Where there's a will, there's a way, by Laurie Buchanan
Have you ever been told:
– You couldn’t lose the weight
– You couldn’t run the marathon
– You couldn’t quit smoking
– You wouldn’t amount to anything
– You couldn’t have a baby
– Your head is a receptacle for silly ideas
– You couldn’t get a business loan because you wouldn’t make a go of it
– You couldn’t write a book, and if you did, you couldn’t get it published
– You wouldn’t make a good parent
– You wouldn’t live more than 5-months because you have cancer taking over your body, and you responded (like my friend, Ted) with a beautiful, robust, health-filled life!
What have you been told you couldn’t, or wouldn’t – but you did anyway?
The mornings of riding our bicycles in short pants and sleeves are done and gone. We’ve consistently been greeted each dawn by 43-45 degree weather. Add in the speed of a bicycle, and we’ve got some additional wind chill to contend with.
And while outerwear is certainly important, it doesn’t compare to the importance of what’s inside the final layer:
Moisture wicking briefs and sport bra
Capilene long underwear – top and bottom
Under helmet skull cap with ear flaps
Yep, it’s what’s on the inside that really counts! This isn’t just true for outdoor sports; it’s true for life as well. You’ll recall that Ralph Waldo Emerson said:
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies with in us.”
Yesterday morning at 8:30 I was in the final throes of getting ready for work. Most everything I do is backed with a great deal of energy—including brushing my teeth. I’d just spent a good 5 minutes gargling and leaned forward enthusiastically over the sink to spit when WHAP! I slammed my head into the shelf on our medicine cabinet.
My glasses went flying, I’m surprised they didn’t break. The impact made my knees buckle, which slumped me to the floor, clunking my chin on the basin counter on the way down. Tears sprang from my eyes as a natural reflex. Len heard the THUNK! followed by the fall, and came running.
“What happened?!” he shouted.
“I just knocked myself silly.”
“Your forehead’s bleeding and it’s starting to swell.”
While applying Neosporin it occurred to me… “Get the camera, quick!”
“Why?” he asked.
“This is tomorrow’s blog,” I said with a grin.
I’d just been writing a piece about chronos time and kairos time as it relates to memory and was so caught up in it that I wasn’t paying attention to what I was doing and nearly knocked myself out.
One of my clients brought me a delightful gift of blooming flower tea from a recent trip overseas. It was a pleasure this morning to sit quietly and watch the leaves gently unfurl. For the occasion—truly enjoying a cuppa tea is an occasion—I delved into the pages of one of my favorite tea books: Tea Here Now: Rituals, Remedies, and Meditations by Donna Fellman and Lhasha Tizer.
While I’m enjoying this delicious morning cuppa blooming flower tea, I’d like to share with you a small passage from page 142 in their book:
“Tea has enhanced our own lives in many ways. It has refined our way of moving, teaching us to carry ourselves with grace, dignity, and precision—helping us to develop a newfound sense of our bodies. We tread gently, aware of our personal impact upon the world and respectful of all that we encounter along the way. Learning to make tea becomes an exquisite and personal art.
It’s also a way of being and doing that can inform our entire lifestyle. It allows us to do whatever we do well, take time to pause and reflect, and contemplate our actions deeply. Tea does not tell us what do, or what to reflect on, or what actions to take. It only encourages us to pursue our endeavors mindfully, thoughtfully, with integrity and consideration—all the qualities that we learned through making a cup of tea wellapply to doing anything well. The spirit of tea invokes a sense of caring and attention, a feeling for excellence that can have a positive influence in every part of our lives.”
We arrive in this world empty-handed, and we leave the same way, with nothing (no thing). To me that’s a pretty big hint that we don’t need much. Yet somehow in the time between birth and death most of us manage to acquire and accumulate a multitude of items, stuff, things.
The National Association of Professional Organizers says we have so much “stuff” that each person spends approximately one year of their life looking for lost items.
As a society we’ve acquired so much “stuff” over the last 3 decades that the self-storage industry is the fastest growing new industry in the United States. It’s grown so fast that in the last 12 years the use of self storage space has grown from 1 in every 17 households to 1 in every 10. That’s an increase of 65 percent.
Many people’s garages are so filled with stuff—some to the rafters—that they can’t be used for parking their vehicle. But that’s only one type of clutter—material clutter. There’s mental and emotional clutter as well.
My desire? To be baggage free—body, mind, and spirit—prior to my exit point. How about you?
Riding our bicycles the other morning we passed what seemed like a never-ending line of telephone poles—a line of communication—standing smartly at attention. It made me think of the game “gossip” where someone whispers a bit of information into a person’s ear, it’s passed along in the same manner, and by the time the last person shares it out loud with the group, it’s changed considerably from the original message.
That line of thinking caused me examine my own communication and ask:
Am I clear, concise, and articulate?
Do I say what I mean, and mean what I say?
Do I deliver my message like a nail gun—hammering each point home? Or do I deliver it with graceful strength that leaves the recipient’s dignity in tact?
In other words, would I want to be on the receiving end of my own delivery style?
My mother used to say, “Laurie, make your words sweet and tender today, for tomorrow you may have to eat them.”
In an editorial published in the January 2010 publication of the British Journal of Sports Medicine, Elin Ekblom-Bak of the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences said that authorities need to highlight the dangers of sitting. “After four hours of sitting, the body starts to send harmful signals because the genes that regulate the amount of glucose and fat in the body start to shut down.”
Tim Armstrong, a physical activity expert at the World Health Organization said that people who exercise every day—but still spend a lot of time sitting—might get more benefit if that exercise were spread across the day, rather than in a single session.
A new Australian study by Melbourne-based Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, in conjunction with health insurer Medibank Private, has alarming findings about the simple act of sitting down: It’s dangerous, particularly at work and watching TV.
The study was published in the American Heart Association Rapid Access Journal Report in January of this year. They said that the theory of sedentary lifestyle being bad for you isn’t new, but that the findings in this study are alarming.
Australian researchers tracked the lifestyle habits of 8,800 adults and found that each hour spent in front of the television daily was associated with:
An 11 percent increased risk of death from all causes.
A 9 percent increased risk of cancer death.
An 18 percent increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD)-related death.
Compared with people who watched less than two hours of television daily, those who watched more than four hours a day had a 46 percent higher risk of death from all causes and an 80 percent increased risk for CVD-related death.
This association held regardless of other independent and common cardiovascular disease risk factors, including smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, unhealthy diet, excessive waist circumference, and leisure-time exercises.
Len stands—all day. There are stand-up desks. And there are pub tables. As you can see in the final photo, Len’s preference is the latter. A good choice, as he burns an extra several hundred calories per day just by taking a stand!
If you’d like to find out how many calories you burn per day doing certain activities—including standing—simply follow this LINK to the AOL Health page and use their “Calories Burned” feature.
Well, pretend for a moment that I’m Suzanne Pleshette and Len is Ian McShane. We strapped our bicycles on the back of our car and left Crystal Lake, Illinois at 5am and headed for historic Cedarburg, Wisconsin.
On the way, Len was almost hit by a fawn. No, Len didn’t almost hit a fawn; a fawn almost hit Len. The itty-bitty fellow flew out of the bushes on the left side of the trail and came to a dead stop next to Len, eyeing him up-and-down. Then took off at top speed into the bushes on the other side of the trail. We could see his mama grazing about a quarter mile away.
Our first big stop was at Sauk Harbor in Port Washington — this was the 10 mile mark on the ride — where we got caught in a pretty good rain shower. In the photographs, you’ll see the gazebo that we stayed under until things cleared off a bit (the photo was taken on sunny the return journey).
Then we continued on to Belgium. This was the 20 mile mark. However, we did and extra two miles riding around looking for lunch. The search was well worth it. We found Crissy’s Now and Then Pub. The food was beyond delicious!
By the time we finished lunch, the clouds had cleared off and the return journey was hot and beautiful. The lushness of the surrounding farm land was not lost on us. Every now and then we’d be enveloped by a wave of sweet clover scent.
We arrived back in Cedarburg exhausted, having riden a round trip of 41.45 miles. My legs were wobbling so much that I had to hug a tree to remain standing and get some stability back. In so doing, I got sap on my shirt. When we got home I Googled how to get tree sap out of clothes. Peanut butter — it worked like a charm!
According to Len’s bike computer our actual riding time was 4 hours and 36 minutes. We averaged 9 miles per hour, with 18.32 miles per hour being our fastest speed.
I hope you enjoyed the journey — we had fun doing the pedaling for you.
Health is a state Wellness is an action Wellbeing is an ongoing pursuit
They all attend the same church but sit in different pews, so to speak. They work hand-in-hand to bring about balance—body, mind, and spirit.
Wellness can’t be achieved from health. Neither can health benefit if there’s no wellness. However, we can experience wellness even if our health is questionable. Wellness is an inner state of being that supports health.
Health is the property of the body.
Wellness is a gift of the spirit.
Every single one of us—without exception—has an expiration date; the date that we’ll draw our last breath in our current body. Most of us don’t know when that will occur. It can happen in any number of ways: heart attack, car accident, natural disaster, illness, war, plane crash, or natural causes from the aging process.
I’ve shared with you before that my mother was a physically small woman, yet she was the biggest person I’ve ever known. She taught me by example that how we live impacts how we die. She lived a life of courage, beauty, and integrity; she died in the same manner.
As human beings we are energy. Each of us has a personal energy signature. One of the fundamental laws of physics states, “Energy can be transferred from one form to another, but neither created nor destroyed.”
As such, birth is not a beginning; it’s a continuation. That lends tremendous comfort because we then understand that equally true, death is not an end; it’s merely a continuation. In either case, it’s a change from one form to another.
Rabindranath Tagore was Asia’s first Nobel laureate by winning the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature. One of the writings that he’s best known for is, “Death is not extinguishing the light; it is putting out the lamp because dawn has come.”
Recently in her blog post – Poem and Book about Death and Grieving – my friend, Sheila Glazov, shared about a wonderful book that explains death—especially to children. I purchased it and fully agree. It’s titled, The Fall of Freddie the Leaf: A Story of Life for All Ages by Leo Buscaglia. It’s a beautiful, strikingly simple story that illustrates life and death through a leaf and the changing seasons.
When recognized as a continuation, death is no longer a threat or a tragedy; it’s not a defeat or necessary evil that we have to brace our self against. Rather, it’s the way we embark on the next part of our journey. A journey we can undertake without fear.
And while sex doesn’t technically fall into the category of an energy-based modality, it does generate a lot of energy, and it’s extremely healthy. With that in mind, here is the twelfth and final “energy-based modality” – Sex. Following, is a reprint of an article I wrote for the February 2010 edition of Mindful Metropolis magazine, Have Sex for Better Health – enjoy!
Many of us in today’s world dance a wicked two-step with a very ungracious partner named stress. Stress flings us through our days and muddles up our mind with lists of things to do, worries about the bills, potential layoffs, and the list goes on.
Countless people in relationships are stressed to the point that their times of intimacy occur much less frequently. Stress is a killer. However, it can destroy more than the body. That’s why it’s a priority to reduce stress. One of the many health benefits of sex is lower blood pressure and overall stress reduction.
Our desire for pleasure and gratification is governed by an energy center in the body known as the sacral chakra. This desire often translates to food and intimacy—specifically sex. When you’re feeling romantic, it’s a sure bet that the last thing on your mind is boosting your immune system. But having sex once or twice a week has been linked with higher levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A, which protects you from getting colds and other infections.
Sensuality and sexuality are both part of pleasure and gratification. Many people use the terms synonymously. And while there are areas of overlap, sexuality is not the only arena for sensual expression. Sensuality is something much broader; it’s how in tune we are with our senses. Sensual perception includes the appreciation of beauty and refinement; of simplicity and the remarkable gifts of nature; the passion in creative inspiration, and the deep connection to self and others.
Sensual perception also plays a role in who we find attractive. It may not be their drop-dead smile or dreamy eyes that draw us like a magnet to another person. In his article, The Smell of Love, which appeared in Psychology Today, F. Bryant Furlow states that it is, in fact, human pheromones at work. Pheromones are naturally occurring chemical substances that trigger specific mating responses. And while pheromones have no smell or odor, they are sensed by an organ in the nasal passage—the vomeronasal organ—that sends a message to the hypothalamus and other emotional centers of the brain. These odorless compounds have a profound effect on attraction and the desire for sex.
Mood is demonstrably affected by what our senses experience. That’s why many couples combine the sensual with the sexual experience to enhance their lovemaking. This may include candlelight, a scented bath, the silky feel of satin sheets, and romantic music. Sensuality is a key ingredient for richer sexual expression, pleasure, and gratification.
Sex can enrich cardiovascular health. Whenever we feel sexually aroused, our heart and breathing rates increase. Our body does this to channel more blood to the genitals in preparation for the act of sex. But that’s not the end of it. Our brain sends a message to the adrenal glands telling them to increase the level of adrenaline in the bloodstream. As things progress toward climax, a rush of hormones is released. These include adrenaline, noradrenaline, prolactin, DHEA, and testosterone; most all of which have cardio-protective effects. Research shows that having sex twice or more per week reduces the risk of fatal heart attack in men by half, compared to men who have sex less than once a month.
A side benefit to all this “awakening” of the physical body is that it builds the strength of the heart and circulatory system. Once orgasm is achieved, both men and women release a hormone called oxytocin, appropriately hailed as “The Love Hormone.” That surge of oxytocin has many “anticlimactic” actions, just one of which is lowering blood pressure. Studies found that men in their 20s who have five or more orgasms a week reduce the risk of getting prostate cancer later in life by a third.
Oxytocin encourages the urge to nurture and bond. This may explain why many women feel the desire to cuddle after sex. The more contact there is, the higher the oxytocin levels. This is linked with the feelings of generosity, trust and interestingly, with pain relief. This is because stimulation and orgasm lead to the release of oxytocin, corticosteroids and endorphins that increase our pain thresholds, providing short-term relief with conditions such as migraines, back pain and arthritis.
Sex can improve our mood. The same endorphins that ease pain can make us feel euphoric after having sex. Along with this benefit, the release of oxytocin helps relieve tension. Oxytocin is known to be present when we are in stressful situations. People with higher levels of oxytocin are generally calmer and more relaxed than others. A study done at UCLA shows that estrogen in women enhances the calming effects of oxytocin, while testosterone may counteract it.
Sex provides many of the same benefits of exercise. Just as our body responds to a workout at the gym, sex causes our muscles to contract, our heart rate to increase, and our body to release calories and fat from storage. For many people, sexual expression is a vital piece to their core being; a celebration that oftentimes mirrors the health of their relationship. It can reflect all of the best things you and your partner share; what you enjoy and appreciate most about each other.