Healing a poisoned soul

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Something I’ve noticed as I’ve grown older is how increasingly angry and stressed and critical people have become, so ready to accuse and take offence and find fault, needing to judge and urge their own views on others. As if their souls have slowly become poisoned…

I’ve seen this all in myself too, until I learnt that my power lay in what I chose and who I chose to be.

Reading a wonderful article about antioxidants in Dr Mercola’s newsletter this morning, it occurred to me that what is happening to us parallels very closely what happens to the body. When it is stressed, or exposed to toxins the body reacts by producing free radicals.

These are a form of highly reactive and destructive metabolite. Free radical molecules are missing one or more electrons so these incomplete molecules aggressively attack other molecules in an attempt to restore themselves to wholeness. You might say that they are an unconscious by-product of exposure to stress or poison. And this unconscious reaction causes yet deeper harm:

“Free radicals steal electrons from the proteins in your body, which badly damages your DNA and other cell structures. They can create a “snowballing effect” – as molecules steal from one another, each one becomes a new free radical, leaving a trail of biological carnage.”

What then is the remedy for the imbalance and upset caused by a lack of wholeness, that has in turn been caused by exposure to stresses or toxins?

Nature has a wonderful remedy when it comes to the body:

“Antioxidants are electron donors. They can break the free radical chain reaction by sacrificing their own electrons to feed free radicals, but without turning into free radicals themselves.

Antioxidants are nature’s way of providing your cells with adequate defense against attack by reactive oxygen species (ROS). As long as you have these important micronutrients, your body will be able to resist aging caused by your everyday exposure to pollutants.”

What then are the spiritual antioxidants that will heal a damaged soul? Heal hurt and anger and lack of wholeness, without being infected by them?

For me it has been learning that anger and hurt are choices, and that I always have the power in the moment to choose differently. No matter how justified it might be – and that is always a subjective judgment – I can choose not to be angry, not to take offence.

It isn’t easy. It takes repeated practice.

But if I am unable or unwilling to do this how can I expect it of someone like the new U.S. President? If I can’t neutralise my own anger, how can I expect it of others?

Responding to anger with anger sets off a cascade of reactions. And certainly this is an old and time-honoured way of producing change. But there is always unavoidable destructiveness. Others are inevitably injured in the process. We have become programmed to think that this is the only way to bring about change.

What I am asking myself is: Is there a different way to allow and encourage positive change? Gandhi certainly thought so. Nelson Mandela came around to this view too.

It all begins with the self, I think. There is undoubtedly a role for mass marches. But can we engage in them with love rather than anger? We have come a long way I think, because I have a sense that the marches are not purely about anger. There is much love there too. But there is still a feeling of them and us. The “enlightened” versus the deeply unenlightened. How can this divide be bridged? It seems so difficult, and yet…

What lessons can we draw from Nature?

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TIA (3)

Reading out loud each day, making an effort to understand what you are reading as you read it aloud, seems to help brain clarity.

I have read about stroke victims who have lost the ability to read (i.e. can’t take in information from the printed word) yet who retain the ability to write. It was suggested that reading is perceptual and basically passive, whereas writing is intentional, and active – i.e. the two functions use different parts of the brain.

I found this intensely interesting. I was alone when I had a stroke. Paradoxically, this may have been a real blessing. It made it easier to listen to my own instincts rather than being advised by someone else to just sit or lie quietly and not to try to talk.

It was the fact that I couldn’t speak, could only make gargling sounds, that first alerted me to the fact that I was having a stroke. I’d woken up in the middle of the night feeling dreadful and when I was making myself  a cup of tea my right hand had suddenly curled in on itself. I thought my hand must be cramping, and kept pushing it open with my other hand. It seemed to come right after a few minutes of this. I sat down and tried to read but somehow couldn’t. It was only when my cat came over to me and murmured, and I tried to say hello to him, that I realised I couldn’t speak.

I wouldn’t have been able to phone anyone but, perhaps blessedly, my brain was too befuddled to grasp this problem. Instead I was preoccupied with the implications of what was happening. I knew about brain plasticity, knew that neighbouring parts of the brain can take over functions of damaged parts if they are stimulated early enough. My instincts were telling me to (a) keep moving, tensing and releasing as many tiny muscles all over my body as I could, and (b) keep trying to speak.

Eventually I was able to force out a word or two. Interestingly it was easier to form vowels than consonants. “Oo er a aice at!” I told my bewildered cat. (Later I would learn that the left hemisphere of the brain – which controls the right side of the body – specialises in fast moving sounds like consonants, whereas the right hemisphere favours slow moving sounds and intonations.)

I couldn’t think of anything else to say to Tiger so I turned to my elderly border collie. I had been worrying about the fact that she needed two different kinds of medication to stay healthy and if I was going to end up in hospital, which seemed likely, what was going to happen to her? I tried to say to her “You need to be looked after” but all I could manage was “You need to be… You need to be… You need to be…” I knew exactly what I wanted to say, but simply couldn’t quite bring the words to the tip of my tongue. It was beyond frustrating.

Yet my instincts were telling me that I needed to keep talking. And then (perhaps literally) I had a brain wave: I should read out loud. I still had the e-book open that I had been trying to read earlier. It was a struggle. I was slurring and stuttering but I just kept on forcing myself to read out loud, trying to form the sounds correctly. And gradually my language came back.

Later there was an ultra-sound of the arteries in my neck and a CAT scan of my brain at the hospital, but eventually I was allowed to return home. The next few days and weeks were difficult. Headaches and a very impaired memory. I found it difficult to focus and also had difficulty in processing multiple streams of data. For example I was trying to do my shopping at a supermarket and there was background music playing. I became quite panicky because I simply couldn’t cope with this additional sensory stimulus. There were times when I felt confused; there was just to much sensory data for my brain to process.

But gradually things got better. I had thankfully resisted all attempts to put me on medication. My body doesn’t handle drugs well. I found that reading aloud each day helped a lot. I think maybe because it is a complex activity that engages many different parts of the brain. Rather like a work-out for the brain.

The other thing that helped me beyond measure was having my bars run.  By great good fortune I was already familiar with this process. A friend is a wonderful Bars practitioner and I asked her to give me a session. It involves very gentle – feather-light – touching and holding of 32 different points on the head and the process lasts an hour or more. The next day my head felt a little sore all over and then, the following day, I was suddenly back to normal! I hadn’t felt like this since I had the stroke.

The effects of the Bars session gradually wore off, so I had another session a month later and will probably repeat in a week or two, depending on how I feel. But Bars has been a tremendous help.

The mysteries of synchronicity

I wrote earlier how on 10 August this year I went out early one morning and discovered a lovely ice “sculpture” had formed over night in my dog’s water bowl. I marvelled at the fineness and intricacy of the pattern of air bubbles that swept up the centre of the figure which appeared to be cradling something in its “arms.”

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There were no further ice sculptures until 10 September. This one was more geometric in form.

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Seen from above:

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I joked with a friend wondering what 10 October might bring.

There were only a handful of hard frosts in the intervening period – and no more ice sculptures, so my expectations were low when I went out early on 10 October. Yet there were two ice “sculptures.” One was struggling to form in Badger’s water bowl, a vaguely pyramidal shape.

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And on top of an over-turned stock trough was another, more organic sculpture:

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I still marvel at the synchronicity of it, not to mention how these ice “sculptures” came to form.

When the Earth Harmonises Itself

Somehow there’s something very pleasing about this:

Special thanks to a gentleman named Rob Stammes in the Lofoten Isles, Norway, who operates an observatory that measures the strength and direction of the local magnetic field as well as electrical currents running through the ground in this northern polar region.

Normally the resulting charts look all chaotic and jangly. (Thanks to Rob Stammes and Spaceweather for the following images and text.)

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But several days ago something special happened:

“During the morning and especially around noon, sinusoidal pulsations appeared on my instruments,” says Stammes. “The period was close to 115 seconds (8.7 mHz).”

In other words, as Spaceweather puts it, “the Earth rang like a bell.” Apparently it’s a resonance phenomenon.

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So just as we can sometimes feel in deep harmony with ourselves and everything around us, so can the Earth  🙂

What brings you into resonance?

Transformative Gifts from Nature

On 10 August (this being deep winter in the southern hemisphere) I went out early one morning and discovered an ice “sculpture” had formed in one of my dog’s water bowls. It resembled a cloaked figure but I was more mesmerised by how it could possibly have come into being and I took several photos of this bizarre phenomenon. The patterns of ice bubbles inside the “figure” were exquisite.

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The strangeness of it teased at my mind in the following weeks and I looked back at the photos several times.

Then on 10 September – exactly one month later –  I was out early again, to attend to various chores, and spotted another ice “sculpture” forming. This one was smaller and more geometric in shape. I hurried back to the house and fetched my camera. This first photo is taken looking down at the ice “sculpture” from above.

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And here it is photographed from the side:

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I had been developing a theory that since the water bowls were metal perhaps one of them has a small patch on the bottom where the metal is thinner and this was conducting the cold from the ground at  faster rate and somehow causing something akin to frost heave. However when I compared both sets of photos I discovered that the second “sculpture” had appeared in the OTHER water bowl. (One bowl has a rounded rim, and the other a flattened one, so they are easy to tell apart.) So that put paid to that theory.

Whatever the case, they were very beautiful. Mysterious gifts from Nature.

One of the things that stays with me, aside from the intense crystalline energy that comes through in the last photo, is the astonishing fact that, contrary to the old saying, a silk purse CAN be made from a sow’s ear. Using just plain and not very clean water, open as the water bowl is to the elements and the dust and dirt Badger, my dog, sends drifting into the air as she hurtles around the yard, Nature has crafted something of exquisite beauty. It makes me wonder about life’s potential, whether even the dullest and most circumscribed seeming life has the potential to be, in and of itself, with no change in outer circumstances, an expression of great beauty.

 

Recovering from TIA (2) – contd

This is a continuation of an earlier post on mini-stroke.

There are various foods, supplements and herbs that are neuro-protective, reducing inflammation and helping the brain recover, e.g. fresh blueberries*, apple, milk thistle, Brahmi, green tea, fermented garlic, vitamins C & E, vitamin B6, omega 3… There’s a long list. Raw beetroot juice helps reduce blood pressure. Cooked beetroot does as well (I steam it lightly) but doesn’t provide the same level of antioxidants as when raw and doesn’t help as much with inflammation. Magnesium is helpful for blood pressure. (Avoid magnesium oxide as it isn’t well absorbed by the body. Magnesium citrate and chelates probably best.)

*Results from a study conducted by Sweeney et al. (13) found that adding blueberries to the diet of rats can reduce by half the effects of ischemic stroke.

Wild blueberries are even better because they are higher in antioxidants. (Ibid.) When we coddle and protect our food plants we also reduce their health value.

It’s quite possible that aromatherapy could help greatly. It’s something I’m only just starting to look into. See for example http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12017-016-8395-9 Scents stimulate different parts of the brain. Used in conjunction with massage essential oils could be very helpful.

In the next post I’ll talk about the benefits of reading aloud – and why.