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Sunshine Breaks

Posted by on Dec 28, 2012 in Featured, Quotes & Thoughts, Short Entries | Comments Off on Sunshine Breaks

Sunshine Breaks

Winter is upon us and as the evening dusk descends earlier, it is imperative that we take what I like to call ‘sunshine breaks.’  On the smallest scale, my daily sunshine break is taking a midday walk outside, enjoying a warm dose of afternoon sun as it warms the earth.  It is very important to have exposure to sunlight as it affects the production of vitamin D and its role of helping to absorb calcium in the body.  The combination of fresh air, break from work, and daylight sun (even if it’s just for ten to fifteen minutes) can help provide our bodies with a subtle boost!    Mid-winter mini sunshine breaks are good too, especially post-holiday season.  Going away for a weekend and getting a hit of sun can be very refreshing and good for the soul.  Of course if you can take a fuller, longer vacation away, that’s even better!  Being immersed in sunshine can lift spirits, cause feelings of rejuvenation and allow us to get away from the everyday routine.  It can provide us with a sunny escape to feel like we’ve been gone away for a long time, only to be welcomed back happily to our daily lives.   So go ahead, take your Sunshine Break!   [Image...

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New Holiday Rituals

Posted by on Dec 13, 2012 in Events, Featured, Uncategorized | Comments Off on New Holiday Rituals

New Holiday Rituals

The prospect of holidays can be dismal for some of us. Especially when we’ve lost someone near and dear to us. This is the situation facing my family and I as we head into December without mom. Our holiday season starts on December 19th which marks the day of the family’s patron saint, St. Nicholas (following the Julian calendar) and it continues through until Christmas Day on January 7th (One could count it even further to the new year marked on the 14th of January). Quite honestly , the holidays always ran a tad overlong for me. I did, however, enjoy cooking with mom and preparing the feast for St. Nicholas as it was a (mostly – fish being permitted) vegan occasion. It began with brainstorming what we wanted to cook as in later years she was quite open to trying new dishes (yay!) instead of simply eliminating the meat and dairy from the usual fare (thereby eliciting complaints and feelings of deprivation from the carnivorous food critics in the clan). Think baked beans and cabbage rolls minus the greasy pork that most claimed was the necessary, and missing, piece. Last year, mom and I left dad at home and did all of our grocery shopping, just the two of us. And for the first time, because she was in pain, she allowed me to do much of the work. When it came time for the meal, she actually sat down with all who had come to join us. This was a first, that she didn’t hover and keep filling plates, and keep working to feed all of her guests. It’s how we all saw that she really wasn’t doing well and that in likelihood she wouldn’t be around next year. And here we are. As I spent the time with her last year, I felt this would be the last time for us and I felt driven to promise silently that I would continue this tradition of cooking on this day and honouring the spirit of her patron saint, whose spirit is one of spreading kindness and generosity. And so, facing the holidays without her, I feel the need to create new rituals to honour and remember her. My sisters and I will gather and craft a simple yet nourishing and inspired meal. We’ll probably make the baked beans, maybe there will be some fish. The key piece will be the cabbage rolls. Mom was an intuitive cook and liked to be spontaneous and in doing so was capable of crafting some truly delicious dishes (and then never be able to recreate them because she couldn’t remember all that had gone into them!). In that spirit, the cabbage rolls will be made and brought to Source Centre to share with all who come. Alongside some other nibbles, apple cider and more. I hope you will be able to join us and share a toast this holiday...

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When It Rains It Pours

Posted by on Dec 10, 2012 in Featured, Health, How-To's, Quotes & Thoughts | Comments Off on When It Rains It Pours

When It Rains It Pours

I have personally been dealing with a lot of potentially stressful challenges  lately.  Now, the reason I say “potentially” is because nothing is actually stressful until it is perceived by the nervous system as stress.  That said, I have also noticed that many of my clients and friends have been experiencing an abundance of potential stressors recently.    The expression “when it rains it pours” comes to mind in these situations.  It is interesting how this can often be the case in our lives where challenges are concerned.  They can often pile up leaving us feeling overwhelmed, helpless, anxious or drained of energy.  The cumulative effect of compounding experiences can have a significant impact on our health and wellbeing and on our ability to manage our stress  When I have a lot to deal with, I am especially grateful to be able to call upon the strategies I have learned in my body and life through my process of healing.     What I know about stress in the body is that if we want to be able to handle stress and actually process and learn from our experience of it, we need to create an environment of peace within the body.  When the body is at ease then it has the chance to be able to process stress.  If the body is in a state of overwhelm, this capacity is significantly diminished.  It is also very difficult to process things with only the mind.  When we can use the whole bodymind to process we have much more capacity.  This is why choosing actions to help us move into our bodies at times like these are especially valuable.   When I am faced with a lot of potential stress, it is vital for me to choose actions that will help me stay present and connected to myself and my body, which takes me out of thinking and worrying and into feeling and processing.  Here are some strategies I use for connecting with my body and processing potential stressors:    Increase my frequency of Network Chiropractic Entrainments Increase my frequency of Somato Respiratory Integration Exercises Doing whatever actions are necessary to deal with the practicality of my situation(s) Practice other body centered techniques I have learned (i.e. meditation, focusing, body scan, pelvic awareness, grounding) Practicing faith, trust and surrender Exercise Yoga, especially restorative yoga Journaling Spending time in nature Connecting with family and friends and sharing my situation and feelings with them Dancing Playing guitar Doing anything creative Getting good rest Eating clean and healthy food   Certainly, there can be times when I am so overwhelmed that I feel like I don’t have access to any strategies.  This is when it is the most difficult to take actions like I am suggesting above because when we are in overwhelm, or fight or flight, we do not think clearly.  However, when I choose to utilize my strategies I am more able to harness the pouring rain and use it to nourish my healing process to allow myself to...

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Healthy Travels

Posted by on Dec 3, 2012 in Featured, Health, How-To's | Comments Off on Healthy Travels

Healthy Travels

Want to enjoy the sightseeing, the company with fellow travelers, and the local cuisine while staying healthy along the way? I found myself in this very scenario while travelling to Beijing in October 2012 (and wrote about it on my previous blog post here). Beijing is an amazing place full of countless opportunities for touring, shopping and enjoying the local food and culture. There’s the Great Wall of China, numerous palaces and tombs of emperors and empresses past, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and more. For the destinations that were nearby, the commute was swift and effortless. The destinations that were further off, however, were much more of a challenge and needed a little more attention.  Add the 12 hour flights to and from Beijing, and you can really imagine what impact such a vacation could have on well-being! Staying healthy in Beijing was easy, simple and rewarding. The key was to continue practicing my daily healthy habits and modify them to fit the circumstances. Here’s are 3 ways I stayed healthy during my week-long trip through Beijing:   Regular Network Spinal Care before and after the trip Drs. Allison, Anita, and I all benefit from getting regular Network Spinal Care. Kiva Bottero, Natural News (link), calls Network Spinal Analysis (NSA) “an innovative approach to chiropractic that focuses on communicating with the nervous system in order to release the underlying tension that keeps the spine misaligned.”  NSA is a powerful way for us to have a well-functioning nervous system and a body that is resilient, flexible and free to heal itself naturally (read more from our website here). During my week of travels, I still benefited from all the NSA Care that I have received. My body-mind has strategies to stay calm and connected, and to practice healthy travel habits needed by my body.   Yoga during the trip During the trip, I practiced 15-20 minutes of yoga each morning before breakfast. I performed a short routine that includes standing postures and floor poses for strength, endurance and flexibility. Yoga is great for awakening our bodies and for preparing us for our first meal of the day. I find it always helps me clear out my lungs and airways of anything accumulated the day before. It’s also easier for me to be still physically and mentally on long bus trips after moving my joints, breathing deeply and stretching my tissues in yoga. With a bit of practice it can be very easy to do your own yoga practice! Stay tuned for a future article on building a personal yoga practice. In the meantime, our Monday night yoga class (click here for schedule) with Rupel Pandya is a great step to having more yoga in your life.   Make healthier food choices Beijing is brimming with food choices that span the entire spectrum of healthy nutrition. I looked for plant-based whole foods wherever possible – vegetables, fruits, legumes and grains and leaned towards dishes that were lightly seasoned and oiled (or even better unseasoned and un-oiled). That meant I was enjoying dishes such as millet congee, freshly made unsweetened hot soy milk, stir-fried vegetables and tofu, and plain white rice. On some days, I’d eat a meal of simply watermelon, Chinese Hami Gold melons, Chinese fresh dates, and mandarins / clementines. Eating whole foods helped me maintain steady energy levels and regular elimination. It also helped me ensure I was getting all the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are so abundant in plant-based foods.   Staying active, eating well and getting regular Network Spinal Care are 3 of the ways I got the most out...

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On Loving the Cold!

Posted by on Nov 26, 2012 in Featured, How-To's, Quotes & Thoughts, Uncategorized | Comments Off on On Loving the Cold!

On Loving the Cold!

(Image: “winter landscape” by dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net) As the temperature begins to drop and the days get darker, I begin to hear a lot of complaints about the cold weather and impending winter. Granted, it’s often coming out of my mouth, however certainly not exclusively so. ..( You know who you are. And what are we doing living in Canada anyway if we have a problem with winter ;)) In the spirit of gratitude that we aim to cultivate and grow every day, here are some things that I enjoy about these cooler seasons that I like to remember, and would like to share (so you can remind me when I go off again!): *Persimmons are back, cheap and delicious. If you missed it last year, here is my ode to this delicious fruit. *Now is truly the best time to eat spicy foods. I take this time to enjoy hot spiciness on most everything. Warms you up right from the inside and keeps your nasal passages clear. *Drinking tea especially brewing homemade chai tea right on the stovetop. The intoxicating scent of ginger, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom wafting through the house is heavenly. Apple cider and mulled wine is nice too! And what about soup and freshly baked bread? There’s nothing like making your own food and feeling the heat and enjoying the anticipation of a hot, delicious, nourishing meal. Mmmmm mmmmm mmmmm! Lest you think all that I enjoy about fall and winter is food, let me tell you about: *Bundling up in the long, precious scarf my mom lovingly knit me, knowing that she spent many hours and put so much care into it to keep me warm. *Snowy nights and the crisp air. How beautiful and peaceful! Consider a winter morning after a snowfall and the beauty of the snow draped branches. *How about slip-sliding on the sidewalk? Snowball fights with friends? One is never too old to toboggan and just get totally dunked and covered in snow, not caring about being dry or dignified.  What of the beauty of rosy cheeks? *How about curling around a fireplace and feeling its light and warmth? How about holidays and parties and red wine and cheese trays (oh, guilty pleasures!)? *Cuddling under warm covers and watching a movie or reading a great book.   I feel the winter is a great time to commit to a lengthy classic. This is how I finally read War and Peace (particularly recommended for those who complain about winter and the cold – get a taste of Russian winter as experienced by the unknowing  troops of Napoleon! BRRRRRR!!!). *How about skiing and snowboarding and skating and hot chocolate?   *How about trying something new? A friend of mine was just talking about her plans to go dog-sledding in Algonquin Park this winter for the second time. She said it was such a rush… You in? How are you making this fall/winter...

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There is Enough

Posted by on Nov 20, 2012 in Featured, Quotes & Thoughts, Uncategorized | Comments Off on There is Enough

There is Enough

Recently, I joined the online traveler’s network, CouchSurfing.com. I was preparing for a trip to London, U.K, a location I had never traveled to, and was therefore lacking contacts in. While browsing the network for available hosts (an activity that felt eerily like creeping an online dating website) I came upon a review for a potential candidate. I was so taken by the reviewer’s warm words, and, upon visiting his page, his fascinating views and interests, that I decided to contact him. Since then, we have become good penpals. I look forward to receiving his emails (he is currently away from his hometown of Seattle, travelling through Europe and full of touching and exciting stories of his travels), and I am moved by how sincerely open we both are, as relative strangers. Now, being hundreds of thousands of miles apart may be just the buffer to enable real openness in a culture that often feels estranged. Indeed, at our nearest in daily life here in Toronto, it seems we are the most alienated (think of a packed subway car at rush hour, and the multitude of averting eyes). And yet, the longing for intimacy is palpable. I am frequently endeared to strangers, but I don’t always reach out to them with a smile or acknowledgement. I often puzzle over this hesitation about the innate desire to connect. It seems that protection is the action fear advises when confronted with intimacy. It is easy to feel safe when distant enough from others to be less than visible. However, the impulses of protection or defensiveness are rooted in the belief that there is not enough within us or for us to be truly seen and received as such. At the heart of the Shambhala tradition, a secular revisioning of the core Tibetan Buddhist teachings evolved by Choygam Trungpa Rinpoche, is the idea of basic goodness; it states that the foundation of everything is a goodness without foil, without opposite. In my experience, committing to this truth is like tapping into a limitless spring; it is about a deep and inalienable knowing that there is enough. If there is anything my own journey has taught me it’s that perspective is key; if we hold to the belief that there is not enough then we will invite and act out that reality. It is truly up to us what kind of world we wish to live in. And we have the power to choose. So, why not choose abundance? Why not choose basic goodness? What if, even in our day-to-day encounters, we could approach each other, and perhaps most importantly ourselves, holding that longing for connection, buoyed by our sense of these innate truths? If I ever meet my penpal face-to-face, I will choose to hold this abundance in my heart. Perhaps the next time you get on the subway, you will choose to share a smile or kind word with a...

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