Archive for the wellness Category

US government shutdown, and other fairy tales and examples of political theatre

Posted in American politics, analysis, banks, Barack Obama, Canada, Canadian politics, Chomsky, collapse, consciousness, corporate fascism, corporate rule, corporations, corporatism, corporatocracy, crash, crisis of democracy, debt, deficit, democracy, democratic deficit, Democratic Party, economics, economy, elite, empire, empowerment, far right, fascism, fascist, fiscal conservative, freedom, geopolitics, health care, imperialism, money, neo-feudalism, neocon, neoconservatism, neoliberalism, Obama, police state, policy, political economy, politics, propaganda, psychology, Republican, Republican Party, right, right wing, sociology, the right, truth, U.S., war, war on democracy, wellness with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2013 by jtoddring

I’m not sure what to make of the hoopla going on in the US right now. I’m inclined to think it’s all just political theatre, as Gerald Celente calls it, designed to distract the people from the real issues – the central one being, who controls the government and the nation? Wall Street, the big banks and largest corporations, or the people? After all, both of the major parties are controlled by the same six big banks, the private banking cartel which is the Fed, the military-industrial-security complex, Wall Street and the biggest 500 corporations on the planet, so what is this charade really about? As Celente said, it’s WWF – the World Wrestling Federation: it’s all scripted; it’s all political theatre. They all work for the same people.

Some Americans, mainly on the right, and mainly the rich, want to shrink government and abolish social programs that help and protect the poor, as well as the middle class – and half of Americans are now living below, at, or just above the poverty line, so that means 50% of the American people would get badly shafted, and far more would be badly hurt.

Some Americans – the overwhelming majority, well over 70% – favour public, universal health care, such as Canada, Britain, Europe and most of the civilized world has. But Obamacare is nothing of the sort. Obamacare is Romneycare – Obama simply took Romney’s package and made it his own. Obamacare, like Obama’s entire presidency, is designed to appease and sooth the masses and post-pone real political action, popular uprising or social unrest, while continuing the facilitation of the rape and pillage of the nation and the world by the largest corporations and the wealthiest 0.01%. What is amazing is that more people do not yet recognize these facts, although a great many, and a growing number do. The Obamacare package averts public, universal health care, which the people want, props up a crumbling private, massively subsidized for-profit health care system, and will put even more money into private, for-profit health insurance and health industry corporations, with dubious benefit to the people, if any. So the entire debate is dishonest to begin with, and radically out of joint with reality.

Furthermore, for those who want to cut government debt and spending, it should be noted, and made clear, that one of the best ways to do that, along with ending war and de-funding the massive military-industrial-security complex, the imperial storm troopers, the goon squads and the surveillance state, is to switch to a public health care system. (See Chomsky for a clear-headed and honest analysis of these points.)

The for-profit private health care system of the US has been shown repeatedly to cost far more than the public, not-for-profit health care systems of Canada, Britain and Europe. So once again, the debate is a farce; is filled with deceit; and again, radically out of sync with reality.

In the face of all of this, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I tend to worry greatly for the American people, as I do for human beings and all life on earth generally; but I trust they will resolve these problems. In the meantime, I pray, and will do all I can to seek out and share the best information and ideas I can find – from the left, right, centre, and anywhere I can find them.

Will the government shut down? Hardly likely, it seems to me. If it does, it will be disastrous for millions of people – even though the US government is the biggest criminal syndicate on the planet, next to the billionaire oligarchs who control it, along with virtually every other nation and government on earth. But a shutdown of the US government probably would not last long in any case, and the big bureaucratic machine of the state will restart again, if for no other reason, than because the people who control it – the super-rich, the corporate and banking elite, rely on it as a cash cow, a welfare state for the rich, a constant source of dizzying subsidies, bail-outs and forced wealth transfers from the people to the ruling plutocrats (they call it a “stimulus” package); and as a protective hired thug which can be, and is being used to keep an increasingly unruly rabble and frustrated populace subdued and under control, so that the great global looting spree can continue unabated.

The US government has handed the biggest banks and the global banking elite $14 trillion since the economic crisis of 2007-2008 erupted – enough to pay off the mortgages of every American, and every student debt and credit card debt, and all personal debts in the US, with approximately $13 trillion left to spare: which is enough to eliminate global poverty many times over, or, enough to eliminate global poverty, and create the global infrastructure for a truly sustainable society. Other corporate sectors are receiving smaller sums, in the range of a mere few tens or hundreds of billions of dollars a year, in regular subsidies, bail-outs and props. The six biggest banks now control a huge swath of the US economy, yet they are now fully dependent on on-going government subsidies just to survive. Their profits now are roughly equal to what they are receiving in regular government “stimulus” moneys, meaning, they would be forced out of business if they had to go without massive public funding from the government. This is to say nothing of the giant military-industrial-security and surveillance complex and its over $1 trillion annual cash flood coming from Washington and the Federal budget. Do we really believe that the same people who fund and control both of the two major parties want this gravy train to end? Think again. Not on your life.

No, the true rulers, the global business elite, need the US government, and will not let it be shutdown for long, if at all. So again, I am inclined to view all of this melodrama and hyperbole as so much theatre: bread and circuses, my friends, bread and circuses.

Keep the people divided – divide and conquer being rule number one for any good power-monger; and feed them bread and circuses to keep them distracted while their pockets are picked, and to keep their eyes diverted from the shackles and chains around their necks, wrists and legs. And sometimes, soap operas, sit-coms, “reality tv,” sports and celebrity gossip are not enough – political theatre is also needed; and so, it is provided.

The reality is, there are far too many pigs that are neck deep with their heads in the trough for the government to shut down for long. The ruling oligarchs simply won’t allow it, so let’s be real here, and keep such facts in mind while the hysteria mounts.

If the US government, or either of the major parties was truly interested in reducing the debt and deficit, then the on-going wars of empire would be ceased immediately and sworn off, all foreign US military bases would be closed, the military-industrial-security complex would be radically de-funded and the global surveillance and police state apparatus shut down, with savings of close to $1 trillion a year – which would mean that were is no more fiscal crisis.

If, in addition to this, universally accessible, publicly funded not-for-profit health care was brought in, further enormous cost savings would be made, and there would be a windfall of money available for real economic recovery, job creation, infrastructure and urgently needed environmental programs.

But none of this is on the agenda, none of this is even open to discussion, for the simple reason that the ruling class of plutocrats and corporate tsars and robber barons don’t want this, because that wouldn’t benefit them.

This is the real story; the rest, a mere charade.

J. Todd Ring,
September 30, 2013

The deeper reasons for the “war on drugs”

Posted in 9/11, activism, Afghanistan, American politics, analysis, banks, Chomsky, CIA, civil liberties, class, consciousness, corporate fascism, corporate rule, corporations, corporatism, corporatocracy, crisis of democracy, democracy, democratic deficit, detention centers, economics, economy, elite, empire, empowerment, end-game, fascism, fascist, freedom, geopolitics, Global War on Terrorism, globalism, globalization, health, human rights, imperialism, Iraq, jobs, Martin Luther King Jr., Middle East, money, must-read, neo-feudalism, oil, peace, people's movements, police state, policy, political economy, politics, politics of oil, propaganda, sociology, sovereignty, truth, U.S., war, war crimes, war on democracy, War on Terror, wellness, work with tags , on September 30, 2013 by jtoddring

There is a deeper reason for the war on drugs, which is the central reason for the policy, even outweighing profits from private prisons and seizure of property by law enforcement officers, both of which no doubt are also significant and strong motivations for keeping the “war on drugs” going.

Nearly thirty years ago, Chomsky said that the US and other leading industrial nations are being “third-worldized” – they are being turned into third world nations, where a tiny elite owns and runs the country, a small privileged class serves the ruling few, and the rest live in a sea of poverty and destitution.

He pointed out that with the advent of corporate globalization, which began in earnest in the 1970’s, and with the off-shoring of production as well as profits – which is the central fact and pattern of globalization, of course – what used to be a large middle class work force became superfluous and obsolete.

Millions of people who used to have decent jobs would now become unemployed or join the ranks of the desperate working poor as factories closed and moved to Mexico, Indonesia, Russia, India or China. What used to be the middle class of North America are now just a bunch of discontent people who are no longer needed, and who are not only disposable, but in the way – and a threat to the ruling powers, since they are rightfully unhappy about being driven into poverty and insecurity.

“What are you going to do with them?” Chomsky asked, then answered his own question. “Well, one thing you can do is to put them in prison. Then you have what amounts to slave labour, because you can make them work for essentially nothing. I think that is what is happening.” (Sorry, I haven’t heard this clip of him saying that for over twenty years, so I may be paraphrasing somewhat, but that is the gist of it.)

So what is the real reason for the so-called “war on drugs”? To remove large segments of the population, especially discontent youth, who may turn to serious political action – following in the footsteps of the Black Panthers, Malcolm X or Martin Luther King Jr., for example – and put them in prison, where they can be more easily controlled, and where they can be made to do forced labour for fifty cents and hour, or something like that – probably less in most cases – and in this way, make extra profits for the big corporations that are increasingly relying on prison labour, while keeping the rabble in line. It is a brilliant plan – if you’re a sociopath, and the ruling elite truly are that.

What does the future hold? Detention centres and prison labour for many more people, I am afraid, unless the ruling corporate elite are deposed and thrown from power.

Note also that keeping drugs illegal keeps street prices high, and this is a part of the real motives for the war on drugs, as Gerald Celente has pointed out. It’s not in order to benefit the small-time dealer on the street corner – it’s for the benefit of the big traffickers, like the CIA.

Illegal drugs are a $500 billion a year industry world-wide, and the CIA controls the bulk of the cocaine and heroin traffic. One of the main reasons for the war in Afghanistan, along with oil interests and a certain pipeline, was to return control of opium production to the CIA, after the Taliban had burned the crops, which instantly turned them from an unofficial friend into an official enemy. After the US invasion of Afghanistan, the opium was replanted and global heroin sales resumed, with the CIA firmly in control of this giant money-making machine (See Michael Ruppert, Peter Dale Scott and others.)

The entire US economy is now propped up by drug money, as are Wall Street and the big banks, who rely on the daily flood of liquidity from drug money laundering. (See Catherine Austin Fitts and Max Keiser.)

If we want a more sane, just and health-promoting policy on drugs, and not the present one, which destroys millions of lives, fuels organized crime, gang activity, violence and wars, and imprisons millions for non-violent “crimes” of possession of criminalized substances, then we will have to take on the new empire of global corporate rule, and defeat it. This may sound like a large task, and it is, but the tide is turning, and this is entirely possible.

We have a choice: throw the plutocrats, the corporate elite from power, or watch the continued third-worldization of the formerly wealthy nations, the continued drive toward a global neo-feudal world order, the continued growth of prison populations and prison labour, the continued drive toward a global police state, and the continued war on democracy, freedom, civil liberties and the vast majority of the people by the stratospherically rich, who, by the way, only seem to know one word, as Chris Hedges has said: and that is, “more.”

The war on drugs, like the war on terrorism, is part of a broader campaign of class warfare being conducted by the world’s ruling billionaires and their criminal friends in high places, against the other 99.99% of the population. If we don’t understand this, then we really don’t understand the matter at all.

The “war on drugs,” and the “war on terror,” have nothing to do with their stated objectives of controlling drugs and protecting the people from terrorism. As Chomsky said, if we want to stop terrorism, there is an easy way to do it: stop participating in it. What he meant was that the US is the leading terrorist power in the world, dwarfing all others combined. Official terrorism accounts for 20,000 deaths a year. Unofficial terrorism, meaning, the kind that we do, by waging murderous illegal wars around the world, for example, has accounted for over a million deaths in Iraq alone. There is simply no comparison. It’s like comparing a small-time local thug or neighbourhood bully with the Godfather.

Abolish the CIA (do we really need this criminal goon squad, in addition to sixteen other known US intelligence agencies?); shut down the CIA detention centres and black sites; close the School of the Americas – which has been the world’s leading terrorist training camp for decades, located on the Fort Benning US military base in Georgia; and stop arming, supporting, training and funding terrorist organizations and local thugs, dictators and war lords around the world. Then you will see terrorism decline to levels that are a tiny fragment of what they are now. But of course, the ruling business elite and their political allies don’t want to do that, because the present arrangement benefits them handsomely, and they are making a killing.

Likewise, if you want to reduce harm and deaths from drug use, stop letting the CIA flood the world with crack, cocaine and heroin; and put bankers in jail for laundering drug money on a daily basis and a giant, global scale.

The “war on drugs” and the “war on terror” have nothing to do with their publicly stated intentions – they are a conscious and very deliberate war on the people, on civil liberties, democracy and freedom, by the ruling few who profit from these actions greatly. They are also a part of the grand plan of turning the world into a feudal society and a labour camp – a giant pyramid, with the astronomically rich at the top, ruling over all; a few privileged ones loyally serving them, like courtesans or well-paid prostitutes; and the rest abandoned to a sea of poverty, or corralled and contained in prisons to be kept under control or used as slave labour.

End the empire of corporate rule, or watch the world go into a very dark age. These are our two, and only two real choices now.

J. Todd Ring,
September 30, 2013

Reflections on tumblr, facebook and social media

Posted in alternatives, analysis, anthropology, Chomsky, consciousness, empowerment, inspiration, journalism, life, Media, media analysis, net, NSA, propaganda, psychology, reading, resources, social theory, sociology, sound-bite, Uncategorized, web, wellness with tags , , , , , on September 24, 2013 by jtoddring

Going from specifics to depth and breadth, and from particularities to universals, here are some thoughts for your consideration, for anyone who may be interested.

I’ve come to love the social networking / blogging community / window onto the web which is called tumblr. That being said, tumblr is largely what you make of it. I like the basic format of tumblr, and within that format or structure, I’ve created a flow of beautiful, interesting and thought-provoking feeds. I love the stream of art, gorgeous nature photography, science, literature, quotes, history, politics, spirituality and philosophy which flows through my tumblr window on the world daily.

I could have picked feeds on celebrity gossip, or cats doing amusing things, but I didn’t. The content I’ve chosen to let in is either beautiful or thought-provoking, or both – not trivial tripe and banality. So I am daily fascinated, or at least uplifted, by what flows through this portal onto the world – or as often as I open it up, which is more occasional than daily.

Facebook is good for providing another means of connecting or staying connected with friends and loved ones – meagre and thin as that connection may be, or as superficial or illusory – but facebook has a number of glaring faults, in my mind.

First, facebook provides data mining and surveillance aid to the NSA – how disgusting and truly revolting is that?

Second, facebook hits you in the face with obnoxious ads every time you look at it – revolting offence number two.

Third, facebook’s layout and formatting is visually ugly, boring and banal, and crudely utilitarian compared with tumblr.

Four, facebook gives you tiny little boxes of content posts, unlike tumblr, which gives you large size posts, so you can really get much more of a feel or an impression from a photo, piece of art, political poster, cartoon or other image, which is largely lost on facebook, unless you take the time to click on the image and go to a larger version.

I find the formatting of twitter even more annoying. Who can say anything meaningful in 140 keystrokes or characters? Hyper-concision gone mad – that is twitter. See Chomsky on the dangers of a strictly enforced concision.

All in all, I’d say social media is a horrible waste of time and a surrogate for real relationships and real life. However, it can be used in ways that are useful, and even uplifting and life enriching.

You could say the same thing about youtube or TV – most of it is garbage, or worse than garbage: toxic sludge; and you have to be extremely selective to make it worthwhile, or even to avoid being poisoned by it.

(I hate TV, and haven’t had one in my home for years. I watch what I want from TV, when I on rare occasions I do watch it, either on Netflix or youtube, or I buy videos of the TV shows I like, and watch them  any time I want, commercial-free.)

But as far as comparing social media in their ability to handle truly life-enriching content with a minimum of commercial bastardization or constrictions, the structure and formatting of tumblr makes that easier to obtain that on facebook, I would say – and I simply like the formatting of tumblr far better than facebook – as well as the lack of ads.

I post interesting items to facebook, but I never “read” or follow it, because it’s just far too annoying. tumblr, I actually enjoy spending time on, and I learn more about art, science, history and the world while I relax and enrich my mind with beautiful images of paintings and photography at the same time.

But again, tumblr, like all social media, or the internet in general, or any media, is almost entirely what we make of it – as with life itself. If we want to obsess over celebrity gossip and sports trivia, we can do that. If we want to listen to the media presstitutes, as Gerald Celente rightly calls them, mouth the words that their corporate owners dictate to them – um, sorry, bosses, is the preferred term I suppose… or Johns – we can do that.

If we want to degrade or dumb down our minds, we can do that – and we are facilitated greatly, and eagerly encouraged by the corporate driven mass media to do just that. The Pied Piper plays daily and continuously, the sirens call, and the sleep-walking masses drool and respond in Pavlovian reaction, like obedient dogs, or sheep; as if they were well-oiled and carefully controlled machines, or puppets on a string.

We are free to fashion our own mind-forged manacles, as William Blake called them – and we can pretty them up with lace and garlands, or paint them with our own personal flourishes and filigrees, so they look ever so lovely; and we can show them off to all our friends and family, and be so proud, as we drown our minds in a tsunami of confusion, illusions, lies and deceit, or simply wander aimlessly in the wasteland of a civilization (sic) lost in a dark age – bewildered, alone, in pain, and not even knowing we are lost, much les where we are, where we have come from, or where we are going. Or, alternately, if we want to uplift, enrich and illuminate our minds, hearts and spirits, and our lives, we are free to do that.

Unfortunately, it seems that the vast majority of people want to squander their lives, and degrade their minds and themselves, rather than enrich, uplift or ennoble them. But that is their choice. I’d rather spend my time differently. Wallowing in a sea of excrement is not my idea of a good time. But to each his own.

Some people choose to spend their time “engaged” with media, listening to Fox News, CNN or Billow O’Reilly. Some would rather spend their time listening to the thoughts of Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Naomi Wolf, Gerald Celente or Matt Taibbi – or listening to the words of the greatest scientists, sages and true luminaries of all time and all the world. You can choose to spend your time watching cockroaches mate, or something on a level barely above that; or you can sit at the feet of the wise, and listen and learn, and be truly enriched by it. It is your choice. There are different mental worlds we can choose to live in, and they are truly worlds apart.

Some people want to live in Disney Land; some prefer the real world.

For myself, I’d like to stick as close as I can to the real world; and within that scope, which is vast, I’d prefer to mix the bracingly real and honest, with the beautiful and uplifting. To me, anything else would either be a distraction and a diversion from what is most important in life; or worse, a degrading, mind-numbing, soul destroying descent into the darkness of a world lost in confusion and pain.

Choose wisely, I would say.

There is a difference between honey, saccharine, and arsenic. Learning to distinguish which is which, is the first step toward nourishing yourself – and also, the first step in ceasing the self-poisoning which now daily occurs, and has become routine: a banality of evil, as well as an epidemic.

Life is precious. What we do with it matters. Reflect on this, I would urge you. Or not, as you like. We are free to rise to great heights, or to sink to the lowest depths. That is entirely up to ourselves to decide. For me, I’d rather choose an upward path, however winding, seemingly slow, or at times arduous or lonely, than choose the slide down the cliff-side which has become the pervasive and profoundly abnormal norm. Life is worth more than this. And I will live it, and not simply drift through it, like a speck of foam on a great river.

Social media can be grand. It can be sordid. Or it can be simply banal. Like life, it depends on what we do with it.

J. Todd Ring,

September 25, 2013

The Key of Keys

Posted in analysis, books, Buddha, Christianity, common ground, consciousness, cosmology, empowerment, epistemology, freedom, inspiration, Jesus, must-read, Nag Hammadi, ontology, peace, philosophy, psychology, quotes, reading, religion, religious philosophy, resources, science, spirituality, theology, truth, wellness, world religions with tags , , , , , on September 18, 2013 by jtoddring

Egoless divine pride: the most glorious concept I have ever heard – from Tibetan Buddhism. The Uttara Tantra elaborates:

There once was a prince, who lost his memory and forgot who he was. Lost in forgetfulness and confusion, he wandered aimlessly, and became a homeless beggar. Years later, a minister to the king came across him, and recognized him in his dirty rags and filth. He exclaimed, “My prince! Your father has been worried sick about you! What are you doing? You must come home at once!”

The Upanishads tell a similar story. There once was a god who dreamed he was a pig. For years he wallowed in the muck and the mud, oblivious to who he was. After a long time, the other gods became pained by his confusion and his delusion, and called out to him: “You are not a pig – you are a god! Stop this madness, and remember who you are!”

Or again, from the Uttara Tantra: There once was a poor farmer, desolate in his impoverishment and despair. Daily he ploughed his fields, eking out a meagre existence, never knowing there was a great treasure buried right beneath his house.

Or as Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is within you.”

Or as Meister Eckhart, the 13th century German Christian mystic, the archetypal Western mystic said, “There is nothing I can point to that is not God. God is within me, and God is all around me.”

Or as Lao Tzu phrased it: Return to the source – return to your original nature. There you will find peace, joy, liberation, the ultimate happiness, and your authentic self – your true nature.

Or William Blake: “If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear as it is – infinite.”

This is the perennial wisdom. It has surfaced in all cultures in all times. It is the timeless wisdom. It is the voice of wisdom leading you home to yourself.

Know thyself. You are not less than you think you are, but inconceivably more. Your being is commensurate with the universe itself. Awaken!

Don’t be absorbed in yourself. Everyone has pain; everyone suffers. Life is full of suffering, as well as beauty and joy. Shift the focus from your own happiness to that of others. If you do, you will be surprised, maybe even amazed – and you will find happiness.

It is not always easy, no doubt: it takes effort, and practice, but it is worth it, and it pays off. And it pays off the most when you seek nothing and expect nothing. Love others, and peace and joy will come flowing in. It is a matter of a subtle shift of perspective – that is the entire answer to everything: a subtle shift of perspective. Parallax is the word. Shift the perspective, and everything becomes clear.

And remember, the yin – to use the Eastern terms  – that is, the receptive, is in certain important ways superior. The yang, the assertive principle, is useful, and also essential, vitally essential; but the yin is the foundation.  Knowing and opening to the yin, the receptive, will allow you to harmonize with others, and with life and nature: and that is the basis of relative happiness, ordinary happiness.

Deeply opening to the yin, the receptive, is the gateway to true knowledge, to prajna, to wisdom, to knowing who you are, and to returning to the source, the true nature of your own being.

Therefore, protect and nurture the yin, just as you respect and embrace the yang. Harshness will damage the yin, as the Taoists have rightly remarked. Beware of aggression, which is the exaggeration of the yang principle of assertion – either in others, or especially in yourself. Be gentle with yourself as well as others. There are times for firmness, and times even for fierceness; but gentleness is the best general rule.

With gentleness as the general rule, not only will you avoid harming others, not only will you avoid the blowback and negative repercussions that come from harming others, but you will avoid harming yourself – and avoid harming your vision, which is most important. To sow your own suffering is tragic, ill-advised and unwise. To cut out your eyes and perpetuate your own blindness, is worse by far.

Don’t rush, and don’t hesitate. Rushing is an imbalance toward the yang, and leads to aggression and strife, as well as stress, strain and exhaustion. Hesitation is an imbalance toward the yin, an excess of yielding or receptivity which creates a collapse into passivity, which leads to self-disempowerment and a loss of vitality, as well as a loss of satisfaction and joy. Find the middle way. Not too tight; not to loose. When in doubt, be gentle, and pay attention: the cues to action will reveal themselves in their own time.

Remember also, as the Zen saying goes: Before enlightenment, the dishes. After enlightenment, the dishes. The little things matter. Show care in all you do. And enjoy the journey.

Seek. Contemplate. Combine method and wisdom, effort with seeing – like the two wings of a bird, which give it flight. Then glimpse. Taste. Meditate. Know. Understand. Have confidence. And abide in your true nature, which is the infinite ground of being itself, commensurate with the entire cosmos in all its vastness, emptiness and glory. There is no more to be said. This is the key of keys.

J. Todd Ring

Sept 16, 2013

(See Lama Yeshe, Namkai Norbu or Sogyal Rinpoche for further reading, along with The Power of Myth, The Hero With A Thousand Faces, the Heart Sutra, the Diamond Sutra, the Prajnaparamita Sutra, the Uttara Tantra, The Mother of the Buddhas, The Gospel of Thomas (Marvin Meyers, transl.), The Perennial Philosophy, The Divinity School Address, Ken Wilber’s No Boundary, Michael Talbot’s The |Holographic Universe, Holgar Kalweit’s Dreamtime and Inner Space, Joanna Macy’s World As Lover, World As Self, and Alan Watts’, The Book: On The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are.)

Say sayonara to seafood – the oceans are no longer safe to eat from in the wake of Fukushima

Posted in analysis, disaster, ecological crisis, environment, food, health, nuclear, renewable, science, sustainability, video, wellness with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 29, 2013 by jtoddring

It looks like sushi time is over – seafood is no longer safe to eat after the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Fukushima continues to dump 300-400 tons of radioactive contaminated water into the Pacific every hour.

Japanese experts estimate Fukushima’s fallout at 20-30 times as high as the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombings in 1945.

Polar bears in Alaska are losing their hair and showing skin burns from radiation poisoning.

Pacific herring from Canadian waters are hemorrhaging and bleeding from their eyes. Of the 100 herring examined, all were bloody.

Thyroid disease, thyroid cancer and testicular cancer are among the greatest risks to humans from radiation poisoning.

Stop eating seafood now – at least from the Pacific. Eat seaweed or take seaweed capsules or powder to naturally protect against radiation.

Certain herbs that have been used safely for centuries have been shown to support proper thyroid function as well: Echinacea, Siberian ginseng, lemon balm (which makes a great iced or hot tea), licorice, black walnut and the amazingly healing flax seed. It would be wise now to include these in our diets, along with sea vegetables, green tea and antioxidant-rich foods.

Sad but true: one nuclear accident, and the entire Pacific is poisoned. No more nukes. Have we learned our lesson yet?

http://banoosh.com/blog/2013/08/27/at-the-very-least-your-days-of-eating-pacific-ocean-fish-are-over/

Go Back To Sleep America, At Your Own Peril

Posted in activism, alternative, alternatives, American politics, analysis, banks, Barack Obama, civil liberties, class, consciousness, constitution, corporate fascism, corporate rule, corporatism, corporatocracy, crisis of democracy, democracy, Democrat, democratic deficit, ecological crisis, ecology, economy, election, elite, empire, empowerment, environment, fascism, fascist, Feudalism, freedom, geopolitics, globalism, globalization, health, health care, human rights, imperialism, Iran, jobs, liberal, must-read, NDAA, neo-feudalism, Obama, oil, Patriot Act, peace, peak oil, people's movements, police state, policy, political economy, politics, psychology, quotes, Republican, Republican Party, sustainability, the world's other superpower, truth, U.S., war, war crimes, war on democracy, wellness with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 23, 2012 by jtoddring

I never reprint other people’s writings, no matter how good – but I will make an exception for this. This article is a true must-read. Please, take the time to read it. Then act.

Good morning America. It’s time for a new day.

Kudos and warm thanks to Jill Dalton at recoveringarmybrat. I will definitely read your book, Is It Fascism Yet?

Sincerely,

Todd

Go Back To Sleep America.

Mens sana in corpore sano: a sound mind in a healthy body

Posted in consciousness, cooking, food, healing, health, wellness with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2012 by jtoddring

Mens sana in corpore sano: a sound mind in a healthy body – a very good motto that is. The saying comes from the Roman Juvenal, and it applies as much today as it did two thousand years ago, of course.

I’ve alternated, myself, between being a certified bon vivant, almost a regular Zorba the Greek, and in the past, being a certified health freak, purist and borderline ascetic. Lately it seems to me that a bit more balance would be a good thing.

Balance is a good thing, and under-rated. Moderation in everything, as the ancient Greeks used to say – including moderation. Those wild and crazy guys…they certainly knew a thing or two about life.

Modern industrial society is driven to extremes, and such extremes are not particularly healthy, wise, or conducive to soundness, peace or clarity of mind. But, as William Blake said, “If a fool would persist in his folly he would soon become wise.”

I guess that means I’ll be a very wise man some day, because I’ve done a lot of foolish things. Well, life is for learning, as Joni Mitchell so beautifully reminded us. We’re not all born omniscient or faultless after all.

Since I seem to have no problem on the bon vivant side, or the workaholic side – many people wouldn’t know that, but as a writer, I am a workaholoic, and I love it, and wouldn’t want it any other way – I do think a little more attention to the health side would be wise. And maybe my thinking aloud and my own mental list of things to do to keep in good health and full of energy will be of some interest to others too. Take it or leave it, as you like. I wish you all the best of health, well-being, peace of mind and happiness.

Here are some thoughts on a super-deluxe healthy way of life, that doesn’t have to be unpleasant at all, but very, very deliciously enjoyable. Everyone has different tastes, so see what fits, if anything, and leave the rest. If this list of ideas seems helpful to you, share it with others, or print it out, and post it on your fridge as a reminder, until the new habits become the new norm. And remember:

“Life is a daring adventure, or nothing.”
– Hellen Keller

An aspiration for a daily way of life that doesn’t slowly kill me,
and in fact, makes me feel great:

(The items with a star are relatively easy, and just take a little effort; the items with a cross are a bit more challenging, cost a bit more, or take a bit more time. Stars are high priority, crosses are awesome bonuses, if I can get myself to do them. Some things listed here, and maybe many, will be unfamiliar or completely new to a lot of people. I would explain what every item is, and give details as to health benefits, but then we would have a book, and not a short and easy-to-read article. So for the moment, I’ll leave it to the reader to look up any unfamiliar terms or items if they wish to explore further. Happy hunting! The quest for health and wellness is worth the trek! And the journey can be interesting and fun as well!)

Morning:

In the morning, you are waking from an overnight fast, effectively, and the best way to end a fast, however short or long (and fasts are awesomely powerful for cleansing the body of toxins, by the way), is by drinking lots of fluids. Taking lots of fluids in the morning helps your body to flush out the toxins that naturally accumulate – or unnaturally accumulate, due to pollution or bad habits. If drinking this much fluids in the morning isn’t possible or desirable for you however, you can space it out during the day.

* A cup of tea

* A glass of Redoxon, effervescent vitamin C

* A glass of lemon water

+ A small glass of wheat juice

* A glass of fruit juice – preferably freshly squeezed and organic if possible
(Vary the juices, for variety of taste and nutrients. Mixed berry, pomegranate, apple, cherry, grapefruit, prune and pineapple are best.)

* A glass of vegetable juice – preferably freshly juiced and organic

* A cup of detox tea

* A cup of green tea, genmaicha or kukicha

* A cup of miso broth or miso soup

* A glass of Green+ or other greens drink

* A cup of pau d’arco tea

(Another trip to the toilet after all those fluids.)

+ Fried bacon, blood pudding and steak with fries and gravy for breakfast, with a large glass of Coke to wash it down – ok, just kidding. Save that for once a month, at most.
A piece of fruit and a smoothie for breakfast
This is a delicious, super-nutritious meal in a glass, that you can take in a travel mug or thermos. I use goat’s whey powder, with fresh ground flax and pumpkin seeds (use a coffee grinder), lecithin granules, Fiber One cereal for extra fiber, maca and essential oils – but all of these are optional – along with blueberries, pineapple and banana, buttermilk (you won’t notice the taste at all) and crushed ice, for a smoothie that is extremely high in anti-oxidants, nutrients and fibre, and has complete protein and amino acids, plus potassium and natural anti-inflammatory and digestive aid properties from the pineapple. Or if you don’t want to wash the blender afterward and have you the coin, buy smoothies pre-made in a bottle. They’re not nearly as delicious or as nutritious, but they’re still very good for you. The smoothies I make, with this recipe, always make me feel amazing. It’s like drinking an elixir of liquid sunshine.

+ Yoga
Even fifteen minutes of yoga does amazing things for your body and mind. Just do it.
(And screw you Nike for branding that expression – we’re taking it back, no offence.)

+ Prayers and meditation
Prayer is powerful. And nothing, and I mean nothing that I have experienced, compares to the power of meditation for healing and calming and refreshing the mind and body. Again, even fifteen minutes, even five minutes, has more power than anything else you can possibly do with that time. Just un-do it! You’ll feel better for it, and you will be healthier, calmer, more alert, more energetic, happier and more productive because of it. Do whatever form inspires you. Just sitting and watching the breath cross the tip of the nostrils is extremely effective. This simple “act” is unbelievably powerful and transformative. It lets the body and mind find their own natural harmony, slowly, over time. But don’t look for results, just sit and breathe. It gets easier with practice, as with anything. It may be challenging at first, but it is worth the effort.

Snacks:

* Roasted pumpkin seeds (best food for prostate gland) and other seeds, nuts, fruit

* Rice crackers or other crackers with goat’s cheese, almond butter, hummus, or kippers and mustard

* Boiled or pickled eggs – keep some in the fridge, or pack them to take to work, school or on hikes, picnics or other trips. Don’t forget the salt.

* Veggies and dip
Healthy dips, not the mayonnaise-based junk that is the norm. If you get an inexpensive food processor you can make your own – it’s very easy. Try white bean, artichoke and asiago dip, spinach dip, hummus or hot broccoli dip – all amazingly delicious, and using yogurt instead of mayonnaise, very, very healthy, as well as simple and easy to make.

* Nachos with salsa, yogurt, guacamole, refried beans, jalapeno and/or cheese
(Try rice chips if allergic to corn, as I am.)

* Popcorn – simple, fast, comforting, tasty, and very nutritious too. Try olive oil instead of butter for a change. (Leave the margarine on the shelf – that should be used only for lubing bicycle chains, not eaten.)

* Tamari almonds – my favourite snack in the world. So delicious, and supremely healthy. Find them at the health food store or roast your own.

If you’re temped by junk food or fast foods, try keeping healthy snacks on hand, in the car or your briefcase, backpack or purse at all times. Remember that the junk food will be done if a few minutes, and for the rest of the day you’ll feel worse than if you had a healthy snack.

If you crave sweets, try eating more fruit, and substitute fruit for sugary foods – it’s far healthier, and you’ll feel better, with improved mood, memory, conscnetration and energy.

Keep healthy snacks on hand at all times, and eat small, frequent meals so you’re blood sugar doesn’t get low.

If you cook with mildly sweet vegetables you will have fewer sugar cravings: squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, onions…

Or make homemade applesauce or cooked fruit – totally simple, sweet and delicious, and super healthful. And the kids will love it too. Or make popsicles with pure, unsweetened fruit juice – far better tasting than most sweets, and far more healthy. Or blend frozen berries with yogurt and crushed ice for delicious shakes….

And when you do feel like something sweet and fruit is not enough, try more healthy sweets, like sweet potato pie, pumpkin pie, rhubarb pie, fruit pies, pecan pie or fruit tarts or pastries. Substituting honey or maple syrtup for sugar and using gluten-free flour, pie shells or pastry will make them even better – in terms of both flavour and wholesomeness. It’s much easier than you think, and there is nothing like home baking to warm the house and your soul. Two hours a week, and you’ll have delicious homemade sweets for you and your family, that will not cost you your health or drain your energy.

Or try home-made granola bars – very simple, and takes no time: throw the ingredients in a bowl, mix, pour into a baking tray and pop in the oven – ready in 20 minutes, and you can have enough for the week.

Processed foods and fast food tend to be the worst things you can put into your mouth. Most of it is little better than toxic sludge. Skip it, and try something different.

It’s easier to avoid junk food if you don’t keep it in the house. Don’t buy it, except maybe on rare occassions, and shift the habits to helathy choices. It takes only two weeks to establish a new habit, so hold tight for that long, and it will get easier, until it soon becomes the new norm, and completely natural, as if you’d done it all your life.

Lunch:

* A big salad – no, strike that, a HUGE salad
Mix it up and vary it: Greek, Caesar, Asian Chicken and vegetable, spinach, mixed veg…
Use a healthy dressing, with no hydrogenated oils, and only healthy oils; or better, make your own – it’s very, very easy, and once it’s made, it’ll keep in the fridge for a long time. Try a mixture of olive oil, flax oil and a little sesame oil with apple cider vinegar, or balsamic, red wine or rice vinegar, with salt, pepper and crushed garlic – very delicious and super-nutritious. Leave out the sesame oil and garlic if you like, but they are extremely healing. Add fresh ground flax seeds and black sesame seeds on top for an extra burst of essential oils and fibre.

* Pick something else that is healthy to eat if you want more, but if you’re still hungry, either you’re over-eating, you’ve been doing intense physical labour, you’ve been starving yourself for days, or your salad was TOO SMALL. Yes, you’ll be hungry in an hour or so after eating only salad, but it’s better to have more frequent, smaller meals anyway, so just plan to have healthy snacks on hand.

*Sandwich on whole grain bread
Goat’s cheese, turkey and avocado, chicken, or almond butter with jam….endless possibilities.
Try making your own bread – with a bread maker, it’s simple and easy, and tastes fantastic. Better yet, get a grain grinder and grind your own grain freshly before baking the bread for maximum nutrition and incredible flavour – it takes less than a minute. Try spelt or other gluten-free grains, sour dough, or whatever you like. Add fresh-ground flax for essential oils and fibre.

* A cup of green tea, kukicha or genmaicha, or miso soup

If you are going to eat one big heavy meal in the day, noon is a better time than evening, digestion-wise, and weight-wise, but more frequent, smaller meals are best.

Afternoon or evening – or whenever you determine to make the time:

+ Get 20 minutes to an hour of exercise
Walk, run, cycle, ski, snowboard, surf, snowshoe, skate, toboggan, swim, snorkel, scuba dive, spelunk, rock climb, windsurf, do weights, yoga, martial arts or tai chi – just do something, other than watching TV or going to the mall, that is. For myself, my preference would be to alternate weights, yoga and martial arts, and do one of them every day, for at least 20 minutes if not an hour, no exceptions. I’m still working on that, but New Years is coming up, and I need a resolution. Hopefully I’ll live `till then. You never know. Life is fleeting, and full of surprises, but I certainly plan to. I’ll enjoy every day and make the most of it in any case. “I do not wish, when I come to the end of this life, to realize I had not lived.” – Henry David Thoreau, my all-time favourite writer

Dinner:

Again, there are endless healthy possibilities: soups, stews, crock pot dishes, stir fry, frittata or quiche, home-made chicken fingers with fresh ground flax seed batter and sweet and spicy Thai sauce (Had that tonight – amazing! ), sweet potato fries, brown rice with steamed vegetables and garlic butter, risotto with butternut squash and goat’s cheese (wow), brown rice pasta with a garlicy spinach and goat’s cheese rose sauce (had that last night – fantastic!), homemade pizza with goat’s cheese, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, black olives, garlic, pesto, jalapenos, artichokes and feta (incredible!), roast chicken or turkey with roast vegetables, buckwheat noodles with tahini, soy sauce and sautéed tempeh and vegetables (this was a staple of mine for years – try carrots and onions, or whatever veggies you like); sushi, nori rolls, refried black beans burritos, curry (mmm…I could eat burritos or curry every day), tyropita, spanakopita…. (Spanakopita, or spinach triangles, has got to be one of the world’s best foods. Thank you Greece! And, you can freeze them, and have them ready for quick meals and snacks.)

The important thing is to make healthy choices, and to make sure you eat healthy snacks often enough that you don’t get low blood sugar and are tempted to eat junk.

The next most important thing, I would say, is to learn to love cooking. If you grow to love cooking, and you’re interested in feeling good and being healthy, it’s a lot easier to accomplish those things than if you’re relying on frozen food or canned food, take-out food or delivery, generally speaking.

Cook in big batches, and freeze two-thirds of it in meal-size portions for later. That way, when you’re in a hurry, you can just defrost your own home-made frozen foods, which are generally far more delicious and nutritious than most frozen “foods,” which tend to have all the flavour and nutritional value of a cardboard box.

Have dinner parties, and exchange dinner parties or potlucks – it’s more fun, you get inspired to cook, and you share the cooking chore – which really shouldn’t be a chore, if you’re letting yourself get into it, and take your time and enjoy it – and it will save you time this way while letting you try new foods and get new ideas for cooking.

Eat TONS of vegetables and get lots of fibre, keep the carbs low, avoid processed and canned foods, eat fresh, natural foods, and as much organic as possible, eliminate red meat, sugar and processed flour products as much as possible, and use only healthy oils: grapeseed oil, coconut oil or ghee for frying, olive oil, sesame oil and flax oil for toppings and dressings. Learn to love brown rice, beans and lentils and you’ll eat super-healthy foods that cost pennies. Cook with wine for health and flavour. Experiment with herbs, spices and sauces, and combinations of them, and even the most simple foods will taste phenomenal.

Chew, chew, chew your food! Digestion can’t work properly unless food is well-chewed, and if digestion is impaired, then nutrient absorption will plummet, and you will be malnourished and nutrient-deficient no matter how healthy your diet is. Fifty chews per bite sounds like a lot, but it is ideal – 20 minimum. Or simply eat very slowly. Savour your food – and savour life!

For optimal digestion, you should not drink any fluids with meals or for at least an hour afterward, because the fluids dilute the digestive enzymes acids, thus impairing proper digestion. The exceptions to this rule are wine, miso soup or broth, or a little ginger tea, all of which aid digestion.

Most people think that indigestion, or poor digestion, is just a minor issue of mild discomfort – it’s not. Poor digestion not only robs your body of vital nutrients, leaving you malnourished even if you gourge yourself, it has other, even more serious negative effects on body and mind.

Poor digestion means that the body cannot properly process what is ingested, and that leads to a state of auto-toxemia, where metabolic wastes and fungal growth build up in the digestive tract, creating a situation where the body is literally poisoning itself.

Toxic overload and nutrient deficiency has been proven to cause or aggravate depression, anxiety, mood disorders, learning and behavioural disorders, and to generally cause negative effects on the mind, and not only the body.

Mercury poisoning is an extreme example of what toxins can do to your mind. The expression, “Mad as a hatter,” came from the fact that in the past hatters used to suffer from mercury poisoning, from using mercury to make felt hats. They slowly went insane, simply as a result of toxins in the body. Other toxins may be a bit less severe in their impact, but we should naturally avoid them, as they are certainly serious enough, and can cause major problems.

All sorts of health issues, some of them very serious, can arise when the body is nutrient-deficient and simultaneously overloaded with toxins – whether they are from the environment, from ingestion, or from autotoxemia due to poor digestion. Unfortunately, a state of nutrient deficiency and toxic overload has become the pandemic of our modern industrial society. Avoid toxins, manage stress, take regular saunas or steam-baths to eliminate toxins, eat healthy foods, and practice good digestive health as well as a positive state of mind, and your health, well-being, mood, mental clarity and vitality will all improve dramatically.

Basil, pesto, ginger, mint or a glass of wine will all help greatly with digestion. Practice optimal food combining if you have serious digestive issues: eat fruits alone, carbs and protein separate, or at least eat the carbs first, protein last.

If you have digestive problems, test for food allergies with an elimination diet. Eliminate the most common food allergens one at a time, for a period of a few days to two weeks, and pay attention to how your body feels. Wheat, gluten, dairy (not just lactose but cow’s milk protein), corn, and of course peanuts, are among the most common allergens.

I never had any food allergies in the past, until the last few years. Now, dairy gives me a slight headache and cheese sits like a rock in my stomach, unless it’s goat’s milk or goat’s cheese; corn upsets my stomache and wheat gives me hives and severe indigestion. It’s not worth the discomfort to eat foods your body can’t properly digest, so I’ve found. Goat’s cheese and gluten-free foods have helped immensely. Gluten-free pizza crust with goat’s cheese and feta means I can eat home-made pizza again – and it’s fantastic! Yeah!!! Brown rice pasta is delicious, and more hearty than regular white flour pasta; and sour dough spelt bread is amazingly delicious and hearty, I find.

Try to eat dinner by 6pm, so that you can properly digest your food before 9pm, when your liver goes into regeneration and rest mode. Eating later will cause poor digestion, nutrient mal-absorption and lower quality, restless sleep.

Possibly most important, in terms of a healthy diet, along with eating as much fruits and vegetables as you can, is to eat organic. According to Health Canada, 80% of the toxins we ingest come, not from air pollution, or water, or even smoking or drinking alcohol, but from the foods we eat. Pesticide residues are among the most toxic substances we can ingest. They are making us sick, and they are making our kids sick. Eat organic as much as you can. It is that important.

* Look up super-foods and include them in your diet daily or weekly:

Fo ti (polygonum multiflora is the Latin name, or shu wu in Chinese), Siberian ginseng, panax ginseng, ashwaganda, Solomon’s seal, gotu kola, motherwort, maca, (TRF has all of this and more), asparagus, fiddle heads, blueberries, pomegranate, apricots, avocado, dandelion, burdock, red clover and nettle tea, kukicha, genmaicha, green tea, roasted barley drinks, roasted dandelion coffee, coconut milk, goat’s milk, artichokes, Jerusalem artichokes, lemon grass, basil, pesto, garlic, ginger, peppers, pickles, sauerkraut, prunes, yogurt, buttermilk, flax, almonds, almond butter, sesame seeds, tahini, hummus, sesame oil, flax oil, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed oil, coconut oil, pecans, goat’s cheese, goat’s yogurt, barley, barley grass, wheat grass, almond butter, adzuki beans, black beans, daikon, miso, tamari, tofu, tempeh, Braggs liquid amino acids, apple cider vinegar, apples, cucumber, tzatziki, lemon juice, lemon water, cherries, pineapple, shitake mushrooms, holy basil, ghee, oats and oat bran, dark semi-sweet chocolate (in moderation!)….

Love, laughter, sunlight and fresh air, green space and water

Get some or give some every day. These things are powerfully healing, and very good for your state of mind as well as your physical health.

 

Saunas, sweat and steam-baths

These things are amazingly healing, and also powerfully stress-relieving. Have a sauna, steam-bath or sweat once a week at minimum, if not every day. This is also one of the most powerful and effective ways to eliminate toxins from the body. Sweat it out. A liter of drinking water and a hot steam or sauna is a miracle in terms of what it can do for you. And you will feel not only clean and deeply relaxed, but greatly refreshed as well.

 

Sleep

Get enough sleep, and as regular as possible. I’ve had insomnia on and off since I was eighteen, and it’s a real drag staring at the ceiling for hours at night, unable to sleep, then waking up the next day feeling totally exhausted, so I can sympathize with people who have trouble sleeping. Here are some thoughts and gleanings I have found.

For good sleep and peaceful, restful nights, a few things can help greatly:

The best for health is to be asleep by 10pm, but that takes real commitment, I find. I’d rather go to bed by 10:00, and get up at 4:00 or 5:00, and take a siesta in the afternoon if I need to, but I’m still working on that one too.

Lots of sunlight during the day – sunlight on the forehead stimulates the pineal gland, creating melatonin, which regulates sleep and induces restful sleep at night

Melatonin supplements before bed if needed

Meditation or prayer before bed

Progressive relaxation before bed

Keep a regular sleep schedule

No food after 6pm – or only very light, easy to digest snacks if anything, like yogurt or fruit

No caffeine after 2pm – or after noon if you have serious sleep problems

Mimimize or avoid alcohol, tobacco and stimulants – ok Zorba, listen here…

Don’t watch or read anything disturbing before bed, or talk about disturbing or stressful subjects right before going to sleep

Sleep in a dark, quiet room

Ideally, save the bedroom only for sex and sleep, and don’t read in bed

If you can’t sleep after half an hour, get up, go into another room, and read, meditate, or do something relaxing

No TV in your bedroom – or anywhere, except the curb, ready for the trash….ok, just joking – man, I hate TV.

When you wake up, get up. Don’t lay in bed once you’ve woken up. Take a nap later if you need to. Siestas and cat naps are very, very good for health; sleeping in late – not so much.

Try holy basil or ashwaganda, from Ayurveda, for improved sleep as well as stress relief, or if you have insomnia.

General health and wellness – state of mind is 90% of it:

Make the most of every day – don’t rush, don’t hesitate, don’t push, and don’t drag your feet. Life is fleeting, and we should make the most of it while we have it. Living an active and satisfying life, and doing the things that are meaningful to you, will help put your mind at ease, and sleep will come more naturally and more restfully. Stifling yourself or holding back from your dreams will make you tense, dissatisfied, frustrated or depressed, and that can disturb your sleep as well as your waking life.

Practice forgiveness, and try to never hold a grudge – challenging maybe, but important. Anger and resentments will haunt you, destroy your peace and your joy, disturb your sleep and make you ill.

Do your best every day, and try to be at peace with that – worry and guilt help no one.

Consciously practice gratitude, giving thanks, and appreciation every day. Despite life’s pain, there is a great deal of goodness and beauty in the world. Appreciate the simple things as well as the big things. A simple cup of tea in the morning sun can be a delight. A hot bath can be wonderful. And a simple hearty meal can be a satisfying joy, both to cook, and to eat and share. Appreciation will brighten your days and sooth your nights. It is amazing how powerful it can be, when we simply cultivate an attitude of appreciation, and see the beauty that is around us – and within ourselves and others.

Live with love. Nothing will improve your health and state of mind, or make you sleep like a baby, more than having spent your days loving fully and deeply. This doesn’t require a girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife or mate by the way – giving love means giving love; and there are an infinite number of ways to give from the heart. Anyone can do it. Being loved is of course a source of great joy, comfort and peace: in fact, the greatest source of human happiness – but giving love, living with love, will bring an even deeper satusfaction and joy. This is the single most important key to a sound and happy mind, and to peace: live with love. It is also very good for your health, for it dramatically improves your state of mind, and state of mind is the most powerful influence in terms of human health and well-being. The studies have shown it time and time again.

“Be gentle with yourself. If you can be gentle with yourself, you can be gentle with others.” – Lama Yeshe

“Stop putting yourself under such extreme psychological pressure.”
– Lama Yeshe

“Just do your best. That’s good enough. It has to be.” – Lama Yeshe

“Trust yourself. It’s extremely important that you trust yourself. Don’t be afraid of yourself. Trust yourself. You can trust yourself. Trust that your own natural intelligence is working itself out.” – Chogyam Trungpa

“Never tell yourself you’re powerless. You’re not powerless. You do have power.” – Lama Yeshe

“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde

“A true warrior does not judge himself through another’s eyes.” – Don Juan

“Don’t take anything personally. Everyone is living in their own dream.”
– Don Miguel Ruiz

Keep your dignity at all times. No matter what our faults, or what mistakes we’ve made, there is a basic goodness and beauty within us all that never dies, and remains radiant and pure at all times, whether we can see it or not. Life is not about becoming good, but about revealing our natural basic goodness.

Love, appreciate, give thanks, eat well and follow your dreams, and laugh a little, or a lot – these are the best things you can do for your health and happiness. Make sure to give yourself some quiet time, some time for reflection, and some time in green spaces, by the water, or in nature. And do a little yoga and meditation, or whatever form of exercise strikes your fancy. These things are far more powerful than most people would imagine, and powerfully healing, for both body and mind.

So, there are some thoughts on a more ideal way of life, in terms of health and energy levels and generally feeling great. I’ll do my best, and try to be gentle with myself – I think that’s a good general rule for how to approach anything. (Certainly apathy, lethargy, complacency, purism and fanaticism don’t work. I’ve tried those in the past, and ya, they don’t produce good results.)

If anything is useful here to others, then do it up!

Bon appetit and bonne journée!

May the wind be at your back and the road rise to meet your feet.

JTR,
November 2, 2012

P.S: For great recipes and inspiration for cooking, try Epicurious. It’s awesome. And no, I don’t get paid for saying that. Nigella, on BBC, is great too.

For more, excellent information on health and welness, see:

Gary Null

Andrew Weil

Brenda Watson

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Larry Dossey

Bernie Seagel

Dean Ornish

Deepak Chopra

Prescription for Nutritional Healing

Integrative medicine

Naturopathic medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine

Ayurveda