Z is for Zodiac

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By now you’ve noticed that the photographs I’ve used in this post don’t have anything to do with zodiac signs. However, I wanted to share pictures with you from the library-view I enjoyed while writing this post on December 18, 2010 in Encinitas, California (before the big rains started). For those of you who don’t know, I’m spending time with my dad during the holidays (Dec 16 – Jan 1). And by the way, at time of publishing this post, it appears that the weather has decided to behave itself – we haven’t had rain for 24-hours and things are beginning to dry up.

You’ve heard them all…
Are you lost? Because heaven’s a long way from here.
Do you have a map? I keep getting lost in your eyes.
Excuse me, but I think I dropped something—my jaw!
Hello, I’m a thief and I’m here to steal your heart.
If I could rearrange the alphabet, I’d put U and I together.

But quite possibly, the most popular pick-up line used for years was:

What’s your sign?

The time of your birth—the day and month during which you were born—determines the horoscope sign under which you fall. Astrology bears 12 horoscope signs that are derived from constellations in the sky. Your zodiac sign is based on the constellation in which the sun lies at the time of your birth. Simply click on the appropriate link below to read a description of your horoscope sign:

CAPRICORN   Dec 22 – Jan 19

AQUARIUS   Jan 20 – Feb 18

PISCES   Feb 19 – Mar 20

ARIES   Mar 21 – Apr 19

TAURUS   Apr 20 – May 20

GEMINI   May 21 – Jun 20

CANCER   Jun 21 – Jul 22

LEO   Jul 23 – Aug 22

VIRGO   Aug 23 – Sept 22

LIBRA   Sept 23 – Oct 22

SCORPIO   Oct 23 – Nov 21

SAGITTARIUS   Nov 22 – Dec 21

Born on September 28, I’m a Libra.

Hey baby, what’s your sign?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com.

© 2010 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

Y is for You

Who Are You? by Len Buchanan

Who Are You? by Len Buchanan

There are times during a session when I ask a client to tell me who they are. I preface this by saying, “I don’t want to know whose mother, wife, or daughter you are, what you do for a living, what group(s) you identify with, where you live, what you collect, or what you drive. When you take away all of those trimmings, who are you?

This question usually causes a long, thought-filled, inward examination. It’s a question that’s important for each of us to be able to answer for ourselves.

I remember Olivia (not her real name) who thought quietly about this question for the longest time. Eventually, tears slowly began to roll down her cheeks, but she was smiling. When she finally answered she said, I am enough.” That was the most powerful, profound answer I’d ever received. This is the place that we all need to be—I am enough!

An equally important question is why are you here? Not your geographic location, but your life purpose. Knowing why we’re here provides us with the most concrete and basic thing we can know about ourselves—that there’s an individual reason for each of us being here.

Many people believe that we “find” our purpose. Not me. I believe that we determine our purpose. There’s a big, whompin’ difference.

Who am I? you ask me.
I’m an extension of Source Energy; an expression of Divine Love.

What’s the purpose that I’ve determined? you’d like to know.
I determined that my purpose is to be a mindful agent of heart-based change—body, mind, and spirit.

What about you—Who are you? Why are you here?

“All my life, I always wanted to be somebody. Now I see that I should have been more specific.”
               — Lily Tomlin, American actress, comedian, writer, and producer

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com

© 2010 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved.

X is for Xanadu

Laurie's Dream Cottage

Laurie's Dream Cottage

You remember the 1980 musical/romance film, Xanadu, with Olivia Newton-John, Michael Beck, and Gene Kelly.

Xanadu—where time stops and the magic never ends.

Xanadu has come to represent the ideal, Nirvana, or paradise. The photograph in this post is of my dream cottage located in the extreme northern Highlands of Scotland. It represents my idea of utopia; my Xanadu.

Geographically speaking, where is your Xanadu?

By the way, Xanadu—the song by Olivia Newton-John and Electric Light Orchestra—was ELO’s first and only #1 hit. The song has been touted as being the only song in the Billboard Hot 100 to begin with the letter “X”.

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com.

© 2010 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

W is for Writing

Paden Plume (Laurie's alter ego)

Paden Plume (Laurie’s alter ego)

Please note: the opinions expressed here are based on my perspective—that doesn’t make it right or wrong, it’s simply my point of view. I’d love for you to share yours.

What makes a person a writer?
The simple answer is, they write. If you put pen to paper—or fingers to keyboard (or voice to recorder, as the case may be)—you’re a writer.

The more complicated answer is that a writer is a person who has a love affair with language. They’re wooed by manipulating words; by painting word pictures. They can’t help expressing themselves—words flow down their arm through their fingertips, unchecked. They write regardless of who may, or may not, read their words.

Why do writers write?
Writer’s write because they can’t help themselves. It’s a compulsion; an automatic reflex like breathing, and equally essential.

Why do writers write? Click To Tweet

My friend Susan said, “I write because it sucked me into my own personal matrix and I’m still looking for the exit!

What’s the difference between a writer and an author?
A writer is a person whose written work is yet unpublished. An author is a person whose written work is published.

Do you have a love affair with the written word?

Do you have a love affair with the written word? Click To Tweet

Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.”
—Cyril Connolly, English intellectual, literary critic, and writer

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

V is for Vitamins

Supplements by Laurie Buchanan

Supplements by Laurie Buchanan

No matter how well we eat, there are usually some nutritional gaps in our diet. Multivitamins and minerals are an easy and convenient way to help fill those gaps and insure that our bodies get all of the nutritional support they need every day.

There are 13 vitamins classified as either water soluble (C and B-complex) or fat soluble (A, D, E and K) each having a key role to play in our bodies.

Water Soluble Vitamins: Stored in the body for a brief period of time, water soluble vitamins are then excreted by the kidneys. The one exception is vitamin B12, which is stored in the liver. Water soluble vitamins need to be taken daily.

Fat Soluble Vitamin: Together with fat from the intestine, these vitamins are absorbed into the circulation. Any disease or disorder that affects the absorption of fat, such as celiac disease, can lead to a deficiency of these vitamins. Once absorbed into the circulation these vitamins are carried to the liver where they’re stored.

In addition to vitamins, our bodies need several minerals for the proper makeup of bone and blood, and for maintenance of normal cell function. These are divided into 2 groups:

Major minerals: phosphorous, calcium, sodium, potassium, chlorine, sulfur, and magnesium.

Trace minerals: iron, iodine, cobalt (from vitamin B12), chromium, selenium, copper, fluorine, manganese, zinc, and molybdenum.

Below I’ve provided a brief thumbnail sketch of some of key vitamins and minerals. It doesn’t include healthy oils (i.e., fish, garlic, flaxseed) or herbal supplements (i.e., milk thistle, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, echinacea).

Vitamin A – Vitamin A prevents eye problems, promotes a healthy immune system, is essential for the growth and development of cells, and keeps skin healthy.

Vitamin B-Complex – It’s my perspective that B vitamins should be taken as a complex, a combination of B vitamins that are essential for quality longevity, heart health, and aiding the body during times of stress. Here is a quick look at the individual B’s:

          B-1 (also known as thiamin) helps the body to convert carbohydrates into energy and is necessary for the proper function of the heart, muscles, and nervous system.

          B-2 (also known as riboflavin) is essential for turning carbohydrates into energy and producing red blood cells. It’s also important for vision.

          B-3 (also known as niacin) helps the body convert food into energy. It helps maintain healthy skin and is important for nerve function.

          B-6 is important for normal brain and nerve function. It also helps the body break down proteins and make red blood cells.

          B-9 (also known as folic acid) helps the body make red blood cells, and is needed to make DNA.

          B-12 helps to make red blood cells, and is important for nerve cell function.

Vitamin C is needed to form collagen, a tissue that helps to hold cells together. It’s essential for healthy bones, teeth, gums, and blood vessels. It helps the body to absorb iron and calcium, aids in wound healing, and contributes to brain function.

Calcium – Essential for teeth and building strong bones. Adequate calcium in a healthy diet may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Vitamin D Promotes the strength of the immune system, supports bone and joint health, and enhances calcium absorption. Vitamin D is unique in that the body is able to produce it when ultraviolet rays, specifically UVB, penetrate the skin. When these ultra violet rays come into contact with a compound in the skin called 7-dehydrocholesterol (a cholesterol precursor), this compound is converted to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (vitamin D3), the active form of vitamin D.

Vitamin E – is an antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage. It’s also important for the health of red blood cells, maintenance of a healthy heart, lungs, prostate, and enhances digestive tract function.

Folic Acid – aids in the prevention of birth defects when it is taken prior to conception. Given its potential to protect the health of newborns, healthcare professionals strongly advocate that women begin taken folic acid supplements three months prior to the time they plan to conceive.

Iron – helps red blood cells carry oxygen to all parts of the body. Symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia include weakness and fatigue, lightheadedness, and shortness of breath.

Vitamin K – is necessary for blood clotting.

Magnesium – helps muscles and nerves to function, steadies the heart rhythm, and keeps bones strong. It also helps the body create energy and make proteins.

Phosphorous – helps form healthy bones and teeth. It also helps the body make energy. Every cell in the body needs phosphorus to function normally.

Potassium – helps with muscle and nervous system function. It also helps the body maintain the balance of water in the blood and body tissues.

Zinc – An infection fighting mineral, zinc is important for normal growth, strong immunity, and wound healing.

Not all vitamins and minerals are created equal, be sure to read the label. Naturally, you should work with your healthcare provider to find out which supplements you could benefit from, and how much is right for you taking into consideration your gender, age, weight, activity level, health concerns, and any medications you may be taking.

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com.

© 2010 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

U is for Unity

Unity is Birthed by Individuals (UW-Madison by Laurie Buchanan)
Unity is Birthed by Individuals (UW-Madison by Laurie Buchanan)

Unity, though concerned with the larger group, is birthed by individuals—you and me. It’s my perspective the unity has two orientations:

Vertically, it’s our connection with Source Energy
Horizontally, it’s our connection with the people around us

The intersection of these two lines is the seat of compassion—the key ingredient for unity at its best.

Identification with a group is vital to how we define ourselves. The worth of any group lies in the behavior of its individual members. Every group has people who are positive, uplifting, constructive, and healing. And of course, every group has people who are otherwise.

Connecting with like-minded people helps to make us aware of our inherent unity. When we’re warmly included—validated—it nurtures a warm sense of belonging; a sense that we’re part of something bigger than ourselves.

One of my friends, an aspiring writer shared, “I wish I weren’t so shallow. But sadly, honestly, I am. I wait for validation. I wait for recognition. I wait to be invited … by him … by her … by them … by the publishing world. While I wait, I sharpen the tools of my craft and I dream.”

There are a multitude of groups we can align ourselves with: ethnicity, religious affiliation, spiritual tradition, sexual orientation, and political association—to name but a few. Regardless, as the camel driver in Paul Coelho’s book The Alchemist said, “All of our life stories and the history of the world were written by the same hand.” Inherent unity.

Being one’s authentic self within a group is vital. Frank Lloyd Wright, the father of organic architecture said, “The reality of a building is the space within. And what you put into that space will affect how you live in it and what you become. Don’t clutter the place with stuff that does not ennoble it.”

His point is that it’s the details that express the whole. This is equally true of our personal ecology—inner landscape—which brings us right back to the beginning. Unity, though concerned with the larger group, is birthed by individuals at our compassion-filled, authentic best.

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com.

© 2010 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

T is for Time

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Kronos, or tick-tock time, is chronological, sequential, and linear in nature; it’s governed by watches, clocks, and calendar pages. We schedule our lives by it—making appointments and keeping deadlines. It tends to be more of a taskmaster than a friend. Many people speak of “never having enough” of it as we race against the clock.

Kronos time is symbolized by an infant that ushers in the New Year and ends the annual calendar as an elderly, bent, and bearded man—Father Time—similar to the god Chronos in Greek mythology.

It’s my perspective that there’s much there’s more—much more—to it than that. I believe that the brow chakra (energy center) is the gatekeeper to a time portal; a place where we can step out of quantitative time as we know it—Kronos, and into qualitative time—kairos.

Kairos, or opportune time, is the word the ancient Greeks used to describe the right time, perfect time, supreme moment, or the “now.” Some might even call it divine time. Kairos intersects and brings transcending value to kronos time. It signifies an undetermined period of time (time in-between) in which something special happens. I was 6 years old the first time I remember dancing with Kairos time, but that’s a story for another day.

One doesn’t catch up with Kairos time; rather one participates in it. In one of my favorite books, A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle, she suggests that kairos time can, and does, enter, penetrate, break through or intersect kronos time: the child at play—consumed in the moment; the painter held captive—mesmerized at an easel; the saint lifted up—removed as it were, in prayer…

In her book, Close to the Bone: Life Threatening Illness and the Search for Meaning, Jean Shinoda Bolen wrote, “When we participate in time and therefore lose our sense of time passing we are in kairos; here we are totally absorbed in the present moment, which may actually stretch out over hours.”

It would be an understatement to say that kairos moments alter the trajectory of our lives. To miscalculate kronos time is inconvenient. To miscalculate kairos time is utterly regrettable.

When was the last time you were so caught up in kairos that kronos was transcended and you were at soul-level?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com.

© 2010 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

S is for Simplicity

I’m drawn to simplicity, efficiency, and order—a place for everything and everything in its place. For me, outer order contributes to inner calm.

I’m drawn to space—the efficiency of physical space.
I’m drawn to clearing clutter—mental and emotional.

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My lifestyle is simple, functional, and full.

I’ve shared with you before that my creative muse is wabi-sabi: a practice where inessentials are trimmed away or eliminated. The intersection where wabi (minimal) and sabi (functional) meet is the platform for my creativity—space and quiet solitude—simplicity.

In over 31 years of marriage, the one bone of contention that Len and I tug back and forth good-naturedly is that I’m a minimalist and he’s a “maximalist.” I throw and he saves.

During a recent discussion, he asked, “Just exactly why is it that you need to have empty space around you?” I answered, “Because it appeals to my zensibilities.” I meant to say sensibilities, but in retrospect, the word I said fits so much better.

It’s more than being content. For me, it’s the enjoyment of very little, with awareness and deep appreciation of how less is truly more.

Are you more of a minimalist or a maximalist? Click To Tweet

Do you remember the television show The Odd Couple? Are you more like Felix Unger—neat as a pin, or more like Oscar Madison—creative disarray? What’s your lifestyle?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

R is for Relaxation

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Relaxation is essential for anyone who’s interested in managing stress. And while relaxation enhances peace of mind, it also decreases the wear and tear on our minds and bodies from the challenges and hassles of every day life.

Whether your stress is spiraling out of control or you’ve already got it tamed—everyone can benefit from using relaxation techniques. Unfortunately, relaxation oftentimes takes a back seat in life’s busy-ness.

Most health professionals—alternative, complementary, traditional, and integrative—encourage their clients to use relaxation techniques.

A relaxation technique is something that refocuses your attention to a calm awareness. It doesn’t matter which relaxation method you choose, what matters is that you engage in the practice regularly so that you can reap the many benefits:

– Slowing your heart rate
– Lowering blood pressure
– Slowing your breathing rate
– Increasing blood flow to major muscles
– Reducing muscle tension and chronic pain
– Improving concentration
– Reducing anger and frustration
– Boosting confidence to handle problems

There’s a wide brushstroke of relaxation techniques:

In your mind’s eye you might imagine a peaceful place and then focus on controlled, relaxing breathing, slowing your heart rate. Use as many senses as you can. For example, if you imagine yourself at the ocean, think about the smell of salt water, the sound of crashing waves, and the warmth of the sun.

Another method is to start by tensing and relaxing the muscles in your toes and progressively working your way up to your neck and head. Tense your muscles for at least five seconds and then relax for 30 seconds, and repeat.

Other relaxation techniques include, yoga, tai chi, listening to music, exercise, meditation, and self-hypnosis.

The moment you feel stress symptoms sneaking up on you, make a conscious effort to practice a relaxation technique. If you nip it in the bud, it can prevent stress from spiraling out of control.

What was the most recent relaxation technique you used?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com

© 2010 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved.

P is for Perspective

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Because each person carries different baggage, we see the same things in different ways. Our perspective is based on what’s inside the luggage we’re dragging around with us. The contents affect our judgment. Sound judgment is absolutely necessary to stay alive. Being judgmental—critical—is not. They’re two very different things.

Have you ever gone to an art gallery to look at beautiful pieces of work? I find that I don’t stand still in front of a piece. I move around and look at it from many different angles. I shift my perspective.

When I find myself judging a person, place, or thing, I make a point to move (mentally) so I can observe from a different angle. I shift my perspective.

Our perspective—our point of view—is how we see things; how we think about them. Our thoughts shape our lives. Individually and collectively our thoughts contribute to the healing, or the demise, of the planet.

Our perspective is our reality. Our personal reality, however, may not be what’s actually happening. For instance, Chicken Little’s perspective was “The sky is falling!” When in reality, an acorn had fallen on his head. I love this quote from the Talmud, We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.” 

One of my friends shared: “When I’m disturbed, I mentally take a step back to obtain a wider perspective. When I’m confused, I mentally take a step forward to narrow my focus and observe only what’s directly in front of me.” I applaud her ability to change lenses—shift her perspective—as necessary.

For my clients who would benefit from a change in perspective, I have them do the following exercise so they can physically see that there’s always more than one way to look at something:

Shift in Perspective Exercise
(as shown in the slideshow above)

1. Stand up and hold your dominant hand over your head, index finger pointed at the ceiling. 

2. Make a continuous clockwise circle about 6-inches in diameter. Maintain a clockwise direction. 

3. Slowly lower your hand while continuing a clockwise motion. 

4. Once the top of your index finger is just below your chin, take a look. Notice that your hand is now circling in a counter-clockwise fashion!

When you started, your observation was from below. When you ended, your observation was from above, an aerial view. Your direction never changed. The only thing that changed was the way you viewed it—your perspective.

In my experience, shifting one’s mental outlook—one’s perspective—even slightly can significantly change the trajectory and reveal the sun coming up beyond the dark horizon.

What did you discover the last time you shifted your perspective?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com

© 2010 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved