mental Health Institute blame the same factors for rising levels of depression among workers and the country's suicide rate, which remains the highest among rich nations.
Merit-based pay and promotion are of particular concern because they are at odds with the traditional system, built on seniority, which has reigned supreme in corporate Japan. In the harsh new atmosphere of cut-throat rivalry between workers, the Institute for Population and Social Security argues, young people do not feel financially stable enough to start families.
The trend is attributed to Japanese companies' attempts to globalize by adopting working practices more closely in line with US and British models. Larger numbers of temporary staff, a greater willingness to sack people and greater pay disparities are the downside. A spokesman for the Mental Health Institute said that the emphasis on individual performance was driving Japanese workers-- particularly those in their thirties--to mental turmoil. "People tend to be individualized under the new working patterns," he said. "When people worked in teams they were happier." >>>> MORE
Latest sugar theory...
Feeling fat? It may not be your fault. The obesity epidemic is caused by a "poisoned" food supply that is altering people's biochemistry and driving them to eat more and move less, according to a hypothesis proposed by a doctor who culled results from thousands of studies on obesity. It is unfair and unhelpful to blame personal behaviors, especially a lack of self-control, for the country's rising obesity rates, says Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatrician and nationally renowned obesity expert at the University of California, San Francisco.
The processed food that is most readily available to Americans--from potato chips and cookies to yogurt and white bread--is loaded with sugars that cause the body to believe it is hungry, which makes people feel compelled to consume more calories and conserve energy, he said. Sugar makes the body produce more insulin, which blocks hormones that would normally tell the brain to stop eating, he said.
Breaking the pattern of sugar consumption--a pattern that Lustig compares to nicotine addiction--is more than just a matter of willpower. It will take a grass-roots effort of doctors, community leaders and consumers to force the government and the food industry to get those sugary foods out of mainstream American diets, he said.
And, increasingly, physicians are becoming frustrated with patients who are obese or in danger of becoming obese and seem incapable of making the lifestyle changes that are necessary to lose weight. If Lustig's hypothesis is correct, then it's no wonder physicians are frustrated: Their patients are driven to eat more and exercise less, in much the same way they're driven to drink when they're thirsty.
According to Lustig's hypothesis, sugar in large quantities drives up insulin secretion. This insulin floods the brain, and in particular the hypothalamus, which regulates energy use in the body. As a result, leptin, a hormone that tells the brain when the body needs more or less energy, can't get its signal to the hypothalamus because the insulin is blocking the way. The result is that the body is thrown into starvation mode--the brain thinks it isn't getting enough energy, so it needs more calories and it needs to save energy, he said. >>>> MORE
How to eat fried worms...
So you want to eat fried worms, eh? Despite the gross-out factor, it wouldn't be the most outlandish thing you could ingest. A good source of protein, worms are a delicacy in many parts of the world. In "How To Eat Fried Worms," the movie that opened last week, based on the classic children's book by Thomas Rockwell, Billy, an 11-year-old newcomer, accepts a schoolyard bully's disgusting dare. Perhaps Billy wouldn't have been so intimidated had he known that worms are served like bar nuts in Thailand, as sun-dried snacks in southern Africa and, closer to home, on a "Bug Bistro" menu at the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History in Halifax.
Cooked, they have been compared to potato chips and beef jerky. You may have eaten clams or escargot (forget the fancy French term, they're snails), tasted sweetbreads (the thymus and pancreas of young animals, usually calves or lambs, sometimes sheep) or cooked your own lobster. Why not take the leap into bugs? "You just don't put a worm in your mouth. It doesn't look good; insects don't look good," said Gene Rurka, the exotic-food chairman of the famed Explorers Club in New York. "Usually what I try to do is at least give the mind a comfort level."
That's the thinking behind his trademarked Wormzel, a worm pretzel that he said made the idea of eating a night crawler more palatable to guests at the last Explorers Club dinner, where many so-called exotic foods are served. Eating an exotic is no different from dining on lobster, he likes to say. But know this: While slurping a few worms on a dare won't kill you, Rurka said it's a lot more complicated than just dropping the critters into a vat of oil.
You could go into your backyard and dig up a few worms, or you could buy them by the dozen at a bait-and-tackle shop. Rurka doesn't think this is a good idea, though. Consider how most homeowners treat their lawns: with pesticides, weed killers and fast-grow products. If you live at the bottom of a hill, rain and runoff will deposit the chemicals of every home above yours into your yard.
Rurka, who spent almost 10 years trying to find maggots he could serve safely, recommends controlling the environment the worms will come from. You can try starting a compost heap, planting an organic garden or building an earthworm farm--a Google search of "earthworm farm" came back with 251,000 results.
Although it's doubtful the Worm Diet will catch on, at least in the near future, Rurka makes a plea for planetary ecology, "If everybody took a couple of worms a day there'd be no more worms, and worms are beneficial," Rurka said. "They aerate the soil, and they allow water to penetrate, they speed up the decomposition process. That's why worms are critical for the environment."
So, despite all things considered... Bon appetit. >>>> MORE
Top 10 secrets of food companies...
by Mike Adams, Health Ranger
The giant food corporations have one mission: selling more food and beverage products to consumers. Succeeding with that mission depends on keeping consumers in the dark on certain issues such as the presence cancer-causing chemicals found in popular food products. Here are ten things the food corporations, whose products dominate grocery store shelves across the United States and other countries, absolutely do not want you to know.
- 1. The ingredients listed on the label aren't the only things in the food. Cancer-causing chemicals such as acrylamides may be formed in the food during high-heat processing, yet there's no requirement to list them on the label. Residues of solvents, pesticides and other chemicals may also be present, but also do not have to be listed.
- 2. Monosodium glutamate (MSG), which is added to thousands of food and grocery products through a dozen different innocent-sounding ingredients, imbalances endocrine system function, disabling normal appetite regulation and causing consumers to keep eating more food. This chemical not only contributes to nationwide obesity, it also helps food companies boost repeat business. (See article on MSG).
- 3. MSG is routinely hidden in foods in these ingredients: yeast extract, torula yeast, hydrolyzed vegetable protein and autolyzed yeast. Thousands of common grocery products contain one or more of these chemical taste enhancers, including nearly all "vegetarian" foods such as veggie burgers (read labels to check).
- 4. ADHD in children is caused almost entirely by the consumption of processed food ingredients such as artificial colors and refined carbohydrates. Eighty percent of so-called ADHD children who are taken off processed foods are cured of ADHD in two weeks.
- 5. The chemical sweetener aspartame, when exposed to warm temperatures for only a few hours, begins to break down into chemicals like formaldehyde and formic acid. Formaldehyde is a potent nerve toxin and causes damage to the eyes, brain and entire nervous system. Aspartame has been strongly linked to migraines, seizures, blurred vision and many other nervous system problems.
- 6. Most food dips (like guacamole dip) are made with hydrogenated oils, artificial colors and monosodium glutamate. Many guacamole dips don't even contain avocados.
- 7. Plastic food packaging is a potent health hazard. Scientists now know that plastics routinely seep the chemical bisphenol A into the food, where it is eaten by consumers. Bisphenol is a hormone disruptor and can cause breast formation in men and severe hormonal imbalances in women.
- 8. Milk produced in the United States comes from cows injected with synthetic hormones that have been banned in every other advanced nation in the world. Even organic milk is now under fire as the Organic Consumers Association says Horizon milk products are falsely labeled as organic.
- 9. Most grocery products that make loud health claims on their packaging are, in reality, nutritionally worthless (like meal replacement shakes, instant chocolate milk, etc.). The most nutritious foods are actually those the FDA does not allow to make any health claims whatsoever: fresh produce.
- 10. Food manufacturers actually "buy" shelf space and position at grocery stores. That's why the most profitable foods (and hence, the ones with the lowest quality ingredients) are the most visible on aisle end caps, checkout lanes and eye-level shelves throughout the store.
IMAGES OF THE MONTH
On the left are neurons from a mouse brain, |
on the right is a computer simulation of the known universe...
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