February, 2013

If you are tired, irritable, stressed out, sleep-deprived, burned out, or exhausted, there are quick changes in food and behavior you can implement to reduce your symptoms, heal yourself, and, in the long run, prevent disease. Stress causes and accelerates chronic and terminal diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and depression. Chronic stress will give you adrenal fatigue and make you feel like you are always either exhausted or wired or alternating between both!

The stress of daily living has an enormous impact on your physical and emotional health – both good stress and bad stress. If you are experiencing back pain, dizziness, heart palpitations, low stamina, chronic infections, poor sleep, or food cravings, you may have adrenal fatigue. The adrenal glands sit on your kidneys and control hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. If your adrenal glands aren’t working properly, your thyroid and immune system will not function correctly. You may get infections repeatedly. You may lose your immune system function and your energy level may plummet.

Here are 7 things you can do to reduce your stress level:

1. Get enough sleep and sleep regular hours without exception. Go to bed at a decent hour every night. Go to bed at about the same time every night.

2. Re-evaluate your priorities.Do you need to work after normal work hours? Do you need to check your email and smart phone constantly? Do you have normal conversations and relationships with people, or are you living on electronic and social platforms? You may have relationships, family, children, and friends who miss you and want to spend time with you relaxing and sharing. Slow down and enjoy life! Figure out what life is about – is it about money and “things”? Aren’t the people in your life worth more than things? Don’t forget about your pets!

3. Eat whole foods – fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and grains. Eat only 100% whole grains and don’t consume bleached, refined, or processed flours.

4. Cook at home as much as possible. Your recipes should be built by combining foods that just have one ingredient in them. This will automatically replace your consumption of processed foods with whole, healthy foods. You will know exactly what you are eating.

5. Eliminate sugar, syrups, and artificial sweeteners. Drink water or green tea unsweetened instead of sodas, sweetened drinks, or coffee. Sweeten drinks with stevia extract – it is a natural super-sweet plant that has no calories or chemicals! Eat fruits instead of sweets. Start reading your food labels and figure out how much sugar you are really eating! It’s okay to eat 20-30 grams of sugar a day if you are healthy, but you might be surprised to know that there are 65 grams of sugar in that 20-ounce bottle of soda or sweetened drink.

6. Eliminate or reduce coffee consumption. Eliminate caffeine altogether or, if you must, limit it to a cup of coffee in the morning. Be aware of everything you consume that contains caffeine. Carry fresh water with you at all times and drink it instead of anything else.

7. Do an emotional cleanse. Most people benefit from digestive cleansing, but an emotional cleanse can also help dramatically. A Harvard study showed that men who are angry are three times more likely to develop heart disease. UCLA has found that stress seems to reprogram immune cells into more toxic cells that feed disease. An emotional cleanse can allow the body to reduce stress and toxicity. The most prominent stress-causing emotions are guilt, anger, shame, and negativity. Start doing self-reflection and identify the causes of these feelings if you have them. Work to rid yourself of the negativity, and if you need help, seek help from friends, support groups, or a counselor. While you are ridding yourself from the negative emotions and thoughts, replace them with positive ones that appeal to you – family, pets, friends, hobbies, work, art, anything that you love.

Try one or more of these quick fixes and let me know how your stress level is!

(Beth Anderson is a certified Holistic Health Coach and founder of the Holistic Health Hotspot in Evansville, Indiana. She is also the author of “The Holistic Diet: Achieve Your Ideal Weight, Be Happy and Healthy for Life.” Beth received her training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Beth is helping people improve their lives through nutrition and lifestyle education, health coaching, and by helping others to learn to make informed choices. Beth continues to spread understanding of the connection between body, mind, and spirit and encourages all to discern the truth about food, consumer products, environment, and life choices. You can find Beth on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/HolisticHealthHotspot or email her at beth@holistichealthhotspot.com)

Why are you here?

If someone informed you today that the number of days, weeks, or months you have left to experience life on this planet and in this physical form are suddenly limited, reduced to a period of time which is significantly less than what you had previously contemplated, how would that change the way you live?

I met a man today who is living in that stark reality, a kind, kind person whose physicians have given him a prognosis of one year until his physical body will slowly and finally shut down and become unable to sustain life in the way he knows it.  And until that final and ultimate transition, he will painfully struggle for each and every agonizing breath he takes in every moment of his days, battling against a disease that is methodically paralyzing his lungs and robbing him of even the smallest and simplest of his day-to-day joys, like walking and talking and laughing.

Boy, if there was ever a time to become clear about what matters and what doesn’t matter, I imagine facing your own imminent transition out of physicality would be it.  I also imagine that all the things that may have once seemed meaningful — a bigger house or a fancy sports car or plenty of money in the bank — would suddenly fall into the shadows of “stuff that’s not important” when your thoughts and energies are consumed with your next breath, and your next breath, and your next breath, and your next breath.

If I was not paying attention today, I could have easily missed the opportunity to answer some really big and very important questions.  I might have confused my reason for being in that room as having to do with my job, believing that I was simply there to do what I was being paid to do.  I might have preoccupied my mind with my unfinished “to do” list, thinking about my almost-empty refrigerator and the long overdue grocery trip or that load of clothes in the washer (for the second time) or whether or not I remembered to tape my favorite television program.

But I was paying attention, the result of which led to the first fundamental question I posed to myself:  Why am I here?

I knew the answer to this powerful four-word question was really big and really important as it would chart the course for not only our time in this perhaps fleeting relationship, but long after and in large and unseen ways.  It would lay the foundation for not only my own experience, but it would significantly impact the experience of all those in the room.  And as I stepped into the clarity of which aspect of Divinity my Soul yearned to experience, I could hear more vividly, I understood more deeply, and I felt more perceptibly.

My question also caused me to understand that this terminally ill man, whether intentionally or not, was in the room to serve as a reminder to me, and all those who are now reading this, to live into our own highest visions and ideas about who we are all the time, in every moment, embracing every opportunity as a chance to live our best lives.  If, as the book The Only Thing That Matters says,  98% of the people on this planet are spending 98% of their time on things that don’t matter, we might want to consider amending our “bucket lists,” which are most likely filled with all the things we want to “do” in our lifetime, to include the things we desire to BE in our lifetime — compassionate, fully present, kind, supportive, loving, understanding, patient, etc. — because these are the things that ultimately really do matter.

Why are YOU here?

(Lisa McCormack is the Managing Editor & Administrator of The Global Conversation.  She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at www.ChangingChange.net, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com.)

As teens, we seem to be pretty contradictory. We want independence, yet we need support. We are engrossed in each other’s lives, yet we are self-absorbed. We create drama, yet desire inner peace. We cry to show great sadness, yet we also cry in great happiness. We want to reach the destination, yet we don’t feel any better off when we get there. We are continuously changing the very definition of who we are, yet we keep a very steady personality. My list stops here, but life’s list goes on and on and on.

These conundrums provide very little stable ground for most of us teenagers, and often leave many teens with more questions than answers. What’s the meaning behind all of this? Does this make us hypocritical? Is there even such a thing as truth?

It simply means that we, as spiritual beings, recognize that black and white exist simultaneously rather than separately. We recognize that our contradictions, in whatever role they play in life, are a part of our grand dichotomy. In a January 25, 2013 blog post, Neale described such people who recognize their own dichotomies as “people who embrace the notion that two apparently opposing “truths” can exist simultaneously in the same space. They call this a ‘Divine Dichotomy.’ Dichotomists do not see things in Black and White, but in shades of both. They do not see polar opposites, but a continuum. Where others see a straight line with each end representing This or That, they see a circle where This and That is neither here nor there.” Instead of continuing to live in a dualistic and monochromatic society, we strive to understand that the ‘bigger picture’ is a bit more colorful.

Popular singer and spiritual songwriter Jason Mraz wrote about these contradictions in the song, “Life is Wonderful”. A mere few excerpt verses underline the real message of dichotomies:

It takes a night to make it dawn

And it takes a day to make you yawn, brother

 And it takes some old to make you young

 It takes some cold to know the sun

 It takes the one to have the other

 And it takes no time to fall in love

But it takes you years to know what love is

 And it takes some fears to make you trust

It takes those tears to make it rust

 It takes the dust to have it polished, yeah

 It is so meaningful

It is so wonderful

 It is so meaningful

It goes full circle

Instead of disregarding our contradictions, we should EMBRACE them. Further, we should LIVE and LOVE them. As Mraz penned, our non-dualism is what makes life meaningful and wonderful. Knowing that we can live multiple truths, instead of a single steadfast path, may be the most reassuring guidance for a teenager anyone can give. Understanding that we don’t have to choose one label is another page in our New Cultural Story. Don’t just be a Rebel or a Conformer, a Republican or a Democrat, a Fundamentalist or an Extremist, but be more than that single version. People are simply not one-dimensional beings, but rather, multi-dimensional. As a single truth simply cannot capture the entire essence of their being or experiences, we create an even broader definition of Who We Are.  

So yes, you can be detached from the outcomes and the reactions, yet still share the same warmth and empathy with your fellow spiritual beings. Yes, you can experience gain, yet still give more than you ever thought possible. And yes, you can be on your spiritual path, yet still be interwoven in the grand design of the universe. Living out your truths, no matter how contradictory, is the only thing that matters. Life is wonderful, after all.

(Lauren is a Feature Editor of The Global Conversation. She lives in Wood Dale, IL, and can be reached at Lauren@TheGlobalConversation.com)

Fear or Love, that is always the choice before us as we walk in duality. Yet those two polarities will determine very different choices, behaviors, and even outcomes.

Fear separates us from our eternal Source, locking us into miserable patterns of low self-esteem and victimization and, ultimately, it keeps us separate from each other. Love, on the other hand, unifies us into wholeness and brings us to trust in the magic and mystery of life again.

So many of our institutions are still rooted in fear, however, and so many of us are programmed to follow the voice of an external “authority” even when that advice may be detrimental to our physical, mental or emotional well-being.

Too often we blindly give our power away to medical “facts” or “statistics” that have no basis in reality.  We buy into the illusion of fear – fear of “loss” of some kind – and there is no greater fear than death.

A couple of weeks into 2013, a dramatic headline in the UK papers caught my eye: “Drug That Prevents Breast Cancer for 20 Years.”

It seems that Big Pharma now want thousands of healthy women to be given breast cancer drugs, such as tamoxifen or raloxifene, to cut their chances of contracting the disease, despite possible nasty side effects that include hot flushes, nausea, indigestion, weight gain leg cramps, depression, tiredness, headaches, blood clots, vision problems, voice changes and, even though rare, womb cancer!

These drugs have not been designed to be used as preventative medicine by the way. Yet they are being put forward, based on a change in policy.

We need to ask, how will they – the faceless, stern voice of “authority” –  determine which women to give it to? Who will be labelled as ‘high risk’? What about the side effects?

The wide ranging side effects of today’s medical drugs are tolerated by those who are ill, but now we are asking otherwise healthy women to tolerate unnecessary side effects just because they will be labelled as being ‘at risk’ by ‘those in charge.’

SPIRIT says we do not inherit disease, only the potential for disease.  The new science is now saying the same thing, but the old dogma refuses to die.

Aside from the fact that Big Pharma is, most likely, rubbing its greedy little hands together, this is a nonsensical approach driven by fear, reinforcing the victim mindset that says we are are the mercy of our genes, and which blatantly ignores the latest discoveries in science – epigenetics – which demonstrate that our environment is the key to determining our health, or lack of it.

Perhaps we should all cut off our limbs before they get gangrene?

Jaime Tanna

(Jaime Tanna is the founder of Energy Therapy and an active Reiki Master and Spiritual Mentor, Healer and Teacher. Together with his wife Jennifer, their unifying vision is to empower others through spiritual education and energy-based healing treatments, to help them become aware of their true natures, and to live more joyfully and consciously. You can visit their website at www.energytherapy.biz).

The most generally accepted definition of addiction in the treatment and medical community is “continued use in spite of negative consequences.”  The reason this designation has been given is to point out the leading indicator of those suffering with the addictive behaviors and compulsive disorders; and that is denial.  It is my intention in this article to point out negative consequences of the different types of addictive behaviors and compulsive disorders.  In doing so, this gives us the opportunity to examine our own actions, as well as heighten our awareness of those around us.

There are certainly different levels of addictions; we have used the term in this column “soft addictions” and “hard addictions.”  The consequences for the hard addictions have wide-sweeping impacts.  The families, employers, co-workers, and many times innocent bystanders get caught in the dragnet of hard addictions.  Try finding somebody who hasn’t been in some way affected by addiction, then let me know when you find one.

Soft addictions, however, the consequences are mainly directed at the person in question.  Typically, the soft-addictions person appears to have life pretty much all together.  This person may simply being addicted to being lazy.  They will sit around every chance they get, doing very little physical exercise, if any.  Their body over time begins to suffer the negative fallout and breaks down earlier than it should.  Sloth is a very common form of dependence that typically goes untreated.

With the computer age well in hand, obsessive and compulsive use of the internet and our wireless devices has taken over the lives of many.  I have already written a blog on this called “Beyond the Big Five.”  The typical results from seeking the brain reward chemicals from our electronics is that we become very removed from social interaction. The instant gratification we receive temporarily relieves the need for companionship.  Like all addictions, however, our tolerance grows and we seek more and more gratification from the virtual reality we have created.

Food addiction is a very complicated subject, and even more complicated to evaluate.  There are those for whom food takes on the form of a hard addiction.  For some, it is clear that the negative consequences of obesity signals the need for treatment; however, many of us can have less damaging addictive traits surrounding our food.  I have noticed in my life that when I overindulge in sugars, that my mental and spiritual connection are diminished.  This is clearly a negative consequence in my life, yet some days I will still partake in this behavior.  Although the softer food addiction still has many adverse effects on our lives, they are nonetheless obstacles to experiencing joy in its fullest form.

The sex addict who fathers eight children with eight different women, all the while being married to the same person over the entire time, is suffering the consequences of addiction and at the same time causing a giant ripple of destruction in the lives of all the people involved.  The “hot” school teacher who knows full well that having any relationship with a student, let alone a sexual one, and proceeds to do so without regard for “what is true,” will experience the wrath of negative consequences sooner or later.  We have seen this countless times, so much so that we don’t even seem to be upset by it anymore, unless of course the teacher isn’t “hot” or a female.

The “lighter” side of sex addiction is pornography.  This, very much like the internet addiction, is a compulsion of solitude. The effect this has on a person can be seen in their outward body, as well as their social interaction.  Any meaningful relationship becomes compromised at some point.  Trust boundaries are trampled on and self-esteem issues abound for those involved with the porn addict.  Without treatment, this person ends up leading a very lonely life.

As with all addictions and compulsive disorders, denial is the obstacle to recovery.  In many cases, not only is the addict in denial, but the family members will be as well.  Our society has one major addiction that most of us indulge in, that is the reliance upon a belief that we don’t need help from anyone. “We can do it ourselves” we say, without having the first clue where to turn.

The definition of denial is the refusal to accept what is true.  Truth as we all know comes in many flavors.  The truth we are talking about here is what is observably true.  It is fairly safe to say that given the information in today’s society, if a person gets caught driving while intoxicated one time. they made a huge mistake and showed terrible judgment.  If that same person then repeats that behavior and has a second offense, they have crossed the line into addiction.  The non-addicted person who gets a DUI never makes that mistake again.

“The truth will set you free” it is said, and recovery from all types of addiction require it.  We must tell truth about our self  to our self   We then should tell the truth to our self about someone else.  Once we get to this point, we will then be willing to tell the truth about our self to another.  When we get to a higher place of evolution, we will begin to  tell the truth about another to that other, and this is service to humanity.  At this point, we begin to tell the truth to everyone about everything.  This is how the world evolves.  This is how we create peace on earth and goodwill towards men.

(Kevin McCormack is a Conversations with God Life Coach, a Spiritual helper on www.changingchange.net, and an Addictions recovery advisor.  You can visit his website for more information at www.Kevin-Spiritualmentor.com  To connect with Kevin, please email him at Kevin@theglobalconversation.com)

What is the biggest problem in the world today, as you see it? By that is meant: What is the problem that you believe deserves the most attention right now, this very day?

Is there a role in the world of politics and economics and social movements for spiritual messengers? If so, what should that role be?

National Public Radio has just reported on a Muslim cleric — described as a “slight 61-year-old”— who has been, in the words of the NPR report, “shaking up the political scene.”

“Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri returned to his home country late last year, after spending eight years in Canada. Since coming back, he has ignited a disgruntled electorate,” the report said. Qadri claims that “Pakistan’s oppressed and destitute are with him in his fight against inequality and corruption. His speech touches a nerve for many in the crowd,” NPR said.

In an interview with NPR, Qadri said he wants to enlighten people about their democratic rights. This brought up a question that I have been looking at for many years. As the author of a series of books revolving around what I report to have been conversations with God, what role, if any, is it appropriate to play in the global economic, political, or social arena? For that matter, what role should any spiritual messenger have in these areas of human activity and communal life?

“I am trying to create an awareness of the true concept of democracy, an awareness of human rights, real human rights,” Qadri says in the NPR report. “People here are treated like goats. They don’t have any concept of democracy.” The NPR report goes on to say that “Qadri is taking on Pakistan’s government, saying it has failed to curb militancy or improve the economy. He’s also demanding electoral reforms to prevent corrupt politicians from holding office.”

“I am fighting just to make the electoral and democratic process transparent, free of corrupt practices,” he says.

Well, that is exactly what Conversations with God calls for — not just in politics, but in every area of life: complete transparency. Yet it is the role of spiritual messengers to issue a call for social, economic, and political change? I face this question every time I so much as utter one word about humanity’s political process. “I wish you would just stick to spiritual stuff, and leave politics alone,” people write. “You should not be expressing a political point of view,” others admonish.

I notice that now even the motives of Qadri, a Muslim cleric, are being questioned. In the NPR report a man named Talat Masood, a retired Pakistani general and political commentator, is quoted as saying that Qadri’s message may be good, but he questions the messenger. Masood calls Qadri a demagogue.

“He actually wants to be in the center stage. He wants power, he wants to be in prominence all the time,” the NPR report quoted Masood as saying.

(The full NPR report can be found here: http://www.npr.org/2013/02/20/172416876/controversial-cleric-stirs-protests-upon-return-to-pakistan)

I do not know enough about Mr. Qadri to offer an observation on his motives or his person, but I find it interesting that even in a culture where the Islamic faith is highly honored and Muslim clerics are revered, if you say something that rouses people against the prevailing power structure, you had better be ready to be marginalized — or worse — spiritual messenger or not. Mr. Qadri’s public speeches are made from a bullet-proof enclosure.

So…what is the role of spirituality in day-to-day life “on the ground”? Conversations with God says that the political views of a person or a society are a demonstration of that person’s and that society’s spiritual values. If that is true, does this mean that there is a rightful place in the day-to-day “real world” for spiritual messengers who are addressing political and social issues, as I did in my last entry here? And if so, what would that place be?

In the present case, should Mr. Qadri quiet down, or speak even louder?

The is the second part of an extended series of explorations on “enlightenment” as a human experience. The first entry in this series may be found in the archives.

At the conclusion of Part One I said that the danger of this business of enlightenment is two-fold.  The first danger is thinking that there is something specific that you have to do in order go get there.  And that if you don’t do that, you can’t get there.  The second danger is thinking that your way to get there is the fastest, the best way to do it.

Now if you think that your way to get there is the fastest and best way, you are going to spend the rest of your life trying to convince me of that, because you believe that and you want to share this wonderful gift that you have gotten.

Many years ago I was approached by people in the est movement.   How many of you know what the est movement is?  Most of you do.  “est” was an acronym for the Erhard Seminar Trainings.  The name was always presented in lower case letters, because “est” is also a German word meaning ‘to be’.  So it was a happy coincidence.  And Werner Erhard created the Erhard Seminar Trainings.

The est movement was huge in the New Thought community in this country and around the world around 25 years ago or so.  And the people who were involved in the est movement were absolutely convinced that this was the fastest way to enlightenment.  You needed to take est!  And so they began recruiting people to take est and they became very engaged in the process.

It was almost an urgent matter with them.  And they couldn’t understand why you didn’t get the urgency.  If you didn’t get it, they would look at you and say, “You just don’t get it, do you?  You just don’t get it.”  They had found something that changed their whole life virtually overnight, and they wanted to give that to you, and they knew that this was the way.

There were many ways, they said.  This wasn’t the only way, but this was probably the best way.  Or certainly, if not the best way, among the fastest ways.

And I enrolled in the est program and I took est and I, too, became enlightened.  In fact, I became so enlightened that I realized that I did not need est to be enlightened—which really upset some of the est people, because they wanted me to take the next level and the next level and the next level.

You see, est was a program that had multitudinous levels. You could take level one, level two, level three—they had very fancy names for them.  And once you got in the program you could virtually never get out of it. I mean, not with grace. Not with ease. You had to almost extract yourself out of it. And if you did get out of it, you were made to feel by many of those who were inside of it that you had done something desperately sad. Not wrong, but very sad. Because you just didn’t “get it.”

If you really got how powerful est was you would have stayed in it forever and gone all the way to the top and become an est trainer.  Then you could train other people in how to become trainers by enrolling them in the est program.

What I realized was that my whole life could be caught up in the est program very quickly and very easily, doing virtually nothing else.  I actually met people in the est training and in the est program who did virtually nothing else but that.  They had literally turned their lives over to this process called est.

Now I want you to know that the process called est was very powerful and I could understand how people could become so attached to it, because it did change people’s lives. In fact, it was so powerful in my life, as I said, that I realized that I didn’t need est anymore — and probably never needed it. AND, having said that, it was very helpful to me in leading me to an understanding that I did not need it, or anything else outside of myself, to be fully Who I Really Am.

I don’t think some of est trainers intended it to be quite that powerful, because if everyone, after taking the basic est training, realized that they didn’t need est, there would be no more est training!

Some religions have the very same problem. They convince you of the wonder of God, but then when you get in touch with the wonder of God, you realize you don’t need the religion anymore. So some religions do whatever they can to hold you within the confines of membership, by telling you that only through the ways that the particular religion has established can you remain in the good graces of God.

All of this is natural. It’s understandable. Who wants to start of movement that convinces people you don’t need the movement? Yet this is the ultimate purpose of all religions and of all movements—or should be. With 7 billion humans on the earth, there are enough people to continue introducing the highest truth to, and one doesn’t, or shouldn’t, need to hang onto all the old members in order to create a power structure that supports itself in continuing itself.

This is the problem with most organizations and movements. They tend to need to be self-perpetuating. Yet, I repeat: the true purpose of every religion and every movement that would bring you to “enlightenment” should be to render itself obsolete, should it not?

Many years ago Paramahansa Yogananda gave birth to the Self-Realization Fellowship.  This is now back in the late 30’s or early 40’s, I don’t know the exact time, but it was somewhere in there.  When Paramahansa Yogananda, or Master, as he was called, came to America he brought with him a technique for self-realization, which was his phrase meaning enlightenment.  It was called self-realization.

When you realize who the Self, is you become enlightened.  And Master described himself as being enlightened.  And, by the way, he was enlightened.  He was enlightened because he said he was. I hate to break the spell that someone may be under, but to be enlightened is to say that you are.  It is quite as simple as that. And we will talk more about that as we move forward with this series of entries.

Kombucha Crazy

Kombucha is a fermented probiotic health beverage made from sweetened tea, yeast, and bacteria. It is considered to be a longetivity drink and has been consumed globally for thousands of years. Kombucha has been growing in popularity in the western world because of its health benefits:

– Acids and B vitamins which assist the body in the detoxification process

– Beneficial bacteria which assists the gastrointestinal process

The specific benefits that you will receive from drinking kombucha result from the body working more efficiently and healing itself, but people I know who drink kombucha have reported that it helps with digestion, acne, immune system, allergies, and more! If your gut flora is lacking, this is the perfect way to increase the good bacteria and get your body in shape to heal itself.

If your gut flora is compromised, you may experience symptoms such as digestive issues, immune system weakness, infections, and even neurological or psychological issues. Our gut flora becomes low from drinking baby formula instead of human breast milk, antibiotics and other drugs, sugar, alcohol, and processed foods. Improving your gut flora can make you feel much better in a short time. By the way, kombucha is not an alcoholic drink even though some people believe it is. Kombucha can contain trace amounts of alcohol, but never more than .5% because it is brewed open to the air. Any alcohol that forms in the brew evaporates.

You can buy kombucha in most health food stores and some groceries, but it can get a bit expensive. I recommend brewing your own – it’s not difficult. You can brew a continuous batch and add flavors when you pour or bottle it – ginger, fruits, and greens add great taste and variety.

I grew my own SCOBY from three ingredients – one bottle of store-bought original plain raw kombucha, a cup of strong tea, and a tablespoon of organic raw unprocessed sugar! I covered it with a cloth and left it undisturbed for two weeks. When I discovered that my SCOBY had grown successfully, I felt like I had given birth.

I started my first batch with 2 gallons of brewed organic black tea and 4 cups of raw organic cane sugar. After brewing the tea, I added the sugar and stirred until it was dissolved. Then I let the tea reach room temperature before pouring it into my brewing jar. I added my SCOBY with its liquid, covered the top with a cloth, and let it brew away for a little over a week. Now I regularly take 3-4 16-ounce bottles of the brew, cover tightly, age at room temperature for 2-3 days, and refrigerate. I also replace whatever tea I remove with new room-temperature sweet tea. I keep the tea between 70 and 80 degrees with a 10-watt heater, and I test the pH of the tea before drinking to make sure it is between 2.5 and 3.5.

It’s hard to believe that one drink can change your health, but I recommend trying kombucha if you haven’t yet. Drink 8-16 ounces every day for a week and then let me know what you notice. You can drink it before or with breakfast every day. You can sip on it from a wine glass in the evening. Kombucha is great anywhere or anytime.

(Beth Anderson is a certified Holistic Health Coach and founder of the Holistic Health Hotspot in Evansville, Indiana. She is also the author of The Holistic Diet: Achieve Your Ideal Weight, Be Happy and Healthy for Life.Beth received her training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Beth is helping people improve their lives through nutrition and lifestyle education, health coaching, and by helping others to learn to make informed choices. Beth continues to spread understanding of the connection between body, mind, and spirit and encourages all to discern the truth about food, consumer products, environment, and life choices. You can find Beth on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/HolisticHealthHotspot or email her at beth@holistichealthhotspot.com)


All of It

I stepped out of the hotel we were staying in and onto the city sidewalk that was already filled with people, even though it wasn’t yet ten in the morning. But it was Saturday, and the sun was out again, and the temperature was nearing what felt like “my kind of perfect” and so immediately my spirit was buoyed as I set off in the opposite direction than the one I had taken the day before, eager to discover new sights and experiences in the cosmopolitan city we were visiting, and today it would be without dodging raindrops and a cold wind.

Only a few minutes from our hotel, I turned right, following the concierge’s directions and it was as if I had entered a new city altogether:  I was standing in a wide, cobblestoned street with quaint shops on either side as far as the eye could see, and everything was alive with early morning sunlight. The cold sidewalks shaded by skyscrapers, and the noise of the taxis and buses and cars, and the pinched faces and vacant eyes of people used to surviving in a big city disappeared as I entered the spacious promenade.

There were couples strolling, and people reading newspapers while relaxing on benches, or leaning contentedly against a storefront as the sun warmed them. There were young parents, one managing lattes and pastries, the other pushing a stroller and holding a small hand. Pairs of teenage girls giggled and walked arm in arm and older couples moved briskly along in athletic clothing, or sat, sharing a small meal at an outside restaurant. It was beautiful, and it was just what I needed.

Soon, I became aware of music coming from somewhere farther down the walk and so I slowly made my way to where it was and found myself standing in an open space where a middle-aged man dressed in a classy tuxedo and red bow tie was playing a cello. The music swelled, coursing through those of us who had come to a pause to listen, drawing us all together for a few moments in time.

Turning my face toward the sun, I stood for many minutes with eyes closed, listening, and soon warm, full tears were brimming my lashes, making their way quietly down my cheeks.

It had been a rough trip. We had taken my mother and father with us on the road to enjoy a few weeks together while we worked, as well as having planned in time for play. But my father’s Dementia had progressed much faster than any of us had expected, and to make matters worse, we were mostly in denial that he even had something really going on, because he hadn’t yet been diagnosed and, having never been there before, none of us could recognize the territory we were in.

But the trip had been harrowing. Each day, my parents looked more stressed, more strained, and my father more disoriented and anxious. My heart felt as if it had been broken into a million pieces, and strewn across the universe, and as if it would take a hundred years or more to gather it together again. And so I wept, finally. Soothed for just a few moments by what felt like Goodness, I didn’t care that I stood in a sea of strangers and I didn’t lift a hand to wipe tears away…

When I opened my eyes again I noticed a few smiling, or appreciative faces on the other side of the open space, and followed a bystander’s gaze.

It was an older man, dressed in a very worn, and outdated suit. It was yellowed and tarnished, having perhaps once been a minty-gold with light plaid, and on his head he wore a hat from the same era. He must have been eighty years old, and as the middle-aged man played the cello and the notes rose and fell, the older man danced.

He danced by himself, swaying this way and that, making his way across the expanse of cobblestones without a partner, but as gracefully as the memory he still held, his fingers knotted with arthritis, and knees that didn’t any longer allow him to totally straighten them. And at the end of the music, the older man would lay his hat out for tourists to drop coins into, and as tourists, we were faced with the reality that we were his livelihood. He didn’t spend his mornings out here dancing merely for the joy of it, and to make us smile, but to survive. And neither did the Asian man, playing the cello while his wife and small son helped to sell CDs during his breaks. My heart began to sink, as I took it all in.

Just then, a loud clapping and banging sound began to happen about fifty feet away. I looked up to see a boy about the age of ten on a skateboard. He was performing skate boarding tricks with his friends and would use his feet to make one, and then the other end of the board rise up into the air and then would bring both feet down on top of it as it hit the ground, over and over again, the loud clap and bang, carried through the air to our ears, shattering the soft of the music and the warmth of the sun and the ease and the grace of what felt like harmony for just one moment in time.

Anger rose in my throat and I wanted to shout; I wanted to plead; I wanted to bargain with the boy and with Life itself to make everything Good again—make suffering non-existent for All of us. For my father and my mother and my family; for the 80-year old man who danced for mere coins and for the accomplished musician who played the cello on a Saturday to keep his family safe and dry.

But then I got it. I understood.

It’s All of It. You can’t keep Bad out and you can’t keep Good in, and in fact there’s no such thing as either one, ultimately. There’s just Life. And without Dad’s dementia, maybe I wouldn’t have heard the music that morning, but would have hurried on by, eager to see what else was around the next corner…

And so I put money in the old man’s hat, and I bought two CDs from the musician’s wife and son, and I walked on. Smiling. Grateful. Heartbroken. Heartopened.




Life is Mostly Quiet

Believe me, you don’t have to know.

Not so much that you render yourself helpless.

Helpless in the face of what Life brings next.

So make peace with knowing very little.

About Love.

About Others.

About how life should be.

Make amends with how things are.

Not knowing a thing,

walk with gentle knees,

ready to drop to them, at any moment

that Life dictates it.

Keep an empty hand

so that it can be brought to your heart

when a grief arrives.

Make up a bed that you can fall into

as your own, comforting arms.


We come to find that Life is mostly quiet.

It asks us to live by our Knowing, while

surrendering that very same thing.

It vibrates easily around us,

candid and benevolent.

You see, it’s only

when we root ourselves solid in some Knowing again,

that Life seems to have to shout –



from Its whisper.

“Life Is Mostly Quiet”em claire
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