Refreshing Fat Leaf Water

This stuff is so cool, sourced from the prickly pear cactus.

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I brought over to my neighbor’s house three flavors of Fat Leaf Water that the company sent me to try, so we could have a little socially distanced taste test.

Since it’s been super hot here in SoCal for the last couple of days, I thought it’d be a perfect time to quench our thirst with something new. (Usually we’re drinking a variety of fermented grape juice, but it was a bit early in the day for that.)

Key Lime Mango

Mojave Citrus

Rimrock Red

We tasted each of them and agreed that all the flavors were super hydrating and really quenched our thirst. My fave was Mojave Citrus and Key Lime Mango and I especially love the addition of turmeric, and my neighbors both liked Rimrock Red, so it was a win-win for us all.

Here’s the company info:

“WE HAVE MADE THE DECISION AT FAT LEAF WATER TO POSTPONE OUR KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN AND POSTINGS TO SUPPORT OUR FRIENDS, FAMILY AND OUR COMMUNITY DURING THIS CHALLENGING TIME.”

Keep this brand on your radar and when things get back to normal, whenever and whatever that is, I hope I’ve planted a seed so that you try it, too.

From their website:

Q: WHAT IS FAT LEAF WATER?

A: FAT LEAF WATER IS THE FIRST CACTUS-WATER BASED SPORTS HYDRATION BEVERAGE. IT’S PACKED WITH ANTIOXIDANTS, ELECTROLYTES, VITAMIN C, MINERALS AND TAURINE.

Q: WHAT IS PRICKLY PEAR?

A: PRICKLY PEAR IS A CACTUS, A RESILIENT SUPER PLANT FOUND IN ARID AREAS. IT PRODUCES BLOSSOMS, WHICH TURNS INTO A FRUIT, CALLED PRICKLY PEAR FRUIT. THE JUICE OF THE PRICKLY PEAR FRUIT IS OUR MAIN INGREDIENT IN FAT LEAF WATER. IT PROVIDES ANTI-INFLAMMATORY PROPERTIES AND IS PACKED WITH ANTIOXIDANTS, ELECTROLYTES, VITAMINS, MINERALS AND NATURAL TAURINE.

Q: WHY THE NAME FAT LEAF WATER?

A: THE PRICKLY PEAR CACTUS IS A SUPER PLANT THAT SOMEHOW STAYS SUPER HYDRATED IN HARSH DRY CLIMATES. IT EFFICIENTLY STORES WATER IN ITS LARGE, FLAT AND FLESHY PADS OR LEAVES. THUS THE NAME FAT LEAF WATER.

Q: IS THE PRICKLY PEAR FRUIT SUSTAINABLE?

A: YES. THE PRICKLY PEAR CACTUS IS A NATIVE TO THE AMERICAS. IT IS A RESILIENT PLANT THAT REQUIRES VERY LITTLE WATER TO PRODUCE AND GROW. THE FRUIT, PADS (LEAVES) AND FLOWERS ARE ALL EDIBLE. THE CACTUS IS EASY TO CULTIVATE AND PROPAGATE, FROM SEED OR HEALTHY PLANT.

Q: I SEE “TAURINE” AS AN INGREDIENT IN ALL YOUR BEVERAGES. WHAT IS TAURINE?

A: TAURINE (DUBBED THE “WONDER MOLECULE” BY SCIENTISTS) IS A COMPOUND AMINO ACID THAT OCCURS NATURALLY IN THE BODY. IT IS PARTICULARLY CONCENTRATED IN THE BRAIN, EYES, HEART AND MUSCLES AND SHOWN TO IMPROVE ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE. PRICKLY PEARS NATURALLY CONTAIN TAURINE, AND WE ADDED AN ADDITIONAL BOOST FOR AN EXTRA KICK!

Q: IS YOUR BEVERAGE GLUTEN FREE?

A: YES. ALL OUR INGREDIENTS ARE GLUTEN FREE. THE FACILITY IN WHICH OUR BEVERAGE IS PRODUCED IS ALSO GLUTEN FREE.

Q: IS YOUR BEVERAGE NATURAL?

A: YES. OUR FAT LEAF WATER BEVERAGES ARE MADE FROM ALL NATURAL INGREDIENTS.

Q: IS YOUR BEVERAGE VEGAN?

A: YES. ALL OUR FAT LEAF WATER BEVERAGES ARE PLANT-BASED.

 

I was provided product and no compensation; the reviews are my own honest opinion.

 

 

More Green Goo…WHAT did she say?

green-goo-logo-stack-1Yes, I said, “Green Goo”. There’s something I really like about the vibe I get from this woman-owned company which is why I chatted about them a while ago.

Recently, the nice people from Green Goo sent me a sampling of their products.

Here’s the crazy part. I first gave them my home address. Then, I thought I was going to be visiting all of my Angels 1-4 so I gave them THAT address.

At the last minute, my flight was cancelled so the package of goodies is now 1000 miles away from me and Angel Boy 1.0 and DIL are using them, which is totally cool, but I do SO LOVE getting prezzies, so it’s a bit sad for me haha.

Hopefully there will be something left for me by the time I get to visit–if not, that’s OK too. It is what it is.

I’m seriously looking forward to the pain relief salve with ginger, peppermint, and arnica–three of my favorite ingredients, enriched with cinnamon and olive oil. It can temporarily help ease the aching of arthritis, sore muscles, and bruises. It emulates hot and cold therapies to help increase circulation for rapid relief. Check out their website for great reviews.

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This release was emailed today, so I thought I’d share it because I like to support companies who walk the talk and give back.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GREEN GOO DONATES HAND SANITIZER TO U.S. BASED ORGANIZATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS AFFECTED BY COVID-19

Women-owned brand expands mission to ‘Spread Goodness’ in face of global pandemic LYONS, Colo. (May 21, 2020) -– All-natural body care brand Green Goo, under parent company Sierra Sage Herbs, is honored to support frontline workers, medical facilities, and local and national organizations making a difference in the fight against COVID-19 with instrumental product donations, including FDA-compliant hand sanitizer and first aid items. Pivoting at the onset of the global pandemic to produce an affordable hand sanitizer for those in need, Green Goo has leveraged its manufacturing partnerships to produce a steady supply of the 63.5% alcohol gel, in a variety of packaging options, in order to provide an in-stock solution for consumers and organizations alike. With production capacity and volume steadier and more reliable, Green Goo has been able to realign focus back to its philosophical cornerstones: philanthropy and humanitarianism. ”Our company mission is ‘Spread Goodness,’ and that never stops, regardless of the obstacles thrown in our way,” Green Goo Co-Founder and CEO Jodi Scott said. “We recognized at the onset of the current situation that we not only needed to protect our families and our employees, but that we had an obligation to find a way to make a difference, no matter how big or small. We are privileged to be in a position to share these meaningful products with those in need. The organizations receiving our hand sanitizers — major government and educational health authorities, hospitals, first responders, and shelters for at-risk populations, for example – are doing the kind of work necessary to keep people safe and informed during these uncertain times. To play any part in that world is the reason we started this company in the first place.” The following organizations have received donations of hand sanitizer and/or all-natural first aid products from Green Goo: • Alameda Health System – Oakland, Calif. • Bayshore Medical Center – Flanders, N.J. • Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times – Los Angeles • Central Texas Food Bank – Austin, Texas • God’s Love We Deliver – New York • Harbor House of Central Florida – Orlando, Fla. • James A. Haley Veterans Hospital – Tampa, Fla. • McLeod Health Clarendon – Manning, S.C. • Navajo Nation with help from Orenda Tribe and The Lani Rhys Collective – Albuquerque, N.M. • Not 4gotten NY – Woodstock, N.Y. • OUT Boulder County – Boulder, Colo. 424 Main Street | Lyons, Colorado | 303.823.2468 | greengoo.com • Providence Fire Department – Santee, S.C. • The Arc of Washington County – Hagerstown, Md. • The City of New York’s NYC Health Department – New York • UCLA Health – Los Angeles While the preceding list ranges from hospitals and medical personnel to food banks, other first responder groups, and entities providing educational and protective services. Green Goo is also setting aside a percentage of monthly hand sanitizer sales to select local and national organizations. The recipients of the financial contribution for the month of April were L.E.A.F (Lyons Emergency & Assistance Fund, Lyons) and Direct Relief. Boulder Community Health Foundation (Boulder) and Johns Hopkins Medicine have been selected to receive financial donations following the month of May. Additionally, donated products have been sent to numerous individuals working in hospitals with affected patients, social workers, small-business owners, and others defining the American response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Green Goo will continue to produce compliant hand sanitizer options and search for additional opportunities to offer related support for as long as deemed necessary by U.S. health officials. ### Media Contact: Shea Martin, Vice President of Public Relations shea@greengoohelps.com T: 917-903-2795 http://www.greengoo.com Facebook/Instagram/Twitter — @greengoohelps About Green Goo Formed in 2008, Green Goo is a women-owned, family-operated, B-Corp. Our products are cruelty free and made in the USA with 100% natural ingredients. We started small, making products for friends, family, and the local farmer’s market, and we have now grown into a thriving, value-driven company. As we evolve, we remain committed to our roots: a time-honored infusion process, high-quality ingredients, and simple, effective products that are safe for you, your family, and the environment.

Some GOOD NEWS during the Covid-19 crisis: Green Goo

I’m sure there are other companies who have decided this Twilight Zone time we’re living in calls for extraordinary measures, but I liked what I read about Green Goo, a woman-owned biz, so I decided to highlight them on the blog today. Their story is really cool and you can check it out at https://greengoo.com/pages/about-us


In an effort to combat a market shortage and rampant price gouging, Sierra Sage Herbs, parent company of all-natural brand Green Goo, is proud to announce the launch of a new hand sanitizer, scheduled to arrive at its warehouse later this week.

Produced in the U.S., Green Goo’s hand sanitizer, made with an FDA-approved 63.5% alcohol, disinfects and kills 99% of bacteria and germs.

Green Goo will provide the Town of Lyons, Colorado, where the company is headquartered, 3,000+ units from the initial limited allotment, while the remaining products will be included free of charge with every order, in addition to being a part of three wellness bundles, via the brand’s website — greengoo.com.

Additionally, individual sales of the hand sanitizers will be available at greengoo.com and at a multitude of national chain stores and independent retailers by late April.

“Currently, we have a limited supply, so we are including a free hand sanitizer with every order to ensure our customers are able to share this inventory – a little for all,” said Green Goo Co-Founder and CEO Jodi Scott. “We’re producing more hand sanitizer which is scheduled to ship later in April, and at that time we will make it available for sale.”

Green Goo plans to donate 1% of the sales of the hand sanitizers to select local and international charitable organizations making a difference in the fight against COVID-19.

“In these uncertain times, we are all trying to understand how we can help. As a family-operated company and, ultimately, concerned citizens of the world, we feel an enormous responsibility to leverage our resources and partnerships to provide these much-needed products,” Scott continued. “Green Goo is an all-natural brand and this isn’t a ‘typical’ product for us. However, with the urgent need for hand sanitizers, we felt a duty to address the need for the product while complying with FDA-, CDC- and WHO-recommended formulas. There is time, as we learn more about this disease, to evolve the formulation.”

The brand will continue to produce hand sanitizer for as long as deemed necessary by U.S. health officials.

 

Learn about shungite, a powerful healing rock

Everyone’s talking about the Corona virus, Covid-19, information/misinformation, face masks, hoarding bleach, disinfectants, and how to avoid contacting this pandemic virus.

The stock market is falling like the crumbling stones of an ancient wall.

That got me thinking about rocks. I love rocks as much as I love seashells.

Rocks from the beach, the desert, the mountains-I bring a rock or two home with me on every visit to Angel Boy 2.0. I’ve conditioned him to look for rocks for me, “Here’s a really special one, Grandma! This one’s for you!”

On our last day together, we walked on the beach at Golden Gardens right on the Salish Sea, and he found a small perfectly round, extremely white stone. In an awed tone, he exclaimed,  “This is the most amazing rock EVER. I’m going to keep it ’til I’m as old as YOU, Grandma!” (Thanks for that, little buddy lol.) Something about that white quartz touched his little soul and that touched my soul. As soon as we got home, he showed it to mom and dad and placed it on the window sill in his bedroom– a treasure. That’s a boy after my own heart, that’s for sure. The apple (stone) didn’t fall too far from the tree.

But I love other kinds of rocks too; amethyst and carnelian, selenite, kyanite, rose quartz,  all the varieties that are attributed with extraordinary and spiritual powers. I gave crystals to DIL before birthing the babies. She loves them too, I’m happy to report.

Since I also love shiny things, I was attracted to a new rock I never before heard of called shungite, and it has an old and fascinating history.

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Shungite is approximately two billion years old. It was formed before there was known life on earth, deep within the earth’s crust. The main deposit of shungite comes from the Zazhoginskoye deposit near Lake Onega in the Shunga region of Karelia, North West of Russia. Shungite is composed of mostly carbon and as we know, carbon forms the building blocks of life.

There are claims that it’s an extraordinarily positive stone and using it may bring a variety of good fortune as well as health benefits.  Shungite contains fullerenes, which are powerful antioxidents and specifically thought to protect us against the dangers of EMFs.

Fullerenes are a newly discovered (1985) form of carbon which was previously only known to exist as diamond, graphite, or coal. They’re named after Buckminster Fuller, the American architect who designed geodesic domes which resemble spherical fullerenes in appearance.

Shungite is a stone of transformation with a huge list of amazing benefits, and because of its nature and composition, it’s unlike any other stone on the planet.

“Shungite cures, rescues, purifies, heals, protects, normalizes, restores and even stimulates the growth. It kills and devours anything that harms people and other living beings, and concentrates and restores all that is good. The scholars who have studied Shungite in one voice declare, it is a miracle! “ – A. Doronina “Shungite – the Stone-Savior”

Following are some of the benefits of shungite:

  • Assists in evolving spiritually
  • Restores emotional balance
  • Powerful protective stone – shields the wearer from negative energies of all kinds, including psychic protection
  • Removes negative energies and thoughts
  • Shields from harmful electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) from cell phones, computers, Wi-Fi, cell towers, TVs, etc.
  • Provides healing on all levels: mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual.
  • Cell rejuvenation
  • Cleanses and purifies water and adds beneficial minerals
  • Catalyst for growth and transformation
  • Increases personal power
  • Raises vibration
  • Grounds energies to the earth
  • Promotes positivity
  • Clears and balances aura and chakras
  • Enhances metaphysical abilities
  • Boosts energy
  • Normalizes sleep
  • Clears, activates, and aligns ALL chakras

EMF Protection — We’re bombarded by WiFi and electromagnetic frequencies 24/7; these disrupt our energetic field and negatively affect the cells in our body, leaving us feeling drained, mentally foggy, and out of balance. Shungite has been proven to neutralize EMFs.

Antiseptic — Shungite also has antiseptic properties. Russian Tsar, Peter the Great instructed his troops to each carry a piece of shungite to purify their drinking water. Allegedly, enemy forces succumbed to dysentery while the Russian troops remained strong because of the shungite advantage.

In addition to keeping a piece of shungite in our bedroom and near us when we’re on the computer or our cell phones, I found a simple recipe for Shungite Water that I’m going to try tonight.

Shungite Water — My cursory Google research reveals a recommendation to drink at least 2-3 glasses of shungite-infused water daily to heal or prevent digestive, muscular, or nervous system illness and to increase circulation. Daily use of shungite water to wash face or body improves elasticity of skin and gives it a healthy look. Hey, I’ll try ANYTHING to slow down the hands of time and reduce wrinkles!

Here’s what I did: so simple…I took my piece of shungite, placed it in a glass and used filtered water. I’ll leave it overnight and start drinking it tomorrow. Who knows? Maybe a miracle will occur and I’ll shed twenty or thirty years. Fingers crossed, right?

fullsizeoutput_d0bHave you heard of shungite?
Do you believe in the power of crystals and rocks?
What are your faves?

Stuck on the spin cycle

Quick post, but had to share.

I went to THE MOST AMAZING spin class this morning.

Upon waking at 6ish, I wasn’t all that keen to go to my regular weight lifting class ‘cos it’s sorta boring and not nearly enough cardio to burn off wine calories, so I checked the schedule, saw that one of my faves was the spin instructor, packed my shiny pink and black bike shoes, and off I went.

For this class, she had compiled a song list of 60s hits for the hour.

I’m talking classic Beatles, Hendrix and the Beach Boys, Rolling Stones, the Supremes, the Who, Sam and Dave, Dylan. The ride started off with Dion and Runaround Sue.

There was so much high energy in the room that it was contagious. Beyond vibrational! No one wanted the hour to end.

Changed the tone of my whole day into joy and I’m exhausted. So good.

Best Mantra for 2019: Om So Hum

so humHappy 2019!

I’ve been meditating on a fairly regular basis for a while.

While I love the effects of silently repeating Om Mani Padme Om, the Dalai Lama’s favorite mantra, I find that So Hum or Om So Hum is the mantra that works best for me in the morning, which is my favorite time to start the day with positive intentions.

Regular meditation helps to relieve stress and improve the quality of sleep. The goal of less stress is to achieve a happier and healthier life. It’s believed that meditation improves the immune system and thereby helps in controlling blood pressure and lowering blood cholesterol.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

So Hum

I am.

(Or, I am that.)

From Sanskrit, it means identifying oneself with the universe or ultimate reality.

As we meditate on this, we come to realize that we are all one–we have all come from one Infinite Source, and a part of that infinite source is present in all of us.

We are all connected.

Powerful. Peaceful. Grateful.

OM is the sound of universe.

Chanting Om So Hum daily for ten to fifteen minutes can relax the breathing and balance our inner energy flow.

  • Close your eyes and settle in by taking a few deep, cleansing breaths. Note how you feel in your mind and body.
  • Start to repeat the mantra So Hum or Om So Hum to yourself silently, slowly synching the rhythm of your breath to the mantra.
  • As you inhale, silently repeat the word “Om“
  • As you exhale, silently repeat the words “So Hum
  • Continue breathing slowly and aligning your mantra to your breath, being careful not to rush your breath if you notice your mantra speeding up.
  • Each time you notice your mind start to wander, gently draw your attention back to your silent mantra.

This is really cool…

The Best Mantra for 2018: Om Mani Padme Hum

I’m pretty new to meditation (dabbled a bit in college but it didn’t stick) and I’m restarting with the basics.

In terms of actually practicing mindfulness and compassion (to self and others) – these are things I’ve sporadically attempted for a few years.

I think it all started during an annual exam when my lady doc suggested something in between my Pap Smear and and the breast exam: every morning, I need to look in the mirror and say “I love you” to myself.

I told her I couldn’t possibly; it was embarrassing, what was the point, and she said in addition to filling my body with healthy foods and wheat grass, turmeric, ginger, and Vitamin D (I was deficient at the time), that loving oneself is another and very important piece of the puzzle needed to attain an optimal level of wellbeing.

When the La Costa Chopra Center used to host one-hour meditations in the afternoon, I attended a few times with friends and it was a good re-introduction, but I’m more of a solitary soul and would rather do my internal discovery not in the company of strangers, no matter how kind…

It’s all about rewiring our brain-using neuroplasticity to change negative thoughts and belief patterns into positive actions and a joyful future.

Meeting the Dalai Lama was a significant experience that opened my eyes (and my heart) and encouraged me to follow an inward searching path.

Om Mani Padme Hum is an ancient mantra related to the bodhisattva of compassion, Avalokiteshvara, and with the Dalai Lama, who is considered to be an incarnation of Avalokiteshvara. It is believed that all the teachings of the Buddha are contained in this mantra.

Tibetan Buddhists believe that by saying Om Mani Padme Hum out loud or silently to oneself invokes the powerful benevolent attention and blessings of Chenrezig, the embodiment of compassion.

From His Holiness the Dalai Lama:

It is very good to recite the mantra Om mani padme hum, but while you are doing it, you should be thinking on its meaning, for the meaning of the six syllables is great and vast …. The first, OM … symbolizes the practitioner’s impure body, speech, and mind; it also symbolizes the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha…. The path is indicated by the next four syllables. MANI, meaning jewel, symbolizes the … altruistic intention to become enlightened, compassionate and loving…. The two syllables, PADME, meaning lotus, symbolize wisdom…. Purity must be achieved by an indivisible unity of method and wisdom, symbolized by the final syllable HUM, which indicates indivisibility…. Thus the six syllables, om mani padme hum, mean that in dependence on the practice of a path which is an indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech, and mind into the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha….

All I know for sure is that when I say or think Om Mani Padme Hum, no matter how sad or anxious or stressed I feel, even when I wake up at 3AM in a panic, a certain calmness and quiet joy washes over me.

As we leave one year and transition to another, I wanted to share this with you and hope you also find solace and wisdom in this mantra.

Happy New Year!

You might call me shallow, but retail therapy is a THING, y’all

It’s been a DAY. Taking a deep breath. Home now, feet up, having a cuppa.
I had an especially joyous afternoon!

Let me tell you all about it.

OK. Last week I felt like crap. I had a viral lung infection (thank you for your potent little germs, Angel Boy 2.0!) that was quickly turning to pneumonia and on top of that bad news, I had laryngitis. I mean 100% no voice. I couldn’t even squeak out a whisper.  I was forced to endure a vow of silence for about 72 hours.

Now I’m almost all recovered, enough to get back to the gym and back to my real sport of choice…SHOPPING!

Yup, Retail therapy is a THING, y’all. It’s therapeutic; self care and all that new agey mindset.

I planned my day with laser precision, flexed my shopping muscles, said a mantra for extra patience, and first ran errand or two for my absentmindedprofessor son who forgot to take care of something important before he/family left for the UK, so that was number one.

Mission accomplished. (As an aside, I don’t care how old they are, it warms a mommy heart to be able to solve a problem for her child. To feel needed. SIGH.)

As soon as I got that out of the way (visualize the chaos of a post office a few days before Christmas ‘cos that’s where I was) I confess that I got a little tingle in my root chakra area (heehee) as I sped off to the Forum in Carlsbad.

Yes, a real physical reaction, like salivating over chocolate, to see what the world had to offer for purchase!

Breathe, girl. Breathe, I said to myself. Pace yourself.

Find a place to park. Universe, open up the best spot for Princess Rosebud. And then it happened. Someone pulled out of the perfect location at the exact moment I was rounding the corner. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

A quick check of my hair and lipstick, and I was off, gleam in my eye, rapid heartbeat; I bet my pupils were dilated just a bit, too.

Even though Angel Boy 2.0 already got his gifts, I can’t walk by Gepettos without popping in and getting something. Looky at this. A growing owl. Grow Owl: An owl will emerge from a tree stump. Just put the tree stump in a container, cover with water and after 12 to 24 hours, the critter will begin to emerge as the water is absorbed! Can’t wait to send it for a New Year’s Day prezzy. Just a little something cute and fun. Theo LOVES owls, so this will be something fun for the Angel Boys to work on together.

My inner GPS guided me to H&M, where I picked up some SUPER ADORABLE clothes for Mr. T. They were on sale!!!!! A total score. Three dollars for the striped shirt and seven dollars each for the sweatshirt and distressed jeans with suspenders. I cannot even imagine how precious he’s going to look. Such a little boy. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

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Across the parking lot was my HOLY GRAIL…Anthropologie. I get it. It’s overpriced but their marketing and store decor is so amazing, you gotta appreciate their attention to detail.

Here I was, back with my tribe, my people. My PEOPLE. All Christmas-y. The mall was crowded and so was Anthro.

We were all rotating in our own little worlds of conspicuous consumption- women on a mission with a very few brave men who dared to cross the threshold, and omg they all looked the same: scared, dazed, deer in the headlights. trudging around and around not able to locate the door to exit the hell they were trapped in. I almost felt sorry for them. ALMOST. No eye contact cos I didn’t want them to plead with me for assistance. Not my problem.

The checkout line snaked around the store. I was looking for something for myself. I had a “secret Santa” who gave me a little cash and I wanted to spoil myself because I’ve been a VERY good girl this year. I found this beautiful pierced tin candle. The scent is Mahogany Amber and it’s filling my bedroom with love and joy. 30% OFF! The bag and wrapping paper adds so much to the shopping experience. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

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I forgot to tell you that I went to Macy’s yesterday at Carlsbad’s other (newly refurbished) mall and bought myself an extravagant Chanel lipstick. I know it was forty dollars and I could have purchased at least three or four others for that same price, but CHANEL. Plus lots of samples, so a good deal, right? Rouge Coco Etienne #446 LOVE LOVE LOVE.

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I had a follow up doc appointment to see if I needed an x-ray (I don’t, yay!) and their office is across the street from a hospice resale shop, so I stopped in for a minute. Christmas decor was on sale, so I picked up this adorable vintage bunny ornament for one dollar! ONE EFFING DOLLAR! LOVE LOVE LOVE.

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When I got home, I found a box at the front door!!! Nestled inside was a wrapped gift from my wonderful son and DIL. I can’t wait to open it!

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All in all, a wonderful, stupendous. amazing, joyfilled day! Maybe it doesn’t work for everyone, but for me, retail therapy can turn my frown upside down, no matter what.

Love and joy to all!

The Dark Night of the Soul

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When you start hearing and reading this phrase EVERYWHERE, out of the blue, you sit up like a meerkat and take notice.

(And yes, you aren’t imagining things; I did write another post about the word forgive that showed up on my radar. Now it’s the phrase, dark night of the soul. I’ve been trying to finish writing this post for about three weeks.)

During my own personal Bataan death march of this involuntary tortuous journey of soul discovery, I dipped my toe into the maelstrom of an agonizing Weltschmerz.

Since I’m an introspective and insightful sort of person, a swirling thought began to form in my gray matter: why am I seeing these words? (I don’t have an answer yet.)

From blog posts to Deepak Chopra to random articles on the internet, there seems to be a plethora of attention fixed on the “dark night of the soul”, just exactly like I saw wetiko at every turn for a while.

What does it all mean? Wetiko…forgive…dark night of the soul… Is there a connection?

What IS the dark night of the soul?

It’s a chicken and egg sort of conundrum: Which comes first, depression or darkness?

Have YOU experienced it?

What I’ve learned is that this is so true: “Wherever you go, there you are.” You can’t run from yourself, you can’t distract the pain with anything; you’ve got to face it head on and hopefully make it through to the other side.

Are we experiencing it collectively as humankind? Or should I better refer to it humanUNkind…

“If you aren’t in the moment, 
you are either looking forward to uncertainty, or back to pain and regret.
“—Jim Carrey

So I did a little research.

Eckhardt Tolle describes it this way:

The “dark night of the soul” is a term that goes back a long time.  Yes, I have also experienced it.  It is a term used to describe what one could call a collapse of a perceived meaning in life…an eruption into your life of a deep sense of meaninglessness.  The inner state in some cases is very close to what is conventionally called depression.  Nothing makes sense anymore, there’s no purpose to anything.  Sometimes it’s triggered by some external event, some disaster perhaps, on an external level.  The death of someone close to you could trigger it, especially premature death, for example if your child dies.  Or you had built up your life, and given it meaning – and the meaning that you had given your life, your activities, your achievements, where you are going, what is considered important, and the meaning that you had given your life for some reason collapses.

It can happen if something happens that you can’t explain away anymore, some disaster which seems to invalidate the meaning that your life had before.  Really what has collapsed then is the whole conceptual framework for your life, the meaning that your mind had given it.  So that results in a dark place.  But people have gone into that, and then there is the possibility that you emerge out of that into a transformed state of consciousness.  Life has meaning again, but it’s no longer a conceptual meaning that you can necessarily explain.  Quite often it’s from there that people awaken out of their conceptual sense of reality, which has collapsed.

They awaken into something deeper, which is no longer based on concepts in your mind.  A deeper sense of purpose or connectedness with a greater life that is not dependent on explanations or anything conceptual any longer.  It’s a kind of re-birth.  The dark night of the soul is a kind of death that you die.  What dies is the egoic sense of self.  Of course, death is always painful, but nothing real has actually died there – only an illusory identity.  Now it is probably the case that some people who’ve gone through this transformation realized that they had to go through that, in order to bring about a spiritual awakening.  Often it is part of the awakening process, the death of the old self and the birth of the true self.

The dark night of the soul occurs when you confront your innermost fears and feel them completely and deeply. These are fears that you’ve had, but which you previously kept from conscious awareness by staying busy, using intoxicants, or willing yourself not to think about them.

In a cycle of irony, when we hide our fears from conscious awareness, it’s because we are afraid of our own fears. Yet, when we face the fears, we can see how illogical and powerless they are. That’s when we are no longer ruled or controlled by unconscious fears. It’s true freedom!

For most people, this process involves confronting issues of life and death, the meaning of your life, and whether life is worth living. The dark night of the soul is similar to the initiations that ancient Egyptian candidates for high priest- and priestesshood would endure.

In that culture, you’d be enclosed in a sarcophagus, which is like a coffin, for several days. In that enclosed environment, with no light and just enough air not to suffocate, your mind would terrify you as your fears came alive as very realistic hallucinations.

At the end of two or three days, when the sarcophagus was opened up, if you were still alive, you passed the initiation. Some people actually died from fear, even though it was just in their minds. This shows how terrifying our thoughts can be if we were to really confront them head-on.

In a dark night of the soul, you feel totally alone in the world, completely misunderstood, as if you don’t fit in anywhere. You feel like your life doesn’t matter, so what’s the use of carrying on? It’s painful!

Like the ancient Egyptian initiation, the dark night of the soul puts you in a position of life or death. Some people don’t survive, because they decide life isn’t worth living, and unfortunately, they tragically take their own lives. For some, this suicide takes a slower pace, with the person using toxic addictions to gradually kill themselves.

But if you can stay with the emotions, including the very painful ones, the dark night of the soul can actually lift your whole life to a higher and clearer level.

Nobody wishes for a dark night of the soul, and it’s not something that you can create artificially. Basically, it just happens when you least expect it, usually because something has triggered a deep and dark emotional place inside of you.

Dark nights of the soul, like every part of life, serve a healing and useful function. The dark night of the soul is a mirror that you hold up to yourself so that you can see the contents of your ego’s fears. A lot of the painful emotions you’re experiencing are connected to situations that happened in your childhood. Present-day situations are triggering painful memories.

Don’t numb your pain or run away from your emotions. They’re your teachers! Just keep asking your painful feelings, “What are you here to teach me?”

Ultimately, it will boil down to this: forgiving yourself and everyone who has ever hurt you is the only way to escape the pain. You don’t need to forgive their actions. You definitely should still stand up for yourself and be truthful about your feelings. And you don’t want to stand for any form of abuse. But forgiveness is essential as the ultimate detox. Let go of the past in all directions of time and finally be free.

From Kosmos Journal for Global Transformation:

Anyone may go through a period of sadness or challenge that is so deep-seated and tenacious that it qualifies as a dark night of the soul. Not long ago I was giving a talk at a university when a man shouted at me from back in the crowd: “I’m terribly depressed. It’s been years. Help me.” I shouted back my email address. In his voice and body language I could see that this man was not caught in some passing depression. His life was broken by some loss, failure, or long-forgotten emotional wound that left him in a desperately dark place.

I reserve the expression ‘dark night of the soul’ for a dark mood that is truly life-shaking and touches the foundations of experience, the soul itself. But sometimes a seemingly insignificant event can give rise to a dark night: You may miss a train and not attend a reunion that meant much to you. Often a dark night has a strong symbolic quality in that it points to a deeper level of emotion and perhaps a deeper memory that gives it extra meaning. With dark nights you always have to be alert for the invisible memories, narratives, and concerns that may not be apparent on the surface.

Faced with a dark night, many people treat it like an illness, like depression. They may take medication or go into counseling looking for a cause. It can be useful to search for the roots of a dark night, but in my experience the best way to deal with it is to find the concrete action or decision that it is asking for.

And from Dr. Deepak Chopra:

 

Have you experienced this? Do you think it’s severe depression, mental illness, or is a dark night of the soul  a rite of passage to happiness, peace, and harmony?

A Practical Guide to Weaning Fast

Let me first say that the one and only time I weaned my one and only child was in 1982, so what am I doing writing about weaning, you might ask?

My thirty-six year old son weaned himself on his first birthday with no warning, and my poor body suffered while he loved the autonomy of his burgeoning independent nature.

This is a guest post written by my DIL, who is now the mother of my one and only amazing and brilliant grandson.
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My son turned one at the beginning of March.

I had been toying with the idea of weaning him for a couple of months.

Initially, I had tried the “only when he asks” approach, but babies are creatures of habit, so he continued to ask and I continued to feed on demand.

As soon as my son had his twelve-month wellness check and his pediatrician said he was physically and emotionally ready, I was eager to start the process of weaning.

The thought of dragging this out for six-plus weeks was too much for me, but the risks of going cold turkey are very real (infection, blocked duct, emotional trauma) so I proceeded with caution. If you do need to wean quickly for whatever reason, or your baby just suddenly rejects the breast, here are some tips to get through it more quickly.

As a disclaimer, my son was already eating three meals a day plus snacks, so it wasn’t like I was still producing a massive amount of milk. He was clearly obtaining his nutrition from other sources.

Where to start…
Start with the easiest feeds. For me, those were the ones when he woke up. I first eliminated those after naps, then morning, then before day naps, before bed, and then the dreaded night feeds…

Tips for baby…
I have been a RIE (Resources for Infant Educarersmom since day one, otherwise known as respectful parenting. The philosophy centers around honest and authentic communication as soon as baby is hours old. Even though I was tempted to put band aids on my nipples and say “mommy is sick”, or apply garlic so it would taste gross, my son and I faced the challenge together.

 

Make it positive — I bought my little guy a special cup for homemade smoothies to replace the nursing experience from his wake up feeds. My son loves rabbits, so I got him the biggest rabbit cup I could find; since he has no problem with a straw, that’s what we use, but a sippy cup would be equally successful.

Do not place yourself in familiar nursing situations — I love to read books in bed with my son in the morning, but during weaning I would get up, shower and dress, so that as soon as he woke up I took him out of the bedroom for banana and almond milk smoothie in “Rab Rab”.

(Smoothie recipes below.)

Sport the high-necks — I wore three layers to minimize the odor of milk, as well as high neck shirts that he could not pull down.

Stay busy — As we eliminated the day feeds, I made those days extra busy. We were barely ever at home so as not to place ourselves in situations where he would even think to ask.

Mr. Mousie — I bought a special blanket that I sprayed with Chanel Mademoiselle (my familiar scent), which I use to cuddle him with during Rab Rab smoothie time. (Smoothie recipes below.) This was a blanket that I could also use to place in the crib for naptime. Extra cuddles and love during weaning will help to bridge the emotional loss of breast feeding.

Change of scenery — I chose to do it while visiting Grandma. There were so many exciting things for little one to do and experience, and I got the support I needed as my body and emotions went through the change and the challenge.

Watch out for hunger — As I worked on eliminating the night feeds, I needed to make sure that he was not waking up because he was hungry. Toddlers burn through so much energy! When they have been asleep from 6.30pm, it is reasonable that at 4:00 am it might be that they need a little something in their tummy. I was focused on eliminating the breast so my milk would fully dry up, and I decided to replace those feeds with a bottle of warm milk. Try what works for you; regular organic milk, almond milk, or coconut milk.

Boundless love — I got lots of advice to let Dad go in at night so he cannot ask for milk. As part of the RIE I mentioned earlier, I faced this head on. I went in and there were moments that were heart-breakingly sad. But in my heart I knew it was time, and so I told him — I know this is hard for you. I love you so much. And found lots of ways to be close, tight cuddles, cheek to cheek.

Success! After two weeks, my little guy is completely weaned, sleeping through the night, and started walking. What a great first year!

(If your little one is also teething, try the teething biscuit recipe below. My son LOVES them!)

Tips for mom…

Sage — 
I drank fresh sage tea and infused sage water pretty much constantly. I also included fresh mint and lemon balm, but sage was my primary fluid. I was advised that you should drink it every six hours, but I had a cuppa going all day.

Cabbage Leaves — These have been used for centuries and I can see why!! I was a little skeptical at first, but they work amazingly well. For the first few days, I used them continuously during waking hours. I kept them in the fridge so they were nice and cold, which feels wonderful if you start to feel engorged. Place the stems out, and change every 30–90 mins depending upon flow.

Antihistamine — This is also meant to dry up milk. I took a non-drowsy type every 24 hours.

Warm showers — The first day I took three warm showers. I would massage my breasts and hand express just enough to make sure the ducts still had an outlet, but not too much to stimulate production.

Heating pad — I read varying accounts of this, but I did use a heating pad at times when the engorgement made my breasts feel hard and lumpy.

Ice-pack — I used this in-between the heating pad to cool down swelling. I was also using cold cabbage leaves, so the icepack was used when I was taking a break from the cabbage leaves.

Topless Sunbathing — Luckily I was weaning at Grandma’s house in Southern California, so while my little one was napping, I could enjoy some au naturale topless sage tea!

Rocky Road ice-cream — It’s important to remember that if you’re eaning fast, you’ll go through a pretty big hormone crash. Be prepared and have supplies. Pamper yourself with whatever you need to do for self care to get through PMS — ice-cream, movies, cuddles. I kept laser focused on the end-game — no more night feeds, no more gross nursing bras, and no more sanitary pads in your BRA!!! (and all over the bathroom floor).

Sleep — sleep when you can because you may need extra energy at night. If you’ve been used to nursing, dousing, and then crashing out, remember that getting a baby to sleep without popping them on the breast takes more energy and perseverance.

WAB WAB Smoothie I

Waking up in the morning and after nap

1/2 cup milk or almond milk

1 TBS organic almond butter

1/4 small banana

Sprinkle cinammon

Wab Wab Smoothie II

1/4 cup 100% organic fruit juice

½ cup purified water

Leftover kale, spinach, chard, or other leafy veg, well blended!

1/4 cup Organic whole milk Greek yogurt

Chopped/grated apple or pear or organic blueberries/strawberries

Blend all.

Teething Biscuits

1 cup almond milk or coconut water or a combination

Blend 1/2 cup dates and 1/2 cup raisins with the liquid until well chopped.

Pour into bowl

2 TBS organic agave

2–3 TBS vegetable or coconut oil

Add 1/2 cup flax meal

1 cup organic whole wheat flour (or any flour)

Oat flour is easy to make in a blender

½ tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

Mix all. Add a little more flour and knead briefly to make dough pliable.

Roll into 12×14

Cut into 1inch x 6 inch slices

Roll into finger sized shapes, easy for little hands to grasp.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes and then 300 degrees for another 15 minutes turn off oven and let them cool in oven.