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October is Opal Month
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website shopping cart. Opal is known to enhance cosmic consciousness and stimulates mystical experiences. It enhances meditation and aligns the etheric, mental and emotional bodies. It is traditionally known to stimulate intuition and creativity. Opal is usually associated with love and passion, as it intensifies emotional states and releases inhibitions. Mentally, Opal is thought to bring lightness and spontaneity, and encourages an interest in the arts. Physically, Opal may strengthen the will to live. It may help with nerve conditions and infections, helping to clean the blood and kidneys. Use this elixir with the Clean Sweep
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There is nothing like the tart and sweet taste of pomegranate seeds (or arils). The fruit is quite unique, and I've been fascinated with them ever since I got a juicer. They are one of the trickier fruits to negotiate getting at their juice.
A squished seed can spray highly staining juice several feet. After one of my first encounters juicing a pomegranate I found juice drops 10 feet from where I was juicing!
Since then, I've gotten much better at it, with the help of a Google search and a little practice.
A few days ago, a good neighbor friend of mine brought over a box of nicely ripe pomes she'd picked up from a tree in her yard. So I found myself back at the pome juicing game. One way to get the juice that is really pretty effective is to roll the pomegranate on a flat, solid surface, pressing down as you roll. You'll hear cracking sounds--that's the seed membrane pulling away from the outer shell, releasing the seeds. The juice around each seed is then also released, so after the rolling you can make an incision in the outer skin, stick a straw in there and drink up. Or, further squeezing of the fruit into a bowl, yields a pretty nice amount--usually about a half a cup.
One of the best ways, though, is to slice off the top of the fruit, then quarter it. Put the quarter in a bowl of water and use your thumbs to peel the seeds away from the outer shell. This rips the seed packet membranes, which you can discard (they are bitter, but I keep some of them because they are very high in antioxidants).
Pomegrantes are considered one of the Top 10 Superfoods because they not only are three times higher in antioxidants than green tea, but also because recent research shows significant effects as an anti-tumor agent. Pomegranate juice also prevents arterial damage by LDL cholesterol, and allows the blood to carry more oxygen to the heart muscle, so the fruit is an essential food for those with cardiovascular issues.
An inspiration to many poets down through the ages, the pomegranate "...shows its heart, like a pearl in the jewel box of spirit." -- Rumi
I've experimented with fasting my entire life. I've done mono-diet fasting (just apples, or just avocados), juice fasting, spirulina fasting, and water fasting. My record was a 20-day water fast, and a 54-day spirulina fast. I enjoy fasting only because of the way it allows me to feel--mostly after it's done.
I've always known there were benefits to allowing the body to spend time unburdened by having to constantly digest food. If you eat "three square meals" a day, especially if you include the nocturnal "fourth meal" made famous by Taco Bell, then your body is pretty much digesting food all the time. It is not healthy, as many, many studies are showing of late.
Researchers have for quite some time equated fasting with longevity, as in many experiments with lab animals have proved longer lifespans from limited caloric intact. There's even an entire movement--The Calorie Restriction Movement--that espouses a longer life on less than 1600 daily calories. But, I've long ago discarded the dietary calorie method of weight control in favor of low-or-no-carb diets, high in fats and proteins.
The intermittent fasting protocol that I've customized to my lifestyle is to skip breakfast, eat a small no-carb meal late in the afternoon, and then have the main meal at night, closer to bedtime. The science says that the body's digestive system follows circadian rhythms, following the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. In the morning and afternoon, the sympathetic nervous system is most active, mostly burning glucose for energy as its main activity. In the early evening and at night, the parasympathetic takes over and begins absorbing nutrients and repairing. So, by not feeding the body during most of the day, your body releases fats to be burned for energy. Feeding at night gives the body the nutrients it needs for repair and rejuvenation. It's just more efficient.
My main meal is steamed vegetables mixed with crushed avocado and hummus, seasoned with Bragg's, tumeric and cayenne. My small afternoon meal is usually some quinoa and black beans, or maybe some raw vegetable juice. This really works for me. I have more energy, fewer aches and pains, and my mood is elevated. Try it!
In my metaphysical studies, sooner or later while following a particular thread, I'll end up with a treatise about surrender. It is one of the greatest acts of choice we humans possess. It is also one of (if not THE) greatest acts of faith.
Practically speaking, though, surrender has very particular benefits spiritually (of course), mentally, and physically. The practice of surrender is basically to release striving--release effort, and to release attachments to outcomes. The reason this is a "practice" is because it is not easy. We habitually attach ourselves to our activities and their outcomes. "Achieving goals" and "making a better life" are all egoic identifications wholly dependent on outcomes.
Many spiritual teachers (notably Leo Babuata of zenhabits.com), promote living a goalless life. The premise is that you are perfect and whole just the way you are, and are here on this physical plane to express that perfection. By embracing the surrendering of goals, a tremendous burden is lifted and you immediately come into the present--away from the future and past--free now to enjoy the journey of self-expression.
The practice of surrender becomes difficult or "complicated" when seemingly outside forces enter your life, such as economic needs, health problems, or emotional situations. These seem to require having a goal of a solution. Instead, by practicing surrender, these events begin to appear as reflections of your inner creations--the results of choices and decisions. Surrendering allows the perception of these choices and decisions. You can now see your creation self at work. Life becomes a painting, a sculpture, a dance--and all you need to do is change it up if you don't like what you see, hear or feel.
I like to surrender to God myself, just because it seems most natural for me, but I don't think surrendering to something is necessary. It is simply the act of surrender that releases you from the grip of ego and welcomes you to the present NOW. The mind stops chattering, the nervous system relaxes; you begin to see situations and conflicts as "small potatoes". It's very comforting, really. We don't need to be in the driver's seat all the time, because our belief that we are is really a red herring. Our life simply flows naturally along until a decisions comes up and by surrendering you'll find the pending decision answers itself. So all you are really doing is responding to your life, enjoying it, and simply making it more beautiful, loving and kind.
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Personally, from the
I make no apologies for my political beliefs, but that's mainly because the social circle that surrounds me shares those beliefs. But, then, I've carefully arranged it that way, primariliy to avoid unpleasant confrontations, or awkward expectations. In this contentious political season, however, I'm really taking a look at some of my assumptions in this area to see if I can't resolve, or at least come to terms with my favoritism to the left and my aversion to the right on the political spectrum.
Most political polarization, I believe, is caused by isolating oneself into a social group that mimics or embraces a particular worldview to the exclusion of all other worldviews. This is one of the drawbacks to the "infinite channels" of media that ungulfs 21st Century civilization. We can all tune in only those channels that ONLY champion our own worldview, strengthening it through agreement and validation from other members embracing those media channels.
This is the opposite, but no less dangerous a situation from the years leading up to the Civil War or even Revolutionary War where media isolation fostered the inbreeding of worldviews eventually leading to political polarization and war.
In fact, the argument that war is obsolete sprang from the phenomena of "super-access"--real-time availability of media input, such as internet capable smart phones, free international Skyping, and thousands of TV channels available on mobile devices everywhere in the world. This instant accessibility was thought to dissallow isolation and preclude one of the central characteristics of war.
But, alas, as we have seen, this instant media access has instead acted to foment insurrection, group think, and intellectual isolation. This is happening in American politics right now--much to the delight of comedians and satirists worldwide. But, it's gotten so exteme now that it's not all that funny.
What are we seeing here with this? To me, I see the outpicturing of technological societies grappling with spiritual isolation. This isolation is self-imposed and amplified by media access. There are infinite reasons now to remain isolated, not reach out, and not attempt to understand those who think along different paths.
From a higher or wider perspective, though, doesn't it seem like people are splitting up into tribes to protect themselves from an infinitely diverse world? Why is there this terrible fear of diversity? Why are we so afraid of other political or spiritual views? Well... I believe it is because we actually fear isolation. We want to connect, but only want to connect to those people and circumstances that reflect who we think we are.
It would seem we haven't really grown up emotionally from being teenagers, who developmentally form cliques with arbitrary rules in preparation for a social world that simply does the same, just on a much larger scale.
The key to the resolution of this has always been the practice of compassion. Compassion doesn't judge. Compassion only seeks to understand, and compassion connects. But, that practice of compassion is only possible when one is comfortable with isolation. It's a paradox--an irony. To be compassionate, you have to surrender your ego, surrender your political stand, and embrace the possibility that others may be completely different from you. And yet, by reaching out a compassionate hand, there is relief of the burdens of judgment, and the freedom to love everything.
In a direct way, it would seem as a society, we have not matured emotionally enough to intelligently use the media technology we have created. If all-access media only leads more rapidly to conflict and war, then that's not the best use of it, it seems to me. Why not use it to reach out to opposing views, reach out to those in pain, reach out to those without hope? It is the first act of compassion to reach out, and by not doing so when surrounded by this infinite web of media access is just not intelligent use of it. Our smart phones are smarter than us--they don't care who you talk to. They don't care what you believe. They are only there to facilitate communication. So how about we use it to bring more compassion into the world?
In vibrant health,
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