Welcome to August and I hope you are all doing well.
Summer is almost over (in the Northern Hemisphere; lucky you guys in the Southern Hemisphere, Winter is just about over) and how the days are getting shorter again and the feeling that because something is ending it is as if something is dying and that is a negative. We all spend way too much time lamenting the endings when what we really ought to be doing is celebrating another new beginning. Because that’s what an ending really means, we get to start something new and different;. Since my website, this newsletter, and business, are all called New Beginnings, I had to laugh that it took me so long to think of that slight little change in perception. I was reminded yet again that it is our own perception of a thing, event, situation or whatever that so frequently determines whether we see it as a positive or negative, but not necessarily the actual thing, event or situation.
So, as an example, from my perspective, yes Summer is ending for me but my very favorite time of year is just beginning. I love Autumn and everything about it. My daughter was born in September, I love Halloween, I especially love the way the sky looks, and the air feels in Autumn. I guess it is something that has followed me since childhood, but to me, it is just the beginning of even more fun because then I get to look forward to Christmas.
I do understand how stressful all this is to many people. I help people all the time with the depression that can accompany the holidays. But it is this stress and this depression that can so clearly demonstrate how perception can hurt us. I see the holidays as a time for me to give to my friends and family and to share our love. I love the feeling of generosity that you seem to see especially during the holiday season. I love the decorations and feelings of expectation.
But if I were to focus on all that I have lost or may be missing, I would not be able to see the love, happiness and joy. I am not saying that it is an easy thing to change and take control of your perception and your thoughts, but it can be done and sometimes it is necessary in order to live the life each one of you deserves to have!
I wish that I were more eloquent or clever in my writing and my use of words so that I could truly get across the truth of this concept of New Beginnings, but I am not. However, if I can get across the concept that life moves in circles and that it that keeps changing and moving forward, then perhaps I have given you the imagery to believe you can move forward and change anything you wish as well. If you feel you’ve stopped moving forward, whatever the reason, we can change that if you want to and if you’ll let me help.
Linda Simmon, C.Ht.
My guest article this month is a fascinating piece (right in tune with New Beginnings) by Rene Jorgensen — and to summarize briefly, it is all about life after death. And I do mean living, breathing life!
The Homecoming in the Light
By Rene Jorgensen, author of Awakening After Life
What happens after we die? According to people who have had near-death experiences we meet a Light of infinite love beyond human comprehension, something that does share similarities with the heaven that the religions have been telling us about for ages. We have all heard the name heaven many times and its concept is to be found in all cultures. But what exactly is heaven? Where is it? And how do we get there?
These are questions that are often left open and unanswered, but if we study the testimonies of people who have been there we can learn a lot. Many people who have had near-death experiences and researchers who study the phenomenon explain that meeting this heavenly Light is a “homecoming”—a return to where we came from.
When some people meet deceased loved ones, religious figures, and beings of light, we should remember that the near-death experience is beyond comprehension and is expressed through subjective human means. However, if we look into the deeper “core experiences” a universal pattern begins to emerge; when we look beneath individual language and concepts, we find that one of the most common events of the near-death experience—“the Light”—is described as God in a very broad sense. This Light behind God is experienced as something that is “spiritually neutral,” something beyond our images and concepts, as the ultimate nature of being.
While meeting the Light is the most talked about event in the near-death experiences, there is something else at the heart of the experience: The intense feelings of love, peace, and joy. This out-of-body feeling state is a powerful sensation that is often described as “the homecoming.” The homecoming is when the near-death experiencer experiences becoming one with the Light as the return home to his or her true nature.
With the intensely powerful feeling state there is also an experience of heightened awareness, and this is where the near-death experience connects us to consciousness. Some researchers call this heightened awareness a “transcendental awareness,” and we also find experiencers who describe it as being “pure awareness” in a moment of “enlightenment” where all the secrets of the universe are revealed. This profound moment of enlightenment with heightened awareness is a specific state of consciousness that can also be found in our dimension.
This is how the Light that we meet after leaving the body and this world is the light in enlightenment, and this is how we can experience heaven here on earth and after. In fact, the state of mediation share many similarities with the experience of the Light in the near-death experience, and if we look at the essence of Buddhism it also leads us in the same direction: Recognize your essence.
The key to recognizing your essence is answering the question: Who am I? If we are unable to answer this question beyond our name and what we do, meditation is one way to experience our state of being beyond thoughts and concepts. The Buddhist understanding of “emptiness” does not refer to nothingness, but to the experience of the non-conceptual mind naturally illuminated by its true nature of love, peace, and joy. These positive states of mind are not only the true nature of mind but also what the near-death experiencers experience as the ultimate nature of reality.
Thereby, through mediation or any other activity that leads us to our true nature; we are able to experience heaven right here, right now—living a full life in alignment with the Light and the ultimate nature of reality. And when our life is over, we are able to return to this home and enter the gates of heaven into our own true nature. Welcome home!
Rene Jorgensen is a philosopher, near-death experiencer, and member of the International Association of Near-Death Studies. He is the author of a new book called Awakening After Life: A Firsthand Guide Through Death into the Purpose of Life, available on Amazon.com.
An assortment of health tips that I thought might interest you:
Pumping Up with Protein
The journey of getting older doesn't have to mean getting weaker, too. But go just one week without enough protein and your muscles could be on the path to punyville. We all know that exercise is the best way to keep muscles in tip-top shape and fight the natural decline in strength that comes with aging. But what you eat matters, too. That’s what a recent study of older men and women revealed. Those who went for a week without adequate protein started to show early signs of muscle deterioration. In a world of high-protein diets and meat-laden buffets, getting enough protein may not seem like problem No.1 for most people. But research shows that elderly people often fail to do just that.
- Three Veggies That Make Your Brain Younger
Broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. Consider them a facelift for your brain. That's because munching on veggies like these -- which belong to the cruciferous family of veggies -- could shave 1 to 2 years off your mind's age. Think cruciferous for cancer protection, too. Women who filled out a food-intake questionnaire demonstrated some significant memory muscle on tests when their questionnaires revealed a true love for all things cruciferous (as well as leafy and green, like spinach). In fact, the veggie-lovers’ test scores were more in line with those of women a couple of years younger. That means your brain could be 48 when the calendar says it’s 50. Not bad. Researchers speculate that nutrients like lutein and folate, found in abundance in foods like spinach, may be part of the reason for the brain benefits that cruciferous and leafy green veggies confer.
Do This Exercise While You Web Surf
Wouldn't it be nice to have the washboard abs you saw in that online diet ad? You can start by squeezing. No, not your abdominals. Your booty! Here's the three-step exercise you can do all day. Suck your belly button in tight. Squeeze your butt as if you’re trying to pull on a pair of too-tight jeans (pretend the top of your head is being pulled toward the ceiling by a string). Hold that position. Do this often (on the elevator, waiting in line, at work, every time you walk somewhere) and you'll quickly firm up your middle by working your transverse abdominis -- the muscle that supports the abdominal wall. And you'll have better posture to boot.
Your Liver Does Oh So Many Things for Your body -- From Filtering Your Blood to Pumping Out Bile So You Can Digest Fats.
So do something nice for your liver. Treat it to a fruit-and-yogurt parfait. People who regularly eat fruit and yogurt may have a lower risk of liver cancer than people who don't indulge in these good-for-you treats. You don't have to go hog-wild for fruit and yogurt to help your liver; even a small amount may be good. In a study, people with various medical conditions (that didn't involve the liver) who ate just half a cup of yogurt and over 5 ounces of fruit a week (about the equivalent of a large apple) had a lower risk of liver cancer. Researchers have yet to pinpoint why yogurt may have an impact on liver health. It could have something to do with retinol, the animal-based form of vitamin A found in yogurt, milk, and eggs. In previous studies, retinol has been linked to a reduction in the risk of liver cancer. The cell-protecting flavonoids found in abundance in fruit may be what makes them liver savers.
- Bubbles May Mean Bad Teeth
Yellow stains aside, brewed coffee or tea may not be the worst thing you could swish past your pearly whites. Other drinks tested in a recent study produced much more wear and tear on tooth enamel, especially bubbly soft drinks. But here's the surprise: It didn't matter if the sodas were diet or not. When your tooth enamel starts to erode, you've got major problems on your hands. And certain foods like sweets and sodas may hasten this process. All carbonated drinks in a recent study had some impact on tooth enamel (with the one possible exception being root beer -- its impact on tooth enamel was slight). Citrus-flavored sodas hit teeth hardest, but colas caused problems, too. And it didn't matter if the drinks were diet or full-sugar. Contrary to what you might think, it's not only the sugars in bubbly beverages that erode tooth enamel. It's also the acids. The total acid content and acid type -- look for names like phosphoric, citric, malic, and tartaric -- in a beverage affect how strong the attack is on your choppers. Rinsing after sipping a soda may hasten the acids out of your mouth.
Whole Grains for Clearer Skin
Wrinkles and pimples? It just doesn't seem fair. If you've tried cleansers, astringents, and toners, but those stubborn red bumps are like nosy neighbors that just won't go away, here's something else to try: whole-grain cereal for breakfast. Reduced insulin sensitivity may be linked to pimple-producing hormones. That's why eating a diet with a lower glycemic load may help control acne -- it helps improve your sensitivity to insulin.
Where the Wild Cravings Are
That supersize bag of chips and gallon of caramel-swirl ice cream didn't just jump into your grocery cart. So what happened? There may actually be a very scientific reason why the jumbo bag of frozen Brussels sprouts didn't leap into your cart instead, especially if you were shopping while hungry. Sometimes your body thinks it's hungry when it's actually just thirsty. Learn how to tell the difference. In a study, researchers recently tested healthy men's ability to taste salty, sweet, and bitter solutions. Turns out that when the men had skipped a meal, their taste buds were more tuned-in to sweet and salty flavors, but not so much the bitter ones -- think broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and lots of other veggies. Researchers suspect that our bodies may have been hardwired since ancient times to associate "sweet" and "salty" with "safe to eat," so these flavors may be more likely to trigger eating, especially when the body needs energy. Now that you understand the craving, maybe you'll have more willpower the next time the candy aisle is calling. Here's another way to control your eating habits: Eat three square meals a day, plus a snack, so you never get ravenous.
The Weak Bones Diet
What do you call a diet that asks you to cut calories but doesn't require you to exercise? Call it weak. That's exactly what happens to your bones when you opt for exercise-free weight loss -- they get weaker. And that means a slip or fall may be more likely to put you out of commission. Talk about lame. Know your osteoporosis risk. Weight loss has long been known to make bones lighter and less dense. Makes sense, because bones get stronger when they're routinely stressed, and with less weight to carry around, bones don't have to work quite as hard. Enter exercise. In a study of healthy middle-aged people, those who lost weight by exercising were fortunate to report no bone-density changes in their hips or spine. When you exercise, your smart body recognizes the extra strain and tries to make sure your bones are strong enough to endure it, so weight-bearing exercises are best for building bone. We're talking about things like walking, climbing stairs, and lifting weights, as well as balancing exercises. Make sure you're getting enough calcium and vitamin D, too. Bones need those nutrients to build new bone.
Your odds of developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma: about 1 in 50.
But you can reduce your risk by 21 percent if you are a man or by 41 percent if you are a woman by doing a little bit more of something you're probably already doing -- exercising. Rates of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) continue to climb, and researchers aren't really sure why. Risk rises in people who have a weak immune system, have infections like Epstein-Barr or Helicobacter pylori, have a family history of the disease, or experience toxin exposure (e.g., pesticides). Men and women who get about 4-5 hours per week of moderate to vigorous physical activity have much lower rates of NHL compared to their inactive peers. So that means doing something more intense than taking a leisurely stroll through the park now and then. Get that heart pounding a little -- whether you do it by playing volleyball, chasing down Frisbees, walking briskly, or swimming laps. Each spike, catch, step, and lap helps strengthen your immune system, enhances antioxidant activity, improves insulin sensitivity, and combats obesity -- all of which can help decrease your risk of NHL.
Almonds: Give Me Some Skin
If you're a health nut, munch on almonds with the skin they're in. The skins give almonds extra heart-protection powers, especially if you take some vitamin E or vitamin C to boot. So what's in the skin? Almonds abound with heart-healthy goodies, including vitamin E, monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, arginine, potassium, and fiber. The skins add even more nutrition: They're bursting with flavonoids that help protect cells from oxidation and inflammation. In a lab study, almond-skin flavonoids helped prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidizing -- and that's a very good thing, because when LDL oxidizes, it can lead to heart attack. Adding vitamins E and C enhanced the effect by working synergistically with the almond-skin flavonoids.
- When a Pound Is More Than a Pound
Knees ache? Make a promise to lose 1 pound. Yes, you heard right. Just 1 pound could mean a lot to your knees. If you are overweight or obese, losing 1 pound feels more like losing 4 pounds to this all-important joint. When you carry excess weight, your gait changes to accommodate your size and help you keep your balance. Often, these gait changes involve placing a disproportionate amount of stress on already strained knees. That's why losing weight -- even as little as 1 pound -- helps give your knees a much-needed break. Losing weight can even help reduce your risk of knee osteoarthritis.
.. and as usual, a few of my favorite quotes,
“Of all the creatures of earth, only human beings can change their patterns.
Man alone is the architect of his destiny... Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.”
— William James
“The problem is not that there are problems.
The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems
is a problem..”
— Theodore Rubin
"One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time."
— Andre Gide
“To dream anything that you want to dream, that is the beauty of the human mind. To do anything that you want to do, that is the strength of the human will.
To trust yourself, to test your limits, that is the courage to succeed.”
— Bernard Edmonds
"No pessimist ever discovered the secret
of the stars, or sailed
to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit."
— Helen Keller
"It's not what you are that holds you back, it's what you think you are not."
— Angie Rachelle
"Few people think more than
two or three times a year.
I've made an international reputation
for myself by thinking
once or twice a week.
— George Bernard Shaw
“In order to allow ourselves to be creative, we have to relinquish control and overcome fear. Why? Because real creativity is life-altering. It threatens the status quo; it make us see things differently. It brings about change, and we are terrified of change.”
— Madeleine L'Engle
"The person who says
it cannot be done
should not interrupt the person doing it."
— Chinese Prover
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