A friend of mine shared this article and I felt it was a wonderful story and certainly is relatable to my own journey. Hopefully others will resonate with it, and if not, that is okay too. Spiritual development happens at different levels and directions, and at different times in our lives. There is no one single answer for us all and certainly not at the exact same point in our lives do we share an "ah-ha!" moment. We don't turn 30 and all of a sudden begin a spiritual journey, it is part of natural law, we have the freedom to make this choice, at any point of our lives to begin a spiritual journey, but it's been my observation that spiritual enlightenment, or at least a path to enlightenment, chooses us. It's my personal belief that willingness and desire are what attract it. The desire to better one's life and the willingness to accept the path or opportunities presented to me by the universe which will bring me towards my goal of having a 'better' life is paramount. This may sound vague to some, but essentially what it means is, if I want a happier existence, I need to define what that means to me, what is happiness to me? Once I have a cleaner and clearer understanding of what happiness means to me, then I have set the clear desire for it, because I have defined it. The next thing I do is become willing. Willingness can't be bought, it comes from within. Willingness means I am open to hearing, seeing, living, and accepting all possibilities the universe may present to me. Once I have defined what my happiness is, the universe will provide it, absolutely, but I can not define the path which the universe will provide it to me. Not only will the universe provide a path for me to take to obtain my happiness, it will provide several. It is up to me to choose one, or more, of those paths. I must stay open and willing to try, willing to trust. Often times, the path to 'my happiness' is the farthest, least obvious plan I could have ever imagined, and often it will APPEAR to be a painful, treacherous, and scary path. But this is ONLY MY perception of the universes path for me, it often is not as scary as I thought, and it is ALWAYS rewarding. This has been my experience, and others have shared this understanding of universal laws and energy. When I say enlightenment 'chooses us', I don't mean we lay around and enlightenment just picks people randomly who 'deserve it'. It takes action on my part, and by action, I mean desire and willingness. Once I do this, then, when opportunities present themselves, I can seize them, we ATTRACT opportunities through desire and willingness, this is how spirituality chooses us. In this article, this man's wonderful experience is shared with us. He say's his 8 second experience wasn't 'enlightenment', but showed him a glimpse, a teaching about enlightenment. It makes sense. I would love to hear any comments or stories other's have experienced that resonate or are similar to this mans experience, feel free to share them below or email me. Thank you for reading, have an enlightened day! Story: http://www.angelfire.com/space2/light11/epilog.html
Goji Berries are native to China and have been enjoyed for centuries for their health properties. In Tibetan tradition, it is said, "Eat one goji berry a day and live forever." Of course, these statements have not been supported with scientific data nor approved by the FDA, since no one seems to 'live forever', but it's the sentiment that counts. And fortunately, the FDA doesn't have control over what is said in Tibet, so the culture and tradition lives on. But just because it isn't necessarily true, doesn't discredit ALL the potential power and benefits of this little fruit. Goji Berries are very high in antioxidants much like other berries and red or purple fruits like cherries, acai, cranberries, and blueberries, etc. We understand antioxidants play an important role in helping to prevent cancers and diseases such as heart disease, but the Goji Berry is also very high in Vitamin A, which is attributed to anti-aging benefits. Immune and vision support are also associated with this berry. Goji berries can be found fresh, frozen, or dried, like a raisin, but may sometimes be difficult to find in your average grocer. Check out this link to order some if you have trouble finding them at your alternative grocer.
Many people don't realize but it is very easy to cause damage to our teeth and gums if we brush too hard or if we use a toothbrush with firm bristles. It may not feel like we are cleaning well enough, but always use a soft or ultra soft brush, and brush lightly in circular motions. The reason for this is because when we brush too firmly or when we brush in a linear back and forth pattern, we can create notches in our gum lines which can lead to irritation and gum recession. It can also cause harmful wear to our enamel, creating cracks and breakage. Also, it is important to change your toothbrush every 3 months, no longer, as the bristles wear down and become a bacteria breeding ground. Dental care is definitely a system of balance. Daily flossing, brushing, rinsing, along with 2-3 annual cleanings are the minimums for balanced dental care. I will post more about proper dental habits in the future, so stay tuned. If you would like more info on proper care, check out this link- it has some great tips from how to floss, how to brush, and what kind of toothpaste to use. If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, schedule a visit with my good friend Dr. Paul Tan, he definitively the most caring and knowledgeable general and cosmetic dentist in his field.
"People are as happy as they make up their minds to be"-Ab Lincoln is quoted saying this remarkable truth. But what does it mean exactly? Does it mean we choose to be happy or discontent? Essentially it does. But he's not saying suppress, deny, or hide your feelings, he's speaking of a matter of choice of circumstance and reaction. For me, a part of this means, what exactly am I dwelling on? What thoughts are making up my general mood? Being sad because of a loosing something or a loved one, is a valid emotional response, mourn it. But if I continue dwell on what is wrong with my life and never dwell on what is right, then how can I ever be happy? This is what I mean by general mood, my day to day responses to my surroundings. If I constantly choose to see what is going 'wrong' with my life, then I ignore what is 'right' with my life. A conscious shift is what is generally needed. It's an exercise. Learning to see what is wrong is a habit, and like all habits, took time to develop. So if I aim to make my mind up to be happier, then I need to develop the habit of correcting the old habit. This means being aware of when I am thinking about what is going wrong in my life. When I start to think a negative thought such as this, I need to stop myself, take a moment, and find something to reverse the habit, ie, find something that is going right in my life and think about that instead. Give it a try. Again, it's a habit, and it will take time to implement, but you will see if you work at it, you will see a difference. You will see you are naturally seeing things which are going 'right' in your life. In fact, you may begin to see just how many amazing things are always happening in your favor all the time!
If you have never had the opportunity to try Kombucha, do try to find some. Kombucha is a sweetened tea which has been fermented with yeast. The culmination of these ingredients, specifically bacteria and yeast, produce a live culture that is often referred to as a 'mushroom', this colony generally floats at the top of the container. Generally, black tea is used as a base and 1 cup of sugar is used per gallon batches. After a period of time, the tea ferments more, creating an effervescent beverage. Some brands of Kombucha will have lighter or stronger taste depending on how long it was allowed to ferment. Many of the Kombuchas offered in stores are flavored, offering a wide variety including my favorites Asian Pear and Ginger, pictured above, or another brand favorite is G.T. Kambucha Synergy Gingerberry Mix. There are many claims, some hypothetical, and some scientifically supported, as to how beneficial this elixir is. I've been drinking it for ten years and I absolutely love it. It's an acquired taste. The first couple times I drank it, I sipped it, but as I begin to try different flavors and different strengths, I found my favorites. Kombucha is considered a Live Food, and is pack full of digestive enzymes, organic acids, amino acids, and polyphenols. These healthful bacterias, enzymes, and acids help to detox the body and stimulate healthy digestion. Some of the acids help to prevent certain cancers as well, including glucaric acid. I recommend enjoying a bottle of Kombucha a couple times a month as a delicious way to promote internal wellness.
Quinoa is a another super-food which I suggest for many people who suffer from food allergies or deficiencies. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is a grain-like crop of which the seeds are edible. However, it is more closely related to beets and spinach, rather than being a member of a grain or grass species. Because of it's grain-like qualities, it can be used as a substitute for grains. It can be purchased whole and prepared like oatmeal, or rice. It's also neutral in flavor so it can be seasoned to suit savory or sweet meals. It can also be found as ground meal, known as 'Quinoa Flour' and can be used for baking. But the true benefits of this super-food come from it's nutritional punch. First, quinoa is gluten free, it's not a grain, it's grain-like. Second, it's very high in protein, and it's a complete protein, meaning it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids necessary for humans. Other non-meat proteins such as legumes(beans) may contain some but not all of the 9 essential amino acids, and hence may not support all biological functions of the body. Most meats contain this correct portion and quinoa matches this. In addition to being a source of complete protein, it also is very high in calcium, making this a strong staple for anyone who is Vegan or lactose intolerant. It is also a good source of dietary fiber and iron. If you would like some great Quinoa recipe ideas, check out this link.
Phytochemicals are another great gift from nature. They occur in fruits and vegetables and are organoleptic, meaning, they are responsible for certain aspects in food which our senses experience. The purple color of grapes, the smell of garlic or onion, the taste of a kiwi, etc, these unique qualities of a fruit or vegetable are experienced by our different senses and are produced by phytochemicals. According to estimations, there are around 10,000 different phytochemicals, and they are a special gift to us not only because they delight our senses, but because of their positive affects on diseases such as cancer and stroke, as well as immune function, and thyroid function. It is important to understand when food is processed, it can lose some or all of it's phytochemical compound. This means boxed, canned, packaged foods containing fruits or vegetables. For example, a boxed vegetarian lasagna frozen dinner may contain vegetables like spinach, zucchini, etc. But because of the processing methods used in preparing a food item intended to be pre-cooked, frozen, thawed and either baked or microwaved again before consumption, means it will lose most of it's phytochemicals in this process. Essentially, the more times a fruit or vegetable is cooked, and at higher temperatures, the more phytochemicals will dissipate. Ideally, we would buy fresh ingredients and cook or bake them ourselves to help minimize the evaporation of phytochemicals. We would also aim to learn how to cook vegetables at lower temperatures to help them retain as many phytochemicals as possible, this takes practice and can be learned. Obviously, we have busy lives and we can't bake fresh homemade lasagna or fresh vegetables every night, but if we can make a conscious effort to begin to introduce fresher, less processed foods in our daily lives, even just one meal a day, or a couple meals a week, these small improvements will gradually help our over-all wellness.