“In prayer you communicate with God; in meditation, God communicates with you ...
In silence lies the ability to listen.” - Julia White
Last night on my radio show "Mind Body Spirit Hour", my co-host Shelly Wilson and I, shared the importance of connecting with our higher self through meditation. We realize that meditation is a stumbling block for many people. This is mostly because we traditionally think of meditation as a quieting of the mind, an activity by which we leave all our thoughts behind and become blank canvases. For those who can achieve this, meditation is a wonderful component of their spiritual lives. But for the rest of us, meditation looks like something reserved for monks. In fact, one of the most common statements I hear over and over again from my clients is that they "just can't meditate".
What if I gave you some simple steps to get started, and told you that meditation does not require hours of practice per day? As we mentioned last night on the radio, I promise that once you make the decision to awaken your spirituality and connect with your soul -- you will find that changes start happening. Once you make the decision to connect to your higher self and ALL that is, we are awakened to our true calling. Just being willing to release all pain on the cellular level, we begin a metamorphasis almost instantaneously.
Okay, so you have set the intention to open yourself up to the wonders of a spiritual life -- now what? At least once a day, all you need to do is sit in quiet and stillness. Then simply watch as your deep desires slowly open before you, revealing the honesty and joy of your higher self.
Meditation doesn't have to be difficult. Meditation is simply focused awareness on ALL that is within you, waiting to be valued. Instead of trying to suspend all thoughts during meditation, decide to pay attention only to certain thoughts. For instance, listen to your breathing, or gentle classical music, orfocus on the sounds of your heart beating. You can also focus on a single image such as a candle, budding rose, or an angel figure. Try not to get frustrated with any thoughts that want to intrude. Instead, simply greet those thoughts and ask them to please step aside for now. Then, go back to the image or the focus you had before.
Here are some basic pointers on how to meditate:
1) Sit comfortably. I prefer to sit in a chair where my feet can rest comfortably on the ground. There's no need to sit in a cross legged position on the floor, unless you are perfectly comfortable that way. You may also lie down, but if you do, you might fall asleep.
2) Dress in comfortable clothes. You really don't need to go out and buy special yoga pants, etc! Casual sweat pants, or even pajamas, will do.
3) Eating right before you meditate isn’t recommended. If you eat and then want to meditate, plan to take an hour to let your meal digest. Avoid eating heavy or processed foods prior, so that energy flows easier and your focus remains unclogged.
4) You can light candles, burn incense, use crystals, etc. Whatever puts you in the mood. Try to do this each time you meditate, so that it becomes a ritual for you. Meditating at a certain time everyday, is also helpful.
5) Start with 5-10 minutes a day, with the intention of working your way toward longer meditation. It's a lot easier than you think, once you get used to it. Some people spend an hour a day, or 30 minutes in the morning and at night, meditating. The more you meditate, the stronger your connection to your higher self will be. I personally meditate for at least 15 minutes every morning. When I do not take that time for myself, I notice a big difference -- I might feel rushed, or more easily frustrated with others, or the task before me.
Most people don’t believe they have the time to set aside an hour a day to meditating. And that’s fine. You don’t need to start with an hour, or even plan to work up to that. You can start with five minutes. Even two minutes will do! For example, if you take two more minutes each morning when you shower, and you allow yourself to stand under the water and meditate - you’ve practiced! Or, before you leave the house for the day, set down all your stuff by the front door, go sit on the couch, and focus on your breath. Two minutes, five minutes, and what do you know - you’ve practiced! The key is to be consistent and patient.
5) When you first begin meditating, where you do so is as important as how often and how long. In time, you’ll be able to meditate during a traffic jam, or while waiting in line at the grocery store. Pick some place at home or at the office where you can reliably go for a few minutes to get some peace and time to yourself. Maybe this is at the foot of your bed, or an unfrequented stairwell in the building where you work. Wherever it may be, make that your meditation space. You can choose to decorate it with candles, a soothing water fountain, tapestries, or crystals. Decorate with whatever will help make the location sacred to you.
6) Next decide how you would like to meditate. Do you want to sit in silence and clear your mind? Do you want to chant with a mantra? Do you want to play soft music? Do you want to focus on a candle? Do you want to send your intentions out into the Universe? Do you want to make contact with your higher self? You can simply say on the in breath, "I am light" and on the out breath, "I am love". Start with breathing naturally and purposely until you have created a comfortable rhythm.
As you commit to your practice, you’ll find that over time, how you meditate will change. There is no need after awhile to become too attached to one way of meditating. As your spiritual self becomes a stronger presence in your life, you will know what feels best for your purpose.
So what are you waiting for? Lets give it a try right now.
Two weeks ago, a bunch of us gathered in my living room to watch the DVD, "You Can Heal Your Life". It is an inspiring true story of a woman and reknowned author, Louise L. Hay, and how she changed her entire life by the power of positive affirmations & self healing.
If you have begun the wonderful journey of healing your own life, perhaps you are using affirmations to assist you daily? Perhaps you have become frustrated that you feel in a cycle of "nothing is happening" yet? And maybe you want to give up and return to the old negative self talk?
Well, please let me remind you that you are not alone. In fact, once you've begun saying and thinking your affirmations, it's important to practice patience. One of the biggest mistakes people make when using affirmations is giving up too soon! But would you not water your garden because the seeds didn't become grown plants overnight? No, of course not! Try and think of yourself as a gardener of your own life! You must cultivate the soil, water, weed, and fertilize to grow a beautiful life. To grow a wonderful life takes releasing the past, learning to think more effectively with affirmations, and trusting that your beautiful garden will blossom fully in time.
Using meditation and visualization can actually speed up the body's receptivity to positive changes, because these practices take you to a more powerful connection with your subconscious mind and Universal Energy. Meditation is simply a process of focusing your attention on your breath or on a short phrase. This will help you to balance emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. When you're in that quiet place, your heart and mind are connected, so doing your affirmations at this level is even more powerful than simply repeating them when you are in your usual busy, conscious state.
Many of my new clients, my friends and listeners on my radio show, tell me that they just can't stay focused enough to meditate! What if I told you that many years ago, I also struggled with "sitting still & quieting my busy mind"?! I want to offer a simple exercise to get you started.
Sit comfortably and relax. You don't need to sit cross-legged on the floor, if that isn't comfortable for you. Simply sit in your favorite chair, with your head rested & your feet firmly on the ground. Focus your attention on your breathing. As you breathe in, think to yourself, "I AM", and as you breath out, think to yourself, "relaxed." Count your breaths from one to four. Simply count mentally each time you exhale, starting with one and going to four. Repeat the counting over and over. Think to yourself, "calm and at peace" with each breath, or any other phrase that is relaxing for you. Imagine yourself in a beautiful, peaceful setting.
I also recommend Creative Visualization. This is something we all do every single day, yet we do not always visualize positive scenarios. Instead, we focus on that person who cut us off on the way to work, or how much we have on our to-do list, or all of the bills we have to pay, etc.
Creative Visualization is imagining, seeing, feeling, or describing something you would like to create. They bring in all of the senses along with affirmations to give your subconscious mind the EXPERIENCE of the reality you are creating. Your subconscious mind doesn't know the difference between the reality "out there" and the one you create inside, so visualizations create a new "inner landscape" that in turn produces results on the outside. Many people say they cannot visualize, yet they can always describe their backyard, vehicle, or kitchen!
When we can somehow picture or feel what it is we want, then we're visualizing. It's really that simple. The feeling part is actually more important than really "seeing" the new reality, as the Universe responds most quickly to the feelings you send out (this is called your vibration). So, go ahead and give it a try! Once you are in a relaxed place, think or quietly repeat your affirmations, and visualize what your life would be like when they have already happened! Visualize as many details as you can! Is your desire to live on the ocean, start your own business, be happily married, or in a better state of health? Whatever it is that you want to create in your life, YOU have the power within you to do so. All you need is to be in alignment with what you say you want in your life. Take time everyday to meditate, affirm that you are achieving your desires easily, and visualize it as so -- really FEEL what it would be like, to BE living the life you desire!
Last night, I held a gathering at my home for the sheer purpose of bringing people together who are on the path of healing their mind/body/spirit. I want to reach out to as many as possible about the positive message of creating the changes we desire. The theme of the evening was for us to view the film based on Louise L. Hay's teachings, "You Can Heal Your Life". The film was so very poignant about the power of our thoughts and how they create our reality. What stood out for me the most during this film was the many testimonials from others, of various backgrounds and professions, and how they discovered this for themselves when faced with a challenge to make a big change. Our conversation after the film ended, made it very clear to me that so many of us are on this journey of making change. This film was inspirational, motivational, and emotionally profound.
You all know people who are stuck in a mind set that they’ll never meet their soulmate, have a career that they really want, or leave an abusive relationship, and so on and so forth. The way they speak to themselves and rationalize why they cant do this, or that, just keeps them held in ransom within fear. But guess what? What if its never too late to make a change? What if you just stopped what you were doing right now and said to yourself, "I am willing to change"?
I have been sharing the power of our thoughts, emotions, and affirmations with hundreds of people, for many years. And as a life coach, medium and healer, I have seen a multitude of people make positive changes in their lives. One day very soon, I will write my own story for all to read but one person stands out to me in this moment. My husband's grandmother began vaudeville dancing in her early 20's, when it was unusual for young women not to be married, let alone have a career. She met her soulmate during her stage career, and later took care of him for seven years after he had a massive stroke. She did so never complaining about it, as she would not place him in a nursing care facility. After he passed on, she kept on working until she was in her 80's! When she retired, she turned to her passion of oil painting and was quite good at it! She woke up everyday, put on a stylish outfit, took great care of herslef, played cards with friends and enjoyed the presence of others. At age 92, she was learning Spanish. Was it ever too late for her to pursue what she desired? She clearly didn’t think so. She felt that everything was possible if you believed in yourself, and she lived by that example.
When we make excuses not to change, we block positive people and situations from manifesting in our lives. Why do we hold ourselves back? Because our self talk tells us that we don't think we are worthy, or we are too afraid, or we are too fat, not pretty enough, we are too broke, or we do not love ourselves enough to trust our own heart. I have news for you though......we are never too old to make a positive change. Our physical body ages but not our spirit. If you listen to your heart and the energy that flows from it, you can feel the vitality in your physical body when you think of a thought that feels good. It all comes down to how you approach your life -- as positive, or negative. If you take care of yourself by allowing healthy relationships and situations into your life, if you are eating well, exercising and getting enough rest -- you will find that your life will begin to change in the positive direction you intend.
It is our Divine purpose to live with JOY. You CAN change. You ARE worthy.
Our time on earth now is quite unique and we have the ability to create positive change -- right NOW. So, go ahead and rent the dvd "You Can Heal Your Life". It may just be the message you have been looking for.
Sugar has been linked to more than sixty different ailments, including Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Studies show that there are almost 30 million of us with Type 2 diabetes with another 70 million individuals that qualify as pre-diabetics. Yes, sugar is very sneaky!
It is not only in obvious forms such as cookies and candy but also in just about any other food you can think of. From packaged meats to soups to commercial salt, sugar is in there. It’s even hidden in such nonfood items as vitamins, aspirin, prescription and over-the-counter drugs, and various cosmetics!
The sugar connection to cardiovascular health was first noticed in the 1970s. In the classic study The Saccharine Disease, surgeon Capt. T. L. Cleave showed convincing evidence that increases in cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other common diseases could be traced to increases in sugar and refined-carbohydrate intake. These diseases were virtually nonexistent in primitive cultures, he noted, until about twenty years after the societies began eating refined carbohydrates.
In his classic book Sweet and Dangerous, Dr. Yudkin cited numerous examples in a variety of societies that showed that sugar was a more likely cause of heart disease than fat. For example, the Masai and Samburu tribes of East Africa, he explained, have almost no heart disease, yet they eat a high-fat diet of mostly meat and milk but no sugar.
Recent research is proving the validity of the theories posed by Drs. Cleave and Yudkin, showing a direct relationship between sugar and heart disease because of insulin. Remember that when sugar is eaten, insulin is produced. Insulin not only helps to store excess sugar as fat but also helps regulate blood triglyceride levels, which are a major predictor of the development of heart disease. The more sugar you eat, the more insulin your pancreas will produce, and the higher your triglyceride levels are likely to be.
While refined sugar consumption has declined in recent years, a new breed of sugar substitutes has emerged in the form of artificial sweeteners such as Splenda, aspartame, and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Ironically, these may be even more harmful to your health than sugar itself. Could it be just a coincidence that at the same time the country was quietly being slipped high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in the general food supply, the average cholesterol levels were shooting up through the roof? Not to mention the trend of increasing triglycerides and abnormal liver tests. Remember this – our bodies are not designed to metabolize HFCS. HFCS skips right past the need for insulin production and goes right into your cells where it becomes an uncontrolled source of trouble all the way down to your liver. Your body simply doesn’t recognize HFCS so it doesn’t know how to control it, and in the end it stores it as fat.
Here are some highlights of a sample program to help control and treat Type 2 diabetes:
1) A high quality multivitamin that contains optimal levels of B-complex vitamins. It should also include trace minerals like vanadium ( 100 mcg), manganese (10 mg) and molybdenum (100 mcg). In order to metabolize fructose and sucrose, the body requires a molybdenum-dependent enzyme so daily amounts of this trace mineral is critical to avoiding depletion and to help your body get rid of the brain fog which often accompanies sugar intake.
2) Magnesium is one of the most common mineral deficiencies in diabetes because it personally escorts glucose into the cells as well as performs more than 300 other bodily tasks. I highly recommend an additional 200 -400mg of magnesium which can be taken during the day or before bed, for peaceful and uninterrupted sleep!
3) For men, look for an iron-free Male Multi-Vitamin. Excess iron is a major factor in cardiovascular disease and can be unusually elevated in males past the age of 40, and in females who have stopped menstruating. So, if you are in this category -- women -- take an iron-free multi vitamin!
4) Biotin – 5 mg. A high potency biotin can enhance sugar metabolism, lower triglycerides and stop yeast in its tracks. Yeast overgrowth is an all too common byproduct of diabetes and metabolic syndrome. It can create huge sugar cravings that even the most potent appetite suppressants cannot control. My clients (and myself) have personally experienced fuller hair and stronger nails with biotin, which is an added bonus!
5) Chromium 200 – 400 mcg. A key nutrient that improves insulin sensitivity & is also very helpful in overall weight loss, alsong with 500 mg of L-Carnitine to stabilize blood sugar, increase energy levels and support healthy fat metabolism.
6) EPA and DHA (the Omega-3s) – 1,500 mg twice per day. This natural anti-inflammatory will decrease inflammation, raise HDL, lower triglycerides, and prevent the type of nerve damage that is frequently associated with diabetic neuropathy.
7) Vitamin D-3; 5,000 IU taken 1 – 2 times per day. But make sure to check your Vitamin D levels with your doctor and have them oversee your D supplementation, every 3-6 months. The ideal level is between 50-80 mg/dl according to the Vitamin D experts. Vitamin D is probably the most deficient vitamin in America today.
Lastly, please be aware of your sugar content & its disguises, in every form. I can not reiterate enough the dangers that sugar can cause to our quality of health. Spread the word to your family & friends and support one another as you make health your priority!
Cutting processed foods and refined sugars out of your diet is THE most important dietary change you can make to improve health and lose weight. If you’re trying to eat healthy, perhaps you have heard to stay away from processed foods. Yes, I know that it can be difficult to cut processed foods out of your diet, but it isn't impossible. Although most people know that processed foods are bad for them, it’s often unclear what makes them so dangerous to a person’s health.
Please remember – processed foods are foods that have been altered from their natural state.
Have you ever wondered why a pre-packaged food stays fresh for months, when the same food made from scratch grows moldy in just days? It’s because food manufacturers use man-made ingredients that prolong a product’s shelf life. For instance, trans fats are oils infused with hydrogen. They raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol. Dr. Michael Aziz agrees and so do I. In his book, The Perfect 10 Diet, he writes “Trans fats are really like plastic and when we eat them they incorporate in our cells and the cells cannot communicate or talk to one another. In turn, hormones are disturbed, weight gain follows but more troubling, the risk for heart disease, cancer, stroke and infertility goes way up.” Trans fats are commonly found in commercially fried food and packaged foods, especially baked goods. But you won’t see the phrase, “trans fat” in the list of ingredients. Instead, look for the word, “hydrogenated.”
Please also be aware of labels that claim no trans fats. They’re often still in there, because the FDA allows food with up to a half-gram of trans fat per serving to be labeled “trans fat free.” The problem is, those servings can be small so we eat many servings, and those half-grams add-up.
When Cooking, Go Back to the Basics, and EAT WHOLE FOODS.
Vending machines are often loaded with processed foods. In addition to trans fats, they often contain too much salt, which can cause heart problems and creates a craving for even more salt.
Another addictive ingredient you’ll find in processed foods is high fructose corn syrup, which is linked to obesity and diabetes. Former FDA toxicologist Dr. Dana Flavin says that while sugar is burned and turned into energy, high fructose corn syrup turns into fat, causing what’s known as “fatty liver.” High fructose corn syrup is the main ingredient in soft drinks, but is also hidden in foods like bread and pasta sauce.
Dr. Steven Sinatra, author of Metabolic Cardiology, says that high fructose corn syrup and its chemical cousins, are directly linked to high blood pressure and heart disease, which unfortunately, most doctors treat with medication instead of going to the source. I promise you that adequate exercise, the restriction of simple carbohydrates, sugars and high fructose corn syrup is key to losing weight and being healthy.
In addition, you will want to avoid MSG like the plague! MSG is labeled as hydrolyzed protein, yeast extract, soy protein isolate, spices, natural flavorings, citric acid or anything with the word, “hydrolyzed” or “autolyzed.” These additives can create uclers, migraines and fatigue.
Processed foods not only create health risks, they also make us look old. Although identifying processed foods and removing them from our diet isn’t easy, it may be less troubling than dealing with the health problems they can create. If you want clear, vibrant skin, eat whole foods and consume an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables every day.
The Paige Turner
Do what you say, and say what you mean. Those that mind, dont matter & those that matter, dont mind!
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