Archive for April, 2010

Feeling like the Rope in Tug o’ War

04/26/2010

My big sister has been visiting for almost two weeks. We only get to visit every few years, so I’ve  chosen to spend as much quality time with her as possible. I wish I’d made that decision last week when my heart said to do so. Unfortunately, my mind said:  Complete the blog post and publish it on Monday; be responsible.

I didn’t get the blog post completed in spite of spending days on it. And it really wasn’t about being responsible. It was a family-of-origin, self-limiting pattern of emotions and behaviors.

One of my intentions is to honor my gut instincts, my heart’s direction. Last week, when I didn’t go out with my sister and others but stayed back writing (poorly) and editing (badly) the post, I was aware that something was very off:  I wasn’t in synch with myself, I felt at odds. I felt like the rope in a game of tug of war. But I didn’t heed what my instincts were telling me – which always leads to some form of unhappiness or regret.

The good news is it’s never too late to move forward, and to let go of attachment to self-blame (a common reaction.) I accept that my choice last week came from an old habit. Without judgment I can move on, feeling the rightness of this choice in my body and my being – my proving rods. It leaves me with a feeling of lightness, joy and harmony. The tug o’ war is over.

So today I’m not writing the more complex post I’d intended for last week. Today, I’m honoring my self – not self in the selfish sense, self in a deeper sense, not elevated enough to use an upper case S, but higher than the self of wants and self-centeredness. And I’m honoring my sister and the ties we have:  love, cellular connection, history.  Our time together gives my life richness.

In making this decision I used the same principles I’ve been writing about. I was aware of being off, out of synch with my intention. I moved internally:  changed my angle of perception to realize there is a simple and loving solution that goes beyond black and white considerations of responsible or not responsible. I chose that solution and am acting on it.

This is a small example of adding movement to intention and awareness for transformational purposes, the subject of my un-post last week. Here it’s been used to change a self-limiting behavioral and emotional pattern.  The same principles help transform self-limiting physical patterns to increase mobility and relieve pain.  There’s much more to it, of course, but this is the scent of the essence.

Have a great week and please share your comments.

Coming soon: Part III of an interview with Naturopathic Physician and Homeopath, Dr. Ananda Kramer, on Digestive Harmony and Transformational Healing.

Question for you:  What happens when you change your angle of perception?

Part II: Your Ancestral Diet and How to Find It

04/22/2010

A food not properly broken down to components the body can use decomposes into toxic compounds. In a word, undigested food rots . . . Nutritional work is foundational to all holistic or natural healing. Dr. Ananda Kramer

Welcome to Part II of our interview with Naturopathic Physician and Homeopath, Dr. Ananda Kramer. We left off with the differences in eating styles of cultures around the world. People of Asia, Africa and Europe, for example, all have a different basis to the diets which they have been eating for centuries.

MMS: Are you saying that over the centuries the bodies of our ancestors developed the ability, passed down through their DNA coding, to digest the foods of their areas? But because they didn’t have a need to digest other types of foods they didn’t produce the enzymes necessary to do so, making adaptation to moving afar very difficult?

AK:  Yes. Changes in genetics take more than a few centuries.

MMS:  All of my grandparents came from Italy, a country that uses a lot of cheese, butter and milk. Yet, I have a dairy intolerance (I am only the second generation to be born here.) I should be able to digest dairy then, shouldn’t I?

AK:  Dairy intolerance is more complex than you might think. You’d have to look back to your ancestors in about 1000 A.D. There have been significant migrations of peoples and foods since recorded history.

So, for example, lets look at pasta, a food very much identified with Italy. Noodles have been discovered in China made from millet as long ago as 2000 BC. The notion that Marco Polo introduced pasta to Italy from China may not be true. There is evidence that pasta made from Durum wheat (as it is today) was introduced by Arabs during their conquest of Sicily in the late 7th century.

My point being, in reference to your question about dairy, that the foods associated with a culture may or may not be original with that culture.

MMS:  I didn’t realize how complex this is. It makes me better appreciate the foods I can digest. People have been asking how they can achieve digestive harmony and find their ancestral diets. What can you tell them?

AK: We need to find out if there is a food our bodies will not tolerate. I do a test – it is a simple test that can be done at home – I call it the Food Intolerance Test or FIT.  It has been around since the 1920’s and is also know as the Carroll Test.  By having this test done one can find out the food, usually only one food, that an individual cannot digest. I would direct your readers to my website, Article section, for more detailed information:   www.doctorananda.com.

MMS:  Do patients ever say to you their digestion is fine, they don’t have problems, when you think otherwise?

AK:  Yes. Sometimes people will tell me they don’t have any digestive problems, and I look at them and see they look pasty, no color in their faces. They may be overweight or bloated (can’t always tell which is which by looking) and they look tired. They complain about joint pain and muscle aches, problems with sleep and skin conditions. The bell goes off in my head:  how will they get better if they eat a diet that’s creating inflammation in their body? How will they get better if they don’t identify this food? Nutritional work is foundational to all holistic or natural healing.

MMS:  As a maturing boomer I specially appreciate this information. Your last sentence is very powerful to me. Thank you, Dr. Ananda.

Next time, we’ll continue with Part III of our interview with Dr. Ananda Kramer on Digestive Harmony and Transformational Healing. Love your comments; please keep sharing them.

Question for You:  Are you aware of how the foods you eat affect you?

Your Ancestral Diet and Digestive Harmony with Dr. Ananda Kramer

04/15/2010

Today we begin Part I of a series of interviews with Dr. Ananda Kramer of Portland, Oregon and Chicago, Illinois on Transformational Healing and Digestive Harmony. I have had the pleasure of knowing Dr. Ananda professionally and personally for many years.

MMS: Welcome, Dr. Ananda. Please tell us about you.

AK: I am both a Naturopathic Physician as well as a classical homeopath. I have been licensed in Oregon as a Naturopathic Physician since 2001 and have been studying and practicing homeopathy for over 20 years. I chose to become a doctor to further my education in medicine and chose Naturopathy because it has a philosophy compatible with homeopathy. They share the understanding that the human body has an innate ability to heal itself.

I see myself more as a healer than as a doctor; there’s a difference for me.  As a doctor I am, of course, interested in relieving pain, for example, but as a healer, I’m concerned with more than that.  I am interested in individuals reaching their true potential.  This would include living a creative, joyful and purposeful life.

MMS: How do you work with the body’s innate ability to heal itself?

AK: From the naturopathic side, I reduce stress on the body so it is freer to heal itself. I consider improper diet as creating stress – just like overwork would, or lack of sleep. Stress blocks the body’s ability to heal itself.

MMS:  There is an abundance of information on what foods to eat and not eat in the media. What’s your perspective on it?

AK:  We need to discover the foods that create disharmony in the body in order to have digestive health. I’ve come to understand that people have an individual diet that is right for them.

MMS:  Can you explain?

AK:  As a homeopath I select one medicine that fits each person and I have found that it works best to do this with diet also.   I call this finding our Ancestral Diet, looking for the diet that is consistent with our particular genetic background.  Digestive problems are a problem today because:  [1] we have migrated from where our ancestors came from; [2] we also have, for generations, intermarried with those from different genetic backgrounds;  [3] we eat foods flown in from around the world, not local food; and [4] foods are processed with many additives. So in the modern world it is a challenge to know what diet is right for us.

MMS:  If we look at the diets of people native to, say, Asia, Europe, Africa, they are very different. Are you saying people have a genetic predisposition to digest certain foods rather than other foods, the foods their ancestors ate for centuries?

AK:  That’s right.

MMS: Thank you, Dr. Ananda. This is valuable information. So many of us are looking for the foods that will make and keep us healthy, especially we aging boomers.

We’ll continue in Part II as Dr. Ananda explains the mystery of digestive harmony and how to find the foods that suit our own nature. Dr. Ananda can also be found at http://www.doctorananda.com   See you next week, meantime share your questions and comments.

Awareness, the Mother Lode

04/13/2010

My profession is always to be alert, to find God in nature, to know God’s lurking places, to attend to all the oratorios and the operas in nature.

This quote of Thoreau conjures images of a forest with hidden nooks and crannies that require alertness to know which might be scary and which might open to reveal hidden treasures. Not unlike checking out how my body feels when I awaken in the morning. For that reason it seems a good lead-in to Step 3 of the basic elements of activating our inner resources and living life from within.

Step 3:  Awareness, the mother lode. From dictionary.com:  “AWARENESS:  having knowledge; conscious; cognizant: aware of danger, informed; alert; knowledgeable . . . “

In my experience, the hardest bit of awareness to develop is the awareness that we really aren’t very aware, especially about how we use our bodies. And no matter how much awareness we gain, there will always be room for more.

The reward, of course, for becoming aware of what’s ‘lurking’ in my body (or my temperament) is that I can make a conscious choice to do something about it instead of unknowingly allowing it to compound into something worse.

Upon awakening this morning, I lightly stretched before getting up. I softly coaxed what wasn’t quite ready to move with soft, rhythmical movements, kind of  slithering. These mindful movements are specially effective because they speak to both the physical level (joints, for example) and to the mindbody.

I scanned my body’s response, noting where there was stiffness and an ache in my low back. I drew on my intention, which, fortunately, was deeper than the desire to go downstairs for breakfast. A few moments later, I switched to my upper body and used the same type of soft, rhythmical movements, noticing where I felt reduced mobility.

After a bit I returned to the low back and found it had changed while I worked on my shoulder girdle – the only kind of girdle I allow in my home. My low back had softened, released, become open and more flexible while I worked on my shoulder girdle. Interesting, isn’t it? With delight, I moved effortlessly. (This is truly graceful aging with ease.)

By the time I was done, those delicious movements had orchestrated my separate body parts into an organized, harmonious and comfortable whole.  Their oratorios were sung with joy and enthusiasm that echoed throughout the day.

Question for you:  How do you use awareness to enhance your life?

Next Monday:  turning Intention, Awareness, Movement (I A M) into a transformational process.

Coming soon:  an interview with Dr. Ananda Kramer on digestive harmony through each person’s unique Ancestral Diet.

Unexpected Benefits

04/05/2010

I didn’t realize I’d get a benefit by sharing my passion for living life from within! Blogging made me ask if I’m walking my talk, which led to some needed spiffing up!  But moving on with the basic elements of activating our inner resources:

Step 2: What Is Your Intention?

Intention helps the inner compass find ‘true north’ to move us in the direction we’ve chosen when it and we are consistent with our nature.

So much has been said by so many on the subject of intention, does anyone need to hear anything more about it? Ever? Yes, because in addition to the good stuff, there’s been too much over-simplification. Also, as we move through this blog series I’ll show you how to use it in conjunction with improving mobility and pain relief.

To know your intention, allow yourself space to be and time to reflect so that the intention is consistent with your nature, with the grain of your being. An intention that reflects your heart’s purpose and desire will help you take flight – likely preceded by some homework – something I noticed I’d become a tad shy of:  too much thinking about not enough doing!

An intention puts our internal resources on notice that we’ve chosen a clear direction. This is a powerful thing because as the intention is reinforced (see next blog post), the way to fulfilling it begins to show itself, in whatever time frame is appropriate (quickly, slowly, who’s to know?)

Pie in the sky?

There’s been a lot in popular media that takes a simpler (simple minded?) view. I heard a professional say:   If you want to be a world-famous opera singer, just have the intention and visualize yourself on a stage. That’s all you need. Not on my planet. How about adding voice training and practice?

Closer to Reality:

If a person chooses to gain greater use of a wounded leg but simultaneously thinks it’s not possible, he’ll prove himself right. A contradictory fear, hidden desire or need that doesn’t come into the light will be a hidden saboteur that negates intention. Uncovering our own hidden belief systems (a possible intention?) helps us become more whole and more effective.

Setting Your Intention:

Once you’ve got the intention, make it yours:  own it, claim it, create reminders of it. Take time to be with it. Breathe it in. Write it down, dance it in, sing it out with words or sounds. Some like to paint it, shape it in clay – whatever you are inspired to do, let it flow.

I have a conflict in that I want to write all that I can on this topic, but it would be a book instead of a blog post. See you next Monday. Thanks for your comments, love them, please leave lots.

Question for You:

Have you had a good experience using intention? A bad experience?

Getting Started: Activating Brain Central

04/01/2010

“So,” you might ask, “how do we start tapping into that powerful pool of natural resources residing within that you wrote about last time?” Good question. This is a simple introduction to something vast and complex:  as big as changing habitual, self-limiting patterns, as simple as making a decision and creating an intention.

How to embark on a potentially transformative process? Start in a place where you’ll be undisturbed. A quiet, peaceful space where you can take deep, calming breaths and be present.

Step 1: The Way To Begin:  decide to.  It’s that simple. Make a conscious choice; it begins to engage ‘brain-central’.

Step 2 on Monday.  See you there, meanwhile:  What do you do to get centered, calm and present?

Thanks for your comments and questions. Keep them coming, they mean a lot.