Thanksgiving 2018

As we look forward to Thanksgiving one week away i sit in front of a fire with 3 pups in the dark and think about gratitude.. how when i was younger i struggled with seeing that the simplest moments were abundant with things to be grateful for and now as i look toward my 64 th year coming to a close i see, feel, breathe and savor the simplest things. The crackle and color of this fire, the warmth it bestows, the silence i am blanketed in, the rise and fall of my pups bellies as they breathe knowing they are safe and cared for, the softness of the blanket wrapped around my chilly bones, the knowledge my daughter and grand-baby are fast asleep in a room in my home cocooned in each-others arms, my eyes that behold the about to snow color of the sky, my heart that beats strong no matter the fact that i have grieved and fallen and prayed for peace, my days that have taught me i am more than i give myself credit for, my friends who have blessed me with laughter and love and forgiveness and patience as i have navigated through all my ups and downs, my loved ones who see me through a lens i will never quite see myself but wow does it blow me away that they do...
The soft bed i fall into each night, the home i feel safe and unafraid in compared to so many who have never.. will never know how that feels...food in my belly, fresh water, a body that has been leveled , almost extinguished so many times and has healed, ...optimism, courage, hope, unconditional love, humor, perseverance....
I am blessed... i bet you are too.

Yin and me.

Sept. 2018

Why am i so passionate about a type of yoga when there are so many other ways to practice self care? Especially in the face of this drastically ever changing modern landscape of what has become yoga? Yoga with... fill in the blanks. WTF?
When i was going through cancer the second time, i was faced with a body that was alien and painful. I needed a way to inhabit my new and forever changed ‘home ‘ in which i was not only terribly uncomfortable but unfamiliar.
My regular practice of movement and breath gave me a bit of temporary peace prior to my diagnosis, but faded as i left the sanctity of community practice. I knew i needed a life raft and a new perspective. As i was undergoing treatment i found yin.
It was at first fucking uncomfortable. Staying in postures for what seemed like an eternity although they were only 3-4 minutes was excruciating to me as i also dealt with the side effects of my cancer treatment. Bone pain, nausea, tears, fear...But then something happened....I met Sarah Powers who taught me the most valuable lesson i carry with me every day. My discomfort and my suffering would be part of my life. Everyones life. How i responded to it was up to me. I could rage against the injustice of this diagnosis. I could pity myself with the Why Me’s?, I could become a victim or a robe wearing bed happy hermit. All things would have been socially acceptable. But i craved something. How do i live in this body and love it? How would i meet inevitable pain and not only embrace it but listen to it, wrap my arms and soul around it and change my life long inner dialogue?
If i could ride the wave of this practice. If i could stay with the beginning, arc and subtle fade of the sensations i would experience , couldn’t i then begin to recognize that it was a metaphor for all experiences? So i gave myself up to it. A white flag of surrender. And it spoke to me. It soothed me. It tended to my wounds.
Do i sound nuts?
Maybe. But thats okay with me.
In the stillness and arc of this practice i have found courage. I have found mercy.
I have found reverence.
I am Yin in and out and it has blessed me.

changes, challenges, choices and clarity

this blog was originally part of my crusade to support all of you in your physical well being. it has become more personal to me these days, to share my thoughts and wishes for a more intimate relationship with our selves and so i begin with the hope that my journey invites you to pause, reflect, summon your faith and heart soldiers and move in the direction that nourishes you everyday. even when the days are hard, even when the days are filled with mystery. this summer has been a turning point for me. i made a choice to leave what was predictable, safe, secure, known, logical ...for what was heart centered and unpredictable. for someone whose identity was so enmeshed with teaching weekly classes, blessed by the 'family' that grew over time each week, the love, the laughter , the tears and the honor of watching as so many of you grew wings of your own, it was challenging to choose a new path. and....i had no idea what that looked like!

living in the mystery can be frightening, disheartening, and foggy. yet, i have learned over many times of living in the belly of it, that the fog eventually lifts. it may take days or weeks or years but clarity comes like a light, an exhale, a sweet whisper and morphs into an opening of eyes and mind and bones. as i open my heart wider to the eternal wisdom that is  mama august...the month that is the bridge between the ripened explosive offering of july and the page turning and inhale of september i have clarity and gratitude. look for me these days spreading my own wings and continuing to joyfully remind you to spread yours.

The Healing Power Of Reiki

 

Have you ever been curious about Reiki and what it could offer you? Maybe you’ve been interested in trying it out in the past but weren’t sure what was involved or whether it would be right for you. Perhaps you’ve even dismissed it as being a bit too “out there” for you!

So what is Reiki?

Put simply, Reiki is a Japanese healing technique that promotes balance within our whole system – body, mind and soul. This means that although we may come to the Reiki table looking for relief from some physical ailment or emotional issue, we may find that we start to reap the benefits on many levels and in unexpected ways. Reiki does not discriminate; it just flows through us and helps our bodies to heal themselves in whatever way is best for us at that point in time. For example, I first came to Reiki looking for relief from chronic pain caused by a spinal injury. I am now pain free, but my real healing journey has turned out to be much more profound. (But more on that in later articles.)  

You don’t need to “believe” in Reiki for it to have a positive effect on your wellbeing. In fact, most people are quite skeptical about Reiki when they first see their practitioner. People are often only convinced of its efficacy when they see and feel noticeable results for themselves.

So what happens in a Reiki treatment?

A Reiki session typically involves the recipient either lying on a treatment table or sitting on a chair, whilst remaining fully clothed. Treatments normally last between 60 and 90 minutes during which time the Reiki practitioner will place their hands gently on the recipient’s body, or just above the body. The practitioner will typically change the positioning of their hands several times as the treatment progresses. All the recipient has to do is relax.  

A Reiki treatment is a highly individual experience depending on what is going on for the recipient. People often report feeling deeply relaxed during Reiki treatments. Some report feeling heat, coolness or tingling where the practitioner has placed their hands. Others feel their body gently moving, as if it were naturally re-adjusting itself. Fireworks or not, there is no need to get too hung up on these sensations. Everyone is different and every treatment is different. The most important thing is to pay attention to how you feel after the Reiki treatment(s).

This might be something quite dramatic, like realising you are free from pain for the first time in years or feeling like a huge emotional weight has finally been lifted off your shoulders. Or it might be something quite simple like getting a great night’s sleep or an improvement in appetite. Such observations, however big or small, can be interpreted as outward effects of your body naturally restoring balance. Being observant to such changes will help you to measure the impact of Reiki on your personal wellbeing. For more serious or persistent issues (where a series of treatments is normally required), paying attention to such changes will hopefully motivate you to continue with the full course of treatment.

Where is it used, and what are the reported benefits?

Reiki is used in a wide range of situations: in the home; in the operating room; in palliative care; even in the US military. That is the beauty of Reiki. It is always there for us, whenever and wherever we need it. I find that empowering. It pains me to see people feeling helpless in the face of suffering, whether that suffering is their own or that of others. I don’t feel this sense of helplessness so much anymore. We can always offer Reiki, even when there are no words of comfort to be spoken or nothing we can otherwise do to help in a practical way. 

Although there has not yet been any large scale research into the benefits of Reiki, small but reputable studies have reported positive outcomes. For example, studies have suggested that Reiki treatment can reduce pain and anxiety for both cancer and HIV/AIDS patients. Another study using Reiki treatment for heart attack patients has shown an increase in heart rate variability following heart attack, an important indicator of healing and increased resilience.   

Reiki - Your light within

Once you have experienced the benefits of Reiki through receiving treatments from others, you may feel the pull to learn Reiki yourself. As well as being a wonderful gift to offer others, Reiki as a practice can be a powerful tool for self care and personal transformation. 

For me, self care is about addressing the needs of body, mind and soul through conscious living. Reiki could be seen as one possible tool within our self–care toolkit. But I also see Reiki as a kind of over-arching support, gently guiding us towards what our body might need at any one time to restore balance and to function optimally. In this way, Reiki opens us up to our own potential for natural healing.  It brings us more in tune with ourselves.

Sometimes, however, we are faced with health challenges where finding a cure is not an option. In such cases, and in the absence of miracles, should we conclude that the healing power of Reiki has fallen short?

The answer lies in how we measure healing. We may not always have the freedom to choose a cure, but we always have the freedom to choose peace. Inner peace. That, for me, is the true measure of healing – a feeling of being completely at peace with ourselves, whatever our circumstances, and of knowing our true selves. And Reiki can take us there.

“How did the rose ever open its heart and give to this world all of its beauty? It felt the encouragement of light against its being.” - Hafiz

 

 

by Elaine RaineyJuly 9, 2012 6:00 PM

Magic Mineral Broth

The Cancer Fighting Kitchen

January 15 at 9:29pm

Ever wondered why my famous Magic Mineral Broth is so magic? Here's the scoop plus the recipe. This is the PERFECT time of year to make a bunch and freeze to have on hand, for soup stock and immune boosting broth. As its many fans will tell you, it's the best!

Magic Mineral Broth™

This is my Rosetta stone of soup, a broth that can be transformed to meet a myriad nutritional needs, serving as everything from a delicious sipping tea to the powerful base for more hearty soups and stews. So no matter what a person’s appetite, it can provide a tremendous nutritional boost. This rejuvenating liquid, chock-full of magnesium, potassium, and sodium, allows the body to refresh and restore itself. I think of it as a tonic, designed to keep you in tip-top shape.

Ingredients

Makes 6 quarts

6 unpeeled carrots, cut into thirds
2 unpeeled yellow onions, cut into chunks
1 leek, white and green parts, cut into thirds
1 bunch celery, including the heart, cut into thirds
4 unpeeled red potatoes, quartered
2 unpeeled Japanese or regular sweet potatoes, quartered
1 unpeeled garnet yam, quartered
5 unpeeled cloves garlic, halved
1/2 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 (8-inch) strip of kombu*
12 black peppercorns
4 whole allspice or juniper berries
2 bay leaves
8 quarts cold, filtered water
1 teaspoon sea salt

*Kombu is a mineral-rich seaweed (in the kelp family) that adds an umami or savory flavor to stocks and broths. Kombu is usually found in the Asian section of a grocery store near the nori (seaweed sheets) that are used for sushi.  Store dried Kombu in a cool dark area in your pantry. You can also order it here. 

Preparations

Rinse all of the vegetables well, including the kombu. In a 12-quart or larger stockpot, combine the carrots, onions, leek, celery, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yam, garlic, parsley, kombu, peppercorns, allspice berries, and bay leaves. Fill the pot with the water to 2 inches below the rim, cover, and bring to a boil.

Remove the lid, decrease the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, for at least 2 hours. As the broth simmers, some of the water will evaporate; add more if the vegetables begin to peek out. Simmer until the full richness of the vegetables can be tasted.

Strain the broth through a large, coarse-mesh sieve (remember to use a heat-resistant container underneath), then add salt to taste.

Let cool to room temperature before refrigerating or freezing.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 to 4 hours
Storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days or in the freezer for 4 months.
Per Serving: Calories: 45; Total Fat: 0 g (0 g saturated, 0 g monounsaturated);
Carbohydrates: 11 g; Protein: 1 g; Fiber: 2 g; Sodium: 140 mg

Reprinted with permission from The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen: Nourishing, Big-Flavor Recipes for Cancer Treatment and Recovery. Copyright © 2009 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.

Related blog post: You, too, can be a healer: Magic Mineral Broth

 

Teas That Ease

Take the time to enjoy the wondrous benefits of these soothing teas to bring you your own personal peace. 

— Tieraona Low Dog, M.D.

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Around the holidays, things can often get stressful, so I have put together a list of a few herbal teas that can help keep us calm and centered.

Herbal teas can be a wonderful soothing ritual – calming, restoring, and even meditative. These reasons alone are enough to start and maintain a regular tea ritual. Tea drinking can help beat stress because it’s a way to practice mindfulness and come into the present moment with stillness. I like to sit in my favorite reading chair, situated with a good view of the outdoors, and inhale the aroma and steam as a gentle beginning before sipping.

I choose my tea based on the tides of my mood, my energy level, and what my body is telling me that day. Below are a few of my favorites for finding a little extra peace during the holidays. Pick up some for yourself and a few extra to give as stocking stuffers.

 

 1) Chamomile Teas by Numi and Traditional Medicinals

This is the classic calming tea that grandmothers have been brewing for ages. No matter if you choose the German or English variety of chamomile, they both have similar soothing properties. A tea brewed from these flowers has the power to soothe an upset stomach, relieve muscle spasms, easy anxiety and promote sleep.

While I keep bulk chamomile flowers in the kitchen, I also have two favorites that come in teabags. Numi Organic Chamomile Lemon with chamomile and lemon myrtle is absolutely heavenly. The gentle citrus aroma makes this a wonderful evening tea. My other favorite is Traditional Medicinals’ Organic Ginger with Chamomile. It is my go-to herbal tea for those chilly afternoons when I want to feel warm from my fingers to my toes and also relaxed.

 

 2) Cup of Calm by Traditional Medicinals

If you like floral, apple, and mint notes in your tea, I would give Cup of Calm a try. It is a blend made from a just-right mix of lavender, chamomile, passionflower, rosemary, and catnip. These plants are all renowned for soothing the senses and bringing tranquility to the nervous system. I order it by the case.

 

3) Kava Stress Relief Tea by Yogi

Kava is a wonderful herb originating in the western Pacific islands, where it is used to calm the body, ease muscle tension, and promote relaxation. Kava can be bitter on its own, but luckily the Yogi tea brand shows masterful flavoring skills in this blend by adding cinnamon, sarsaparilla, and carob to round out the flavor. Each cup of Kava Stress Relief tea provides 78 mg of kava root extract and after the first sip I already begin to feel my shoulders relax and tension ebb.

 

 4) Green Tea by Mighty Leaf

On those afternoons when I’m feeling a bit keyed up but still have a long list of “to dos” I reach for a cup of green tea. Green tea does contain caffeine, far less than a cup of coffee, but it also contains l-theanine, an amino acid type compound that promotes relaxation. The combination is usually all I need to get a gentle energy boost that is surprisingly tranquil. While I generally prefer loose green tea leaves at home, I carry Mighty Leaf Organic Green Dragon teabags in my purse when out and about in town or traveling.

 

Create Your Own Ritual

 

No matter which tea you prefer, the key to getting the most out of your teatime is to slow down for 5-10 minutes and really enjoy it. Slowly sip and taste the flavors in your mouth, feel the warmth of the cup on your fingers, open your eyes to what’s around you, and breathe in the aromatic steam.

 

Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves — slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. ~Thich Nat Hahn

Why you should care about getting enough vitamin D

A post from the Cancer Treatment Centers of America ... 

Keeping track of your vitamin D levels has a number of potential benefits. The nutrient helps boost your immune system and promotes the growth of healthy cells. It is critical in developing and nourishing strong bones. It helps foster muscle strength and agility. And some studies suggest that vitamin D may reduce your cancer risk. But, depending on your diet and where you live, you may be vitamin D deficient and not even know it. "We are having a 'silent epidemic' of vitamin D deficiency across the country," says Dr. Eugene Ahn, Medical Director of Clinical Research at our hospital near Chicago.

The connection between vitamin D levels and cancer is still unclear. But several studies published this year have linked vitamin D deficiencies with the behavior of cancer cells. Researchers at Stanford Medical Center, for example, concluded that in their study on lab mice, breast cancer cells grew faster and were more likely to metastasize in mice with low levels of vitamin D. "People at risk for breast cancer should know their vitamin D levels and take steps to correct any deficiencies," Stanford’s Dr. Brian Feldman tells ScienceDaily.com. Another study at Northwestern University suggests that low levels of vitamin D in men being treated for prostate cancer may signify a more aggressive form of cancer.