Friday, October 30, 2009

and I feel good...

Today is the 4th day of my master cleanse. I have been following the lemonade cleanse 4 times a year for 4 years now. It is a good way to rid my toxins and get a baseline - fresh start - for myself. I have enough willpower and have mastered 21 days in the past. I try to increase it each time and do this around the equinox. This year was so hard to get going. Food just tastes better now. I know our bodies want us to put on a little more insulation to prepare for the colder months ahead, plus I am in menopause which is terrible for metabolism, and losing weight is ridiculously harder than ever. Where there is a will - there is a way - and I am determined to improve my image even though sometimes I feel like saying, 'I am just getting old, I will let myself go for awhile'. Nah - I like feeling curvy and in shape and quite frankly, if I feel good, I will look fine. Confidence is extremely important in my life so laziness has to cease.
I no longer frequent the health clubs because I am on a schedule rebellion and want to do things when I want to. I have discovered Drs. Oz and Rozein have an interesting program about real age and waist watching and I like their menus and philosophy about weight loss and healthy lifestyle. It seems realistic in that I can still drink my 2 cups of coffee and 1 glass of my beloved wine each day, if I choose, and their menu is loaded with things I eat already. So this is a good match for me so far. I am exercising again - lifting weights and walking - and have discovered the esmonde classic stretch program, which incorporates yoga, tai chi and ballet taped in exotic lands - very appropriate for this time in my life. The 50s is harder than I thought it would be. Not complaining, because I am very healthy and happy, but it is just less easy to feel good.
I have 2 weeks of menus at the ready when I am cleaned out enough but need to purchase a wok. Wayne is so excited (he has wanted one for quite sometime) and the best part of this is he wants to prepare the food with me. I'll say it again - men make the best chefs. I enjoy cooking for my family, but I really don't eat like they do, so it will be interesting to see how I manage to influence them with my new recipes. I will probably end up making food for myself and discreetly incorporate some things into their usual menus just to expose them to newer sources of nourishment. They all have great metabolisms. If you wish to join me in my new quest for better health, go for it - to life! xo

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

trick or treat

In a few days our neighborhood will be filled with kids in costumes singing the litany "trick or treat" with their little bags begging for a candy treat. Many homes are decorated for this occasion in our area. We never really 'celebrated' Halloween when my boys were young as I had this idea it was the devil's holiday and besides, we did not keep candy nor soda in the house. They still dressed up and went to the school and park district parties and went around a few blocks collecting candy that I ended up bringing to the office. Now that they are grown I find they really enjoy my dressing up our home for the spirit of the day and I plant spiders and ghouls inconspicuously throughout their rooms. We tend to watch scary movies the few weeks prior because we like to feel scared sometimes. It has something to do with our glands and actually stimulates our sensuality. It is the fright or flight response from our nervous system responding to stimuli. It keeps us feeling and it doesn't have to be gory, just captivating and thrilling. Halloween was always the time we got to dress up as the character of something we always wanted to be or that will emit some sort of attention - the gorier the better, the bigger the better - anything and anyone currently famous and outrageous. Why do we say 'happy halloween' if we want to scare others (which is a form of bringing fear to another)?. Ironically, most people wear a mask every day of their lives; the phony smile of a person whose heart has been broken or those who demonstrate their religious beliefs and prayers only to be manipulative and speak unkindly about others; the picture perfect family with loads of skeletons in their closet. Perhaps we should use this day to remove our masks and be our genuine selves and if we don't like what we see, improve. Not only would this be a great trick, but a fantastic treat as well. xo

Monday, October 26, 2009

that's entertainment!

Were we entertained this weekend... from watching this cute pup perform his tricks to movies both at home and the theater. We just happened upon the movie Awake and it was quite gripping and immediately afterward we watched this week's Grey's Anatomy and it was a continuation of the previous movie. We had to catch our breath after that series of intense and literally turned off the tv. Our favorite form of relaxation is watching the tube after a working day and my time is typically 7 - 9 most nights. I love to be entertained and was pleasantly satisfied the last few days. We finally saw Paranormal Activity and it was good - the couple remind me of Pam and Jim on the Office and their home in San Diego was very quaint. There were lots of bumps in the night but I really got unnerved whenever she got out of bed and just stood there for hours watching Micah. Whoa. Tonight I am going to put baby powder in front of Steve's room to freak him out tomorrow. giggle. I read the book and saw Entity many years back and this still spooks me the most, after Exorcist, of course. The highlight was watching Mad Men and I was so intrigued by this powerful episode I watched two back to back and now I have to read all the feedback blogs posted today for inside scoop. I was Don and Betty's son, Bobby's, age so I love seeing how things were in the world during my time. I also became a secretary for 25 years so I relate to the office politics. Joanie is my idol. The scariest thing to watch all in all was the Bears/Bengals game. Yuk. xo

Saturday, October 24, 2009

the art of doing nothin'

Today I vow to make no plans, wake up and make a cup of coffee and enhance it with cinnamon sugar and whipped cream instead of plain old naked. I will turn on the fireplace and keep it on all day long while burning candles in the other rooms for a gentle reminder to dare to be still today. Then we mosey down to the grocery store to get a few ingredients for homemade chicken soup. While trying to decide which chicken meat to get a gentleman browsing the meats pointed out the best pieces to settle our dilemma. Moving over to the pork section for pulled pork he seemed to know his stuff so we asked him if the tenderloin is right and he vehemently notified us to get the pork butt. Ok. We continue on our shopping spree and the kind man is after us indicating we took the wrong cart and lo and behold we had his cart instead of ours. How embarassing, but he was very cool about it. This is our excitement for the day so far and in between giggles we head over to indulge in some Indian food recommended by friends of ours. We went to Saffron in Westmont for the luncheon buffet and were not disappointed. I was determined to try each and everything to experience this new (to me) food and loved each and every item. My pallate was so satisfied but my belly could not contain as much as I wanted so it will take another visit to truly enjoy the pleasures of this dining experience. The owner came up to us a few times to get our opinion and offer suggestions on which items to sample in a certain order. He was quite hospitable and was genuinely interested in our patronism. That was a nice touch in these busy days. Perhaps he saw the laid back attitude we brought to the place. We continued our lazy day by taking naps on the sofa with the slug dogs who kept our feet warm and woke to the sun shining. One by one our sons visited just to check in and say hi. I like that a lot. We will see what is left on the dvr and watch our many shows to "catch up and clean up" and possibly rent a movie for tonight. Should it be scary? I have wanted to see Paranormal Activity all week and Steve and I almost went Thursday night but that was the real rainy day and after driving around running errands by 6:30 I just wanted to stay home. Rotten Tomatoes gave high ratings for House of the Devil so that might do the trick. Wayne likes drama or comedies, though, so we'll see what we see. I almost feel like just reading the trailors and blogs about Mad Men since I am such a maddict. I already caught up on my email the other day since I was very behind in reading same. I like a clean emailbox, clean dvr and clean cell phone. I like this day of not making plans, not doing chores and just letting the time pass. Spit and catch. xo

Thursday, October 22, 2009

for boo

Kudos to you, my sweet son, for accomplishing this huge milestone today. You have conquered a mountain. Keep climbing and reach for new heights and new dreams will come true. I know your world is brighter and more beautiful, just as you are. I know you will share your journey and inspire others. Those who truly love you are right beside you if you need to lean on at times - you are not alone. Our walls are a testament to your healing, but more importantly, your essence illuminates our lives. Keep making new friends, be open to new beginnings, embrace all possibilities and know you will never be unloved. Be happy! xo

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

birth order

Your birth order has a powerful influence on the kind of person you will be, the kind of person you will marry, the type of occupation you will choose and even the kind of parent you will be and how well you get along with God. Living in a family is a unique and distinctive experience and exerts more influence than any other organization, institution or experience. A person's order of birth has a lifelong effect on who and what that person turns out to be. However, no matter what spot we occupy in the family, there are many forces that can intervene and turn things around for us. Nothing is set in stone. So many factors can change the dynamics, this is merely a guideline.
Typical characteristics of a first born are being perfectionists, reliable, conscientious, list makers, well organized, critical, serious, scholarly, goal oriented, achievers, self-sacrificing, people pleasers, conservative, supporter of law and order, believers in authority and ritual, legalistic, loyal, self-reliant. First borns usually get more ink in the write-ups of life. They are often the achievers, the ones driven toward success and stardom and you cannot ignore them. Some first born wound up as your baby sitter and siblings don't always like this, however, they could become champions, even second parents to their younger brothers and sisters. The simple truth is first born is something of a guinea pig to mom and dad trying to learn the fine art of parenting. Everything about a first born is a big deal. One thing first borns will tell you is all the attention, and being in the spotlight and responsibility add up to one thing - PRESSURE, which comes in the form of discipline and punishment. Also, since most families have more children, the first borns have to grow up fast. Some tips for first borns:
1. Take smaller bits of life. First borns are known for getting themselves involved in too many things - activities, organizations, projects and wind up with little time for themselves.
2. Work on saying no. Many are pleasers, they like the approval of others and almost always accept invitations and requests. One of the best ways to know how to say no is to know your limits - you cannot do everything.
3. As a first born your parents probably had higher expectations for you than anybody else in the family and the natural result is you have high expectations for yourself. You expect to be first, the best, perfect. Perfectionism is a great way to commit slow suicide. Lower your sights a little. Do a little less and enjoy life more.
4. First borns ask a lot of questions, wanting all the details. Don't apologize for this trait, which is a sign of a leader who can size up the situation, be able to outline what has to be done and then apply a logical, step by step process to solve the problem.
5. As a first born you are likely to be a cautious, careful person. Don't let people pressure you into jumping into things when you would prefer to take the time you need to make your decision.
6. If you are the serious type, try to develop a sense of humor - learn to laugh at your mistakes and accept the fact that you are bound to fail now and again. Mistakes are a great way to learn and improve.
7. Never apologize for being conscientious and over-organized. As a first born you need structure and your "to do" lists. The trick is to not be driven by all this. Enjoy being organized and well planned, then share your skills with others. An awful lot of people around you could use some help!
Only children tend to be critical, particularly if they grew up in surroundings that offered few playmates. Because their only contacts are essentially a mother and a father, they get plenty of adult attention, but they often have difficulty relating to their peers. This problem continues right on through life and your typical only born is known for getting along far better with people who are much older or younger. Only children struggle with perfectionism and can become critical, cold-blooded and objective, never tolerating mistakes of his own or others. They can become everybody's rescuer, agonizing over the problems of others and always wants to move in, take over and solve everything - the nurse mentality. No coincidence that nurses are often only children or first borns. Some tips for only children:
1. Be ruthless with yourself in regard to making too many commitments and expecting too much of yourself. Everyday is not a rat race with no end in sight.
2. Make sure time and space for yourself is built into your schedule.
3. You cannot control the ages of everyone you work with or deal with , but try to arrange experiences with people who are older or younger because these are personalities you are more likely to click with as they will give you more strokes and argue with you less.
4. Only children are often labeled selfish and self-centered because they never had to learn to share with brothers and sisters. Take inventory of your life; what specific things can you do to put others first, help others more and be less critical of others?
A single word to describe first borns and only children is perfectionists. It is as if they have inner forces working on them that are hard to control. They go through life telling themselves the lie "I only count when I'm perfect." To control your perfectionism, recognize your desperate need to be perfect and recognize the fallacy and futility in this kind of thinking. You are never going to be perfect so why not give yourself permission to be imperfect? Just for today, don't worry about tomorrow. Practice saying "I was wrong." Don't be so quick to put yourself down and when others criticize, don't be so quick to react. Perfectionists are sensitive. Do nice things for yourself - you are worth it. Perfectionists overwhelm themselves with the Big Picture and take on too much at once. Say no. Look at the cup as half full. Share your thoughts and feelings without fear that if you tell someone what you think that person will reject you. Don't let life blow out your candle.
Middle children grew up somewhere between the first born and the last born. They are a bit mysterious. They were born too late to get the privileges and special treatment the first born seemed to inherit by right and they were born too soon to strike the bonanza that many last borns enjoy - the relaxing of the disciplinary reins, which is sometimes translated into "getting away with murder." Whenever you deal with middle children of the family, you have to consider the "branching-off effect." This principle says the second born will be most directly influenced by the first born, the third born will be most directly influenced by the second born and so on. Each child looks above and sizes up the older sibling. This is how they develop a style of life of their own. His life-style will be determined by his perception. Any number of lifestyles can appear, but they all play off the first born. For example, if the first born is compliant, the second born son will be a handful. Second borns will probably be somewhat the opposite of the first borns. We must always look at the entire family to understand the plight of the middle child because his is the product of many pressures coming from different directions. Their characteristics are not easy to predict however one thing is certain - they have the Rodney Dangerfield attitude "I just didn't get much respect." They do not feel special growing up. The first born and the last born had their place in the family . Typically just look at family photo albums - 2,000 pictures of the first born and 13 of the middle born. It is almost as if mom and dad went on welfare and could not buy any film or the camera was broken and wasn't fixed until the baby prince or princess came along. Middle born children often feel out of place, like a fifth wheel, misunderstood, who feels upstaged by the younger or older sibling. This is why many children hang out more with their peer group than any other child in the family. Friends become very important to the middle-born child. At home the first born is special because he is first. The last born is special because he means the end of the line. But the middle child is "just plain Danny." Humans operate according to three naturals motivations:
1. To obtain reward and recognitions
2. To avoid pain and danger
3. To get even
The middle child goes outside the family to get reward and recognition and feelings of acceptance. They become the social butterfly. To avoid pain and frustration of being an outsider in the family, the middle child leaves home the quickest. He becomes a bit of a free spirit. It may be a team (they are great team players) a club, or a gang of kids who hang out together. The important thing is the child experiences the group as his, something the family cannot control in any way. Studies show middle children are the most secretive of all the birth orders and play it "closer to the vest" in relationships, possibly little or no communication in marriages. Middle children are the last to seek services of helping professions such as psychologists, counselors or ministers. Middle borns are often a bit rebellious and want to be considered "cool." Middle children don't have as many hang-ups or problems as first born or only children. A good description of middle children is balanced. Tips for middle children:
1. Middle children get better training for life so instead of feeling deprived, make the most of the tools you gained while growing up.
2. You acquired people-oriented social skills because of all the negotiating and mediating you had to do while growing up. Use these skills to see both sides and deal with life as it really is.
3. Keep in mind that if anybody is unpredictable, it is a middle child. If you are a free spirit type, fight to keep your unique qualities. Businesses look for someone with new ideas and independence.
4. Sometimes you grow up telling yourself that your family never listened to you so no one else will, but instead of apologizing for your opinions, or failing to offer them at all, share your ideas with others. You will be amazed at how many people are looking for someone who doesn't want to do all the talking.
5. If the socially skilled, lots of friends label fits you, rejoice and enjoy it, just don't spread yourself too thin. No one can maintain a limitless number of relationships and keep them meaningful.
6. Don't get sucked into playing comparison games, as there are always people who are above or below in terms of ability, interest, appearance, athletic skill. Comparisons are pointless. Just be comfortable with who you are.
7. Middle children often make excellent managers and leaders because they understand compromise, negotiation and giving something for something else. Go for it!
Youngest children in the family are typically the outgoing charmers, the personable manipulators. They are also affectionate, uncomplicated and sometimes a little absentminded. Their "space cadet" approach to life gets laughs, smiles and shakes of the head. Without doubt, they can be a little different and many a family clown or entertainer is likely to be the last born. They can also be rebellious, critical, tempermental, spoiled, impatient and impetuous. Last borns carry the curse of not being taken very seriously, first by their family and then by the world. Your typical last borns have a burning desire to make an important contribution to the world. From the time they are old enough to figure things out, they are aware of being the youngest, smallest, weakest and least equipped to cope with life. They instinctively know and understand that their knowledge and ability carry far less weight than that of their older brothers and sisters. Part of the reason for this is the parents get all taught out by the time the last born arrives - to let the last born shift for himself. It is not unusual for babies of the family to get most of their instruction from their older siblings as their parents are just too tired. Last borns are used to being put down. The older kids always laugh at the babies hence they grow up with the "I'll show them" attitude. Last borns are on a seesaw of emotions and experiences - one minute charming and endearing the next rebellious and hard to deal with. They can turn from powerhouses of energy into basket cases who feel helpless. They can feel on top of the world on Monday and at the bottom of the pile on Tuesday. Last borns are impetuous and brash as they go ahead and do it and worry about the consequences later. They vow they will get attention and leave their mark and show the world they are someone to be reckoned with. Tips for last borns:
1. Accept responsibility for yourself. Stop passing the buck as you are not a little kid anymore. Grow up!
2. Many last borns are messies. Learn to pick up after yourself. Your spouse will rise up to call you blessed and your mom will say "I never thought I would see the day..."
3. Take stock of where you are right now in your present job. You are quite likely a people person and that is where you will find the most opportunity and satisfaction. Consider sales work or managerial as long as you feel you can keep things organized and on schedule.
4. While last borns are usually people persons, ironically they struggle with self-centeredness. Offer to help others, then follow through, and quietly do it without fanfare. Helping others - sharing money, time, energy - is a great cure for self-centeredness.
5. Beware of being too independent. Work on admitting your faults. Do not blame others for your situation when you know you are the one who really caused it.
6. Always be aware of your gift to be funny, charming and persuasive. Use it correctly and you will be an asset in any situation. Beware of being a carrot seeker, always working for that pat on the head and asking "what's in it for me?"
7. If you love the limelight, be advised that other people like a little of it now and then. When talking to others, always concentrate on asking them about their plans, their feelings and what they think.
8. Before marriage, try dating first borns. You may find them the most compatible. After marriage, to any birth order, remember that your wife is not your mommy, your husband not your daddy.
Speaking of marriage, good matches for marriage among birth orders is the youngest brother of sisters with the oldest sister of brothers. The youngest sister of brothers with the oldest brother of brothers.
The best match for a last born is a first born (someone who is conscientious and a little more confident about having life together and keeping it that way.) The fun-loving nature of the last born can help loosen up the first born's typically overserious, conscientious approach to life. Possibly the best match one can find is the first born female and the last born male. First born females are often mothering types and the last born males often need mothering. Having said this, note all marriages require working together but knowing our birth order may help understand characteristics a little more to learn how to get along with our mate. So much to think about. The main thing Wayne and I always focused on while raising our three sons was to offer them the same amount of attention and find time to give them "special time", one on one with us. That being said, it is truly in the child' s perception and no matter how hard we try to do the right thing they are going to be who they are. Variety is the spice of life. How boring would it be to have all first born leaders? Who would follow? xo

(thanks to Dr. Kevin Leman whose expertise I resourced from his book The Birth Order)

Monday, October 19, 2009


Napping is one of the most delightful past times. It refreshes and invigorates and offers respite when our body and mind tells us we need a break in order to get us through a particular day. My dad is a huge advocate of naps - heck - he is the king of naps and is not to be disturbed between 11 and 2 for that matter. He once quoted the American Medical Association Journal in that they have discovered the secret to the fountain of youth - to take a nap. There are significant benefits to those who are able to indulge in a little rest, whether for a quicky cat-nap of about 20 minutes, a refreshing hour-long nap, or even a full-sleep cycle nap of 2.5 hours. Whatever your body requires will positively work. Guaranteed. Sometimes I feel disoriented and think it is the next day and actually feel more tired, but then after awhile I am rejuvenated and feel wonderful (similar to receiving a massage.) I remember taking forced naps as a youngster so my parents could have a break from all of us and again after school as a teenager for a short while. I could never take a nap after that - until a few years ago. When my boys were babies and took their naps I tried in vain to do the same. Just recently have I discovered the joys of napping. Usually Saturday is perfect, or during the week when the weather is particularly dreary, or around this time when the seasons change, the need for a nap seems more necessary than usual. In some countries, siestas are mandatory. Our bodies are wired to rest around 3pm each day which is why we crave a sugar pick me up at this time. Back in olden times, people woke up at the crack of dawn, did the chores all day and finished about 3 before sunset. We are not meant to have 9 to 5 workdays, at least not bio-rhythmically. Evolution dictates we rest during the midday which is why naps are so inviting. Animals nap all the time. The secret is to listen to our bodies. Take a load off and rest your weary bones xo

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Dear God,

Today, this day, I give to You.
Do within me what You want to do.
Please make of my heart Your vessel and servant.
May the glorious light of the Lord of Creation find a restful home inside my soul.
May I be no more who I used to be.
I now embrace the divine child within me.
May it burst forth now to bless the world.
May I not be tempted to doubt the light that lights the entire world.
Illumine the earth and save the world.
Thank you, Lord.

Friday, October 16, 2009

i'm easy

"It's not my way to love you just when no one's looking - I can't put bars on my insides, my love is something I can't hide. Take my hand - I won't put up a fight - I'm easy" (Keith Carradine.)
This is my very favorite song. It reminds me to chill about everything. Just humming it works wonders. I have three mantra songs - I'm Easy - That's the Way It Is by Celine Dion - Don't Dream It's Over by Crowded House. The cool thing is when I hear them on the radio, it usually means it is a message to me to keep the faith, hang in there, hold on, all is well. I actually hold my breath when one of them comes on since they are dated so, of course, it is being played just for me to hear. I love all types of music - it really does soothe my soul. Be happy. xo

Thursday, October 15, 2009

anecdote for gloomy days

1. Take a warm, scented bubble bath

2. Shampoo and deep condition hair

3. Lather entire body with moisturizing creme

4. Drink flavored coffee (today is hazelnut)

5. Mini work out - just enough to get things circulated

6. Smell the aroma of chicken with potatoes au gratin baking in the oven

7. Listen to music - set to ipod shuffle to be surprised at what plays

8. Light candles in every room to lift spirits

9. Give hands and feet paraffin wax dip (mint scented)

10. Get a well deserved manicure and pedicure - pick a new OP color - (big red wagon)

11. Receive a Swedish relaxation massage

12. Put on the gas fireplace and keep it on all day long

13. Snuggle with the pups on the sofa

14. Finish reading (your magazine, book, newspaper, facebook, blogs)

15. Pray the rosary

16. Meditate/clear chakras

17. Smile and cherish the feeling of being the goddess/god that you are born to be xo

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

to life!

Our basset hound delivered 10 puppies four years ago and we kept the firstborn. Thumper was such a naturally great mom and knew exactly what to do, even though she was only 18 months herself. She bred with a beagle (Freckles) and they had bagels. We delivered the pups on March 3, the due date, from 6:30 pm until 4:30 am with assistance from our dearest friends, the Block family. Poor mama was exhausted but she still had a couple more to deliver and Gina knew something was wrong so they rushed her to the emergency vet and removed the stillborn and just as they were going to perform an operation to remove the last one, the little legs came out and Angel was delivered. I hold that night as one of the precious memories forever. The whole experience of her pregnancy, delivery and raising the pups for 2 months was amazing. We named them Pontiac, Gifka (Polish for girl), Rocky, Moo Moo, Hercules, Casanova, Apollo, Jenna and Angel. Thumper was so good about feeding them and they were hungry mongrels. We let them play outside where she instinctively schooled them. When it was time to give them good homes, I cried like a baby but was so happy they would be loved. To this day we keep in touch with their owners and receive pictures each Christmas.
This picture reminds me of a bundle of joy. It tickles my soul. The planets that have been sparring the last month have kissed and made up. Jupiter, planet of gifts and luck, is finally direct and life is good. Expect some happy times and great happenings. Take a deep breath and let the universe fill you with its goodness. Affirm your most important aspirations. Believe. xo

Monday, October 12, 2009

run baby run

Congratulations to all runners of the Chicago marathon yesterday. It takes dedication and determination to participate in this event. One of my outreach projects in massage therapy was participating in the marathon and give tune up massages to runners prior to and after the event. I was fortunate to work with the founder, Bob King on the pre-event and to work on the 3rd place runner from Australia afterwards. This was very enlightening in that people would come in with bloody nipples and urine all over and some had hypothermia. For what? I respect individuals have personal best incentives and I tried running for awhile and quite honestly, I hate it. My knees hurt, my boobs ache and as a therapist, I see the unnecessary damage to knees when runners insist on abusing their bodies. I get the endorphins that are released during a run, but there are alternatives. I firmly believe everything should be done in moderation and cross training (a form of balance.) In the 80s I fervently did the Jazzercise thing. I was busy having babies and my enlarged body needed workouts desperately. This was my only time to myself and I relished each hour. I loved the music but detested the single, single, double, double. In the 90s we joined Willowbrook Health Club and I was in heaven. Our dates consisted of Tuesday and Thursday night workouts since Wayne's mom watched my kids while I worked 2 days a week. The workout consisted of Karen Peterik (Jim's better half) teaching body sculpting with the best music ever, following Greg Gale's dance class (this is how we formed the Stormdance Troupe.) What a line up. It covered everything. To top it off, we all bonded in the cafe after classes eating popcorn and shooting the breeze. The millennium brought about ATA taekwondo with all my boys. We all became black belts within 3 years and this was a beautiful avenue to work on our body, mind and spirit through strength and endurance together. We attended class, tournaments, travelled to Arkansas for the World Tournament and sparred with each other. My favorite part was breaking boards with the guys. I realized how strong I was since I kept up with their double boards and kicked ass. Yes I did. Actually, since I attended morning classes and night classes, I was the last one to sign up and the first one to achieve black belt status. I loved it so much. It focused on positivity and confidence and this is right up my alley. I bought and did work outs at home to the taebo tapes but after starting my business I had to preserve my hands to give massage so I stopped practicing this art and went to various morning classes at the Lifetime Fitness health club. I am not one for the machines as I prefer free weights and perhaps the bike. I have discovered yoga the last few years and this is perfect for being in the 50s. We had a a great teaching instructor, Brent at the club and my sister Karen teaches in LaGrange. Wayne and I attended her class for quite awhile, until care giving impeded all free time. I work out at home on my own for now and will see where I go next. I refuse to practice Tai Chi until I am 60, even though it is quite awesome. Menopause is terrible for staying in shape as the force is not with you, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. xo

Sunday, October 11, 2009


I have been blessed in my life to have sincere friendships with quite a few people and the most endearing have been with my girlfriends. I still connect with my girls from Five Holy Martyrs grammar school, some from the old neighborhood in Brighton Park, some from Girl Scouts, some from Darien, most new friends have been clients who continue to share our journeys outside the massage room, and one when we lived in Delavan, Wisconsin on the weekends for about 6 years. That is my Janet. What a gal. She is the woman who takes things in stride, doesn't get her feathers ruffled and can do just about anything. No task is too big or too small. When we were renovating the home up north, Wayne would take the kids on the speedboat and since I feared that thing, I stayed back and worked on projects, one of which was stripping the wood floor in the upstairs bedroom. I was vehemently scraping that 100 year old wood and sweat was dripping all over and I look up and Janet is standing in front of me - and without a "hi what are you doing?" she just picks up another scraper and dives in to help me. Most people would hit the road but this was how we bonded. I reciprocated by arriving at her new home at 5am to paint her ceiling in 90 degree weather. It was a pleasure because I knew she appreciated it. And we laughed and beamed with pride when all was complete. Since she lived in the area year round she knew where to see the buffalo roaming and sites like Old World Wisconsin and where to get the best plants for our gardens. We spent many afternoons and nights just sitting in our front porch or outside watching the bonfire and just being together - I mean for hours on end, just enjoying each other's company, with no judgment or gossip or bitching - just sharing our energy like two peas in a pod. I never knew how to really relax until being with Janet. That's how it is with a true friend - no matter how long time passes and if we don't see each other for years, one phone call or one visit, and magically we reconnect as if no time ever passed - we just pick up where we left off. Women really need someone to listen and offer encouragement when we are lost about a situation. This gives us the boost we need to keep going. Just knowing someone out there understands can be enough to get us through our biggest challenges and all the small stuff that creates our burdens. Wait, hold on, gotta make a call... yep we're on - today we will take a road trip to see my buddy. They got hit with the first snow last night and she has to pull all her plants in and give some seeds to Steve for our garden. If you are blessed to have a friend like my Janet, Cindy, Helena, Robin, Carrie, Gina, Chele, Georgia, Mary, Linda (God rest her soul) take time to be with her. Let her know she is in your heart. Tell those you love that you do. xo

Saturday, October 10, 2009

unrequited love

Stories of lovers falling accidentally in love intrigue me. Robert and Francesca in Bridges of Madison County, Fiennes and Moore in The End of An Affair, The English Patient, Bergman and Bogart in Casablanca and the ultimate love story Romeo and Juliet, and of course, West Side Story's Maria and 'that boy.' I guess it's the idea that these good people were just minding their business, living their normal lives, hanging out of balconies, tending their gardens, and out of nowhere, their chance encounter sparks a torrid affair. They must choose their passions over integrity and we know this makes for unhappy endings. As U2 sings "can't live with or without you." I imagine they bonded because they were together in a past life and found each other again, only to reunite in any way possible for brief moments in this lifetime. They will meet again in the next. Phonemes play a huge part in this. We all have them and while not prominently obvious, our scents drive us to be with another and the connection happens. We just cannot help ourselves. At first they may deny the attraction but inevitably they succumb to destiny. The chemistry is just too strong and they are pulled to each other. Soap operas are loaded with the 'surrender to love' lines. Yep, the longing and yearning really gets me. I think it is because they are together so briefly and the memories of stolen moments of forbidden fruit last a lifetime. Ahhh... sometimes love is a losing game. xo

Friday, October 9, 2009

a new day

Dear God,
Thank You for this new day, its beauty and its light.
Thank You for my chance to begin again.
Free me from the limitations of yesterday.
Today may I be reborn.
May I become more fully a reflection of Your radiance.
Give me strength and compassion and courage and wisdom.
Show me the light in myself and others.
May I recognize the good that is available everywhere.
May I be, this day, an instrument of love and healing.
Lead me into gentle pastures.
Give me deep peace that I might serve You most deeply. Amen.
(from Illuminata by Marianne Williamson) xo

Thursday, October 8, 2009

being centered

In the center of your head you can abide as spirit and be neutral. Neutrality is essential for healing. You have to be neutral and non-judgmental for your healing to be able to let go of the problem and bring in the beneficial energy. The center of your head is the best place to be in the present time and be grounded. It is where you...THE BEING... needs to be to do your healing work. Remain seated with your hands and feet separated and your eyes closed. Be grounded by creating your grounding cord from your root chakra to the center of the earth. Focus your attention to the center of your head behind your eyes and up a little. Take a few deep breaths to relax your body and allow it to adjust to your energetic presence. You have much more energy than your body, so it needs time to adjust to you. Your grounding allows your body to be in it and to help you be certain about being in the center of your head. Move your attention from the center of your head to above your head and experience being here. Move back to the center of your head and take a deep breath. The more you practice being in the center of your head, the more you will be there. Be in the center of your head and be grounded. Notice how your body feels as you focus your attention here. Listen to your body sounds to help you be in the present with this ability to be neutral. Be neutral as you listen to your breathing and your heart beat. Allow the state of awareness that comes from your being in the center of your head. By focusing your state of attention to the center of the head, you will experience yourself as spirit and your body will experience you. When you are healing yourself or others, be in the center of your head and you will have a spiritual perspective of your healing. Your neutral...spiritual perspective will allow you to see without judgment and help you change without effort.
A breathing method for cleansing the spirit is to strengthen your energy, collect energy in your tanden and learn to let the energy flow through your hands. This is how we become clear channels of Reiki - the energy flows into us from the cosmos and back again to the cosmos. Breath in through your nose and imagine drawing Reiki energy into your body through the crown chakra. Draw the energy down to your tanden. When the breath has reached your tanden, keep it there for a few seconds without straining and imagine it to be permeating your whole body. Breath out through your mouth and imagine the energy flowing out your finger tips, hands, tips of your toes and feet. In Tai Chi and Qigong, the following is recommended for similar breathing: keep the tongue on the roof of your mouth, touching your front teeth while inhaling and then let it come down and rest on the bottom of the mouth when exhaling. An exercise to find tanden: Stand with both feet parallel to each other, the legs shoulder width apart. The tips of the feet point straight ahead. Bend the knees a bit until you feel the central point beneath the naval and tanden. Hold this position and breath. Inhale and exhale deeply and feel the breath and energy flow through you as you do this.
Many songs tell us to just breathe, take a breath, breathe in, breathe out. If I am distracted or upset and wish to become centered I concentrate on each breath. It is difficult to have other thoughts when focusing solely on breathing. This is a great way to initiate meditation, when the mind is clear and void of nonsense. Another great expression that women do especially well is a sigh. This releases emotion in just a tiny manner. Sigh-a-nara. xo

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

being grounded

Back in the day if we were grounded it meant we were being punished and our freedom/independence was taken away for a bit. It was considered a long time out, and we were to remain rooted to our home base until a lesson was learned. I remember when my middle son was 16 and wanted to do something I did not approve of. I told him he would be grounded if he made that choice and he smirked and commented he was "too old to be grounded." So I took his car keys away. That worked. To practice being grounded in the spiritual sense means to help heal yourself by giving you a conscious connection with physical healing. With grounding, you can be aware of yourself as spirit and of your physical body and your connection with creation. As spirit, you use grounding to connect yourself through your body to the earth. Grounding is an energy cord that you create mentally running from your first or root chakra at the base of the spine to the center of the earth. The first chakra contains your information on how to relate to planet earth. Grounding is very important in healing as you must be in control of the physical reality in order to change things in it. To experience grounding, sit comfortably, feet planted solidly on the floor...spine erect. Visualize an energy flow from the base of the spine to the center of the earth. Let the energy flow through all physical matter - the chair, the floor, the earth, until it reaches the center of the planet. Securely attach the grounding cord to your first chakra and to the center of the earth. Relax and experience your grounding cord. You have created a spiritual connection with the earth. Breath deeply and let your body relax and enjoy the sensations of being grounded. Be aware of your grounding cord as it goes from the first chakra to the center of the earth. Experience the feeling of safety it gives your body. Allow your body time to adjust to being grounded by you. Practicing grounding will enable you to be more grounded. Everything is energy, healing is work with energy. Healing is letting go of non-beneficial energy to allow the flow of beneficial energy. You can release any energy down your grounding cord to the energy recycling center in the center of the earth. Be aware of one discomfort in your body and let this discomfort flow down your grounding cord to the center of the earth. Maintain your grounding and get in touch with another discomfort you would like to release and let it go down your grounding cord. Continue grounding and releasing any discomfort down the grounding cord. You are healing yourself this way. You can release pain, fear, hate or any other negative energy down your grounding cord. This allows space in your energy system for love, joy and peace. Practice daily and you will develop a pattern for healing yourself. Grounding is the foundation for healing.
A technique which addresses the most important point to heal all disease - the naval - is called heso chiryo-ho. The naval is considered to be the center of the body and is our connection to Divine Conception and the blueprint of perfection. This is an original technique from Usui, Japanese founder of Reiki. Sit comfortably. Place one hand with the middle finger inserted in the naval until you feel the pulse and other on the back opposite the naval. Sense the pulse aligning with the Divine Universal flow. Hold this position until you feel relaxed and balanced for 5-10 minutes. Another technique is gassho (two hands coming together.) Sit down with closed eyes and place together in front of your chest. Focus your entire attention at the point where the two middle fingers (fire fingers) meet. Try to forget everything else. If it becomes uncomfortable, let your hands slowly sink down to your lap into a comfortable position. Dr. Usui suggests using this meditation 20-30 minutes morning and/or evening.
When I danced with the Stormdance troupe, I was fortunate to learn the flamenco which is a wonderfully passionate dance that is choreographed for women over 30 as it demands attention from the naval to the earth. Our hands were in the air alot but all the dancing was rooted down and our feet demanded attention. Notice ballerinas only dance until they are around 30 as they practically dance in the air, using their upper torso. When I am adamet about something, I stomp my foot down. My message is I am rooted and nothing will change my mind. That is it. I mean it. An expression that reminds me of grounding is take your memories and leave your footprints. Happy grounding. xo

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

seeing auras

Some people have the gift of literally seeing auras, the colors that surround a person and others find they can close their eyes and feel another person's aura and see colors with their inner vision. Caroline Myss, of Chicago, is an excellent example of an intuitive aura reader. Her book Anatomy of the Spirit is very insightful. Auras can be used as a form of diagnosis, since the colors that are absent from the aura indicate which colors that person requires and which chakras need energy. You can also see areas of black or brown in the aura, indicating unresolved physical or emotional traumas. The majority of people can feel and most can see colors with their inner vision. The more you practice, the easier it gets to see auras. Just stand in front of a mirror with a white background behind you, or practice facing a white wall. Just keep looking at a section slightly above your head, or the person you are facing. It will be as if you are not looking, just hold your attention at the spot and gradually you will see the ethereal energy around you or the other person. It may even vibrate. Everyday close your eyes and visualize an object with each different color of the spectrum; for instance, picture a red balloon and as you let it go, envision it slowly lifting into the sky. This will train you to see the colors and almost feel them. Another exercise to practice with another person is to stand facing your partner, about two feet away. Briskly rub your hands together, occasionally blowing on them. Close your eyes and hold your hands with palms facing each other, about eight inches apart. Feel the energy radiating between your hands. Play with this energy; form it into a ball; feel it grow and expand. Set it down. Turn your palms toward your partner, not opening your eyes and direct the energy from your hands to your partner. Feel the energy coming from your partner's hands and meet it with your own hands. As you do this, you will probably find your hands will touch your partner's hands. Draw back your hands and extend your fingertips. Direct your energy through your fingertips toward your partner and feel the energy coming from your partner's fingertips. Meet it with your own and again you will probably touch your partner's fingertips. Now your partner drops his hands altogether. Have your eyes open and bring your hands above the top of your partner's head and attempt to feel and see the energy. Gradually work down along both sides of the head, neck, shoulders, arms, pelvis, legs and feet, observing the energy, heat, and color that your perceive. Repeat the process, describing what you perceive as you move through the auras. Notice the shadow of light surrounding a full moon - that is the ethereal aura of the moon. Every living being has an aura. We just need to really look and see. The Greek word for truth, aletha, means "not hidden." xo

Monday, October 5, 2009

seventh chakra (crown, wisdom, thousand petaled lotus)

At last we have reached the highest chakra which is depicted by a fully open lotus, the flower in fullest bloom symbolizing being totally open to the Light. You have lost all individual identity and now you merge with All That Is. You become fully realized. The seventh chakra is located at the crown of the head. If you palpate this area you will feel an indentation where the skull came together when you were an infant. This is the thousand mile point and when acupressed, it opens all the energy throughout your chakras. I begin all my sessions with this point so my massage is received more thoroughly and effectively. The colors associated are violet and gold ; these are colors of royalty. The antidote is yellow. The tone is ee (as in bee) and the note is high b. The element is cosmic energy and the sense is "seventh sense". The statement is "I want to be lazy." (the seventh day is the day of rest.) When a person enters the seventh chakra, there is a death. The person you were dies. Every layer of ego attachment falls away and you die to your old self. The Vajrayana Buddhist chant captures the mood perfectly: Gone, gone, gone beyond - Gone utterly beyond - Whoopee! At the fifth chakra you may long to leave your mark for prosperity; at the sixth there is no more longing as it is enough simply to help by being a living example. At the seventh chakra even the desire to help falls away though it may emerge again unpredictably. Your behavior may be considered antisocial but you are totally moral according to your own ethics. Consider Howard Hughes or those who have overachieved, over donated, and have come to a different reality than most humans although the seventh chakra is so much more. Your spirituality is omnipresent and you live constantly in the Light. This is the point where the silver cord detaches from the body at the time of death. The silver cord is the fine line that allows us to astral travel and then return to the body. Bodies come and go but life is eternal. This is a highly evolved state and most do not achieve same until death, when the silver cord is severed. As we entered the age of Aquarius at the millennium, we could not help but look for another avenue of fulfillment. Baby boomers have accomplished many goals, raised families, and still feel empty. The soul needs nourishing and we are destined to search for a higher meaning to our life. I am aware many boomers are asking themselves "what's it all about" and their spirit is searching for answers in the metaphysical. Most multimillionaires reach a point in their lives that they have accomplished all they want and at some point decide to find joy in charity and become philanthropic. Many people realize the joy of living simply and know how easy it is to help others and feel fulfilled. The universe is helping us realize this every day; perhaps the economic woes are really answers in disguise, forcing us to seek alternate ways of living and to accept simple abundance. Balanced energy in the seventh chakra is being open to the Divine, miracle worker, can transcend the laws of nature, total access to the unconscious and the subconscious, ability to remain alert during and after death, almost immortal. Excessive energy is haveing a constant sense of frustration, unrealized power, psychotic, depressed, manic-depressive, frequent migraine headaches, destructive. Deficient energy is catatonic, no spark of joy and cannot make decisions. The glands and organs influenced are the pituitary, pineal, nervous system and brain. Illnesses and ailments to be treated with violet are depression, migraine headaches, parasites, black eyes, baldness and dandruff. Violet is excellent for artists and high-strung, nervous people who need grounding but find red too harsh. Stones used are amethyst (my favorite and birth stone). It is the gentlest of stones and a powerful protector. I always have this stone in my healing room as it has the power to allow in only those energies that are harmonious to you and to deflect and transmute all negativity. It is the ideal stone to place on your altar and is always protective. Use amethyst while you meditate, to calm and center your energies and over your third eye to facilitate visualization and past life recall. This stone helps to sleep. Clear quartz crystals are beneficial for the seventh chakra as they capture the energy of the white light and are one of the most effective stones to use at the crown. These stones absorb a lot of energy so it is important to cleanse them. I like to soak them in Epsom's salt water and bring them outdoors when there is a full moon, as it is now, so their energies can be reinvigorated. You can bury the crystal for a few days as well. I thank you for allowing me to share the knowledge of the chakras. My main source of reference has been Color and Crystals, a Journey through the Chakras by Joy Gardner-Gordon. I am grateful to have this book in my life. When all the colors of the spectrum are in alignment we have our rainbow and when the colors blend together, they form a white light, filled with God's healing love. Meditate on receiving this white light at the crown chakra and know His love fills you like warm honey melting all the way down to your toes. Embrace His love. Feel the warmth. Love yourself and those who need it the most. xo

Sunday, October 4, 2009

sixth chakra (third eye center, Christ Consciousness Center)

Each of the chakras can be located at the back or the front of the body, along the spine. The sixth chakra is found at the base of the skull, at the medulla oblongata. Its location at the front of the head is between the eyebrows at the third eye. The color is indigo (a purplish blue). It is a combination of red (warm) and blue (calm without cooling or slowing.) The antidote is orange. The tone is OM or mm (as in home.) The sound "o" represents the sun or third eye, and "m" represents the moon or medulla. OM unifies both sides. This tone dissolves dualities and creates unity. It brings the ego self into union with the spirit self. The note is high "a". The element is electrical or telepathic energy. The sense is thought and the statement is "I want to see clearly." The third eye is the center of psychic powers and higher intuition. Through the power of the sixth chakra, you can receive guidance, channel and tune into your Higher Self as the center enables you to experience telepathy, astral travel and past lives. After a month of clearing my chakras I have been experiencing astral travel in sleep and answers to questions are being clarified in dreams. When this center is agitated, it often indicates that a person had early religious training that taught them to be afraid of the occult. Many cultures and religions have taboos against anything metaphysical. The irrational guilt and fear created by these taboos make it difficult for most people to get a clear perspective so they can judge for themselves whether a teaching is beneficial or not. It is necessary to make a distinction between black and white magic. White magic is the art of harnessing natural energy for positive purposes. Being in the presence of someone practicing white magic helps you feel normal and your energy will be enhanced. Black magic is the manipulation or energy for selfish purposes and in this person's presence, your energy may be temporarily boosted, but within a short time you will feel drained. We must work with the ego until it recognizes that the fulfillment of its highest dreams is to be found through merging with the High Self and becoming One with the Divine. Then all masks fall away: who you thought you were, who you thought you ought to be, who your parents wanted you to be. Suddenly you let go and your true self shines forth. "I am what I am." There is no guilt, no need for illusion or pretense and you are totally in the present and you realize that you were there all along. The pineal gland is an endocrine organ that has the essential structure of an eye and it functions as a light receptor. When the kundalini rises up the spine, it stimulates the pineal gland which may explain the experience of seeing the Pure White Light. Everyone can have Christ Consciousness. Jesus said "The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light, but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness." Luke 11:34. The pineal is the seat of memory so when this storehouse opens up you become witness to all your past lives and you see into your future. You no longer require the veil of forgetfulness because you are no longer afraid of who you are. You have nothing to hide. You are flooded with compassion and forgiveness and unconditional love toward all of your selves in all of your lives and you see yourself in everyone and everything. You no longer have any karmic debts. (better tell Earl about this one) You stand released from fear and guilt and when this occurs, you transcend the wheel of karma: you realize that it was only a reflection of your ego. You become a fully realized being - this is the meaning of self realization. You become the Spirit within yourself; you realize your full potential. Balanced energy characteristics include charismatic, access to the Source of All Knowledge, can receive guidance, experienced cosmic consciousness, not attached to material things, no fear of death, can show the way to liberation through example, experience telepathy, astral travel or past lives, not preoccupied with fame or fortune or worldly things, master of yourself, you no longer require another person to complete yourself. A partner who is needy distracts you from the bliss within. Excessive energy is egomaniac, proud, manipulative, religiously dogmatic and authoritarian. Deficient energy is non-assertive, undisciplined, oversensitive to the feelings of others, afraid of success, may be schizophrenic or withdrawn. Children do no need violet and indigo for these colors are too extreme for them as they have just come from the Spirit World and are busy getting grounded. Some may be comforted by purple when upset. The purple-flowered peppermint and catnip are good for calming all children, taking away nightmares. The gland and organs influenced by the sixth chakra are pineal, pituitary, brain and ears. Illnesses and ailments to be treated with indigo are pain (anaesthetic effect) diarrhea, agitation and tightness in intestines and psychic exhaustion. Stones are lapis which is a deep blue stone flecked with gold and white streaks. It will take you deep within the vaults of your mind and should not be used frivolously. It could make you dizzy if you are highly sensitive to its powers. The Egyptians favored lapis for hypnosis, astral travel and understanding obscure religious teachings. It is used during meditation and allows you to step into your soul's natural royalty, don the robes of your higher self and shed the rags of your ego self. Lapis should be used with dignity and respect and its power should be honored, for it will work with you to raise your energies and direct them for the highest good. Fluorite is a stone not indigenous to earth. "It has been transported here from the higher dimensions." The shape occurs in the form of perfect pyramids and occurs most commonly in four colors: blue, purple, white and gold. Fluorite Octahedron is the most common shape and the six points make it appropriate for the sixth chakra. The points indicate that it will create a pointed focus and sharp thinking, so hold it when your thoughts are foggy or vague. Sugilite (luvulite) is a rich purple stone with streaks of black just discovered in the last decade. It is to be used for highly spiritual people who need to be reminded why they are here on earth. Those with migraines can benefit from it, those whose life seems not worth living are affected as the stone speaks to the heart. It is used to awaken Christ Consciousness and encourage the Inner Cosmic Source to open and shine forth to all who can receive it. Luvulite helps you to visualize ways of bringing your gift to the world in a healthy and beneficial way. This stone comforts when discouragement and despair set in. It will help you believe in yourself. You will feel as if you are on top of a mountain with the wind whipping through your hair and you will feel inspired with confidence. I have sought guidance from the channeler, Diandra, the last few years. I encourage you to visit her website at for further enlightenment pertaining to this chakra. I got my eye on you, Bill. xo