Death – 28/6/13

If you died tomorrow, how would you feel about the way your life is headed? Would you feel grateful for the people you surround yourself with? Would you feel content with the effort you made and the person you became? Is there anything you would change?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this since my friend Leah died in a car accident during the last year of High School. I think the reason why it battered a lot of people around so much was because it was so unexpected – a young girl of 18 dying while doing an innocent thing like getting a lift home from her friend.

Just think about that for a second though. Are you alive? Were you born?

Then you will die. It doesn’t matter how old you are or what you’re doing or how good/bad of a person you are.
Every.
Living.
Thing.
Dies.

You won’t know when or how old you’ll be when it happens or if it will be quick or painless. I kind of think this is a good thing that we don’t know how or when it will happen but why is it that in our culture it is so taboo to talk about? Why is it only old people that are expected to die and when do you even become old?

We have a lot of human rights issues happening right now regarding birth and pregnancy but death, and our rights regarding it, are just as important. If someone you lived with died and you were the only one in the house – would you know what to do? Do you know what the laws are, if any, regarding the dead body? Does your family have any specific rituals or rites of passage that need to be performed over the dying or dead person so that they leave this world peacefully?

I also find it coincidental that a woman’s period is also taboo (or even ‘frowned upon’). Any of you that have experienced a menstrual period can safely say that you have experienced a death of sorts. A feeling of being very withdrawn and down – maybe even mourning the lost opportunity of conception. Even miscarriages! Are women allowed a safe space to mourn for the loss of their fetus (if they so choose)? At that stage, in a metaphysical context, that fetus was apart of her. Did she feel the death herself?

These questions need to have answers because without death we can’t have life.

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Pagan Blog Project #5 – ‘E’ is for Empathy

Introduction

For me, Empathy is a hard topic (but then again, every topic I’ve written on has been hard at the beginning). I guess I find it difficult because I’ve only really just started working with my Empathic skills about 2 years ago – but they have seemed to have improved in leaps and bounds since then. A book I read by Karla McLaren called “The Language of Emotions” was what made me first realise I have Empathy… because, well, everyone does!

Empathy vs. empathy

There are two types of empathy-
1. empathy: sympathy. “Intellectual identification with or experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.” Every human being possess’ empathy – it is how we’ve been able to structure ourselves socially and communicate to one another.
2. Empathy (ie. Being Empathic): It’s “the ability to actually, physically, feeling the emotions of others”. It can’t be turned off, it can only be managed.
(click here to read a great blog written on this subject by bonesofaphoenix on tumblr).

Empathy

I’m an Empath and have been for as long as I can remember, but I’ve only just recently put a name to it. Previously I thought that I had something wrong with me as I would usually be able to pick up on things that others hadn’t told me about or be so invested in someone else’s emotional life that I would get submerged and would lose track of my own emotions. Once I started studying Bach Flowers I realised that I had a deep connection to emotions and went looking for more information – that’s when I came across Karla McLaren’s book.

Exercises to Help Manage Empathy

McLaren’s book mostly talks about emotions and what they’re trying to tell you, she is a very skilled Empath herself, but it doesn’t talk much about Empathy – only her own experiences with it in the Introduction. A few of the exercises in there have been able to help me control my Empathic skills. I can now distinguish between my own and others’… I can also lessen the waves that I used to experience by using visualisation techniques. I’ve also been practicing holding space for people to unload which I’ve found works very well.

1. Grounding Yourself: – Sit or stand comfortably and breathe into your belly. Imagine you are gathering light and warmth into your belly and as you breath out imagine that your breath (and the light/warmth) is traveling down through your body and into the Earth.
– In particular I like to imagine big, thick tree roots extending themselves from my body. McLaren talks about ‘grounding the circuit’ of emotions – they ‘neutralise’ once Earth absorbs them.

2. Defining Your Boundaries
– Get comfortable and Ground yourself.
– Now stand up and reach your arms straight out to either side of you (or imagine you’re doing this).
– Imagine that you fingertips are touching the edges of a lighted bubble that emcompasses your private, personal space. – Stretch your arms above your head and in front of you. Feel how far your personal boundary is from your body. It should be an arm’s length away from you at all points; ever under the ground.
– Now imagine this ‘bubble’ (it can be made out of anything you want) is a very bright colour, a clear sound or distinct movement. Make it really obvious and yours, in whatever way you want.
– I like to imagine a bright blue fire boundary that glows brighter whenever I breath in. I maintain it everyday but do a big ‘clean’ at yoga whilst meditating.

3. Burning Contacts
– Ground yourself and light your boundary.
– Imagine yourself rolling out a big piece of paper or parchment then put whatever you want onto it. Any emotions that are bothering you, things people have said, things that have happened… just express yourself.
– Remember that you can do or say whatever you want on this parchment as you are inside your Boundary and you are protected.
– I tend to just spill my mind onto this. At the beginning it was harder and sometimes all these emotions would come forward (and sometimes they weren’t my own) but now it’s easier. Once I’ve filled up as many of these sheets of parchments as I want, I get out a cool bow and arrow then light up my boundary so it’s burning red hot. I then tie the parchment to the arrow and shoot it out of my boundary. It catches on fire or explodes in the sky (depending on the intensity of the emotion).

Conclusion

I found this information extremely helpful when I was first feeling my way around Empathy but I would highly recommend reading The Language of Emotions by Karla McLaren as there is heaps more information regarding these exercises and the theories behind it.

Weather Observations – 18/6/13

SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC

The first wattle tree bloomed about 2 weeks ago – wattle is my favourite flower so I picked up on it straight away. Ever since then more and more wattle trees have been popping up. I say ‘popping up’ because they tend to be very inconspicuous until their beautiful fluffy yellow flowers make their presence known. Their smell is amazing too.

The weather is hard to explain. It has been cold which is expected during winter (about 8-9°C during the night) but it has gradually gotten less and less rainy. After the floods in April there was a period of one week of rain one week of sun – which as then gradually changed into a day or two of rain before it gets sunny again for a good week or so.

It has been foggy and I’ve noticed the fog rising just before the sun sets on a windless day. Some days have been quite windy.

The Magpies seem to be ganging up again in their little packs. The Ravens are acting differently too – this could be because I’ve moved since this time last year. I noticed a group of them flying off to the north about 3 weeks ago. Since then I’ve noticed one or two stragglers heading the same way – now there seems to be only pairs left (Australian Raven Corvus coronoides).

 

Herbal Home Remedies to Boost Your Immune System

Introduction

With winter finally making an appearance in Australia, Cold’s and Flu’s beginning to run rampart. I’ve had a few of my close friends and family asking me for home remedies and advice so I thought I would type up a blog post in case others are looking for the same thing.

A Note on Antibiotics

In Australia, antibiotic resistance is rapidly gaining momentum. The discovery of antibiotics revolutionised medicine; saving thousands of lives from illness’ that were once incurable. Antibiotics are one of our most powerful weapons to cure people of infections – if antibiotic resistance becomes widespread we won’t have that weapon anymore and antibiotic resistant bacteria could spread and make a lot of people very sick.

In our country doctors prescribe antibiotics for a wide range of things – including colds and flu’s. This is a problem  for a number of reasons 1. both of these are caused by a virus which antibiotics don’t work on (‘biotic’ means bacteria) 2. antibiotics aren’t selective and tend to wipe out all bacteria (including the good bacteria in your gut which helps your immune system function effectively and digest your food) 3. antibiotics might stop working as well for you and this could be an issue if you ever get something serious enough to warrant antibiotics (eg. pneumonia).

The good news is that you can absolutely cure a cold or flu easily by yourself without antibiotics. All you need is a few things out of your kitchen pantry.

Source: Clinical Naturopathy by Jerome Sarris and Jon Wardle.

Source: Clinical Naturopathy by Jerome Sarris and Jon Wardle.

Where Do I Start?

The basics to curing a cold or flu include getting plenty of rest, drinking lots of water and eating decent nutrient dense food (think fruit and vegies).

It’s important to remember that no medicines will ever really work if you haven’t got these basics first.

Identify the Symptoms

Do you have a cough, a runny nose, are you really tired? This tends to change each year as the virus changes. One year everyone might get a runny nose whilst the next year everyone has headaches. Identifying the symptoms that bother you the most will help determine the best herbs to use.

Once you get the hang of this you’ll start noticing the signs that your body throws up before it gets sick. These signs are different for each person and can include things like itchy ears or nose, tickling throat, cold sores, etc. If you can do something at this point it could prevent you from getting sick altogether which is a much better way of overcoming a cold.

The Remedies

* Onion, Garlic and Honey Remedy: Prevention
Chop up 1 onion and a clove or 2 of garlic. Put all this into a wide mouthed jar then cover in honey. Make sure the honey hasn’t been heat treated – the enzymes that are present in raw honey are important to this process. Ideally you need to leave this for a few weeks in a warm place but overnight will suffice if you need it quickly – shake often. Strain out the liquid and discard the onion and garlic (you could put this into a stir fry if you don’t want to waste food). Take a tablespoon of the liquid twice daily during winter to prevent a cold or flu or drink 2-3 tablespoons 3 x daily if you already have it.

* Apple Cider Vinegar, Thyme and Honey: Great for a Cough
Bring 1 or 2 cups of ACV and lots of chopped up thyme to the boil (please cover as the steam can sting your eyes), simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and allow to cool.
Once cool add equal amount of honey until it becomes a syrup. Take a tablespoon or two to sooth a cough.

* Honey, Ginger, Lemon Tea: Tickling Throat and Congestion
Chop up Ginger root to taste. Put into a pot and simmer for 5-10 minutes (make sure it’s covered). Strain out into a mug, add a slice of lemon and honey to taste. Add cool water to allow you to drink it faster if you’re impatient or sit with it and inhale the steam (this is a great way to remove congestion).

* Eucalyptus Oil Steam: Great for Chest Infection and Congestion
Boil water and pour into a large bowl on a steady surface (preferably a table). Add 10 drops of Eucalyptus or Tea Tree oil into the water, cover your head with a towel and inhale the steam. Add more oil if needed.

* Yarrow, Elder Flower and Peppermint Tea: Prevention and Congestion
I sell this tea in therapeutic quantities but you can find it reasonably easily – it’s very effective at reducing the formation of mucous and helping a fever resolve itself. It’s commonly called YEP tea.

Last Note

If you are the kind of person who finds themselves sick a lot of the time maybe it’s worth making a few changes to your lifestyle. Drinking alcohol, smoking, a lack of sleep, a lack of a proper diet (nutrient deficiencies), dehydration and other things can really take a toll on your immune system.

It’s also important in any case to talk to a trained professional such as a herbalist or naturopath – especially if you have reoccurring colds.