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Sunshine or Soulshine?

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I grew up in a very sunny location of our Earth. And once I moved out of my homeland into America, I didn’t find myself in Arizona or California!

In Upstate NY and Chicago, where I spent most of my time in USA, weeks could go by without any significant sunshine. Add to that my current job where I spend the daytime in a dull office, with no view of daylight, and it can get depressing without the life-giving sun!

Is that a good reason for me to be depressed, and blame it on the clouds? I asked myself. And I believe the answer is NO.

There is a physical aspect to this problem, which I tried to solve with supplements. For example, most people living in the north are deficient in vitamin D, so I make sure I increase my intake of vitamin D3 during the winter. The herb St. John’s Wort is also known to help with mild to moderate depression, so I get my share of it as well. And when it comes to the most helpful tool against depression, exercise, I still can’t get myself to be an athlete! However living in the city forces me to walk, which is a great side-benefit to living in a big city and depend on public transportation for my daily commute to work.

The second, and in my opinion most important aspect of the problem resides no further than our own mind. If there is enough sunshine inside, we will be able to handle the lack of it outside!

The question then is: how to make it sunny more often inside?

My recipe is simple:

When we have ongoing projects and a purpose, we have inner sunshine.

When our minds are active and well fed with good ideas and thoughts, we have inner sunshine.

When we have a good and active social life, we have inner sunshine.

When our spirituality is well and alive, we have inner sunshine.

When we live in love (of people and the Universe), we have inner sunshine.

Did I miss any sun-giving techniques? How do you handle the lack of sunshine?

Stop and Smell… The Cucumber!

0614091324-01Food is our fuel, like gas is our car’s fuel. Is it?!!

We run on the energy we get from food, that’s right, the way our automobiles run on the energy they get from gas, that’s right too!

But how does gas taste? Does our car enjoy it’s meal at the pump?!

For some reason, our experience of fueling is different than machines. We could have been designed just like cars, pump some fuel into our mouth and get going! No, God intended to make our experience totally different. It even has a different name: eating!

We eat to feed our organs and have energy to move and do what we need to do. We also eat to enjoy the taste of food.

Food, then, has two functions. Two dimensions. Right?

Today I thought about the usually forgotten dimension of food. The Third Dimension!

When was the last time you smelled your food? I mean intentionally smelled it. I know the smell of food forces itself on your senses and reaches to your nose from time to time. But once you have your plate in front of you, do you ever take a few seconds to “give it a smell” before you bury it in the belly?

I do, sometimes. Food smells good, trust me! Why ignore something extra that it has to offer you?

Stop and smell the roses is a very sound suggestion. Do it. But how about you stop and smell the cucumber as well? Smell your fish, raw and cooked? Smell the fruit (juice), smell the olive (oil)…?!

Food has three functions, three pleasures to offer. Take them all, and thank the Creator!

Dirty Cleaning

We live a miserably interesting time as far as our environment is concerned!
  
Cleaning used to be just that: cleaning. Making things cleaner than they were, and therefore healthier. We know that dirtiness brings about illness, of both body and mind. If everyone would just wash their hands, many diseases would be eliminated. That’s how connected health and cleanliness are. But not any more! 
Chicago Botanic4

  

I was on a quick shopping trip in Target, when I passed by the cleaning supplies section. I saw hundreds of small and big plastic bottles aligned together, containing substances that supposedly make our life cleaner and healthier. A wave of horror crossed my mind as I looked at those bottles!  

 

People will buy them, thousands of them (people and bottles!). How much of this plastic will be recycled? You know. Not the majority. Some will indeed be recycled by Earth conscious people, but many thousand plastic bottles will end up in landfills, contributing to the ever increasing causes of pollution and disease. Aren’t we supposed to clean for health, not for pollution?!   

Now consider what those bottles really contain. Many of the cleaning substances actually contain toxic chemicals. Here’s another serving of pollution and disease, besides the plastic containers that will go to waste. Not only the toxic chemicals will pollute our homes and our bodies, but they will possibly leak into water and plants in their long journey once they leave our homes. How the heck did we end up in this miserable situation? A few evil ingredients: greed, shortsightedness, and laziness, and some well-meaning ignorance as well.   

What we can do? Simple. We buy eco-friendly products, toxic free. Then we recycle any containers and packaging, paper or plastic. Even better, we buy bulk products that are not contained in containers! We make use of the plenty of tips available on how to make some of the cleaning substances at home, using all natural ingredients. We have to start there, with ourselves and our homes. Then we have to move on to a bigger scale, learning how to push our governments to impose health and far-sighted policies on businesses and people. We can’t just rely on the Earth and Health conscious individuals if we want change to happen in the current century!   

We Should, But We Don’t Like To!

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We usually know what we should do. Many things that we’re not doing, or not consistently. If exercise is good, exercising once every two or three months will not be of any real benefit. If we exercise once a week, every week, then we’re up to something. We increase it to twice a week, every week, that’s really good for us. If we eat healthy once a month, our health will not change much. If we have one healthy meal every day, we’re on the road to real change.

We should do many things, but we don’t. There is only one problem with all of them: We just don’t like to do any of them! As long as we don’t like to do something, we will struggle with it. We will do it, then quit, and feel bad because we quit so fast, and blame our fragile willpower.

Our willpower is not to blame.  We’re humans, we need to understand how we work. We’re not a machine with an on and off button! Our “power switch” is more subtle than a simple, visible button.

I tried to run many times. It was the “once every 3 or 4 months” thing. It never lasted. I just didn’t like running! Last Sunday I tried something different: speed walking. I like walking, so I decided to try and walk as fast as I could, but without running. When I tried to run, I’d get tired one or two minutes into the run. If I pushed myself, I wouldn’t feel comfortable in my chest. With speed walking, nothing of that happened. I could sustain a fast pace for a much longer time, and it was enjoyable. Eureka!

Whatever habit we see benefit in introducing into our life, we won’t be able to sustain it if we don’t like it. Our chance is to find ways or variations of the action to make it enjoyable, and therefore consistent.

A visit to the doctor

One co-worker, who doesn’t speak English, needed to see a doctor. I went with him to be his translator. When scheduling the appointment, which was urgent, the doctor spoke to me on the phone. I told him about one symptom that my friend had, and he said it could be due to some vitamin deficiency, but that it’s rare.

When we went to see the doctor, we had some good news. My friend had some blood work done at the hospital and the results were negative, which was the main concern. However, regarding this one symptom, my friend still needed something done about it. I reminded the doctor about what he said, that it could be due to some kind of vitamin deficiency, and wondered if it could be a good idea for my friend to take a good multi-vitamin. The doctor said there was no need for that. Because my friend worked in a restaurant, the doctor “assumed” that he must be getting all his nutritional needs! So we ended up with the doctor not knowing what caused the symptoms, and not suggesting anything more than an antibiotic. Antibiotics seem to be the saviors for doctors when they don’t know what to do. Because being a doctor is about prescribing drugs, isn’t it!

To me, this is just one manifestation of how conventional medicine has gone astray. Even worse, I imagine that may be the doctor didn’t give much concern about this patient because he was a self-pay patient, with no insurance. So the doctor knew that if this patient could pay for this one visit, he wouldn’t probably afford to pay for more procedures, tests and visits.

For me, the ideal scenario should have gone something like the following. The doctor sees a symptom that he doesn’t understand and can’t find a clear cause for. The symptom is some lesions on the tongue. The doctor should ask the patient about his dietary habits. This just seems to be basic and common sense. When you have a patient complaining of something not very common or clear, even if you don’t address this particular problem, you should look at the whole well being of the patient. You should make sure that he is getting his nutritional needs, and second, you should make sure that his body is getting rid of toxins effectively. If you do just these two things, you’re sure to solve many problems, whether they be visible or invisible. Moreover, when it comes to getting rid of toxins, for example, how can a doctor see a patient without asking them how much water they drink?! Water is vital for many functions in the body, and so many people don’t really realize that. So the role of a doctor is to inform people about all the basic and little things that make a big difference.

My friend was scheduled for a one month follow up. I advised him not to go back. It would be useless, and the doctor will have nothing to say. He’d just be better off listening to some basic advice that I know will be beneficial for him, and save himself from some more antibiotics!

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