Welcome to my March newsletter. I hope it finds all of you well.
In March we find ourselves with an Equinox. Spring up here in the Northern Hemisphere and Autumn in the Southern. I feel that I’ve perhaps not been as generous with all of you who are in the Southern Hemisphere, so this issue tries to give equal time to both.
I feel an affinity with the Equinoxes, more so than with the Solstices. It is only with an Equinox that I feel the anticipation of something miraculous and new starting, the opportunity for a New Beginning.
So, first some general information. It is with an Equinox that day and night are of equal length. Every place on earth experiences a 12 hour day twice a year on the Spring and Fall Equinox. Just think about that a moment. It is almost like a miracle. For two days every person in our world can share this equality of dark and light. After the Spring Equinox, the Sun will continue to follow a higher and higher path through the sky, with the days growing longer and longer, until it reaches it highest point in the sky on the Summer Solstice. During these same days in the Southern Hemisphere, after the Fall Equinox the Sun will follow a lower and lower path through the sky with the days getting shorter and shorter until the Winter Solstice.
And so, as I said, we are approaching the point in our yearly cycle when balance exists between light and dark. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if each of us could also find that same sort of balance? Why not use the Equinox as a guidepost. Nature gives us guideposts and road signs all the time if we’ll just open our eyes and our minds. Look inside, does balance exist within you? Or have you become a prisoner of a perceived image of who you are; whether it is your perception or the perception of someone else. Have you spent a lifetime hearing how you “should” act or who you “should” be?
Someone I loved once asked me how he could find what he needed to be happy. He’d read many self-help books, talked to many counselors, religious advisors, friends and I imagine lovers and everyone told him the same thing, happiness must come from within ourselves. It can’t depend on something outside ourselves. There isn’t another person, place or thing that can make us happy. No one can tell you how to be happy. No matter what you hear, there isn’t a set formula for finding your joy. Happiness, joy, fulfillment is as unique as each of us and you must find it for yourself.
Now, that’s the truth but he pointed out to me that with all his reading, self-analysis, study, advice and thinking, he still had no idea what he wanted. He’d spent his whole life thinking that if he could just have who or what made another person happy, then it would make him happy as well. If he could have the girl everybody wanted or the car or the sound system or the job or the clothes or the toys, then he’d really truly be happy. Too bad it never really worked. At the time, I was not quite sure how to answer that. But I know now.
There’s a great movie “The Legend of Beggar Vance” and a line in that movie when Will Smith is talking to Matt Daman and it goes something like this:
“There’s a perfect shot out there just looking for each and every one of us,
all we have to do is get ourselves out of the way so that it can find us.”
I realized that’s the answer for all of us, including my friend. Whether it’s a feeling, goal, desire, lover, job or anything, just get yourself out of your own way so that it can find you. Stop analyzing everything so much, stop trying to live your life the way someone else thinks you should or try to live the life that someone else has. Silence those nagging voices in your head that can keep you up at night. Strive to balance the dark and light within yourself. Get out of your own way and let your unique and special joy, happiness, fulfillment and life find you. It will, the moment you let it!
And that is the perfect segue way to an article that I’d like to share with you today written by someone I admire tremendously…
Remember that if you enjoy this article by Peggy, there’s plenty more at her website at www.destinies.com.
THE GREENER GRASS
By Peggy McColl
“If you think the grass is greener on the other side try watering your lawn.”
Have you ever felt that someone else’ life was so much better than you own? I think at one time or another we all tend to view another person’s life as more appealing. But, if it really more appearing or are we simply forgetting our own gifts OR are we forgetting that we have the power to changed how we “feel” about circumstances even if we have changed the event.
Here are some techniques to apply if you experience that feeling of the grass looking greener on the other side:
1. Evaluate the areas of your life from an “observer” point of view and not a place of judgment. An “observer” views a situation as a learning experience and feels a sense of relief knowing that the awareness of the situation provides an opportunity to choose differently in the future and it provides an opportunity to grow. Not at any time would an “observer” make any judgment about an action or reaction rather they would simply recognize the opportunity to now express who they truly are. Self confidence is diminished with judgment. Judgment serves no purpose whatsoever. I’m not saying for one minute to ignore destructive behavior, rather, I’m saying evaluate this behavior with your observer eyes and simply make a choice to no longer partake in destruction going forward.
2. Recognize and take note of the benefits, gifts, blessings, treasures in your own life. Here are some questions to help you accomplish this:
What is great about my life?
What do I enjoy most in my life?
What are my strengths?
What are my unique talents?
What have I done that I’m particularly proud of?
Who do I love?
Who loves me?
What am I most grateful for in my life?
What are my greatest memories?
What do I look forward to?
As you were reading those questions did you immediately start to feel better? Questions such as the ones listed above will change what you focus on. Choose some of your favorite questions write them out on an index card and place them in your bathroom. While you are brushing your teeth keep the index card in front of you and ask and answer the questions.
3. As the quote above denotes: “If you think the grass is greener on the other side, try watering your lawn.” Get to work on yourself. Create a self improvement program and get to work on it. Start to adjust your attitude to an attitude of gratitude. Just like a Coach would do for his players, evaluate the areas that you need to focus on to improve your performance and create a game plan, then get to work. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to have subtle improvement and growth every day. Once you start to work on your self improvement plan you’ll soon find that it is much easier than you think.
4. Know that another person’s life isn’t always as rosy as it may seem. Everyone has challenges. My friend Anick use to say “If people hung their problems on their clothes line as they do with their clothes, you would quickly be running back to your own back yard.” Most people do a great job of concealing their problems, and even when we think another hasn’t any challenges with their life, you may want to think again. In no way whatsoever am I implying that I want you to wish anything bad for anyone. I’m simply stating that things aren’t always as they appear (maybe the grass isn’t as green as you think it is).
5. Don’t compare your life to anther person’s life. If you see someone or know of someone who appears to have “more” than you, maybe you can find out what they have done, or, are doing and learn from them to create the same in your life. When I was a child my Father was an avid gardener and our lawn and gardens were the envy of the neighborhood. But my Father worked in our garden every single evening and on the weekend. He worked to create the beauty that we all enjoyed and I know he was proud. He knew that if he neglected the landscaping the lawn and the gardens would suffer and he chose not to allow that to happen. Just like a successful business person, a gold medal winning athlete, a high scorer, a straight A student knows, you must put in the effort to enjoy the rewards. Water your lawn, pull out the weeds, plant the seeds, fertilize and keep an eye on the results so that you can determine what needs to be done to keep that lawn beautiful, healthy and green. Enjoy the beauty!
Peggy sent me something recently, something she was very excited about and it referred to something brand new and a powerful tool called paraliminals.
I have to say it did make me chuckle just a bit and it also made me wish that I were clever enough to come up with a new name for what I do, because basically it is the exact same thing. By putting yourself into a relaxed state where you feel safe and comfortable, you are able to open your mind more easily to suggestion, the right kind of suggestion. You are able to access your subconscious. This is most
effective when the suggestions are being given to you rather than you trying to give them to yourself.
This is something that I learned with my clients several years ago and it is the reason why I developed my recorded sessions. They work. They just work AND they work faster and quicker than almost any other method. But even more they allow the subconscious to grow strong. They allow you to clear out the old, remove much of that noisy chatter that we all have and make room for the thoughts and ideas that you want running through your mind, working for you, helping you to get yourself out of your own way and let them find you; and in doing so, you give your subconscious “permission” to fix what might be broken, to balance the light and dark within yourself.
Why not do a bit of spring cleaning right now, starting with you. Cleanse your mind and soul so that you can then plant the seeds and grow exactly what you want and need in your life! Use the Equinox as a sign and a tool, reminding you that there is balance in our world and in ourselves if we allow it to find us.
Linda Simmon, C.Ht.
With the Equinoxes whether it is Spring or Fall, we all seem to start focusing more on how we look, our weight, our bodies and exercise. So, my health tips for you this issue primarily focus on that. Enjoy.
A High-Calorie Snack That’s OK for Your Waist
If you love nuts as much as a backyard squirrel does, but you're caught up by your calorie-counting conscience, relax. Peanuts may be one high-calorie treat that doesn’t do serious damage to your weight or your waistline. In a recent small study where people were given a daily snack of peanuts, researchers were surprised to find that no one’s weight changed significantly after many weeks, despite the extra calories. Why? Seems peanuts fill you up (thanks to the fiber, protein, and healthy monounsaturated fats) but the fat and calories in the nuts aren't completely absorbed by your gut. Now, if only Girl Scout cookies worked the same way. More good news about peanuts: We may burn off the fats in them better than we burn off the fats in potato chips or cookies. Our bodies break down the monounsaturated fats in peanuts and convert them into energy more easily than saturated fats. So go ahead -- unleash your inner squirrel. Just limit your daily dips in the peanut dish to 1-ounce servings (about 30 peanuts).
- Best Way to a Killer Middle
Good news! You don't have to kill yourself with crunches to get a sleek stomach. But it turns out that you do need to get your heart rate up. Aerobic exercise is the key to banishing both the deep belly fat and the superficial doughy stuff that give you a pouch. How much aerobic exercise does it take to trim a tummy? In a recent study, overweight people who jogged, cycled, or hit the elliptical for about 3 hours a week had the best belly-busting outcome -- as long as they exercised at an up-tempo pace. Not ready to go that distance yet? Try walking briskly for just a couple of hours per week. That's enough to at least keep belly swelling in check. It's almost a guarantee that people who do nothing as they age will be watching their waists grow along with their risks of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. So whether you do it a little or a lot, sweat is still a sweet way to manage your middle.
- Don't Treat Exercise Like TV
For some of us, exercise is like that new TV series -- miss an episode and we write it off completely. Why bother, right? But some exercise can still do plenty for you, even if you're not religious about it. Just 30 minutes of walking 3 days per week, for example, can help reduce three important heart disease risk factors. In a study, healthy sedentary men and women who walked at a brisk pace for 30 minutes just 3 days a week were able to lower their blood pressure (systolic number), improve their ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol, and lose weight. That's three major heart disease risk factors for the price of a few 30-minute walks! Good deal. If finding a full half hour to walk during your day isn't possible, grab three 10-minute sessions at different times of the day. Exercise is like TiVo -- you can work it around your schedule and it's still just as good!
- 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. 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
- 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.
3 Feel-Better Post Workout Foods
What's the best snack to grab after a major workout? How about a bowl of whole-grain cereal, a bite of Indian takeout, or a big nonfat latte. Each nosh option has a special ingredient that may help your body recover better and nip post workout pain in the bud. What, exactly, do these snacks have that others might not? The three Cs: carbs, curcumin, and caffeine. A carb-rich snack like cereal can help you overcome fatigue by restoring glycogen -- that stuff your muscles use for energy. Curcumin, a substance found in the Indian spice turmeric, may help quell muscle inflammation. And caffeine from coffee may help block muscle-pain-producing substances.
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.
- 6 Foods That Fix Bad Breath
Last night, the tacos smothered in onions were great. But this morning, your breath could fell a sumo wrestler. What to do? When your breath has turned toxic because of smelly foods -- usually garlic, onions, or curry, but fish and cheese can do a number, too -- you need an air freshener for your mouth. And you need it often: every 30 to 60 minutes until the odorous offender has cleared out of your bloodstream, which can sometimes take up to 24 hours. Because brushing constantly is impossible, try countering breath-busting foods with what's likely to be handiest: other foods.
- Lemons. Suck on a lemon wedge, or nibble on the rind -- easy to do in restaurants, where there's often a citrus garnish; if not, you can order sparkling water with lemon. For other times, lemon-flavored hard candies work just as well, and they’re totally portable;
- Parsley and other green garnishes. When your favorite garlic-laden pasta dish or onion-topped burger arrives with a few sprigs of parsley on the side, consider it a hint, not just a colorful trim. Chewing on the sprigs releases parsley's pleasant, breath-freshening oils. Garnishes of fresh basil and rosemary work too;
- Apples and other crisp, fresh foods (firm pears, carrots, jicama). They're high in fiber, and all that chewing bumps up saliva production -- the combo acts like a scrubbing rinse for your mouth. Sweet;
- Crunchy spices. For a more exotic solution, pick up some anise, cardamom, coriander, and fennel seeds, available in the spice aisle of most grocery stores. Mix equal parts in a small covered bowl, and keep it on the dining room table next to the salt and pepper. Chewing on a few seeds will release enough oil to sweeten after-dinner curry or coffee breath. And your mouth will taste amazing;
- Mint sprigs or cinnamon sticks. Either of these deliciously potent flavors will squelch the sulfurous scent of onion and garlic. Plus, an essential oil in cinnamon kills a nasty type of oral bacteria, discouraging it from setting up house in your mouth. Cinnamon or mint gum is just as effective. If you pick a gum sweetened with xylitol, it will freshen breath and help reduce cavities -- smart, if you're a gum lover. Bonus: Regular oral care can make your Real Age as much as 6.4 years younger, and
- Berries and yogurt. If you can't get through most days without indulging in foods that are less than breath-friendly, eat for prevention, which is even better than a cure. Consuming half a cup of plain, sugar-free yogurt twice a day can lower mouth levels of hydrogen sulfide (yes, that rotten egg smell). Berries (and melons, oranges, and other fruits high in vitamin C) also deter stinky mouth bacteria. Start and end each day with a cup of fruit topped with a big dollop of yogurt and you might never have to worry about bad breath again.
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.