Your body, your health, your choice

I ended up watching a documentary last week called Oxyana, about a town called Oceana, West Virginia that has been decimated by oxycontin abuse. It is not an easy watch, but I got sucked in. It’s a powerful story, powerfully told.

It’s unfortunate that it is not fiction.

I started doing research. It’s not just small towns in West Virginia. It’s everywhere. Here’s another documentary about Staten Island and the epidemic of opiate pharmaceutical abuse that has turned into heroin addiction. Kentucky sued the maker of oxycontin because of the devastation in their state. It looks like it is everywhere.

Prescription drug abuse is rampant in this country. And our country and our youth are being decimated by addictive prescription abuse.

Through my research, I found that doctors are trained by the pharma company sales staff to prescribe 30 day supply of opiates for even minor pain management. Thirty days. After 30 days, those unfortunate souls who trusted their doctor without doing their own research are addicted. Stopping means withdrawals. And then they spiral into the hell of addiction, not to get high, but to just avoid painful withdrawals.

Digging further, I found out that these pharmaceutical companies knew that these drugs were highly addictive before they marketed them. Kentucky’s lawsuit exposed the alarming fact that the maker of Oxycontin knew it was highly addictive and did not disclose this information to doctors or patients.

Oxycontin. Meet the Oxycontin Clan. They’re the newest members in the Forbes richest families list. Believe me, if you read the article about their wealth and watch Oxyana in the same day, try not to eat any heavy foods that will taste bad on the way back up.

I’ve never been a big fan of mainstream medicine. When Max was a baby, I read a number of alternative parenting books that encouraged me to question everything about his healthcare. Even still, I had a horrific experience in the hospital where he was born. I was often pitted against ill-informed and condescending practitioners who advised me to do things that medical studies did not support (e.g., stop breastfeeding and formula feed because he had jaundice). After some other experiences with mainstream healthcare, my trust in the system is shot.

So, excuse me if I am a little leery of being forced into a healthcare system that does not exactly have our health as a primary motivational factor. (In case you haven’t noticed, it seems to be more about profits. I know. Imagine that.) When Obamacare came around and my once-affordable catastrophic healthcare insurance plan became wholly unaffordable, I was forced into a government mandated healthcare management plan that has created more logistical nightmares than it has helped me. (Apparently it’s well known that California’s Obamacare initiative, Covered California, is not faring very well. It’s a good thing they’re handing out pay increases to executives.)

After watching the destruction of human lives by pharmaceutical non-disclosure, I guess you could say I am a little fired up about the hell of large pharmaceutical companies, you know the ones… the ones that go through extreme efforts to discredit doctors that might have concerns about their products, whether it is Vioxx or vaccines. (I’m looking at you, Merck.)

I’m supposed to trust these companies to do the right things? I am supposed to trust these guys, the ones negotiating behind closed doors on the TPP, the ones that sneak through executive orders requiring girls to be vaccinated with Gardasil, the ones pushing for mandatory vaccination (nice job, California), the ones allegedly falsifying efficacy data of those same vaccines, the ones selling Oxycontin and ruining lives? I’m supposed to trust the CDC, an entity that has been found to have severe conflicts of interest in 64% of their advisors?

Instead of ensuring that medications and vaccines are as safe and effective as possible, our government ensures that we’re locked into a system from which there is not much escape. A system that, in my experience and opinion, creates more problems than it solves, a system that does more harm than good.

I’d say there ought to be a law, but I lost my faith in government solutions a long time ago. There needs to be a movement… a movement to encourage people to take back their healthcare away from these systems that destroy more than they heal.

Fixing the problems in healthcare is not going to come from the government. It’s going to come from you, me, and other people who wake up to the lie that has been foisted upon the American people that these drugs being marketed to us are always safe and effective. It’s going to come from us opting out of a system that ensnares and entraps those most vulnerable.

Your health is your greatest asset, and you are the only one entrusted with protecting your health and making good decisions about that asset. What you eat matters. What you consider medicine matters. What you think matters. You can’t just turn over responsibility for these types of decisions to someone else and pay them to make choices for you.

We fought long and hard for choices in healthcare for women, but now we’re losing those choices by blindly trusting an industry that cares more about profits than the people they treat. We’re losing those choices to lobbyists advocating for further profit centers without liability. If we don’t start making choices for our own health, we’re going to lose them altogether.

 

 

Love

The question of healing came up recently when someone wrote to Mark about one of his meditations and how it had helped them heal back pain. I started thinking a lot about healing, and why meditation and focused thought can create such dramatic shifts in our experience.

I’ve experienced some strange healing over the course of my lifetime. When I was first attuned to Reiki quite a few years ago (I’m actually a master trainer of Reiki), I experienced quite a dramatic healing. I was sick for about a week prior to my Reiki attunement, but afterward I was healed.

Since then, I’ve experienced quite a few healings that seemingly came from nowhere. And after learning about ho’oponopono from Mark, I have come to a deeper understanding of what heals. Healing is the release from everything that we aren’t. Illness and pain (whether physical or emotional) are not our natural state.

So what is? As so many religions and spiritual traditions teach us, love is all that is. God is love. Spirit is love. We are all love. So, I believe that love is our natural state.

Yet, it is one of those things that no one really wants to talk about.

What is love?

(Oh dear. I hope I didn’t get that Haddaway song in your head.)

I remember when I thought love was getting men to like me. I probably read way too many issues of Cosmopolitan magazine as a teenager and in college. After having a few altered experiences, and after a number of ill-fated and failed relationships, I know that love is a lot more than that.

With all of this life experience loving, there is one thing I can say for certain:  relationships and the games we play in them aren’t love.

Love is much simpler than that… it is all that we are. It is our attention and appreciation without agendas or games. It is rather simple in experience, yet it moves mountains and heals pretty much everything.

Love is our natural state — underneath all of the beliefs, thoughts, emotions and patterns we think define us.

That’s right, love is not an emotion. It’s not a belief or a thought. It’s not a pattern. Emotions, thoughts, beliefs, and patterns are all transient experiences that come into us for a short time, trash the place, and then move on. We are not our emotions or thoughts, and learning to meditate and separate from our emotions and patterns is highly valuable in the exploration of the self.

Love is a force that exists within us that we can’t be taught about in school, at work, or even in relationships. It’s something we have to explore on our own. I can’t even tell you much about it; it is something you have to experience for yourself.

If we want to be loved, we have to love. We have to feel love for ourselves and others before we can really understand what love is. We have to discover the love that resides within us before we can understand someone else’s love. And honestly, the love we feel from others is a reflection of the love we feel for ourselves.

Why we never learn how to love ourselves

Ever notice how many broken people are walking around on the face of the earth? I see them sometimes, and I study their energetic patterns and find so much sadness. There is no self love or appreciation, only patterns of hurt and protection surrounding a broken heart. There has been so much hurt and heartache in life, and it can take a lifetime to heal from it all. We’re all zombies at times, walking around with these patterns that don’t serve us and just create more pain.

So many broken people seem to perpetuate more broken people. Parents want well-behaved children, and it’s usually the loud, vibrant, and passionate children who are more full of love. Schools want us to sit, listen, and learn. Work wants us to produce and follow rules. Even shopping has its rules that we’re not supposed to break.

Where in life do we learn how to love? Where do we learn how to sing, dance, and feel passion? Where do we learn how to find out what makes us happy? Why isn’t that a part of how we teach our children?

The reason we never learn how to love ourselves — or others — is that there is no real motivation for anyone out there to teach us how to really love ourselves or others. And that’s a darn shame. We’ve got all of these people running around poking each other with their broken pieces, creating more hurt and sadness, and no one really taking our hands and fully loving.

I am guilty of a lot of this, too. It’s not that I have it all figured out, but I am getting more and more glimpses of how I would rather be.

How to discover true love

The only way we really figure out love — no matter if our goal is to find more passion in life, a better relationship, or just better experiences with the people in our lives — is to explore the love that we are. It is all inside of us, waiting to be discovered. It really is our natural state outside of our beliefs, thoughts, patterns and emotions. We really are, no matter our age, those passionate happy children who just want to have fun all day with whatever makes us happy.

Be as little children… and discover the happiness, passion, and love that resides within us. It is our birthright, and it is our natural state.

But how…

I recorded a short exercise to help with that experience. So many of us are disconnected from our heart center that we aren’t aware that the love we seek resides inside of us. The exercise is rather simple and easy, and with most meditative exercises, it is simply the focus of attention. Have a listen, and start exploring the love that you are.

 

My Morning Routine

So, this is a thing, is it? Morning routines, shared? I’m game. Morning has been the one time of day when I can carve out sanity and peacefulness for myself. I am an early riser on purpose so that I can ensure I’m able to get into the right headspace for dealing with life and achieve my goals.

I work from home, and I haven’t had an office outside the home since 1998. It allows me more flexibility in creative pursuits while being a mom.

As a mom, my mornings have ranged from horrifically sleep deprived to amazingly wonderful and centering. Since moving to Mount Shasta, I’ve really committed to keeping a morning routine. I think it’s been critical to my happiness.

What is your morning routine?

For the past 5 years, this is what morning looks like to me, especially in the summer.

5:30 – 6:00 awake. No alarms. Some days it is earlier, rarely later. I go through the first floor of the house and open all of the windows and doors to let fresh, cool air into the house. In the winter, I sleep in until 6:30-7, and my initial activity is starting up the wood stove.

6:00 am – 6:50 am. Write. Before I check emails, check social media, or check analytics/reporting, I check inside to see what wants to come out. I write the following:

  • 5 things for which I am grateful.
  • 5 things I want to accomplish.
  • 5 things that scare me.
  • At a minimum 1,000 words for whichever book, website, or character wants to come out.

I use Day One App as a place to collect my thoughts. I used to use a variety of Word/Pages documents, but it became too cumbersome. Having an app as a one-stop place to collect thoughts privately has worked well.

I write for a number of places online as well as newsletter mailings, so I need to continue generating words as much as possible. The best way to generate words is to write as much as possible. This is a nifty site that encourages making writing a daily habit.

Summer: 7:00 am – 8:30 am. Run, walk, hike. Every single day. I love being out in nature early in the morning, and there is something wonderfully meditative about being alone with my dog hitting the trails (or the pavement) when there is no one else around. After the first 30 minutes, I start to feel a real shift in my energetic state. Walking also helps me mitigate back pain I’ve had for years. If I walk, I have no pain. So, it is a daily ritual.

I get home around 8:30, fire up the coffee, let the cats out of Max’s room, feed the dog. I start reviewing emails and social media about this time. I manage a number of social media presences, but I make sure I am connected with the Big Mind before I connect online. The kids and Mark start getting up around 8:30-9, and my day begins in earnest.

How has your morning routine changed over recent years?

With Claire getting older, my routine has become much more regular. When she was younger, she’d sometimes awaken before me. With young children, routines are out the window. I’m glad they’re older and more able to manage their own needs.

What time do you go to sleep?

I start winding down around 9 and usually asleep by 10. Mark usually stays up much later than me, so I sleep in a different room. There was one point where I had both kids and the dog sleeping in my room; it felt like a huge slumber party every night. Max moved to his own room a few years ago, and now it’s just Claire and the dog. Claire has her own bed, but isn’t quite ready to move to her own room yet.

Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?

Alarms in the wintertime only, and only if the kids need to get to school at a certain time.

How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?

I have coffee after my walk/run, usually around 8:30. I don’t actually eat anything until at least 10:30 or 11, and then it’s usually eggs and veggies.

Do you have a morning meditation routine?

Meditation has been a huge practice for me. I feel like my morning walks are meditative in many ways. I don’t listen to much while I am walking other than the sounds around me (no music or podcasts) in quietude, alone.

Do you answer email first thing in the morning, or leave it until later in the day?

Later, and this is important to me. Unless it is absolutely critical, I wait to respond to requests. As someone who has done a lot of client work and has fallen into the trap of hyper responsibility more than I’d like to admit, I find having boundaries of what can be requested of me and when to be incredibly important. I won’t answer anything outside of 9-5 unless it’s important.

I need to ensure that my own flow is established before I can support anyone else’s flow. If I get pulled into too many directions, I end up losing my flow and resenting the people doing the pulling. I try to make clients set appointments for my time rather than just calling on a whim and taking up an unscheduled hour of my time that ends up throwing my entire day out of whack.

That being said, I really like talking to people. It just throws my entire morning off.

Do you use any apps or products to enhance your sleep or morning routine?

I’m one of those freaks who sleeps with a fan. Because Claire was such a light sleeper when she was a baby (any by light sleeper, I mean not much of a sleeper at all), I started using a fan to keep the noise at a minimum. Now neither of us can sleep without a fan. If I do need to set an alarm, I use Rise. It makes waking up on someone else’s schedule a little less unpleasant.

What are your most important tasks in the morning?

Getting centered, getting moving, getting into a positive mindset. From there, I can handle just about anything (and often have to).

What and when is your first drink in the morning?

Usually coffee, sometimes water. I always have coffee. I am a big fan of Hypnotic Buzz Deep Trance Blend.

Do you also follow this routine on weekends, or do you change some steps?

I follow this routine every day, except on Saturday I allow more social media for non-work-related activities.

On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?

If I am traveling, I am usually traveling with kids in a hotel. Getting time for myself isn’t quite as easy, but I seem to manage.

What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?

This weekend, for example, I was not able to get my exercise in nor was I able to write much. But I managed. The key, in my experience, is to make the morning routine as habitual and as pleasant as possible so that when it doesn’t quite go as planned, it’s easy to get back into the routine.