Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The 3 Parts of Me

One of my meditation teachers, Dr. Dharma Singh, told me this year, that you know you are on the right path when all of your 3 me's are the same. This gave me plenty to think about at the time -- they were not at that time. Fear probably drove me to think that I "should" be or "had to" be, but the truth is all I needed was to be.

The three parts of you are: the you that you see as yourself, the you that other people see and the you that you would like to be.

How do you put all of those parts of you into one? Dr. Dharma said it's about "being" -- not doing. Being the best person you can be, being blessed, being abundant, being healthy, being happy, being holy.

For me the key has been practicing yoga. Yoga is teaching me everyday to simply BE - in the journey to make all of the parts of me to be the same.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Making Our Own Dreams Come True

So many times recently I have sat down to write, only to get my mind moving in a hundred different directions on what I would like to talk about. So much to catch up on.

First of all, I wanted to give a little update on my yoga practice. In Kundalini Yoga, is recommended to practice a technique for 40 days minimum. So, in accordance with that, I used a dvd by Ravi Singh and Ana Brett called, "Journey through the Chakras". I practiced daily for the entire month of October and the first half of November. I LOVE this dvd. Please do try it for a terrific way to open up your chakras and get to the true you.

Second, through this set, I started (and finished) a ba-zillion things. I did tons of home projects and planted an herb garden. These two things may not seem like a lot, but they really stem from the realization that only I can make my dreams come true.

For example, one dream - to have an indepth herb garden. I have always grown herbs, however, I wanted to really, really grow herbs. Make them special and have a lot of them to choose from. If I ever grow up, maybe someday I will be an herbalist. The lore behind them, not to mention using them for cooking, medicine, drinks and to simply sit near them and inhale -- all enchant my every sense.

Our home. Greg and I have spoken about our home and all of the things that we wanted to do to make it ours. These past months, we have rearranged bedrooms, painted half the house and created a colorful/cheery/sunny/delightful kitchen. We are far from done, but it's been quite cleansing to remove old wallpaper, get bold with colors and to make the little things matter.

Making our own dreams come true... it's magic.

Thank you,

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Yoga and Hypothyroidism - part 2

I forgot to write an update. Kundalini Yoga is definitely helping with my hypothyroidism. I got my latest test results back (I was showing that I was still hyperthyroid), so I am now decreasing my weekly dosage - by not taking 1 pill a week.

I will be tested again in January, so will write more updates then.

In the meantime, I wanted to also communicate that I have also made the following changes this year which might have an impact on my thyroid:

1. NO flouride toothpaste

2. Vegetarian diet (used to eat flesh until this year)

3. Daily Kundalini yoga practice

I may think of some other items that I have changed and will keep you posted on progress. I am excited!!

Sat Nam

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

7 days for 7 chakras

i practice a daily yoga - morning sadhana to be precise and in my research i have come up with a way to stay balanced, get in a morning workout and feel blissful all at once. sound good? now we have to put it to work.

here's the plan. 7 days = 7 chakras. every day of the week has own energy. so, i have chosen daily sadhana exercises that relate to those energies.

now, i don't want to imply that this is an original idea. i got the idea from the book, "Kundalini Yoga Sadhana Guidelines".

Here is the chart that clarifies the energies for each day and the chakras that i am focusing on for that day.

Monday -- Emotional -- 4th Chakra

Tuesday -- Energetic, Combative -- 3rd Chakra

Wednesday -- Business, Communication -- 5th Chakra

Thursday -- Expansion, Deep Thought -- 6th Chakra

Friday -- Love, Sensuality -- 2nd Chakra

Saturday -- Karma, Constriction, Discipline -- 1st Chakra

Sunday -- Purity, Energy of Self -- 7th Chakra

I will keep logging in my practice to talk about various days and kriyas that i have chosen for those days. If you have any insight on this and would be willing to talk to me about this approach to a morning sadhana practice, please post a comment and let me know.

Sat Nam.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Our Bull Snake

I just witnessed a very huge snake on our patio. He was about 6+ feet long and proceeded to slowly slither on the concrete, then lift up and methodically make himself at home in one of our potted asparagus ferns. He totally disappeared! Every so often I see a few fronds move, but only because I am watching.

The very large snake has been around our house for quite some time -- maybe a few years. This is his/her home. Apparently they are somewhat territorial and that is okay by me. I would rather have a bull snake share our home with us than a rattler. Also, they are quite good at keeping down the vermin population. Anyone that has ever lived in the desert knows - there's quite a huge pack rat, kangaroo mouse and prairie dog population.

We have on quite a few occasions found this bull snake's shed skin over the last couple of years, but he has rarely been seen by humans. I am thinking, if he is going to be around a while, we should probably name him/her. Any suggestions?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Three Natural Ways to Reduce Garden Pests

If you are planting an organic garden, try natural approaches to pest control using nontoxic means:

  1. Pyrethrum. This mixture of insecticidal compounds found in some species of African chrysanthemums controls aphids, whiteflies, stinkbugs and mites. You should be able to find pyrethrum products in your local garden center. (Some will say they contain "pyrethrins.") Check labels carefully to make sure you choose the product intended for the crops you're growing or the pests you're trying to eliminate.
  2. Neem. From the seeds and leaves of the Neem tree, Azadirachta indica, which is native to India, the compounds neem contains (such as azadirachtin) act as insect repellents. Neem is non-toxic to animals and humans and beneficial to bees. Although neem products are somewhat more expensive than most synthetic pesticides, they are worth it for both personal and environmental health.
  3. Insects. Consider adding beneficial insects such as ladybugs and praying mantis to your garden (both are commonly sold at garden centers).

Also ask your local garden shop about soap solutions you can spray on plants to kill insects, and about pheromone traps (useful against some insects, including Japanese beetles). You can always pick or brush insects off manually or wash them off with forceful streams of water.

Printed without permission from DrWeil.com

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Yoga Online Classes

On the first of this year, I wanted to take a yoga class and did not feel like getting in my car and going to the local yoga "parlor" (as my husband calls it), so I checked for classes online.

OMG! There are tons of available classes online. I have found some of my favorite teachers here on the WWW.

My favorite practice is Kundalini Yoga, however, there are so many options out there. You can go with the FREE classes at YogaToday.com where everyday is a different class -- all free of charge. They hold their classes in beautiful settings, such as Jackson, WY or Sedona, AZ.

I have also found some excellent membership classes at Demand Fitness. You can try it for free, join by the week, month or year. This is an amazing option, because you can change up your workout by choosing from over 250 different classes - not just yoga. They offer everything you can imagine. Even a Road Warrior series to keep up your workouts while you are traveling.

Speaking of traveling, please try out the little gadget I have on this blog to check your email. This is absolutely amazing. Type in your email address and password and you can literally check your email from anywhere. Isn't that great???

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Creating a World Without Poverty

I recently read a book called, Creating a World Without Poverty, by Muhammad Yunus. He discusses ways that we can help poor people the most by giving them the power to help themselves. Dr, Yunus is a pioneer of micro-lending and his words inspired me to do what I can in my own little way.

I searched online for some place to help other entrepreneurs and found Kiva.org. And this is what I found:

Kiva's mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.

Kiva is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world.

I then browsed through the volumes of entrepreneurs and decided to make my first loan to Clementine.

Here's Clementine's story. To be honest with you, I chose her because of her smile.:

Clementine Kra is an ambitious woman. She was born in 1966 and is a single mother with 4 children. She lives in Port-Bouët, a very populous suburb in the south of Abidjan District with her mother, who takes care of the children when Clementine has to go to the market for her micro-business.

Clementine sells palm seed and various vegetable products in the Port-Bouët open-air market. She wants to be able to purchase products in bulk in order to wholesale them to retailers. She intends to increase her income so as to open a hairdressing shop in the long run, as she has got training in this field 2 years ago. Clementine is a good client who has repaid all the loans she has previously received from AE&I in a timely manner.

Clementine has since paid off her loan in full and I decided to make more loans. Currently we have 9 loans - mostly to women entrepreneurs and on every continent except Antarctica.

Check out Kiva.org for yourself and be inspired by the amazing people, their stories and hope.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Herbal Remedies

We have a lot of calendula in our garden and it is planting and replanting itself. It has kind of become a medicinal patch out there. So... what to do with all of this calendula?

Here's a super simple to make salve using Calendula flowers:

Calendula Healing Salve
For skin irritations, bites, stings, rashes.

Calendula blossoms
1 qt. olive oil
6 - 8 oz. Beeswax
18 2 oz. or 36 1 oz. Jars
3 tsp. vitamin E oil as preservative

An herb room, which is part of a natural food store, carries all these supplies.
Make an herbal oil two weeks ahead of time with desired herbs. (We will use calendula petals):
Harvest calendula petals. Blot if wet. Crush or bruise petals by rubbing in hands. Place herbs in glass, quart jar and add olive oil. Cover jar with tight lid and rotate to mix herbs with oil. Infuse for two weeks. Pour strained herbal oil into old pot and gently heat to simmer. Add beeswax an ounce at a time. After each beeswax addition is fully melted test consistency by spooning out a small amount and letting it cool. Test by rubbing on skin. If too oily or mushy add more beeswax until desired texture is achieved. Should feel somewhat like soft chapstick or lipbalm. Add vitamin E oil.
Pour into jars right away, and secure lids. It will start hardening immediately.
Adapted by Caprice Potter from a recipe out of The Herbs of Life, by Lesley Tierra.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Monsoons and Harvests in the Southwest

This is always a fun time of year to garden. If I get out there early enough, I only feel a little bit like dying from the heat. The moisture and daily afternoon downpours make for a very happy garden. And - best of all, it helps keep the critters somewhat at bay.

I have my own theories about why the critters are not as interested in the luscious new grow on the plants - the water has created a bounty of their REAL favorites in the desert. Plenty of fat cactus and desert brush abound. The prickly pear and saguaros are beginning to drop their fruit and that is waaaay too yummy to pass up. I need to get out there with my tongs and pick away, in fact.

Prickly pear fruit has been touted as some wonderful medicinal qualities, such as reducing bad cholesterol and helping diabetics. My favorite remedy is the use of prickly pear fruit for hangovers. According to Wikipedia, might have a reducing effect on alcohol hangover by inhibiting the production of inflammatory mediators. Studies have yielded differing results, with some studies witnessing significant reductions in nausea, dry mouth, and loss of appetite as well as less risk of a severe hangover[13], while others witnessing no compelling evidence for effects on alcohol hangover[14].

The following tips from Wikihow are really helpful in harvesting and working with prickly pear fruit:

  1. Buy or harvest some prickly pears.

    • The pears with the reddish-orange or purple skin and deep purple interiors are considered to be the sweetest, but the white-skinned varieties are more popular in Mexico.
    • Store-bought prickly pears are usually spine-free and sometimes can be handled with your bare hands. Unprocessed pears still have glochids. Just to be sure, always use tongs or at least a plastic bag as a glove. it will drive you crazy if you get some on your skin.
    • If you're foraging for prickly pears, remember that while all pears are edible, only a few will actually be ripe and taste good.
  2. Remove the spines.
    • Place the pear in a container of cold water. Doing this washes some spines away, but not all of them.
  3. Skin the pears.
    • Pick up the end of the pear with a few paper towels folded together, cradling the pear within the paper towels and not allowing the surface of the pear to touch your skin.
    • Slice off the thicker skin at both ends of the prickly pear (the bottom and the top). It takes a little practice to know how much to slice off. Generally, you want to take off the skin without getting at the seed-filled center.
    • Cut lengthwise along the pear's top-bottom centerline just through the skin. Using that slit, and being careful about the spines, use the knife to lever the skin and peel it off of the rest of the pear.
  4. Cut the pear into slices, or stick onto a fork or skewer and serve.
    • The flesh of the prickly pear can be used to make jam, jelly, sorbet, and "cactus candy."
    • The seeds can be consumed with the fruit (but be careful not to bite into them, as they're quite hard) or spit out.
    • Some people eat the seeds in soup or dry them to be ground into flour.

Friday, July 25, 2008


Today I spent some time in the garden. Planted more peppers - anchos, bells and a few jalapenos (since we can't buy them at the store right now). I also planted eggplant and more tomatoes. I also threw down some mulch and coffee grounds to help these new babies stay protected and grow.

Our Tucson summers are so hellacious that working in the garden again after a month and a half hiatus is a joy. I am re-gaining my routine and having fun with it again. This morning, I practiced yoga, had breakfast with my husband, then worked in the garden - and it was all done before 9am! Then I was able to get cleaned up and get to work. It feels great.

Everyday, I have been doing a little more - filling in spaces, making plans and gearing up for the fall crop. It's always the best time of the year for our garden. We get another round of juicy tomatoes and tons of foods to feed our family and friends with.

My goal is to eat what I grow - as much as possible. Then, when possible - buy local to fill in the blanks. Still a long way from goal, but the vision and aim are clear.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Obama in Berlin- Victory Column Speech

Please view this phenomenal video of Obama in Berlin.

Why Huffington Post Is So Much More Than Politics

Almost everyday, as a reward to myself for getting work done, I almost always visit my favorite blog, The Huffington Post. Arianna Huffington's wry sense of humor get me all the time. Today I learned that Obama is generating more cashola in the state of Arizona than McCain (yippee!) and that Hispanic registered voters support Democrat Barack Obama for president over Republican John McCain by 66% to 23%.

Of course politics is not the only thing covered on Huffington. Today you can also read about why Vegan is the new Adkins (please! it's not a fad!) and best of all, a beautiful story that made me cry, "Ten Small Ways to Change The World". This story that is actually on Beliefnet will touch you.

Is there one small thing that you have done today to change the world? I better get crackin'!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Election '08

Okay, I am an Obamaniac. I have the bumper sticker and the monthly contributions to prove it. I promised myself when he made me cry at the Democratic Convention that if he ran, I would be his supporter.

It started out a bit challenging, as I would have been a Hillary supporter, but to be honest with you, Obama simply spoke to us. Our hearts and thankfully, the hearts of so many others in not only our country, but our planet.

This week's global Obama tour is proving to the rest of the world that we ARE still the most awesome country on the planet. My patriotism has soared through this election process - as well as my hope in our future.

Please check out Maureen Dowd's NYTimes column (she publishes every Sunday and Wednesday). She is truly insightful and her wry humor is second to none. http://www.nytimes.com

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Yoga and Hypothyroidism

About 7 years ago I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. What has happened recently has become one of the inspirations for this blog.

I met a Kundalini Yoga instructor via his own blog, Krishan Singh: http://www.kundaliniyogablog.com/
He has been researching the possibility of utilizing KY to address hypothyroidism by working on your 5th Chakra (throat). Interesting thing is, my last blood test came back showing improvement, so I think that there's something to this!

I have only just begun a 40 day Sadhana that includes a 5th Chakra Kriya. Will let you know how it's going, in case you would like to try something like this for yourself, if you suffer from hypothyroidism, too.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Master Gardening

Yesterday I saw an article in the Az Daily Star that said "Consider Being a Master Gardener", and I think they were talking directly and specifically to me. http://www.azstarnet.com/sn/athome/248758
I promptly tore out the page and put it on my desk. Called the phone number on the article first thing this morning and I have to admit - I am so excited about this!

You see, I have been a gardener all of my life. It started out when my children were young and we had no backyard, just an apartment patio. We grew container tomatoes that my son got in the habit of eating the second they were ripe. He is now 27 years old and still has a "thing" for fresh garden tomatoes.

Living in Tucson provides me almost a year-round garden. The garden never gets "put to sleep". We have fresh herbs and vegies. We would also have fresh fruit if I could find a better way to keep the birds out. Our scary owl looks pretty tore-up. His scary days are long gone. I have taken to hanging tin foil and my husband claims that's the old-school ghetto in me coming out.