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Stacy Alexander – ARTE CALIFORNIA – Welcome!

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Stacy Alexander

Welcome!

Please enjoy your visit to this blog.

© Stacy Alexander – 2015
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Reproduction or use of the content on this blog restricted without author’s permission.

An Outstanding Vegan Cauliflower Soup Recipe

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 4.59.57 PMThis is one of the best vegan cauliflower soup recipes I have ever tried.  It is very light and low-cal.  If you want to add a potato or two, it will make the soup thicker and creamier, but it is fine without them.

Vegan Creamy Cauliflower Soup
Prep time
15 mins
Cook time
40 mins
Total time
55 mins
Recipe type: dinner, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian
Cuisine: savory, soup
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbl Earth Balance or other vegan oil spread
  • 2 cloves fresh, organic garlic, minced
  • 1 medium organic onion, diced  (I use Walla-Wallas or Videlia’s)
  • 2 stalks of organic celery, diced
  • 1 head of organic cauliflower, chopped
  • 4 cups of vegan chick’n broth, vegetable broth or mushroom broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 Tbl fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 4 slices veggie bacon
  • ½ cup unsweetened, original almond milk
  • ½ cup canned coconut milk
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Directions
  1. In a large stockpot, heat butter over medium heat. Add your garlic and onions and sauté until they’re translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add in your celery and cauliflower and coat with the butter mix, stirring for about 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Add in your broth, bay leaf, rosemary, and thyme, bring to a boil. Reduce heat down and let simmer over medium low heat until your cauliflower is very tender for about 15-20 minutes. In the meantime prepare your tempeh bacon.
  4. Heat olive oil over medium heat and add in your tempeh bacon and cook until crispy for about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Once all your ingredients are tender, remove your bay leaf and discard, and either wait until your soup cools and transfer to a food processor or blender and puree until your soup is at your desired consistency, or use an immersion blender (aka handheld blender), blend until your soup is to your desired consistency.  Chunky is good, if you ask me.
  6. Add in your almond and coconut milk and whisk until thickened, about 1 minute. Taste for salt and pepper. Top with your veggie  bacon, and enjoy!
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Life is a Balance

Life is a balance between holding on and letting go.

Things have changed.

I used to walk into a room and wonder if the people there would like me.  Now, when I walk into a room, I wonder if I will like them.     The need for external validation is not important to me, at this point in life, and I don’t have to actually like someone for them to have value in my life, nor to have value in theirs.  If there is a job to be done, I simply do it.   I have optimized, categorized and am moving full speed ahead.  I am letting go of the negative and embracing those positive relationships that are good.

The relationships that remain are solid.

 I have learned to let go of the people and things that do not serve my best interests…the ones that hurt and deceive me ….and this has really helped me to stay focused and to do  good work.  This has freed up a tremendous amount of emotional and physical energy.   It can be difficult when one lets go of family members or of  people who were once close friends…..but as things turn out, letting go of those with whom your values, ethics, morals and beliefs do not align, can help propel you forward and free you to do what you are best suited to do in life.

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The people that *really* matter to me are functionally in my life, although I am forced to use that  term  (“functionally”)  loosely when referring to one significant person.  That is an unfortunate situation that I cannot talk about here.

I have had to open a blog elsewhere under a nom de plume to record my thoughts and memories concerning that which truly makes my heart sing.   I was being stalked and maligned so badly that it just wasn’t worth it to me any longer to write about it here, plus the person in question was being battered every other day because of my unhampered expressions of love and joy.  Just not worth it.

The solution was simple.  I let go of the drama and embraced all of the many good things that I hold so close to my heart and things have never been better.  I now sing about my happiness to other audiences and I go to bed every night with a smile on my face, knowing that I am loved.                                   

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My husband has returned to Portland, full time, from the Bay Area and we have immersed ourselves into a plethora of creativity.  His health is much better than it was, even a year ago.  He attributes this to our being together so much of the time now.  I am watchful over is health, feed him good, home-cooked food and make sure he gets lots of exercise.  He seems so happy, and I’m glad he is home. He is writing plays and working with a partner on creating original musical scores for his plays.  I have the biggest art commission of my life,  am working on my novel every day.  I have successfully completed the composition of two country and western songs that will soon be ready to shop.  I  and am putting a new business together and am also spending lots of time with Ingrid in these last days before she is immersed into French school.  I am thoroughly enjoying the wonderful city where we live.  John and I are reorganizing our home and getting rid of possessions that we no longer need.  Everything is about moving ahead and being happy.

Everything that we are doing,  together and individually, can be either directly or indirectly attributed to making the best choices about letting go of the dead weight of the crazies.  I cannot believe I ever hesitated.

Life is so uncomplicated now.  Why didn’t I make these decisions years ago?

Ann Coulter, the Vile Spewer of Hatred, Gets Taken Down a Notch or Seven

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After Ann Coulter referred to President Obama as a “retard” in a tweet during Monday night’s presidential debate, Special Olympics athlete and global messenger John Franklin Stephens penned her this open letter:


Dear Ann Coulter,

Come on Ms. Coulter, you aren’t dumb and you aren’t shallow. So why are you continually using a word like the R-word as an insult? I’m a 30 year old man with Down syndrome who has struggled with the public’s perception that an intellectual disability means that I am dumb and shallow. I am not either of those things, but I do process information more slowly than the rest of you. In fact it has taken me all day to figure out how to respond to your use of the R-word last night. I thought first of asking whether you meant to describe the President as someone who was bullied as a child by people like you, but rose above it to find a way to succeed in life as many of my fellow Special Olympians have. Then I wondered if you meant to describe him as someone who has to struggle to be thoughtful about everything he says, as everyone else races from one snarkey sound bite to the next. Finally, I wondered if you meant to degrade him as someone who is likely to receive bad health care, live in low grade housing with very little income and still manages to see life as a wonderful gift. Because, Ms. Coulter, that is who we are – and much, much more. After I saw your tweet, I realized you just wanted to belittle the President by linking him to people like me. You assumed that people would understand and accept that being linked to someone like me is an insult and you assumed you could get away with it and still appear on TV. I have to wonder if you considered other hateful words but recoiled from the backlash. Well, Ms. Coulter, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor. No one overcomes more than we do and still loves life so much. Come join us someday at Special Olympics. See if you can walk away with your heart unchanged.

A friend you haven’t made yet,
John Franklin Stephens
Global Messenger Special Olympics Virginia

“You’re Not Getting Enough Vitamin D”

A few years ago, we had a particularly dark winter here in Portland and I found myself with some real blues.   I made an appointment to see my doctor who informed me that I was far from the only one.  She said, “I’m willing to bet you’re not getting enough Vitamin D.”  She went on to tell me that virtually everyone who doesn’t walk around in the sun naked most of the time, is probably also Vitamin D deficient.   She asked me if I’d like her to prescribe an antidepressant.  I told her I’d rather up my daily dosage of Vitamin D.  It worked….and it worked quickly.

In the video below, Michael Holick, MD, discusses vitamin D relating to bone and muscle health and the prevention of autoimmune and chronic diseases.   Very interesting stuff.  Watch it.  It will compel you to get your D levels tested.  I assure you.

If You Are A Regular Smoker of Tobacco You Are a Drug Addict

Why has availability and use of tobacco continued in spite the medical evidence that it is a health risk?  It’s because Nicotine is a powerful drug and smokers of tobacco are drug addicts in exactly the same way that junkies that shoot up heroin are also drug addicts.  In terms of drug abuse, it is the same thing, legal or not.  If you are a regular smoker of tobacco, you are a drug addict.  End of story.

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The United States became  ‘addicted’ to the revenues produced by taxes placed upon tobacco products, which is why the fed has not stopped its production.  It is all about the money…..and if you continue to smoke, you are not only a drug addict, you are also contributing to corruption.   Gee, you must be SO proud of yourself!

  “As an instrument of financial policy tobacco is unique. It is not clear why this should be, but the tradition is now well established. In fact tobacco has two distinct functions, one as a consumable article and the other as a revenue earner, which at times appears to secure conflicting official treatment” (Akehurst, 1981, p15).

The dishonest tobacco industry has fought the professional medical studies, informed opinions,  and the interpretation of the data relating to health. They have established a set of strategies to counter the news from the medical community and, of course, druggies (tobacco addicts) do everything in their power to continue to help the tobacco industry along….BECAUSE THEY ARE DRUG ADDICTS.  Drug addicts love their drugs.  They will rationalize their drug addiction until the end of time, BECAUSE they are addicts.  They will downplay things by reminding us that like gun ownership, smoking is a personal choice.  Really?  I beg to differ.  Most drug addicts can’t just stop their addictions.  It costs big money to get off of drugs….and much more willpower than the typical smoker has.

The current anti-tobacco climate started with medical and scientific research that links tobacco use to a wide variety of health problems.   These health problems are often left as responsibilities to the smokers’ family members.  They count on family and friends to care for them when they get sick, and they bleed government resources because their illnesses are serious.  The first action of the tobacco industry after all of this negative information came out about smoking,  was, of course,  to dispute the research findings. They still do it….and the stupid smokers just keep on puffing….

The images conveyed is that tobacco industry leaders are these well educated, concerned professionals that cautiously examine all of the issues. They will not let hysteria or public opinion sway or cloud their judgement. “We also believe that until scientific research can establish what actually causes the diseases with which smoking has been statistically associated, it would be unfair to advocate any law prohibiting the sale of cigarettes” (RJ Reynolds, 1987).

Based upon the apparent definition of cause or proof none of the 40,000  (!!!) or so research studies on the tobacco and ill health link seem to live up to the definition of “harm” as defined by the tobacco industry leaders.  Smokers are just as bad.  The drug that is Nicotine enables them to safely deny…deny….deny….and one of the things that they deny is the fact that if they smoke, THEY ARE DRUG ADDICTS.

You can look at a picture of a heroin addict and see how horrible he or she looks, but for some reason, the addict never has an accurate idea of what THEIR drug addictions are doing to them.  Here are some ways in which smoking contributes to making people ugly:

Bags under the eyes

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If you smoke, you’re four times as likely as nonsmokers to report feeling unrested after a night’s sleep, according to Johns Hopkins study. Nightly nicotine withdrawal can cause one to toss and turn while trying to sleep.

 Psoriasis

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To be fair, psoriasis is an autoimmune-related skin condition that can show up even if you never touch a cigarette……BUT   if you do smoke, your risk for the scaly skin condition goes up—a lot.  I know one smoker that uses an app called, Facetune” to erase all of her wrinkles because the smoking has ravaged her skin and she has to look better for her selfies.  I am assured by her roommate that she does NOT look all peachy in person.

According to a 2007 study, if you smoke a pack a day for 10 years or less, psoriasis risk goes up 20%; 11–20 years and your risk is 60% higher; and for those who pass the two-decade mark, the psoriasis risk more than doubles. (Even secondhand smoke during pregnancy or childhood is linked to a higher risk.)

 Ugly Teeth and Receding Gums

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The nicotine in cigarettes that can stain teeth and also contribute to receding gums. So in addition to the escalating costs of buying and smoking cigarettes,  add in the cost of tooth whitening. A professional procedure to clean your teeth costs an average of $500 to $1,000.  However, if your gums are also receding, as is the case with a certain smoker that  I know of, the whitest teeth in the universe won’t improve your appearance.

Sure, smoking gives you stinky breath. But did you know that, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), nearly half of all smokers will suffer from gum disease and that the preponderance of them will lose teeth by the time they’re 65? It’s true.  Oh, and have you heard that according to the American Cancer Society 90 percent of all the people who suffer from oral cancers (mouth, lips, tongue, throat) are smokers?   Yup….and the majority of time, their spouses, children and the Federal Government PAY for their care.  What a selfish, selfish thing to do to one’s family and country.  It is downright abusive and unpatriotic!

While both of those effects may take a while to manifest, the yellowing of your teeth becomes readily apparent. Here’s why. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that the 4,000 toxic chemicals found in tar deposit a “sticky residue” on the surface of your teeth. Couple that with the fact that the same chemicals coat your teeth with plaque and your (formerly) pearly whites don’t stand a chance.

Yeah, but surely those stains can be easily removed, right? Not completely. According to the ADA, the discoloration caused by tar and other chemicals in the tobacco are harder to remove than other stains because the smoke actually penetrates the tooth enamel.

If the fear of yellow (or no) teeth doesn’t propel you to quit, how about a hairy tongue? (That’s not a typo.) Hairy tongue or black tongue is a condition that arises in heavy smokers when the cells on their tongue stop their normal shedding patterns. It results in an overgrowth of bacteria and the appearance of dark hair-like growths that are a combination of fungi and old skin cells. Enough said.

Premature Wrinkles and Aging

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 Experts agree that smoking accelerates aging, so that smokers look 3-5  years older than nonsmokers, on average.  Why the wrinkles?  Cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide, which deprives your skin of oxygen making it lackluster and dull. Also, nicotine, (the addictive troublemaker that it is) restricts blood vessels, which slows down blood, oxygen and nutrient flow to your skin leaving it sallow and dry. And, to make matters worse, because smoking damages your lungs and other body parts, most of your body’s vitamin C supply is dispatched to help try and repair the harm to those parts leaving little, if any, left over to fix your skin, which is a lesser man on the totem pole.

Thinning Hair

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Experts agree that the chemicals in smoke are so toxic that they wither/damage hair follicles. And Dr. Wilma F. Bergfeld, head of clinical research in the department of dermatology at the Cleveland Clinic, says that smoking also constricts blood vessels and hampers circulation, which prematurely ages those same follicles. The result? Smokers are twice as likely as non-smokers to have thinning strands. Add in the fact that smoking also increases the levels of DHT (a hormone that is a major contributor to hair loss) and you may be shopping for Rogaine before you know it.

Ok….now about stopping….

The best essential oils for quitting smoking

I am an advocate of using natural healing remedies for many, many different things.   More and more evidence is accruing that suggests the effectiveness of essential oils.   There are certain essential oils that are shown to be quite effective when trying to stop smoking.  One of the most scientifically substantiated options is the essential oil of black pepper.  This is the one to use for those horrible cravings that cause you to fail time after time, when you attempt to stop.   Black pepper actually simulates the feeling of smoking, which in turn curbs your cravings.

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In fact, there have been studies showing that black pepper essential oils effectively helped smokers decrease their cravings. One study in particular investigated the effects of a cigarette substitute providing a vapor of black pepper essential oil. A few details from the study:

  • 48 cigarette smokers took part in an overnight deprivation session.
  • There were three conditions where participants smoked the following out of a device: black pepper oil cartridge, mint/menthol cartridge, and an empty cartridge.
  • Cigarette cravings were greatly reduced in the black pepper condition.
  • Symptoms of anxiety were also lessened in the group that inhaled the black pepper essential oil.

In another study published by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 20 nicotine users (including cigarettes, snuff, and chewing tobacco) were asked to try aromatherapy instead. Those who inhaled the black pepper oil  went significantly longer without a craving than those who did not partake in the oil.

To Help Reduce Related Smoking Cessation Stress-

Rub Lavender Oil or Doterra Grounding Blend on back of neck or rub on feet.
Put a drop of Lavender Oil on pillow before going to bed.
Diffuse Calming Oil Blend in the air or rub Grounding Blend on the bottom of your feet. Since it’s on your hands, cup your hands over your mouth and breathe in deeply.

Now….STOP SMOKING!  Stop being a drug addict, smoker!  You won’t regret it!

The Sexiest Thing I Have Ever Seen in My Entire Life

I kid you not.  I almost fainted when I watched this the first time.  It is divine….in every possible way.

The Connection Between Second Hand Smoke and Chronic Back Pain

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 3.22.49 PMI find it difficult to fathom that anyone is still stupid enough to smoke in this day and age, but some still do.   See that woman with the crow’s feet?  She smokes.  See the man with the bags under his eyes?  So does he.    After viewing the damage that smoking can do to the human body, it is my informed opinion that smoking is a selfish, narcissistic indulgence that burdens our society and the smoker’s family members with trying to pick up the pieces left by the smoker’s damage on the planet and to his or her body.

If every smoker had to be responsible for all of the related health care costs, he or she might give it a second thought….but no.  Some people are interested only in themselves, and to hell with their children, who have to watch their parents die from lung cancer….and to hell with their partners and spouses whose own health fails because of this narcissistic indulgence.   Yuck.  Those yellow teeth!  Those receding gums.  Smoking is disgusting!  Simply put, smokers are drug addicts.  Nicotine is a very powerful drug.  It is addictive.  If you are a smoker, you are addicted to a drug and this places you in the exact same category as other drug users, only, because the tobacco industry has financed their way through legislation, smoking cigarettes is not illegal….but it should be.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 1.01.35 PMThe above photo reminds me SO MUCH of a certain smoker that I know!

Do you live with a smoker?  This is a question that my chiro asked me the other day.  I answered, “No, I don’t….but I live near smokers….my neighbors, and I am frequently subjected to their smoke while I work.”

So now, I ask you.  Do you have a back ache?   I did, and that is why I went to see my chiropractor.    He told me this:

The smoker’s stupidity may not only be harming the smoker’s own body. It may, and probably is,  also harming yours.  Among the chronic diseases that second hand smoke can cause, that person’s smoke could actually be causing you body pain because it causes inflammation of the tissues surrounding and supporting  your spine and other bones. Second hand smoke can induce inflammation in the body and cause all kinds of body aches, including chronic back pain. Once the tissues that surround the spine become inflamed, back injuries are much more likely to occur.   Stress, lack of exercise, genetic predisposition, and exposure to toxins (like the secondhand tobacco smoke) can also contribute to chronic inflammation, but second hand smoke can be a dangerous culprit.

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Those who have to endure unpleasant, stinky second hand smoke not only have to look at the ugly yellow teeth, receding gums, pocked skin and early-developing crows feet and wrinkles that the smoker has. They also frequently suffer real pain because of that smoker’s selfish narcissistic addiction.  Smoking is TOTALLY self-centered!  It benefits no one, and if you find yourself growing pissed off as you read this, then you must be a smoker, you drug addict, you.

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 3.27.09 PMIf you live with a smoker, you must do what you can to protect yourself.  There are dietary selections that you can make that can make a big difference in your own health, in terms of inflammation.

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Studies have suggested that vitamin E may play a key role in protecting the body from pro-inflammatory molecules called cytokines.  An excellent source of this vitamin is dark green veggies, such as  kale, broccoli, spinach and collard greens. Dark greens and cruciferous vegetables , such as Brussels sprouts and broccoli, also tend to have higher concentrations of the kinds of vitamins and minerals that you need, such as calcium, iron, and disease-fighting phytochemicals—than those with lighter-colored leaves.

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Foods high in saturated fat can exacerbate  inflammation big time. “Foods that are high in saturated fats  cause over-activity in the immune system, which can lead to joint pain, fatigue, and damage to the blood vessels,” this from Scott Zashin, MD, who is a clinical professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

  • Eat a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, such as seeds, beans, walnuts and winter squash.

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  • Watch your intake of refined carbohydrates such as pasta and white rice.
  • Eat plenty of whole grains such as brown rice and bulgur wheat.                    oil pulling

Consuming most of your grains as whole grains, as opposed to refined, white bread, cereal, rice, and pasta can help keep harmful inflammation at bay. That’s because whole grains have more fiber, which has been shown to reduce levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation in the blood, and they usually have less added sugar. However, a 2013 Harvard study found that not all products labeled “whole grain” are much healthier than their refined counterparts. To be sure you’re getting the benefits, look for foods with a whole grain as the first ingredient, and no added sugars.

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  • Eat lean protein sources such as quinoa, buckwheat, hempseed, chia, soy, mycroprotein (Quorn) (my fav), rice and beans, seitan, hummus and pita or peanut butter.
  • Avoid refined foods and processed foods.

    Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 3.52.14 PM                       oil pulling

  • Spice it up. Ginger, curry, and other spices can have an anti-inflammatory effect. Turmeric is one of the best! My naturopath recommends a tablespoon of turmeric in a cup of almond milk, heated and stirred until dissolved. While some hit the wine bottles at night, this turmeric drink is my before-bedtime beverage.

There are certain essential oils that also help with inflammation. You can buy any or all of these oils here at AJHAN LIFE.

1. Chamomile – Chamomile is best known for its effective anti-inflammatory properties. This oil helps to relieve muscle pain and spasms, low back pain, headaches and pain caused by PMS.

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2. Sweet marjoram – iSweet marjoram is the oil to use when you just feel like chilling, because it has sedative properties. This oil aids in relieving muscle pain and spasms, stiffness, rheumatism, osteoarthritis and migraine.

  1. Lavender – Lavender is one of my personal favorites and is probably the most famous essential oil for pain relief and relaxation. It has great anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and sedative properties and it also helps relieve muscle tension and spasms, joint pain and headache.

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  1. Eucalyptus – Eucalyptuc has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is excellent for muscle pain and nerve pain. Caution: Use this oil in very small quantities.
  2. Peppermint – Peppermint is great for muscle and joint pain, headache and nerve pain.

6. Rosemary – Rosemary has analgesic and antispasmodic properties. You can use it for relieving back pain, muscle and joint pain and headaches.

7. Thyme – Thyme is an antispasmodic that is good for joint and muscle pain as well as backaches.

8. Clary sage – Clary sage has calming and soothing properties, as well as anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, it helps to ease muscle tension, spasms and PMS pain. This is another oil that should be used in small quantities.  It can be used for many different things, such as mood swings and emotional stress, to name a couple.  This is most often used by women, but recent research shows beneficial properties for men as well.

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9. Sandalwood – h, how I love Sandlewood! This oil relieves muscle spasms. One of sandalwood’s most important uses is to sedate the nervous system, so it helps to reduce nerve pain.

10. Juniper – Juniper is an oil with antispasmodic properties. It helps relieve nerve pain, joint and muscle aches and spasms.

11. Ginger – Ginger can be used to ease back pain. It also improves mobility, and can be used to treat arthritic and rheumatic pain, muscle pain and sprains.

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12. Frankincense – Beautiful, miraculous Frankincense, also known as “liquid gold”,  has anti-inflammatory properties and also acts as a mild sedative. Use this oil to alleviate stress and relieve pain.  I continually burn Frankincense, Myrrh and Sandalwood in my diffuser.

13. Yarrow – Yarrow is a powerful restorative and analgesic pain reliever that has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. It is excellent for muscle and joint aches and pains.

14. Wintergreen – Wintergreen this is not a well known essential oil, but it’s very effective to treat painful conditions including headache, nerve pain, arthritis and menstrual cramps. This essential oil is created by steam distilling the leaves, and it contains a very high percentage of methyl salicylate. This oil has pain-relieving properties similar to aspirin (salicylate is the principal component of aspirin).

15. Vetiver – not very known in the west, vetiver has been used since ancient times in Ayurvedic medicine. Vetiver essential oil is extracted from the roots of a grass known as Vetiveria zizanoides which belongs to the same botanical family as lemongrass and citronella. It brings relief to general aches and pains, especially for rheumatism, arthritis and muscular pain and headache.

  1. Helichrysum – this essential oil is quite expensive and valued for its pain relive properties. It has anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and analgesic properties. It helps to relieve arthritis pain and supports the nervous system. Pain relief reported by most users happens nearly instantly – certainly within minutes of application.

While you can use any of these oils on their own, it is also beneficial to blend up to three oils together. Don’t apply essential oils directly on the skin, but dilute it first with a carrier oil such as olive oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, etc.

Bath soak – good to soothe tired, aching muscles, relieve arthritis and rheumatism. Put a few drops of essential oil in a hot bath (you can also add 2-3 cups of Epsom salt to enhance the effect). It’s a good idea to mix the essential oil drops in a small amount of carrier oil first and then add to the bath.

Massage oil – use about 10 drops of essential oil per 1 ounce of carrier oil and massage this oil blend into any body part where your muscles are sore.

Hot or cold compress – According to the webmd website there is some evidence that heat can help decrease low back pain. Although there is little proof that cold will help, some people do find that heat or cold help them: apply heat, such as hot pack, for 15-20 minutes at a time. Ice and cold packs can relieve pain, swelling, and inflammation from injuries and other conditions such as arthritis. You may also want to try switching between heat and cold. Use heat for 15-20 minutes, then a few hours later use ice for 10 to 15 minutes.

To make hot compress take about a pint of hot water, as warm as you can comfortably tolerate, and add about 4 drops of your selected essential oil to it. Then place a small towel on top of the water and let it soak it up. Next squeeze the excess water and place it over the painful area. A cold compress is made exactly the same as the hot compress, but ice or refrigerated water is used instead of the hot water, and the compress is replaced when it has heated up to body temperature.

Doterra also makes a great “Icy Hot” type rub that contains their own blend of some of the oils mentioned above. It is really great for chronic back pain. It is called Deep Blue Rub and can also be purchased at AJHAN LIFE.

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Do what you can to avoid second hand smoke and those who are dumb enough to still smoke in this age of information. Eat good, whole foods, get plenty of exercise and take care of yourself!  Smoking is just stupid.

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 3.53.36 PMPoor widdle loser smoker.  yuck!  You is a drug addict.  Get help!

Oatmeal, anyone? An Evening with Ottmar Liebert

When my daughter was small, she would refer to Flamenco guitarist, Ottmar Liebert as “Oatmeal”.  “Listening to Oatmeal again, Mom?”  she would ask.

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Last night, we were treated to two hours of this graceful guitarist’s skilled execution of some of the most incredible music I have ever heard.  Liebert was joined by bassist, Jon Gagon and percussionist, Chris Steele.  They had definite chemistry, and put on an ideal show in an intimate Portland venue in the Alberta Arts District.

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© Stacy Alexander

Ottmar Liebert is what guitar playing is all about.  He is in tune with his craft to the point that it seemed, at times, that he and the guitar were one instrument.  He was graceful, and seemed comfortable in his own skin, playing, most of the time, barefoot, with his eyes closed, seemingly oblivious to his surroundings, riding the waves of his own creations.   I believe he was playing a small DeVoe guitar, but it didn’t have any markings on it that I could see, so I’m not certain that is what it was.

Since 1986 Liebert has lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 1992 he purchased an “alt-ranchette” just outside the city, with an adobe guesthouse he built as a recording studio.  In May 2006 Liebert was ordained as a Zen monk by Dennis Genpo Merzel at the Kanzeon Zen Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.  He had a very strong presence….one of peace and goodness.  Both John and I sensed this immediately as we watched him.

(I couldn’t get the video of Luna Negra to embed.  This video (above) is an earlier performance.)

I have been unable to find a video of Jon Gagnon, his bassist, but will post one here, if i do later.  He  was simply put, rock solid in every way.  Jon had a huge presence and voice on a 4 string fretless which sang like an baritone opera singer…or, at times, a French horn.  I couldn’t figure out what one of his bass instruments was at all it.  The one shown here was huge, and had a EB-like headstock and a body shape of something like a JP and a morsh.   Its  tone was full of mwah, but soulful and crying. The  fretboard was  coated with something shiny. I’d not seen anything like it before.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.54.47 AMThe drummer, Chris Steele, was not to be believed.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.57.15 AMI did find a video of Chris playing, and I encourage you to watch it.  He is truly a unique player, and fantastically talented.

There is a video on YouTube that I couldn’t manage to embed here.  Please look it up.  It is called “Good Drums, Bad Turtleneck” by Chris Steele.  This is the video to watch to really see this man’s talent.  You can find it here:

https://youtu.be/rLBjX8fkcyQ

The Alberta Rose Theater is a sweet little venue….very small and intimate, which was the perfect place to hear a trio such as this.  John and I ate the venue’s delicious  hand pies and sipped Perrier as we basked in the warmth and beauty that these musicians presented to us. We had such a nice evening.   These guys are  true professionals…plain and simple.  They were tight, knew exactly what they were doing, and provided the audience with an amazing show.  ’nuff said.  Well…no….NOT enough said, actually.

As I was sitting there watching these incredible musicians, I though about my dear friend, another musician, and felt so sad that his life has taken the path that it has.  It could have been him up there on that stage last night….but as they say…”When you lie with pigs….”  He has made some not-so-wise choices.   I’ll leave it at that.

On Being Politically Correct

It’s Official! 

There is no greater feeling in life than accomplishing a goal that one has worked hard to achieve….well, maybe seeing my daughter receive HER masters degree was a greater feeling, but this is a significant personal milestone and I’m feeling pretty good about it today.  Congratulations, me. 😀  

Best thing for Aches and Pains

This stuff is great. It contains all natural essential oils and works very quickly for minor aches and pains such as pulled or strained muscles. I recommend it to all my friends, who, without fail, sing its praises after using it.  It smells heavenly, too.    It is expensive..$29 a container….but worth every penny.  I assure you.     CLICK HERE to buy your own from Ajhan Life. 

The Control Dramas of Other People

How to Build Immunity to Other People’s Control Dramas

 

drama

By  Julian Websdale

Many people go through their lives in a constant hunt for someone else’s energy. It is unconscious in many people. All they know is that when they control others they feel better. What they don’t realise is that this sense of feeling better costs the other person. It is their energy that is stolen.

Manipulation for other people’s energy can happen either aggressively, directly forcing people to pay attention to them, or passively, playing on people’s sympathy or curiosity to gain attention.

So first, let’s look at the main ways control dramas are played out.

The Intimidator

If someone threatens you, either verbally or physically, then you are forced, for fear of something bad happening to you, to pay attention to them and so to give them energy. The person threatening you would be pulling you into the most aggressive kind of control drama – the intimidator.

 

Poor Me

If, on the other hand, someone tells you all the horrible things that are already happening to them, implying perhaps that you are responsible, and that, if you refuse to help, these horrible things are going to continue, then this person is seeking to control at the most passive level – a “poor me” drama.

Think about this for a moment. Haven’t you ever been around someone who makes you feel guilty when you’re in their presence, even though you know there is no reason to feel this way? It’s because you have entered the drama world of a “poor me”. Everything they say and do puts you in a place where you have to defend against the idea that you’re not doing enough for this person. That’s why you feel guilty just being around them.

The Interrogator

An interrogator is another kind of drama. People who use this means of gaining energy, set up a drama of asking questions and probing into another person’s world with the specific purpose of finding something wrong. Once they do so, they criticise this aspect of the other’s life. If this strategy succeeds then the person being criticized is pulled into the drama. They suddenly find themselves becoming self-conscious around the interrogator and paying attention to what the interrogator is doing and thinking about, so as not to do something wrong that the interrogator would notice. This psychic deference gives the interrogator the energy he desires. Think about the times you have been around someone like this. When you get caught up in this drama, don’t you tend to act a certain way so that the person won’t criticize you? They pull you off your own path and drain your energy because you judge yourself by what they might be thinking.

Aloof Drama

Another way of trying to get energy coming their way is by playing the aloof drama. This involves withdrawing and looking mysterious and secretive. They tell themselves they’re being cautious but what they’re really doing is hoping you will be pulled into this drama and will try to figure out what’s going on with them. When you do, they remain vague, forcing you to struggle and dig and try to discern their true feelings. As you do so, you give them your full attention and that sends your energy to them. The longer they can keep you interested and mystified, the more energy they receive.

Passive or aggressive?

Anyone’s drama can be examined according to where it falls on the spectrum, from aggressive to passive. If a person is subtle in their aggression, finding fault and slowly undermining your world in order to get your energy, then this person would be an interrogator. Less passive than the “poor me” would be the aloofness drama.

The order of dramas, from aggressive to passive, goes this way:  intimidator,  interrogator,  aloof,  poor me.

Some people use more than one in different circumstances, but most people who try to engage you in control  dramas have one dominant drama type that they tend to repeat, depending on which one worked well on the members of their early family. A person goes to whatever extreme necessary to get attention energy in their family. And after that, this strategy becomes their dominant way of controlling to get energy from everyone, the drama they constantly repeat.

Building Immunity to Control Dramas

The first step in the process of  becoming immune  is to bring control dramas into full consciousness – by pointing them out as soon as they are identified. In order to see how a control drama was formed, each person must go back into their past, back into early family life. Seeing its inception keeps a person’s way of controlling in consciousness. Remember, most of our family members were operating in a drama themselves, trying to pull energy out of us as children. This is why we had to form a control drama in the first place. We had to have a strategy to win energy back.

If you are a child and someone is draining your energy by threatening you with bodily harm, then being aloof doesn’t work. They are not interested in what’s going on inside you. They’re coming on too strong. So you’re forced to become more passive and to try the “poor me” approach, appealing to the mercy of the person, guilt tripping them about the harm they are doing. If this doesn’t work, then, as a child you endure until you are big enough to explode against the violence and fight aggression with aggression.

Imagine you are a child and your family members are either not there or ignore you because they are preoccupied with their careers or something. Playing aloof would not get their attention; they wouldn’t notice. You would have to resort to probing and prying and finally finding something wrong in these aloof people in order to force attention and energy. This is what an interrogator does.

Therefore, aloof people create interrogators, and interrogators make people aloof. Intimidators create the “poor me” approach, or if this fails, another intimidator. This is how control dramas perpetuate themselves. When faced with someone’s control drama, one can stay immune to it by 1) identifying it and pointing it out, and 2) avoid acting in any way which resembles its corresponding counterpart control drama.

Invitations

Reference:

Redfield, J. (1994).  The Celestine Prophecy.  London: Bantam Books.

Day #28 – Looking In