“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.
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.
Losing excess weight after the holidays is challenging, especially for people over 40. Nearly everyone faces their body thickening and a slow rise in weight in their 40's. Yes, even people who have always been slim, who eat a healthy diet, and who exercise regularly. Unfortunately, this problem is magnified during the holidays when we tend to overeat high fat and sugar laden meals. But I promise you -- you can lose that excess holiday weight at any age with thermogenic herbs and spices.
Thermogenesis is all about fat burning. Everyone's metabolism increases after eating, but the amounts of heat (thermogenesis) varies, especially for women. Starting in our early 40s, a genetic timer begins to slow down the thermogenic mechanism. Instead of calories being burned off, more of them get stored as white fat, leading to weight gain, especially around the middle.
You can reactivate thermogenesis, and using thermogenic herbs and spices is key. Garcinia cambogia, green tea, mustard seed, turmeric, fennel, cinnamon and ginger are all examples of thermogenic herbs that you can use to stimulate weight loss without health risks.
Please stay tuned for further healthy information about how to drop those added holiday pounds. You will feel better, and look better -- which is always an added bonus! Start the new year off right. You are worth it!
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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