I am so sorry this newsletter wasn’t gotten to all of you sooner, but I did want to make sure I got it out by Halloween because I’m giving you all sorts of interesting information about my favorite holiday.
The history of Halloween, like most other holiday histories, is inspired through traditions that have been with us for generations. Through the years the original intent frequently gets distorted and alterations occur. The history of Halloween, in particular, lends itself to such changes, distortion and alterations.
Halloween, or the Hallow E'en as they call it in Ireland , means All Hallows Eve, or the night before the 'All Hallows', also called 'All Hallowmas', or 'All Saints', or 'All Souls' Day (November 1st). In old English the word 'Hallow' meant 'sanctify'. Roman Catholics, Episcopalians and Lutherans used to observe All Hallows Day to honor all Saints in heaven, known or unknown. They used to consider it with all solemnity as one of the most significant observances of the Church year.
The Romans observed the holiday of Feralia, intended to give rest and peace to the departed. Participants made sacrifices in honor of the dead, offered up prayers for them, and made oblations to them. The festival was celebrated on February 21, the end of the Roman year. In the 7th century, Pope Boniface IV introduced All Saints' Day to replace the pagan festival of the dead. It was observed on May 13. Later, Gregory III changed the date to November 1.
The American version of Halloween Day celebration owes its origin to the ancient (pre-Christian paganism) Druidic fire festival called "Samhain", celebrated by the Celts in Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Samhain is pronounced "sow-in". In Ireland the festival was known as Samhein, or La Samon, the Feast of the Sun. In Scotland, the celebration was known as Hallowe'en. In Welsh it's Nos Galen-gaeof (that is, the Night of the Winter Calends.
The Mexican custom of El Día de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) may sound like the U.S. custom of Halloween, especially since the celebration starts at midnight the night of October 31st, and the festivities certainly deal with images of skeletons and death, but the customs have different origins, and their attitudes toward death are different. In the typical Halloween festivities, death is something to be feared, whereas in El Día de los Muertos, death and the memory of those we loved who have died, and a time to feel closer to those who have passed before us.
Some elements of the celebration of Halloween have a distinctively Native American background, such as the pumpkin, which was unknown to Europeans before Columbus. Pumpkins are a part of the sacred trinity of native American foods: squash, beans and maize.
The quintessential symbols of Halloween, however, fall into three major categories:
- Symbols of death which include graveyards, ghosts, skeletons and haunted houses;
- Symbols of evil and misfortune such as witches, and black cats (I truly resent the misfortune label as to witches or cats, both of whom I consider lucky and blessed), and
- Symbols of harvest such pumpkins, scarecrows and corn.
On Halloween, scary things suddenly and wholeheartedly are embraced and displayed. Perhaps, in part, to face and overcome deep-rooted fears, by making them part of a celebration and party. Perhaps because there are so many of us (myself included) who simply are not comfortable with the cycles of life and death and facing them this way allows us to get more comfortable with all cycles of life.
Halloween is a fascinating aspect of our changing world and of our boundless capacity to create traditions and confront death in unique and novel ways.
It is also one of my favorite holidays and I’ve never quite figured out why!! But I do know that it makes me feel good.
For those of you who share my interest in astrology, we are just coming out of a Mercury retrograde, which can sometimes be a bit difficult. I do think, though that poor little Mercury retrograde has gotten a bit of a bad rap.
I prefer to think that most of the delays and setbacks we encounter during this phase are there so that we will take a bit longer and think about what we are doing before we write that letter or send out that email or even maybe get in our car and drive to where we know we shouldn’t just so we can yell and vent our anger, displeasure or whatever.
Mercury can make you car not run right, slow down or even entirely stop your computer and just generally make it difficult to communicate. We can encounter mail that wasn’t delivered, phoned not working, email not functioning and all sorts of interesting and odd things happening. What I’ve always noticed, though, is that the people I’m supposed to communicate with or places I’m supposed to go to, seem to happen just as easily and smoothly as they possibly can. It does make one think a bit and maybe that’s what Mercury retrograde really is all about. Just take a moment and think. We really don’t do enough of that these days. How could we, we’re way too busy running around trying to get about a 100 things done all at the same time.
And so, I am taking the time right now to do something that I want and truly enjoy, and that is writing this newsletter; and since Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and almost here, it means I’m feeling particularly creative and perhaps a bit stronger than I have been in a while. Feeling stronger gives me the energy to look at and address some things that are sometimes just too hard to “talk” about. But, not now so, please enjoy this most unusual article from me...
The Curved Road
The road from Point A to Point B is rarely straight. Sometimes there are mountains or rivers or lakes or canyons that we must circumnavigate. Whether we are climbing or swimming or sailing or speeding straight ahead, it is crucial that we learn how to adapt to the changing environment whether it is external, internal, physical or emotional. Often, when other people observe our journey, it might seem convoluted to them and they might make disparaging and discouraging remarks. It is important that you learn to trust in yourself; to follow the road open to you and that you not let others’ comments stop you from following the road you must.
Easier said than done, I know, and this is the point where you ask me “How do I stop listening and how do I know I’m following the right road?” Sometimes it just seems so hard to know if we are doing what we are meant to do; and this also can seem to contradict the laws of abundance and prosperity. It doesn’t and if you can trust me for a moment, I’m going to try to explain why it doesn’t.
If you are questioning whether you are on the right road, that means the first thing I must talk about is stress, overload and living your life in hypnosis.
In the normal course of events, hypnosis is a natural state for every single person and we all go into hypnosis at least twice a day, usually more often than that. The twice a day part is as we are going to sleep and as we are waking up. Those few seconds or for some people minutes before we are completely asleep or complete awake, we are actually in a form of hypnosis. In addition, if you have a job that is repetitive or you drive a long boring road regularly or you watch TV or a computer screen for more than 30 minutes, you will slip into a light form of hypnosis far more often. This isn’t a bad thing unless there are negative, stressful things occurring at the same time because the underlying definition of hypnosis is highly relaxed and suggestible state of mind; and it is the suggestible part that can cause a problem if you are in a negative situation or around negative people.
Also, since hypnosis is the modern variation of the flight part of the fight/flight pattern of survival, and since most of us cannot actually run away from situations that make us uncomfortable or aren’t always in our best interests, it is possible and (I’m sorry to say), highly likely that at some point in our lives we will find ourselves in a stressful situation that just doesn’t go away. Unfortunately, neither does the hypnosis and we find ourselves virtually living in hypnosis. Again, this wouldn’t be so bad, except that we are in a negative situation or around negative people and highly suggestible at the same time. You can see how this can be a formula for disaster or at least self-doubt.
So, how do you know you are on the right road or how do you get clarity if there isn’t any and all you are feeling is confusion? First off, get out of hypnosis. And the easiest way to do that is by deliberately going into hypnosis in the environment you choose and when you choose to do so. Sounds like a contradiction, I know, but it is the truth. By being counted into hypnosis and counted out repeatedly, you will come more and more out of that involuntary form of hypnosis until you are totally out. If hypnosis makes you uncomfortable or you haven’t found a hypnotherapist you feel truly comfortable with, you can also try meditation. They both work at relaxation from different aspects, but the end result is much the same and my feeling is that when you come out of your meditative state, you are also coming out of any ancillary hypnotic states as well.
I have a free sample on my site www.newhypnotherapy.com which you are invited to use as often as you wish. It isn’t very long, but it has the advantage of counting you into a relaxed state and then counting you out. By using it repeatedly, it will ultimately bring you completely out of any unplanned and/or unwanted hypnotic states.
Once you are actually out of hypnosis, you will start to discover that the overwhelming feeling you were experiencing or the confusion that seemed to be running rampant in your consciousness starts to drift away.
Even after this, though, sometimes it feels as if there is still confusion, perhaps as if you are at a fork in the road and you’re not sure which side to take. These are the times when it becomes important to actually trust your subconscious. When you are out of that unwanted and thrust upon you hypnotic state, you can again start to trust your subconscious. I have recorded a downloadable mini session called Clarity which helps with this process, but you can also use many other modalities or use a combination. As I mentioned before meditation can be extremely beneficial and no matter what you use, please incorporate into your daily thoughts, though about the good things in your life. Take a few moments before you go to sleep at night and either write or think about all the good things in your life. Practice a bit of gratitude always keeping in mind that what you think about is what you attract more of into your life.
This is where trusting your subconscious and practicing the laws of abundance and prosperity actually come together; stop thinking about those things you don’t want any longer and instead focus on all you have and all you want. Your thoughts are like a magnet, use them to attract the life you want and deserve to have.
I just finished a book recently, a fun book entitled “Agnes & the Hitman” by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer and one of their characters gave a recipe for life, and this isn’t exact, but you’ll get the idea: “View the past with contentment, the present with joy and the future with hope”. I can’t think of a better way to live your life. And please remember this, it doesn’t matter what anybody else says about the road you are traveling on, it is your journey, others may share it with you for a while, but ultimately it really is only your journey. Make it the journey you want; good, bad, exciting, boring, whatever, so long as it is your choice and not somebody telling you what you should want or should want to be or do. Rather, listen to your own subconscious and it will tell you all you need.
.Linda Simmon, C.Ht.
If once you heard a lion
speak you might be prone
to stare, but remember
that a lion’s voice is
always in the air.
The things that we think are
strange and odd are really
not that rare, keep in mind
that what you see is
only from your chair.
When you look upon this world
and see nothing but your
share, you forget the wonders
all around and will someday
David D. Brown
Moods That Age the Heart
When your emotions get the best of you, your body may suffer the consequences. Researchers have discovered that depression could nudge heart attack or stroke risk higher. Which means there's no good reason to nurse a hurting heart on your own. Here's how to spot mood problems — and plant a foot toward healthier days. In a study, people who reported mild-to-moderate depression symptoms — specifically the physical symptoms of depression like loss of sleep and lack of appetite — showed more signs of artery thickness compared to their more emotionally balanced peers. If your depression is mild, an increase in physical activity helps, as do other healthy habits like getting enough sleep, eating right, avoiding alcohol, and reducing stress (and planned for hypnosis). There's no quick fix or surefire way to get serious depression under control. But there are lots of good treatment options you can explore with your doctor. If you're feeling down for two weeks or longer, make an appointment.
- All About YOU: The "Why" of Weight Loss
You struggle to drop those unwanted pounds, but the weight returns like a bad sitcom you thought had bitten the dust. Time to take a new approach to weight loss. If you could figure out why the weight keeps coming back, maybe it would be gone for good. So take the "why" test. “Why" Questions to Ask. To make sustainable changes and get off the weight on-again, off-again roller coaster, you need to know what's prompting you to abuse your body and engage in unhealthy eating habits. (Answer these questions to see if your eating habits are healthy.)
So start asking yourself "why" questions. Here's an example of how this might play out:
Why do I want to lose weight? Because I'd have more confidence.
Why do I want more confidence? Because I'm hoping to start a new relationship.
Why do I want to start a new relationship? Because I'm feeling lonely.
The questions stop when you can link the first question to the last answer. In the example above, you want to lose weight because you're lonely. And the likely cause of your weight gain is the very same thing.
- Three Fall Veggies That Help Make You Younger
It's that time of year when not only leaves turn orange, but the offerings on your dinner plate do, too. And that's a good thing, because yellow-orange veggies like carrots, sweet potatoes, and winter squash are chock-full of carotenoids. Why care about carotenoids? These good-for-you nutrients fight the DNA damage that can make your body old (or sick) before its time. Over the course of your lifetime, your DNA accumulates damage every time it gets copied to create a new cell. It's like when you make a copy of a copy of a copy on the Xerox machine. Little flaws and imperfections start to show up. Same thing can happen with your DNA. And that's not such a great thing, because it can lead to that ultimate cell-replication error: cancer. Researchers suspect that carotenoids — those plant pigments that give carrots, pumpkins, and cantaloupes their rich orange hues — may help protect against the kind of DNA damage that happens with age, so you can go on making copies of your cells longer!
- All About WOMEN: Vitamin D for Your Nerves
Could the right supplement help you minimize your risk of a body-numbing disease that affects twice as many women as men? Early research says yes. In a study, women who took supplements with vitamin D slashed their risk of multiple sclerosis (MS) by 40 percent. Women who daily got at least 400 IU of vitamin D from supplements had a 40 percent lower risk of developing MS compared with the women who didn't take supplemental D. Researchers speculate that D may have some sort of anti-inflammatory effect that helps protect the nervous system, but more research is needed to confirm if the benefit truly exists.
- The Health Benefits of Cute
Those TV shows featuring people's home videos of their pets' antics? They may actually be good for more than just a laugh. Watching videos of animal life may help you beat stress. In a study, people who watched 10 minutes of scaly, feathered, or furry footage experienced dips in both heart rate and blood pressure. Got a stressful event coming up, like an unpleasant dental procedure or a tough meeting at work? Watch a few minutes of a wildlife show before heading out of the house. After 10 minutes, you'll not only have reduced your heart rate and blood pressure, but you'll also have created a buffer against the physical effects of your upcoming nail-biter. The sound doesn't even have to be on in order for you to reap the calming benefits of the video. If images of four-legged friends don't do the trick, here are some other relaxation strategies to try:
(1) Deep breathing;
(2) Positive mental imaging, and
(3) Progressive muscle relaxation.
(Note: Hypnosis helps with all of these and more).
- Gimme an Orange! Gimme a Lime!
A citrus bowl isn't just an end-of-season showcase of college-football talent. It's also a winning strategy against this deadly disease: cancer. That's right. Keep a bowl full of oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit on your kitchen counter and you'll have access to a formidable lineup of limonoids — special phytochemicals known to help give colon, skin, and other cancers the boot. Limonoids not only help fight cancer but also may cut cholesterol. And citrus fruits provide a healthy dose of other good-for-you nutrients, too — like potassium, folate, and vitamin C. Who wouldn't want to have these fruits on their stay-healthy team? Check out what else oranges can do for you:
(1) Keep arteries clear, and
(2) Slash your risk of these diseases by 50 percent; and grabbing an orange on the go is one easy way to get more citrus.
But try upping your citrus intake a few new ways, too — for example, add orange slices to your salads.
- Why Fall May Rob You of Sleep
Fall means earlier sunsets and turning leaves. But less sleep? Absolutely, if the dust, mold, and pollen of fall make you sneeze. Allergy sufferers are much more likely to have sleep problems compared with other people. (And you thought it was the Benadryl making your eyelids droop!) Here's a breathe-easy battle plan for getting through the season — and the night. As if the sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes weren't enough trouble . . . a full 44 percent of allergy sufferers wake up feeling tired despite getting a full night's sleep. Compared with allergy-free folks, severe allergy sufferers are also much more likely to experience headaches, anxiety, and depression. Here are some self-care tips that may help keep symptoms under wraps:
(1) Shower before bedtime to avoid bringing pollen to bed;
(2) get a good-quality indoor air cleaner, and change or wash the filter at least once a month;
(3) close your doors and windows and use forced air / heat to keep pollen outside, and
(4) avoid hanging clothes to dry outside.
- Getting Healthier: It's Partly in Your Head
This has got to be the easiest way to boost the benefits of your workout: Just think about them. Sounds crazy, right? But it was true in a study of hotel workers. Just 4 weeks after the room cleaners were educated on how their duties counted toward their exercise needs, they saw a drop in weight and blood pressure — despite no changes in overall activity levels. Changing bed linens, vacuuming, dusting, scrubbing the bathroom floor — it's not spin class, but it is physical activity. And if you do physically active things with the right mind-set (namely, think "This is good for me."), it could translate into greater health gains. Just chalk it up to that mind-body connection to which so many other health benefits (like the placebo effect) have been traced. You need only about 30 minutes of exercise daily to meet the surgeon general's physical activity recommendations. And keep in mind that things like pulling weeds, painting the garage door, and folding laundry count toward that total. And we mean literally keep it in mind. Couldn't hurt, right?
- A Good Reason to Look on the Bright Side
Anxious, angry, depressed? We all feel bad sometimes. But there's one very vocal objector: your heart. People who often get swallowed up by these and other negative moods may have a higher risk of heart disease — even if they're otherwise healthy. But you can turn any mood around with a few simple steps. Social anxiety may have the greatest impact on heart health. In a study of healthy older men, those who scored highest on a negative-emotion scale — especially on social anxiety measures — had the greatest incidence of heart disease 3 years later. If stress and anxiety have taken hold of you and won't let go, something really structured like cognitive-behavioral therapy — alone or coupled with medication — may help improve your sense of control and boost your confidence. Here are a couple more feel-good or feel-calm techniques:
Controlled breathing and Muscle relaxation.
(Linda’s Note: And the easiest way to reach optimum relaxation is
The Lung and Short of It
It's Fruit and Vegetable Month, and there's one fruit in particular that your lungs love. It's round, it's red, and it's really delicious. Give up? It's apples. This Superman of fruits is packed full of vitamins and phytochemicals that may reduce the risk of asthma and improve your overall lung capacity. How many should you eat? In a study, people who ate at least five apples a week had better lung function than the people who noshed less frequently on this crunchy fruit. However many you decide to munch, get the most out of them by eating the peel, too. That's where most of the health-helping flavonoids — like quercetin, catechin, epicatechin, and procyanidins — reside.
Heard the Latest in Age-Fighting Nutrition?
Asking people to speak up — or feeling compelled to pretend you heard something you didn't — is not the way most people want to spend their retirement years. But there may be something you can do to help slow the kind of hearing loss that comes with an accumulation of birthday candles and gray hairs: Take folic acid. There are many wonderful things about growing older, but losing your hearing isn't one of them. So it was good news when one study showed that a group of men and women between the ages of 50 and 70 helped put the brakes on hearing loss by taking 800 micrograms of folic acid daily for 3 years. But there are two important caveats for these findings: The research took place in a country where foods are not regularly fortified with folic acid, and the benefit to hearing was observed with only low frequency sounds. Folic acid helps lower homocysteine, a possible culprit in some kinds of hearing loss. (Initially, all the men and women in the study had elevated homocysteine levels.) It could also be that folic acid helps boost blood circulation to key ear structures involved in age-related hearing loss. Fortunately, many products in the U.S. are fortified with folic acid, from breads to cereals to pasta, so you probably get at least a few hundred micrograms from your diet. But it's likely you'll need a supplement to reach the RealAge Optimum dose of 700 micrograms per day. Just be sure to stay below 1,000 micrograms per day, especially if you're over 65; as you get older, folic acid could mask a vitamin B12 deficiency.
All About YOU: Eat This First
If you're famished, eat a little fat before you sit down for a meal. Did we say fat? Yes, but we're talking about the good kind. Eating some healthy fat 20 minutes before a meal can keep you from stuffing yourself. It fools your brain into thinking you're not as hungry as you thought. And your waist will reap the rewards. About 70 calories of healthy fat just before you eat — that's six walnuts, 12 almonds, or 20 peanuts — can trick you into thinking you're full. Eating good fats stimulates the production of cholecystokinin (CCK), a hormone that tells your brain you've had enough to eat and then keeps you feeling full by slowing the emptying of your stomach. (Bread dipped in this oil will also do it.) So when you sit down for a meal, you'll eat for pleasure, not for hunger, and you'll be likely to eat less. Read how eating too much saturated fat may actually make you hungrier; and because the average person is finished eating long before his or her brain gets the fullness signal, you should eat slowly. Quickly downing your food won't give your satiety hormones time to kick in.
- Three a Day Does Your Body Good
Oatmeal at breakfast, brown rice at lunch, and a slice of whole-wheat bread at dinner. If these items made your menu today, you're well on your way to a reduced risk of dying from an inflammatory disease. Three servings of whole grains per day can slash your risk by more than 35 percent. Inflammation is something that heart disease, diabetes, colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and many other conditions have in common. But researchers suspect that the phenols, beneficial plant substances, and vitamins in good-for-you whole grains may thwart the disease-causing oxidative stress that results from inflammation. Yet another reason to eat more whole grains: They're full of fiber, which can help you feel full longer (so you'll eat less) and can help keep your blood sugar levels steady and your digestive system on track.
If you have found this newsletter to be helpful to you and you know someone who you feel could benefit from these thoughts and messages please pass it on.
Linda Simmon, C.Ht.