21
August

CAFOs/Big Agri vs Family Farms: Biodiversity At Risk

There’s a struggle going on between Big Agriculture and small, family owned farms. It doesn’t get much coverage on the news, but the family farm as we grew up to know it is disappearing. And with it, not only is a way of life being left behind, the biodiversity that we have come to expect in our foods is turning out to be greatly diminished.

Did you know that comparisons of seed availability was done for the years 1903 and 1984? You might be shocked to discover that in 1984, a study of all seeds available from all seed companies in the U.S. and Canada netted only 3% of the varieties that were available only 80 years earlier.

Further complicating the issues is that many of the 200+ seed companies that were in existence in 1984 have been bought out by the large chemical companies, such as Monsanto and BASF. These companies are only too happy to remove seed varieties from the wild and make them only available from their own seed catalogues. Worse, companies such as Monsanto may choose to remove non-adulterated seed from the supply chain entirely, opting instead to only offer genetically modified strains.

 


Seed and Biodiversity Forum

This is a huge issue because as our seed varieties diminish, so too do the genetic variations that exist in nature. The ramifications of this lack of biodiversity is well known from the standpoint that food monocultures are vulnerable to single-point failures, e.g., drought or pestilence. What isn’t perhaps quite as well known is that our own genetic material is determined by the genetic makeup of the organisms we eat. We like to think that our genetic material is 100% our own, but nothing could be further from the truth. What we ingest has a tendency to be absorbed into our body. Over time,  certain characteristics may express as genes as our makeup absorbs new material.

We have the risk of this happening with GMO foods, and the risk of having pesticides being excreted in our intestines by our very own gut flora is very real. We become what we eat. It’s important that not only what we eat is healthful, but that we get a wide variety of it.

The other element of risk, then, is that biodiversity is coming under threat from large-scale agriculture. Big Agri is a fan of CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations). CAFOs, literally factory farms, are working to encourage government to go after small farmers and prosecute them for growing produce that does not fall under the mainstream. Choice, it seems, is not a good thing.

In an article at Mercola’s site, small farmers of heritage-breed pigs are under threat of being shut down because of false allegations that their pigs are feral and a threat to CAFO pigs. Anybody who understands anything about free-range, grass-feed farming knows that these animals tend to be healthier; just the opposite of the allegations being tossed at the farmers.

With the Michigan Department of Natural Resources currently engaged in a witch hunt for non-white pork, our choice of food once again comes under threat. And, once again, the threat against biodiversity and all the risks associated with it should not be underestimated.

I encourage all readers to watch the embedded video and read the Mercola article. There’s a lot more at stake here than just how many apple varieties you’ll find at the local supermarket.

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17
August

The Optimism Bias: Shaping Reality, Creating The Future

One of the more interesting elements of human thinking is our tendency towards optimism. The vast majority of emotionally healthy individuals exhibit a strong bias of believing that things are going to turn out for the best. Regardless of whether that be getting a promotion, not getting cancer or our ability to pass our driving exam, we nearly always expect a successful outcome.

This bias towards optimism is wired into our brains. Using functional MRI, researcher Tali Sharot was able to quantify the brain activity associated with assimilation of good news and bad news. The results were interesting, but I’ll leave it to her in the accompanying video to talk about it. What I’m more interested in today is discussing the implications of an optimism bias regarding creating our realities, both positive and negative.

The first order is to sum it up with: Science has definitively proven that regardless of how you describe it (The Secret, Law of Attraction, Manifesting), the fact is that if you expect to achieve positive results, you will have a far greater chance of that happening than if you expect to achieve negative results. Moreover, if you expect to achieve big things, you’ll be happier. The idea of having low expectations and being happy when you’re proved wrong is a nice theory, according to Sharot, but it also happens to be wrong.

Understanding the bias is interesting because it puts a lot of our cultural behaviours into sharp focus. According to Sharot, “We’re optimistic about ourselves, we’re optimistic about our kids, we’re optimistic about our families, but we’re not so optimistic about the guy sitting next to us.” On a broader perspective, we tend towards realism and are able to see the bigger picture. When faced with looking inward, we tend towards optimism.

The benefit of this optimism with regard to health is obvious. People who expect to be healthy tend to experience good health (or at least better health) than people who expect to experience illness. The power of positive thinking is quantifiable and real. So, just as an Olympic athlete may imagine a successful outcome of their competition over and over prior to executing a brilliant performance, the more we can envision or imagine our own successful outcomes, the more likely we are to experience them.

The downside of our optimism bias, however, is very real. Being optimistic about ourselves, but not so much about the other guy, means that cancer from smoking is something that happens to others. It means that we’re less likely to truly recognize that 64-oz. colas are just as likely to cause us to develop diabetes as the next guy. In our tendency to seeing the bright side of things, we may be led to engage in risky behaviour in the unfounded assumption that we’ll be spared the consequences.

I think this optimism bias may be part of the problem with regard to our cultural unwillingness to deal with environmental issues in a timely manner. If we get stuck assuming that somebody will fix it in time, it frees us from the moral impetus to do anything about it ourselves. It enables us to label something “SEP” (Somebody Else’s Problem, to borrow the term from the wonderful Douglas Adams). At some point, an unrectified negative situation will become our problem, and it’s imperative that we be able to recognize this before we reach a tipping point of no return. The recognition of the tipping point and our distance from it is a skill that we each need to develop and nurture. The optimism bias is a vital part of being a successful human being, but too much of it can be a bad thing. The knowledge of this bias and how it operates can work very much to our advantage. Enjoy!

 

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15
August

Thought For Food

If you’re at all like I am, I grew up having friends and family in the farming community. I got to hang out with cows in the pasture, was chased by geese while trying to cross the yard, drove tractors and simply enjoyed the freshest produce possible. And when we were no longer near our family-run farm, my mom always had a garden planted. Nothing quite tastes like “summer” to me than a tomato fresh off the vine.

The move to self-sustainability has seen a recent increase in families gardening. Some have turned their balconies into vegetable or herb gardens. My own roof balcony has wild mint for us (and cat grass for Lila) growing on it. Here in Tokyo, it’s quite common to see a vegetable garden growing on a lot between two houses. City farming is not simply common here, it’s encouraged.

Some of you may have read a recent article on Mercola’s site that discussed the problems being faced by urban gardeners in some areas of North America. In Drummondville, Quebec, a couple planted a beautiful garden in their front yard, only to be told by city officials that they needed to dig it up because it broke city bylaws. Dirk Becker in B.C. faced similar problems after he took a 2.5-acre gravel pit and, over a decade, healed the land to create a vast organic garden landscape. He was threatened with jail for that. There are other incidents and it’s worth both reading the Mercola article and other sources to get a better understanding of the issues at stake.

That, however, is not what today’s article is about. I mentioned the downside of it because it is such a counterpoint to my experiences. Although North Americans seemingly have lost their connection with the soil and no longer find gardens attractive, the same is not true for other parts of the world. Consider, if you will, the fact that what North Americans call a “yard”, the English call a “garden”. Really stop and think about that.

During my frequent travels to Austria, I was constantly reminded of the urban gardener by the existence of communal garden plots scattered throughout the cityscape. These were areas where families would go to work the land and then sit back and enjoy some quiet time. It’s a lovely pastime that promotes sustainability and encourages making healthful and productive use of unused land.

A town in West Yorkshire called Todmorden had such a surplus of unused land. A few people decided to do something about that and spurred on an entire movement within its population of 15,000 to reinvent their landscape, access to food, educate its young people and even generate tourism where none existed before. Please have a look at how Pam Warhurst and the town of Todmorden could inspire YOUR town to do something, too.

 

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13
August

Mind Or Body: Take Your Pick

A lot of us have been taught that our emotional state is entirely dependent upon our thoughts. This belief has many of us completely ignoring our physical health even as we’re concerned with improving our emotional well-being. That separation of thinking stands in stark contrast to the reality of life: We are one, multifaceted, complex system.

In another perspective, it’s important for us to realize that our physical well-being is directly related to our emotional well-being. If we’re bombarded by external emotional stressors, it’s only a matter of time before we experience diminished physical well-being. There’s no separation, really, between the emotional and physical. You can think of them as connected systems that mirror each other within the contexts of their own components.

One way that we experience this can be seen in a healthy person coming down with an illness. As the illness sets in, our mood sours and we may become grumpy and even prone to lashing out at those around us. This connection between mind and body, the emotional and physical, is important not just because they show us quantifiable links to illness, but because they offer us a roadmap to creating overall health and well-being!

Some of us seem to be more cerebrally oriented than others. Others are far more physical. These biases and preferences give us a direct line to working towards feeling better. If we can consistently improve our emotional state for a period of time, our physical well-being will respond in kind. Conversely, if we consistently improve our physical well-being for a period of time, our emotional well-being will also improve.

The best advice I could possibly give you in terms of improving your well-being (and, in fact, creating a life rich with the experiences you wish to enjoy), it’s to focus first and foremost on being happy or feeling good from the perspective that is most easy for you. If you’re a cerebral type, get yourself laughing and feeling happy as much as you can and as often as you can. If you’re a physical type, meditate or exercise in ways that make you feel physically really good. By doing so, you’ll raise your emotional energies and your overall feeling will dramatically improve over time.

If you always see yourself as a complete system rather than a collection of disparate parts, you’ll find it much easier to address all aspects of your well-being.

If you have any questions about this (or anything else), feel free to leave a comment!

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6
July

How Much Does Freedom Of Choice Mean To You?

The Scales of Justice are a finicky lot. Sometimes they seem to be working in smooth, balanced fashion. Other times, however, they seem to be woefully off-kilter. Of course, this article is concerned with the latter. I’m noticing an ever worrying increase in the Scales leaning squarely on the side of business interests instead of protecting the people.

Two areas are of particular concern for me: 1. The inability to purchase all manner of raw, organic foods; and, 2. The inability for parents to choose which, if any, vaccination protocols to follow based on informed consent. Both issues point to a very important slipping away of personal rights. And the problem isn’t isolated to a particular area, either. The citizens of many countries are losing their right to choose.

A number of years ago when I started my quest to make my own yoghurt here in Japan, I was distressed to discover that it was illegal for stores or farms to sell unpasteurized milk. Good luck finding any raw, unpasteurized honey, either. Being Japan, you can get all manner of raw meat and fish. Culturally, it fits into the big picture. Good luck, however, if you’ve an inclination to take milk straight from the cow and make some ice cream.

The same situation exists in many areas of North America and the EU. Conventional farmers and dairy follow pretty strict rules about how they can get their products to market. To their benefit, there’s a very large lobbying body that ensures their interests are protected. And, currently, it’s in their interest to keep small, organic growers from getting a decent toehold in the market. Economically, it’s not in Conventional Agriculture’s interest to have broad choices. It’s in their interest to make their stuff the only game in town.

That’s the one part of it that bothers me. The other part of it is that when somebody chooses what I can or cannot buy and/or use, it takes away my ability to control my experience. It presupposes that others know my wants and needs better than I do. Moreover, it presupposes that policy makers are better informed than I am. Much of the time, I think I’m far better informed than the policy makers for one simple reason: I’m passionate about the information that I’m researching. I’m not just grinding through the paperwork necessary to get through a day at a political office.

At some point, somebody decided what was good for me. At some point, somebody decided that I couldn’t drink raw milk or eat raw honey. Meanwhile, I can drink alcohol until my liver fails and smoke cigarettes until my lungs are as black as coal. What’s wrong with this picture? It tells the story that where money is to be made, the best interests of the population are secondary. It indicates that choice is left only where profits are foreseen.

The situation with vaccines is similar. Much of the developed world has mandatory vaccine schedules with very few opt-out clauses. Here in Japan, if your kids aren’t vaccinated, they’re disallowed from attending school. Period. Why? Because if your kid isn’t vaccinated, he/she is a risk to other children. Makes sense, right?

Right?

Think about it. If A-san is vaccinated and B-san opts out, how is B-san going to be a risk to A-san? If the efficacy of vaccines is as Big Pharma claims, A-san’s vaccination schedule should protect him/her from any risk of succumbing to exposure to anything that B-san catches. Right? This is where the argument fails the logic test. If vaccinations work as advertised, then whomever opts out of a protocol will only prove to a risk to him- or herself. The rest of the vaccinated population will be a-okay.

So, given that, what’s the real impetus for imposing mandatory vaccination protocols? The only thing I can think of is money. And, frankly spoken, 3rd-party verification of the efficacy of vaccinations just does not exist on a large scale. How many large-scale trials have been done to remove reasonable doubt of risk and indicate efficacy of early-childhood vaccinations that are imposed on fixed schedule on infants regardless of how premature they may have been born? In North America and Japan, the protocols for infant vaccinations cover multiple shots of up to 8 vaccines administered at a single inoculation. I’ll tell you now many large-scale trials have been done:

None. Zero. Zip. Nada.

Meanwhile, various areas in the United States are now moving toward revoking parental right to informed consent. This means that if you’re a parent with kids in the US, your kids can come home from school one day to tell you that they’ve been immunized without you having any say in the matter. Parents in Vermont recently ensured that this right to informed consent was NOT taken away from them, but other states are not going to be so lucky. Once rights are taken away, it’s painfully difficult to get them put back into place again.

So, the question is: How much does your freedom to choose mean to you?

It’s a hugely important question. There are people out there with selfish interests who will do what they can to take/keep power and make/keep money. And if it means turning off Survivor and reruns of Fantasy Island for a while so that you can study up on the issues involved, I think it’s worth it. I grew up in an era where it was patently assumed that government, business, medicine and agriculture were ALL working toward the common greater good of everybody. It’s been in the last 20 years that I realized I was very much mistaken.

If we want to retain our right to choose, we need to stay aware of the issues and not fall prey to propaganda. That means you need to learn to do your own research. Read different viewpoints and come up with your own conclusions. The most effective population is one that is well educated and armed with a keen sense of critical thinking. When you can’t be sweet-talked and deceived, you can see the truth and ensure that real justice prevails.

Power To The People!

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27
June

The Mind-Body-Spirit Connection

If you’ve followed Living Intentionally for a while, you’ll have no doubt noticed that much of the information presented here involves nutrition and lifestyle. It’s not just about Law of Attraction and manifesting reality. This is, if you’ll excuse the pun, intentional. It’s my firm belief that you can’t create abundance or well-being without involving your physical body.

In Western culture, we tend to think of our thoughts and mind as being elements that reside entirely in the mind. As such, we’re encouraged to live cerebral, “thinking” lives. Westerners live mostly in their heads, and many of them are so far “north” of their bodies that when asked to describe what they feel in their body, they have no words. From their perspectives, they don’t feel anything.

The fact of the matter is that thoughts are not localized to the head. While it’s true that our brain is the clearing house of bodily control and thought, thoughts and emotional response to thoughts radiate throughout the body. Our nervous system, central channel and acupuncture meridians act as pathways of intercellular communication. When you experience a thought, physical processes are triggered in accordance with the thought and, importantly, emotion that follows.

Think about it for a moment. Have you had your heart broken? If you’re like most people, the answer is yes. And, if you think about it, why would we phrase it as having your heart broken if love were a cerebral experience? We wouldn’t. I can’t speak for you, but when my heart was broken, I felt it in my heart space. It was horrible and heavy. In fact, my heart wasn’t broken, I was.

The point is that regardless of how we culturally like to define thought, our bodies resonate and reverberate with the thoughts we think and our emotional reactions to them. When thoughts become chronic, i.e., beliefs, we create chronic patterns of physical response. This is a crucial fact in understanding stress response in the body and how it can create illness. If you’re chronically stressed and do not find healthful ways of releasing that stress, the chemical processes and energy patterns represented in the body will create areas of dis-ease. Illness will manifest.

The connection between our thoughts and our physical well-being is becoming much better understood. It wasn’t all that long ago that some of the best teaching hospitals in the United States endorsed the idea that as much as 90% of physical illness was derived from stress. We understand that our mind is not separate from our body. The mind-body-spirit connection is inextricable and unavoidable. Nothing happens in one realm that doesn’t happen in another.

Manifesting Abundance By Way Of Good Health

Pretty much all the Law of Attraction and Manifesting Reality teachings I’ve read focus almost exclusively on the nature of our thoughts. It’s been pounded into us (and I teach the same thing) that if we can improve the nature of our thoughts, we can improve the nature of our experience. It’s true, it’s undeniable and, yet, it’s incomplete. It’s not just about your thoughts. Why?

You can’t create a whole and abundant reality from an incomplete and unwell body. If you think it’s only a matter of thinking the right thoughts, you’re doomed to being one of those folks who end up frustrated that this stuff just doesn’t work. In fact, it does, but you need to recognize that manifesting and LoA answer to the sum of the mind-body-spirit balance.

Our focus needs to be on quality, I think. Quality of thought, quality of sleep, quality of relationships, quality of health … Quality is crucial. If you’re living in a Supersize Me world in which you’re concerned with quantity, it’s my opinion that you’re missing out. Quality is something that makes us feel good in a very long-term way. It’s been my experience that the pleasure derived from quantity is very short-lived.

The first element of improving the quality of physical being is happiness. If you’re struggling with health issues, feeling physically good can be challenging. In such cases, the best thing to do is to laugh. Find things that make you laugh. Whatever makes you giggle and feel joy, even if it’s just for a moment, will make you release feel-good hormones that stimulate healing and reduce inflammation.

Successful thinking is paramount, but we need to back it up with nutrition and lifestyle choices that help bootstrap our physical and spiritual well-being. When you pump up all areas of your life, you become a manifesting powerhouse. If you’re focused solely on your thoughts, but are filling yourself full of junk food, alcohol, drugs, or are engaging in turbulent relationships, your body and spirit will be offsetting the work you’re doing at the thought level. In such cases, people might be tempted to think that LoA isn’t working for them. In fact it is, always at all times, but the different parts of you aren’t working together to achieve your conscious goals.

So, work towards tuning up the whole system. Improve your thoughts. Find your joy. Do things that make you feel both emotionally AND physically good. Tend to your body’s health and well-being as much as you can. Understand that the more you recognize yourself as a whole and not as a head, the quicker you’ll get a handle on creating the life you want to live, in all regards.

Namaste,

trane

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16
June

The Oxymoron of Racial Purity

From time to time, I’m reminded of the divisive outlook on life by various members of society. It might be a newscast reporting on racial tension someplace in the world. Maybe it goes beyond tension and extends to violence. And, sometimes, it’s closer to home, as some Japanese refer to my Japanese-Canadian kids as being “Half”. Personally, I prefer the term “blend”, but what do I know?

No, this isn’t going to be a lecture on the equality of people, although I certainly am a fan of that ideal. I just thought I’d take a moment to reflect on the fact that while a lot of people get hung up on purity of race, they’re blissfully unaware of the fact that homo sapiens sapiens is nothing but a mongrel. We’re not half. In fact, if research is correct, we’re a hybrid of no less than three species.

Mixed Salad

Evolution is an interesting topic in and of itself, but hybridization involves more than mere evolutionary principles. The human genome has been compared to that of the Neanderthal genome and that of the Denisovans. The results of that comparison was somewhat startling. The conclusion of researchers was that modern humans took the opportunity to mate with our hominid relatives and the result was successful offspring.

How successful? Depending on who you ask, anywhere from 2.5-4% of our modern genome is Neanderthal. And if you’re Polynesian, you’re likely carrying some Denisova characteristics. Homo sapiens isn’t just promiscuous with our own kind; it seems that we took advantage of doing The Deed with others not quite like us.

So, for those of us who get stuck on colour, here’s a clue: You’re not even 100% modern human as first came on the scene. You’re a mix of homo sapiens, Neanderthal and maybe even Denisovan. And as research continues, it wouldn’t surprise me to find other evidence of “cross pollination” in our genome. So, if you’re getting uppity because your sister is dating somebody of a different colour than you are, the joke is ultimately on you. For as pure as you’d like to think you are, you’re nothing but a mongrel inbreed.

As are we all.

Frances Boas, the father of anthropology, has been quoted as stating that there is no such thing as race. Based on the research I’ve followed, I find myself having to agree. Biologically speaking, the differences between “races” reflect such small differences in the genome as to be effectively meaningless. And I think we need to be very careful about how we define ourselves in terms of adaptations to localized environment. It only takes a couple of generations for adaptations to environmental stress, e.g., increased sunlight, to slowly take hold. It seems ludicrous to me to imagine suspiciously looking at my great grandchildren and thinking that they’re somehow impure compared to me simply because they may be lighter or darker.

But, again, what do I know?

Getting back to Neanderthals and evolution for a moment, I find it interesting to consider that while there were never more than ~100,000 Neanderthals ever in existence, the fact that up to 4% of our genome is Neanderthal, carried within each of us, is a beautiful testament to their overall success. We typically think of Neanderthals as an evolutionary failure, but we carry a part of them in each of us.

So, if somebody ever decides to insult you by calling you a Neanderthal, just grin and say, “Yeah. What about it?”

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6
June

Reflexology: It’s All About Shoes

If you’ve been a regular reader of Living Intentionally, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of going barefoot. Going barefoot has a lot of good things going for it, including readily offering earthing/grounding and giving our bodies the equivalent of a nice dose of antioxidants thanks to the exchange of free electrons from the ground. All in all, it’s a great thing for our bodies and not only is it good for you, it feels good.

Walking barefoot also has the super benefit of stimulating our nervous system. All our body’s energy systems route through our feet. Walking over uneven surfaces stimulates these energy systems and encourages energetic flow throughout the meridians. Each pebble, twig, bump or whatever you happen to step on presses into various nerve plexus that trigger stimulating signals that ensure your energy systems work correctly. One of the major points, Kidney 1 (K1) in the centre of the ball of your foot, is actually the main acupuncture point that acts to connect all your meridians. Stimulating K1, therefore, stimulates your entire body.

When we wear shoes, we lose most of this vital stimulation. Given that many of us live in areas that are not conducive to wandering around sans shoes and that many of us have no choice but to wear shoes daily in the course of our employment, we can be left wondering how we can enjoy the benefits of a barefoot lifestyle without actually being barefoot.

Enter reflexology. Reflexology, or zone therapy, is a system of applying pressure to feet, hands, face, ears and other areas of the body to stimulate zones/reflex areas to effect beneficial changes in the body. The idea is that each of these zones or reflex areas map to various bodily organs or systems. According to reflexologists,  it’s possible to effect positive changes to health in the body through stimulating the associated points.

A good example of this is shown in various reflexology mappings on the feet. If you look at a reflexology diagram of the feet, you’ll see how they literally map out correlations of where, for example, the spine is laid out across the surface of the foot. Stimulating these areas, it is thought, effects healing in the associated areas of the body.

It makes sense to me. We evolved over millions of years to wander barefoot and receive hours of stimulation to our nervous systems each and every day. With the advent of modern shoes and lifestyle, most of us no longer enjoy this stimulation and need to turn to alternative means. If you haven’t tried reflexology, I encourage you to do so. It can be a great way for you to help reduce inflammation and improve overall health.

If you’re reading this in the Tokyo area, Salon Nirai (site is Japanese) is offering a 15% discount to Living Intentionally readers on their first visit. Salon Nirai offers services in Japanese and English to female clients and is located in Tsurukawa (near Machida) on the Odakyu Line, just a few-minute walk from the station. Just tell them that Living Intentionally sent you!

Love and Laughter,

trane

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4
June

Reflection: Cause Versus Effect

It’s a fact of this universe that we live in a realm of cause and effect. When push comes to shove, something is going to happen. We’re talking laws of physics here. Because of this physics thing, we can’t escape it: All our choices, whatever they may be, have consequences.

Our thoughts play a huge role in this cycle of cause and effect, too. Each time you think a thought about something — anything — you affirm that aspect of reality about that which you’ve thought. It’s this self-affirming aspect that makes our thoughts so powerful in leading us towards or away from our goals in life.

Our education systems are currently very process oriented. We spend a lot of time learning how to generate flows from milestone to milestone that take us from one place to another and another. If we get our flowchart right, we’ll finally arrive at our desired destination. In theory, that looks really good. In practice, it works well in planning manufacturing processes in factories, but it doesn’t seem to apply very well for the vagaries of life itself. Life, apparently, isn’t an assembly line.

I think a lot of people get caught up in trying to map their way to success. If you try to create a definitive route from here to success, I’m pretty sure you’re going to find life tossing in all manner of detours that cause you no end of rerouting. In the end, you’ll get bogged down in the details and minutiae of where you’re supposed to turn instead of focusing on where you want to end up. The reason this happens is that in focusing on the route’s twists and turns, the universe dishes out twists and turns.

I can almost hear somebody saying, “But you’ve said before that it’s the journey that matters.” Okay, I’ll take ownership of that because I think it’s true. It is the journey that matters, but it’s not the journey’s details that are important. What matters is our appreciation of the journey itself and what we take away from it in terms of our personal growth. In fact, I think any journey is simply the vehicle by which we grow. Everything that happens is merely potential for growth and realization.

So, here’s the deal. In a cause and effect universe, you always need to be the change you wish to create. Literally, be. Not want to be. Not think about being. Be. Be, be, be. Take a moment and mentally boldface Be for yourself a few times. I can’t emphasize enough how crucial this part is to our cause and effect universe.

The first element of Being the change you wish to create is to make affirmative declarations. This all starts with I AM. And if you’re not a native speaker of English, translate (not transliterate) this into the grammar of your own language. If you want to create health, you start by making the affirmative declaration “I AM healthy”. I AM is a declaration of an existing state, not a statement of desire for a future state. Using this form is crucial and is where a lot of us trip up on our way to manifesting reality.

Correct: I AM healthy.
Incorrect: I WILL BE healthy.

Why would “I will be <something>” be incorrect? It pushes our desired outcome into the future. It states that it isn’t true in the moment. I think it’s this last bit that is really important, and I think it is the reason why a lot of healing/success/whatever doesn’t happen the way people expect. I can remember healing sessions where I’d be thinking things such as “So-and-so will experience complete well-being”. It seemed like a great idea at the time, but it was always pushing the desired outcome forward. It wasn’t until I began using constructs such as “So-and-so is experiencing complete well-being” that my sessions saw incredible results.

The universe constantly reacts to our statements of fact. I’m not going to make some new-age claim that it wants to give us bliss or whatever. No, these are laws of physics. Karma is just an expression of this law of cause and effect, often manifested in our tendencies to bounce from extreme to extreme in our process of learning moderation. In changing the way we think, the universe isn’t conspiring with us; the grand dance of energy that makes up the universe itself is affected.

A lot of our authority figures have instilled in us this tragic sense of smallness, of insignificance. NOTHING could be further from the truth! Every thought you think affects ALL of Creation. You are not separate from Creation, you are a part of it. And, in case you hadn’t noticed, Creation hasn’t stopped. It’s an ongoing process. We are all immensely powerful co-creators of how this universe is playing out. How we frame our thoughts drives the very Engines of Creation themselves.

Our thoughts may appear to come from our brains, but every cell in our body responds to/interacts with them. We think something and every manner of physiological response occurs, from hormone secretion to changes in electrical activity. Because our thoughts trigger changes in trillions of cells in our bodies, we quite literally act as transmitters. It’s very correct to think of each of us as a walking radio station. Our mental chatter is constantly broadcast to those around us, as are our feelings and emotions. I’m quite sure that we’ve each experienced coming into somebody’s space only to be strongly attracted or repelled even before we’ve had any noticeable interaction with that person. That’s the power of our thoughts at work. We’re constantly transmitting and receiving.

Not only do our cells vibrate in alignment with the thoughts we think, we broadcast from our heart space. When you think “I” and point to your heart, you’re right on the money. Much of who we are is broadcast from our heart space (chakra, if you prefer). The energy emanating from this space creates a measurable field, and matter around us responds to the nature of our thoughts. Experiments with plants, for example, have shown measurable biological responses to human thoughts of love, hate, anger and sadness. To that end, we literally create around us a world that reflects our thoughts back to us.

Let’s get back to that whole Be the change you wish to create. How can we be something now that we wish to create in the future? The good news is that it’s actually really easy. It’s a little something I learned while studying hypnotism: The subconscious mind cannot tell the difference between something real and imagined. The answer, therefore, is to create a mental state that enables us to work directly with our subconscious mind.

Meditation is a great tool for accessing the subconscious mind. Meditation is a form of light-to-moderate self-hypnosis that falls short of somnambulism. Meditation can be greatly accentuated by establishing clear intentions prior to the meditation session. For me, that entails focusing on my goal, e.g., “I AM abundant and successful”, and using that focus as an icon of attention during breathing. Some have found great luck with using a simple goal statement as a mantra to chant or think over and over again during the session. Guiding meditation in this manner brings the meditation session much closer to a classical view of self-hypnosis because the Critical Factor of the conscious mind is successfully bypassed and acceptable selective thinking is established. Mantras used in this state are extremely powerful means of programming our subconscious mind.

Post-meditation techniques that assist in the manifesting process involve framing questions that prompt us to tacitly explore our options. Taking the above affirmative declaration and turning it into a question, we might say, “How can I maintain and enhance my success and abundance?” At this point, it’s not necessary to start mulling it over; the question itself is the vital step. From here, we observe our opportunities and act upon them as desired.

When we make affirmative declarations of state and then follow up with questions of how to maintain and enhance that state — all while being mentally receptive to suggestion — our entire being from emotional to physical broadcasts the intent of both the initial statement and an announcement that we want to discover means of enhancing that experience. The universe has no choice but to answer the call. Situations will arise that give you opportunities to grow and create beyond your current means.

With the subconscious mind not recognizing the difference between the real and imagined, then, we subsequently take a moment to guide our daydreams to imagine exactly the situation we wish to create. It’s important for us to daydream in present tense as a further establishment of our declaration of state. For our subconscious mind, this very literally creates that reality. Physiologically, this literally creates cellular memory of events that have yet to happen. From our subconscious perspective, we’re literally experiencing an event and our bodies likewise experience that event as reality. We end up with trillions of cells all broadcasting their familiarity and alignment with this reality.

You know what the result is, right? Cause: We create a reality in our subconscious mind. Result: Our universe is tweaked to accommodate said reality.

There are tricks to accelerate the mind’s acceptance of this “reality mantra” prior to our meditation session. The first thing is to write down what it is we want to work on as our goal. Be sure to phrase it only with positive affirmation, meaning that you avoid the use of any negative verbs or adverbs. “I AM free of cancerous cells.” “I AM 100% healthy in every way.” “I AM free of allergies. My immune system always responds appropriately.” These are all good examples of mantras to write down.

After writing down, read your goal statement 3-5 times. Then settle into your meditation pose. I strongly recommend something that is as comfortable as possible. Any position that creates resistance is one that will be less effective. I do 99% of my meditations sitting in the chair at my desk. If your “meditation switch” is turned on by assuming a lotus position, however, feel free. Whatever floats your cork. I like to touch the words I’ve written in order to create more of a physical matrix between my thoughts and body. Finally, I hold the paper to my heart space as I focus on the goal mantra. This further cements the mind/body relationship matrix and creates a strong cellular alignment to the mantra throughout the body.

Settle into your meditation, focus on breathing or whatever makes you feel good and then just focus on feeling. Experience your body. Experience your essence. For me, this works best when I let me awareness centre in my abdomen, focusing on my life force energy. I stay in this space until I feel that familiar “I’m meditating and feel good” well-being spread throughout my body, and then I begin my mantra.

Focusing on your goal mantra shouldn’t seem like work. Do it only for as long as feels good, for as long as feels right. If mental chatter comes up, fine. Observe it and let it go. Neither focus on it or push it away. It’s as much a part of your process as everything else, so just note it and get back to the moment. If your attention wanders, that’s okay. When you notice, bring your focus back to your mantra.

When it feels like time to quit, that’s when you ask your questions to maintain and enhance your goal. And you don’t need to ask the question over and over again, nor do you need to meditate on it. Just release it as you would a dove to flight and watch it go. Then get on with your day.

Pay attention to your day, the days and weeks to come. The more often you work through these exercises, the quicker the benefits come. As you become familiar with the process and get used to how quickly the results manifest, your excitement and acceptance of the process further speed things up. The results, literally, can be instantaneous. The only limiting factor is how much or little you allow to come to you.

And that, friends, is all a matter of the thoughts you think. After all, it’s a cause and effect universe.

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19
May

Kashi: Representing Misrepresentation

As reported at mercola.com and USA Today, Kashi has become the poster child of how lax labeling laws can leave consumers believing they’re buying one thing when, in fact, they’re getting something else entirely. Case in point: In Kashi’s “natural” cereals, the soy used is GMO. For most of us, that wouldn’t seem natural at all, but it’s perfectly legal in North America.

Personally, I find this kind of “gaming the system” to be deceptive. I may not be much of a cereal eater these days, but I certainly have eaten Kashi cereals and their cereal bars. I can promise you that I’m not a happy camper to think that I was consuming GMOs. The problem isn’t so much with Kashi, which is operating within the letter of the law, but with the law itself that enables companies to use wholly unnatural ingredients in products and label them as natural.

I’m definitely not alone, it seems, in my expectation that when a company labels something as natural, it’s not artificial. The law itself defines natural as “food that’s minimally processed, made with no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or sweeteners.” To me, it seems logical that if you’re going to disallow artificial colours, you’d also disallow genetically modified organisms. Alas, no. What’s logical to me is, in fact, an intentional loophole in the definition.

The rule of thumb is that if you want to be ensured that you’re eating healthful food, you really have no choice but to buy certified organic. Anything else is subject to all manner of tampering and deceptive labeling. In this case, one company’s “natural” turned out to be a whole lot of people’s definition of frankenfood.

Let’s be careful out there.

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