Best Mantra for 2022 | Mercury Retrograde, Full Moon, Total Lunar Eclipse, Oh MY!

I can’t believe I didn’t post this! It’s been hiding in my Drafts folder since January. We have seven more months of 2022 and we’re not quite halfway there, so I think there’s enough time to meditate and set positive intentions.

With all of this frenetic “as above” planetary activity; Mercury retrograde AND a full flower moon on May 15 AND a total lunar eclipse at the same time, there’s more than enough reason to take a giant step back and BREATHE.

In my area, the lunar eclipse will be visible on May 15 from 7:30 p.m. until 11:50 p.m.

Here’s a great mantra: “Sat Chit Ananda” (Truth, Consciousness, Bliss)

Sit or lie comfortably and take a few moments to relax. Pay attention to your breath as it moves in and out. Soften, let go, and surrender to the quiet.

Silently repeat to yourself, “Sat Chit Ananda (Truth, Consciousness, Bliss).”

Set a timer for ten to twenty minutes, and try not to watch the clock. Allow all feelings and sensations to emerge; feel the power that rises up, and ENJOY!

After you release the mantra, remain still for as long as you can and listen to your heart, where lies all truth.

Namaste.

Later, reflect on this beautiful words by Patrick Graven:

Our hearts full of depth, Life in every breath, Beauty that blooms in our hearts, An infinite love that never parts.Destined to find our way, Will make us live only for today, Guiding the path for beauty to follow, To leave behind the pain and hold the hopes of tomorrow. The wind is blowing against the trees, And the moon shines forth with its glow, Even your own light never to be extinguished, Through life and all its growth. All we have is this space between the poles, As the stars shine with sense renewed, Beauty is seen again as petals unfold, A light that found a way to shine through. Everyday that it takes to feel alive, Believing in our hearts that there is a way, All we need is to shine from the inside, And embrace the meaning of our living grace.The glory of new things to come, The essence of all you will achieve, The purity of all you will become, When you look within and believe.

https://patrickgravenwriting.wordpress.com/

Lemongrass Tea

I have a healthy lemongrass plant in my garden and never thought of doing anything with it but cutting a stalk from time to time for Vietnamese or Thai dishes and thought I’d experiment a little since it I learned it also offers healing benefits. Too bad it can’t fix my broken bones!

Lemongrass tea has a wonderful, lemony, delicious taste. Add to boiling water for only fifteen minutes and it’s a perfect hot or cold refreshment!

If you don’t have fresh lemongrass or you can’t find it in the store, you can use dried lemongrass Be sure to strain or use a tea caddy.

  • 1 stalk lemongrass including leaves (1 tbsp dried lemongrass)
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • Optional: Piece of ginger or sprinkle of cinnamon.

Boil for 15 minutes, steep, strain, and enjoy!

I added a cup of my freshly made lemongrass tea to Yogi ginger tea (which has lemongrass listed as an ingredient) and it tasted yummy!

A Whimsical Flower Garden Bouquet For ME!

Tomorrow might be all about the original Angel Boy as it’s his birthday, but today is all about me, so I walked around the garden and picked all the flowers blooming in early spring to celebrate myself.

Back in 1981, he was already a week overdue on March 22. I had walked my dogs, Sabrina and Beowulf, early in the morning where I tripped on an uneven sidewalk and fell down.

Other than being annoyed at my huge bulky belly that got in the way of everything, I didn’t think about it. I felt fine.

My mom came over to take me out for lunch and shopping, two of my most favorite pastimes (then and now). I remember exactly what I bought. She wanted me to have a pretty nightgown to commemorate the birth of her first and only grandchild. In fact, I still have that little rose sprigged lacy cotton gown, mainly because I never throw things away and besides, it’s a lovely reminder of that day with my mom.

As we were eating lunch, I excused myself to use the restroom. When I returned, I said to her, “It’s so weird, I don’t know why my pants feel like I wet myself.”

Well, my mom who NEVER freaked out, was always calm, freaked out, “Your water broke. Why didn’t you tell me? We need to get to the hospital. When did this happen?” “What other symptoms do you have?”

I told her about falling earlier in the day and she deduced that I had partially ruptured the placenta. I don’t remember much about driving home except for her repeating, “You might have introduced bacteria, you might have introduced bacteria. Why didn’t you say something sooner?”

Stubborn as I am, I did NOT go to the hospital right away, although I was having slight labor pains. I wanted to take a shower and walk my dogs again.

She and Daddy-to-be called my doc who agreed that I needed to get to the hospital to be safe.

I was extremely upset because for nine months I planned to have my baby at home with my mom attending. She was an amazing nurse, had worked for many years in labor and delivery and had brought home a sterile delivery kit, kinda sorta like Call the Midwife.

The fact that there was even the slightest chance that my baby was in danger caused my mom (and Dad) to refuse to allow me to play the role of Earth Mother and stay home. I had planned to have all my animals surround me to participate because their little brother or sister (we didn’t know) was being born.

I had to reluctantly agree with them that it wasn’t all about me, plus the vaginal mucous plug or “show” had started to separate from the cervix which meant actual labor was progressing. We arrived at the hospital about 7pm.

I’ll save the rest of the story for tomorrow, because after that day it was NEVER all about me ever again–it’s always and will forever be about my Angel Boy.

Here’s me on March 22, on that final walk, taking a break with my beautiful Sabrina, a couple hours before going to the hospital. I’m really happy to have this photo. My sweet Sabby looks so old.

I’ve shown this pic to my other Angels and they get a kick out of seeing their Daddy inside Grandma’s body before he came into the world. “There’s Daddy!” And “Grandma, you love Border Collies so much, don’t you?”

But not more than you guys. Nope. Never more than you, my Angels.

I See You. Eye Health. Seriously.

Every year I have a checkup with a specialist because I had a torn retina in my left eye in 2014 and a vitreous fluid issue in 2016 in my other eye that so far hasn’t deteriorated. (Knock on wood.)

I thought I had previously written a post about this medical condition but I couldn’t find it which is odd yet timely because I have my annual appointment on Friday to check my retinas. I don’t like ambiguity and their high tech equipment calms my anxiety.

I was told that my severe myopia was the leading cause of my retinal tear. I also believe that the crazy stress I endured because of my son’s life threatening medical condition and subsequent emergency surgery contributed to the tear, but I can’t find any facts to back up my theory. However, we know stress can do crazy things to our body, right?

In my case, I knew what it was the exact moment I saw the white flashes (Photopsia) that didn’t disappear if my eyes were open or closed. A family member was an ophthalmologist and I had worked for him during high school and college thinking I might like to go to med school, but I didn’t really want to spend another decade cooped up in classrooms. And then there was my nemesis, organic chemistry…

I called my eye doctor after hours to explain what I saw; he told me to come in at 7am the following morning, no appointment needed, and by the end of the day I had been referred to and had already been seen by a specialist who confirmed that it was a retinal tear. Laser surgery was scheduled for the next day.

My advice is not to delay seeking medical attention when you see flashes.

I won’t lie; the laser repair is the most painful procedure I’ve ever endured, worse than my C-section when the anesthetic wore off as my OB was suturing me (REALLY) and worse than a poorly done root canal. It was like a thousand sharp knives were stabbing my brain. Some people just feel a dull ache/discomfort and they’re the lucky ones.

The bright lights leave you blind for a brief period after it’s all done. For the first 72 hours after the surgery, you can’t read ANYTHING, no computer, nothing –because the eye has to stay stable and not track back and forth in order for the laser treatment to fully seal the tear. I had to sit up and could only watch TV. My friend brought books on tape to listen to, which was great. Yoga and weight lifting and jumping and pushups and plank were prohibited for about a month to reduce any pressure and inhibit healing. That drove me crazy too, but I still limit my downward dogs because I don’t like how it feels when I keep my head down. I’m scared it’s going to happen again.

As painful as it was, I’d prefer that to the repair options for a total detachment which can take place in a hospital and can involve a gas bubble insertion and/or a scleral buckle. You must hold your head in a certain position for several days to keep the bubble in the right spot.

According to the National Library of Medicine, the risk of developing a retinal detachment is five or six times greater in people with high myopia compared to those with low myopia. People with high myopia have longer eyes (axial elongation), which means that the retina is more stretched and therefore prone to peripheral retinal tears. High myopia is said to occur when a person’s myopia progresses until they need −5 diopters or more of spherical correction.

A retinal tear can lead to fluid and blood collecting in the eye, which can cause the development of several new floaters and loss of vision if the tear leads to a retinal detachment.

The retina is the thin layer of tissue that lines the back of the eye on the inside. Located near the optic nerve, the retina’s purpose is to receive light and then send pictures to the brain of what the eye sees.

If the retina is unable to receive and process light, the brain won’t receive information. One condition that can stop this communication between the retina and the brain is a retinal detachment, which can result from a retinal tear.

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of a retinal tear include flashes in the eye and visible spots called floaters. Retinal tears can develop and progress quickly, which may lead to retinal detachment.

The most common signs and symptoms of retinal tears include:

  • Sudden appearance of floaters.
  • Black spots in field of vision.
  • Flashes of light.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Darker/dimmer vision.
  • Loss of peripheral vision.

Retinal detachments and retinal tears

Those seemingly harmless “floaters” and “flashes” in your vision can indicate serious trouble. “Floaters” are tiny black specks that you may occasionally see floating in your line of vision.

What causes floaters and flashers?

As we age, the gel-like fluid in our eyes (called vitreous fluid) begins to liquefy and pull away from our retina. As vitreous gel changes it can pull on our retina enough to cause a retinal tear or detachment.

Having a few long-standing floaters in your vision is normal. However, if you notice flashes or an increase in floaters — or if you see a curtain or shaded area in your side vision — these can indicate serious eye disease and the need for immediate treatment. Left untreated, retinal tears and detachments can lead to permanent blindness. Prompt diagnosis and treatment are critical. In fact, vision loss could have been prevented or minimized by early detection in 50% of all medical cases involving blindness.

Please take your eye health seriously!

Toska: Russian Despair

Russia is front and center in the news these days; I wish men all around the world would stop using violence and bullying to solve their personal issues.

Toska is a Russian word roughly translated as sadness, despair, melancholia, lugubriousness (lugubrious is one of my favorite words); also a dull ache of the the soul, a soul pining, spiritual anguish.

One of my grandfathers was born in Russia and maybe that’s why that emotion resonated with me.

According to Vladimir Nabokov ,“No single word in English renders all the shades of toska. At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause.”

I wonder if it’s similar to anhedonia, the inability to feel pleasure, a common symptom of depression.

I found a spa, restaurant, and other businesses named Toska and wonder if the owners realize that they branded their business with a word that translates to despair…not sure if that’s the message they wish to convey.

Photo by Lucas Pezeta on Pexels.com

PSA: Free Covid Tests

Just in case you haven’t heard about it, President Biden has made four covid tests available FREE to every household along with free delivery.

I signed up and it literally took less than a minute! I immediately received a confirmation email.

Thank you for caring about us, President Biden!

Here’s the link:

https://www.covidtests.gov/

Migraine Musings

It’s an amazing eighty degrees here today and I woke up with a migraine. I don’t get them very often, thank goodness, but this one put the brakes on any plans to bask in the warmth of the winter sun.

I don’t know what caused this debilitating headache; I didn’t do or eat anything that could have triggered it.

I hate when I don’t feel great; I’m a much better nurse to others than the one who needs a little helping hand so I’m feeling sorry for myself.

This popped up, which fairly represents my pity party. Sylvia Plath is quite perceptive.

GO VEGAN in 2022 #Veganuary

(That’s me, one of my favorite pics!)

Of all the positive and healthy choices one could implement for 2022, how about becoming #vegan?

A great way to start the process is to visit https://veganuary.com/

There’s a blog along with recipes and a Getting Started eating guide with shopping and nutrition tips.

Do it for yourself, to prevent animal suffering, and the environment.

No human needs to eat the flesh or secretions of a dead creature.

If you choose to join the movement, please let me know so I can give you encouragement, support, and a virtual high five!

How to Rewire Our Brain for JOY in 2022

Happy New Year! Best wishes to everyone for a safe, healthy, abundant, and JOYFUL 2022.

Since my DIL is a neuroscientist, anything that relates to the brain and how it works is a topic of conversation around Casa de Enchanted Seashells.

According to Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Health, Happiness, and Wisdom, we can change our mind–to change our brain–to change our mind.

The beauty of self-directed neuroplasticity means we really can teach old dogs new tricks.

Author Rick Hanson’s premise is that if we intentionally choose positive thoughts, we can change our life for the better.

Here’s an excerpt about JOY:

Internalizing the Positive

1. Turn positive facts into positive experiences. Good things keep happening all around us, but much of the time we don’t notice them; even when we do, we often hardly feel them. Someone is nice to you, you see an admirable quality in yourself, a flower is blooming, you finish a difficult project — and it all just rolls by. Instead, actively look for good news, particularly the little stuff of daily life: the faces of children, the smell of an orange, a memory from a happy vacation, a minor success at work, and so on. Whatever positive facts you find, bring a mindful awareness to them — open up to them and let them affect you. It’s like sitting down to a banquet: don’t just look at it — dig in!

2. Savor the experience. It’s delicious! Make it last by staying with it for 5, 10, even 20 seconds; don’t let your attention skitter off to something else. The longer that something is held in awareness and the more emotionally stimulating it is, the more neurons that fire and thus wire together, and the stronger the trace in memory.

“Focus on your emotions and body sensations, since these are the essence of implicit memory. Let the experience fill your body and be as intense as possible. For example, if someone is good to you, let the feeling of being cared about bring warmth to your whole chest.

“Pay particular attention to the rewarding aspects of the experience — for example, how good it feels to get a great big hug from someone you love. Focusing on these rewards increases dopamine release, which makes it easier to keep giving the experience your attention, and strengthens its neural associations in implicit memory. You’re not doing this to cling to the rewards — which would eventually make you suffer — but rather to internalize them so that you carry them inside you and don’t need to reach for them in the outer world.

“You can also intensify an experience by deliberately enriching it. For example, if you are savoring a relationship experience, you could call up other feelings of being loved by others, which will help stimulate oxytocin — the ‘bonding hormone’ — and thus deepen your sense of connection. Or you could strengthen your feelings of satisfaction after completing a demanding project by thinking about some of the challenges you had to overcome.

3. Imagine or feel that the experience is entering deeply into your mind and body, like the sun’s warmth into a T-shirt, water into a sponge, or a jewel placed in a treasure chest in your heart. Keep relaxing your body and absorbing the emotions, sensations, and thoughts of the experience.”

Planting Seeds: Bija Mantras for Chakras

I hope everyone had all their Christmas wishes come true!

Instead of writing about resolutions for 2022, I think it’s more helpful to share info about things that are easier to attain so I’ll share what I learned about seed mantras– bija mantras–to create and enable healthy transformations all year long.

What is a Mantra? A sound, syllable, word, or group of words considered capable of “creating transformation.” The Sanskrit word mantra means “instrument of thought”.

What is Bija Mantra? Bija means seed. Bija mantras are one-syllable seed sounds that, when said aloud, activate the energy of the chakras in order to purify and balance mind/body.

What is a chakra? In Sanskrit, chakra translates into “wheel”. These “wheels” can be thought of as vortexes that both receive and radiate energy. There are seven major energy centers in the human body, from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. Emotions, physical health, and mental clarity affect how well each chakra can filter energy. This in turn dictates how pure the energy is that’s emitted from different regions of the body.

Chant the bija mantras, either one at a time or in sequences. Repetition can help you access a meditative state. Try to focus on the different regions of the body associated with each syllable/chakra as you go through the bija mantras. 

  • LAM: Root Chakra – I am
  • VAM: Sacral Chakra – I feel
  • RAM: Solar Plexus Chakra – I do
  • YAM: Heart Chakra – I love
  • HAM: Throat Chakra – I speak
  • OM: Third Eye Chakra – I see
  • OM: Crown Chakra – I understand

Option: Choose one sound that really resonates with you and repeat that one several times. I like this brief seven minute chant, but there are literally hundreds of them on YouTube. Search for a voice that feels good.

Some info curated from http://ar-yoga.com/2011/10/bija-mantras-the-sounds-of-the-chakras-lam-vam-ram-yam-ham-om/