Wednesday, November 29, 2006

R.I.P. Rocco

As the co-owner of a pilates studio, we pride ourselves on cultivating a healthy and nurturing environment for our clients. We use aromatherapy blends to clean our equipment, we make our space a cell free zone, and we use method products for our bathrooms.

So when we discovered a rat in our rafters, disturbing does not quite capture what we felt. Unfortunately, it was one of our clients that first saw the rat who I have now named Rocco, but fortunately it was on our men dominant mornings (yes, men do Pilates), so laughing it off was not a problem. But, we knew it had to be handled. Perhaps this is one of the benefits of living in Texas where it is virtually a holiday when hunting season starts, so the concept of setting a trap was not even a second thought. Not to stereotype myself, but as stated in a previous posting, I am a girl and a jew from Oklahoma, so when it comes to most issues regarding killing animals and performing any type of handiwork, I try and turn a blind eye. But my karma had caught up to me. My business partner called me last night and warned me that the trap had been set and I was the first one scheduled to arrive in the morning. I tossed and turned all night, wondering what Rocco's fate would be.

While I can joke about it, I definitely started crying when I walked in the studio and saw Rocco at the end of his days. I will spare you the details, but lets just say the cheese was still whole and the floor is stained with blood. Perhaps it was the reality that I would have to clean it up, but as my awareness of green consciousness and movements such as animal cruelty have been heightened, I definitely felt conflicted. However, at the end of the day, a rat is a rat. I have the same issues about killing spiders and cockroaches. Is there another option? The answer is yes. Unfortunate for Rocco however, this was only discovered in hindsight.

While my business partner blames the pizza place next door, one of our other trainers is currently researching the symbolism of rats according to Native American culture and animal medicine. Whatever the lesson to be learned is, I am sure it is different for each of us. Unsure how to really comprehend my lesson, I did what I do best, lit some incense and had a moment of silence for Rocco. RIP Rocco.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Change - One (Green) Step at a Time

When I decided to purchase a Jetta Diesel, I will admit a big draw was the gas mileage (30mpg). But as I performed further research, I realized that contrary to previous misconceptions, diesel is actually a cleaner burning fuel, and thus my new found support of green activism was launched. Despite majoring in Environmental Studies and even working for the Sierra Club early in my career, I admit to not living up to my "green" potential in recent years. But after years of feeling overwhelmed with the amount of evidence encouraging the need to make a change, I had finally found a tangible way to make an impact. I have even gone so far as to living in a "green home."

With growing interest in hybrid cars, organic foods/eating, and global warming an increased cultural awareness linking our global health in relation to personal health exists. It is clear that sustainability and green living ranks high on consumers priority. As a result, businesses and corporations are taking notice! We can no longer deny that we can make a difference, the question is how. And while not everyone can go out and by a hybrid car, there are simple tangible steps that we each can take. One good resource is Ideal bite. Sign on to their tip newsletter and get the Green Tuesday Discount and guidance on how to shop "green" this holiday season. Change can be as simple as coupling our awareness with our actions.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Caffeine and Coffee and Chocolate - Oh My!

After years of denying himself the pleasure of a cup of coffee in the mornings based on information that it was not good for you, my father recently learned of a new study that states the benefits of coffee, particularly for diabetes. While I am sure the health benefits were the primary driver, seeing the joy in his eyes from a simple morning cup, you would think he was being reunited with a long lost friend from his camp days.

There are also new studies touting the benefits of the anitioxidants and flavonoids found in dark chocolate as well as the fitness enhancing benefits found in caffeine. The vices that previously seemed to plague our health and performance are revealing themselves as virtues to enhance it.

The truth is, you could find a study to support anything these days. The challenge arises in finding trusted and credible information and coupling that with an honest dialogue with ourselves and our healthcare professionals. As information becomes more readily available, the doctor/patient relationship is shifting towards one where dialogue is critical in gaining a full understanding as to what the appropriate answers are for each of us. So continue reading the various studies and despite the instaneous relief or angst you may experience after learning about a new finding, take that moment of pause and get comfortable asking the questions until you fully comprehend in a manner that resonates with you. And as far as caffeine, coffee, and chocolate - the key is moderation, so savor the moments with these delicacies just like you would upon reuniting with that long lost friend.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Confessions of a Holiday Jew

I grew up Jewish in Oklahoma. There were four jewish people in my high school - two were my cousins. I am currently what many call a "Holiday Jew." The relationship I have with my religion has followed a circuitous route ranging from complete denial of my judaism based on a traumatic Bat Mitzvah experience to seeking the wisdom of my psychic acupuncturist- Nubbie.

But, for better or worse, I seem to always come back to a place of appreciation for the tradition and values that my Jewish culture embraces. It is through tragic family losses that I have realized the importance of coming together as a tribal unit and surrendering to some version of a higher power as the only inkling of understanding that could possibly justify such grief. And at the opposite extreme, I have discovered indescribable moments of joy through witnessing my nephew's bris milah (well maybe not so joyous for him) and my niece's recent baby naming. Regardless of the placement of the experience within the life cycle, I have learned to trust the assurance of love, faith, and an undeniable strength that can only be the result of something bigger than we could ever imagine. Whatever we choose to call it - God, Universe, Allah, Nothingness, Buddha, is not necessarily about religion, but a courage to believe that we are part of something greater than ourselves.

So as we head into the materialism and stress that the holiday season can often bring, let us not forget that we are only a small part of a bigger universal picture and to think outside of our daily bubbles can often bring the true joy of what the holiday season is about.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Turducken vs. Tofurkey

I was at the grocery store yesterday, and the cashier was checking out the woman in front of me who was buying her thanksgiving dinner - turkey and all. The cashier grabbed the turkey and wrapped it separately. I noticed she became very pale and obessively searched for the hand santitzer and applied it over and over and over. She apologized to me, saying she has been a vegetarian for over 30 years and the juice from the turkey was simply too much for her.

I have several friends who are strict vegans. While Thanksgiving represents something different for each of us, the obsession about glorifying the cruelty of animals for a feast in "vegan" eyes is particularly perturbing. The vegetarian community is a passionate one - for good reason. But beyond the cruelty factor, there are numerous reasons that people choose to become vegetarian including the health benefits. A recent study announced that red meat may be the cause of specific forms of cancer. Now I don't want to be the buzz kill to a good hamburger. The truth is, there is a range of diets and lifestyles all promoting healthier/organic ways of eating including: The Raw Foods Detox Diet,The 3 Season Diet and The Detox Diet just to name a few. The list can go on with the experts to support them. The days of denying the benefits of eating organically are slim and there are ways to still embrace meat within this manner. However, at the end of the day, it is about becoming conscious of our choices.

In my mind there is room for both Turducken (although an animal within an animal within an animal does seem extreme) and Tofurkey. And just like anything, before making a judgement regarding a certain lifestyle, it is best to educate ourselves to have a wider perspective and ultimately a better understanding to make more informed choices in our lives. If nothing else, remember Thanksgiving is about treasuring the people around you and giving gratitude for what is important, not just about the turkey:-) Happy Holiday!

Brand New Day - Literally!

In a previous posting, I talked about the importance of intention and becoming aware of our actions/words. I will be the first to admit that I can go off on philosophical ramblings without any tangible outcome. Well, philosophical rambling meet tangible outcome. Today is a new moon. I am sure there is major scientific relevance regarding the importance of this lunar cycle. However, I am more interested in the *woo woo significance. Typically, new moons represent a time of new beginnings - literally. Look up at the sky tonight - nothing with the exception of some stars shoud you be so lucky. According to Osho Zen Philosophy, "nothing or 'no-thingness' refers to a state of pure potential that existed before the universe was created. All you can do now is relax into this nothingness....and treasure the empty moment of the experience. Something sacred is about to be born."

It is an opportunity each month to literally clean the slate and start fresh. While there are numerous ways to establish a new moon ritual, I don't want to freak people out:-) The best way to take advantage of this energy and time is to literally think about an intention of what you would like to manifest. It can begin by stating "I now my life" or "I now call my life." It can be specific or general. It can be said to yourself or written down. Whatever resonates with you. While I can virtually promise that something will result (although probably not in the timeframe or the expected result you had in mind), it is not necessarily about the outcome. It is about placing a positive intention and feeling the empowerment that can arise - even for just for a moment.

*Editor's note: You will notice the use of "woo woo" used throughout this blog. I am perfectly aware that "woo woo" has numerous terms, many of which are perhaps inappropriate and embarrassing to get into here. But for the use of this blog, it is meant to imply spiritual, energetic, perhaps even "koo koo" and embodies thoughts that many consider to be too new agey and out there.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Acronym Frenzy

Call me crazy, but it seems that in an effort to simplify our lives, the use of acronyms has reached an all new frenzy. IMHO, while I appreciate the use of a good acronym, when we have to start googling what they mean, perhaps we need to take a moment of pause.

However, when it comes to our health, acronyms rule. For instance, you may not be aware that this is GERD (Gastroesophogeal Reflux Disease) Awareness Week. Now perhaps this is TMI, but when it comes to a full week raising awareness to GI issues, we have truly reached an ironic time in our society. Nevertheless, kudos to the health experts for raising awareness to a very serious disease. Check out Dr. Weil's recommendations to get relief from GERD. TTFN (ta ta for now)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Hormonal Parody

I was watching Larry King the other night and Suzanne Somers (yes. Chrissy Snow of Three's Company) was defending her book regarding bioidentical hormones . While the topic of hormones (synthetic and bioidentical) and the issue of menopause is very critical for millions of women, watching this cast of characters was like watching a parody on Saturday Night Live. The show consisted of four women and two men. One of the men was a Dr. and the other was Larry King, neither could get a word in edgewise. Suzanne Somers was so hyped up and defensive she was ironically bringing heightened awareness to the menopausal stereotypes.

While I am thrilled that Suzanne Somers' has found something that works for her and respect the work she has done to write the book, it is merely one perspective. Her manic claim that she feels 30 years younger was a little disturbing. I am 30 years younger than her and frankly she was freaking me out:-)

The truth is, there are hundreds of opinions and at the end of the day it is about each woman feeling empowered to trust her instinct and couple it with the research and questioning the "experts" to find the correct formula of remedy that works for them. A real expert is going to respect the questions and work with you to address them. They won't be going on a tiraid of defensiveness. The days of looking for a quick fix for better or worse no longer exists. With the rise of the internet and the wealth of information at our fingertips, and a growing awareness both intiuitively as individuals and globally as a conscious force we are destined to learn how to question ourselves and the expert opinions until we discover what works for us. And it is going to be different for each person.

So watch the shows, read the books, ask questions of the experts like Dr. Erika Schwartz and begin to trust yourself, because this is the only formula for a quick fix these days. Trial and error should be looked upon as an adventure to our journey of healing. Embrace it.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Quick Fix Generation

We are a generation looking for quick fixes. I admit going to psychics, learning about Feng Shui, and looking at my horoscope all in an effort bring the perfect relationship and the perfect job. And while it has taken numerous relationships and jobs, an awareness has emerged and I now realize that any change is a result of shifting energy (aka: consciousness).

Applying consciousness on a daily basis is not something our generation is accustomed to. It is too “woo woo” and not practical in our day-to-day interactions.

As the world continues to change at the rapid pace it does, our desire to control our environment seems almost overwhelming and we are forced to ask ourselves deeper questions as to what really matters. The “quarter life crisis” is becoming so prevalent, that the soul searching journeys once reserved for retirement and midlife are becoming crucial as our generation struggles to find meaning and purpose in our lives. And often, that purpose is more simple than we could ever imagine. The realization that when we cherish our families, friends, our health, and begin to nurture that voice inside, suddenly things begin to fall into perspective. The fears propelling our previous concerns such as meeting a deadline, impressing people we don’t know and doing things for other people instead of ourselves is not as important.

We are in the midst of a paradigm shift where we need to re-define selfishness based on using others expectations to move forward in life into self-fullness where we create our worlds based on a personal foundation based on our values, intentions, and desires. In a time when so many things are out of our control, the power of what we do, where we live, and who we spend time with is a metaphor for our lives.

Once we shift the feeling of being victimized by our jobs, relationships and environments and see that we have drawn these experiences to our lives whether conscious of it or not, we experience the reality to reverse the negative into positive. The challenge lies in becoming conscious and looking outside of our personal bubbles. It requires a moment of stopping ourselves in our tracks and asking what is important. Once we understand the core of our personal philosophy, it guides our actions and will change the way we relate to ourselves and how we carry ourselves in the world. It begins by becoming aware of our bodies, our words, and our environments as an integrated part of our creative minds. We all have that active imagination that continues to live inside of us and sometimes we just need reminding.