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Each morning my beautiful golden retriever companion, Bailey Nanda and I head out for our
daily ritual of drinking in the day.  Often still dark, we are blessed with a plethora of awe-inspiring unfoldings as dawn becomes daylight. From lingering starlight on some occasions, to a sunrise over Mt. Baker in brilliant hues of gold, apricot and turquoise, to a wild riot of a billion snowflakes kissing our eyes and cheeks, to gale force winds dancing in trees and in our hair, nature blesses our every step.

I have taken to adding in a walking meditation centered on gratitude that I practice first for myself and then –  it becomes ‘Metta’ – a form of loving kindness for all of life.  I would love to share this here with you in the hopes that it may resonate and become part of your own daily ritual as you honor YOU and all Sentient Beings.

Opening:
I Am Grateful for…
– my strong, healthy body
– my calm, clear mind
– my tranquil soul
– my open, peaceful heart.

(This I repeat several times in rhythm to the cadence of our walking.)

Then it becomes “Metta” as I repeat:

May All Beings know…
– a strong, healthy body
– a calm, clear mind
– a tranquil soul
– an open, peaceful heart.

(Once again, repeating for a deepening of the prayer and intention.)

In closing, my wish for you is all of the above.  As we share our inner light generously from the from the love within us, transformation is a certainty. So simple, yet so profound, the changes we can inspire when we live and commune from our beautiful hearts.

Namasté.
BaileyNanda1-feb17

Two months ago today (as I write this), Oct. 18, 2016, this beautiful Being entered my life.  In many ways it feels much longer, perhaps because he looks so much like my dear Bo. But in reality, we are still learning to ‘dance’ with one another.  Joining a new, unfamiliar household at the age of 7 offers its share of hurdles for both of us.  I do believe his first several weeks were a bit of shock to his system as he underwent surgery (having never been neutered) and unfortunately experienced an infection at the incision site.  So his ‘welcome gift’ was a removal of his ‘manhood’ along with being forced to wear a silly lampshade around his head for over 3 weeks.  (OK, a cone. But as my dear friend Chris observes, it is indeed much like a lampshade.)

So what kind of WELCOME was this?  And I’m sure in his mind he was muttering,  “You’ve got to be kidding me… WHAT have I gotten myself into?!” as he bounced off walls and any objects in his path. Not exactly what he would have chosen, I’m sure.  I did share with him every chance I got that this was indeed NOT the norm, and he had much joy to look forward to. But given that animals live in the moment, this was not the most comforting news.

I do also believe his former guardian was a male and that he lived with other canine companions. So now, along with the surgery recovery and lampshade adornments, he was cohabitating with a WOMAN in charge, as well as a headstrong deaf cat. (Who loves Bailey Nanda dearly, by the way.)  Talk about change.

So now that the incision is all healed, the lampshade long gone, good healthy food and ample treats to partake of, several walks a day regardless of weather AND cozy sleeping quarters on the couch or the bed, I am pretty sure that life has taken on a ‘new glow.’   He did also share with me the other day that he isn’t particularly fond of ‘baby talk’ so I do my best to engage him in intelligent conversation as well. He is adorable in every sense of the word and I could not be more blessed.

*Also of note, especially for anyone who has a pet with seizure activity, Bailey Nanda’s medical reports – a bit scanty at best from the shelter – show that he has been on phenobarbital for several years after experiencing mild seizures some time ago.  Due to my quest to keep things as ‘natural’ as possible (along with the short and long-term side effects of the drug – lethargy, weight gain, liver damage) I am on the road to weaning him down and hopefully completely off this med.  CBD oil has been shown to be quite effective in preventing seizures  as well as various acupressure points and a ketogenic diet. (high fat, adequate protein and low carb).  If anyone would like more info on this, please just email me and I will share what I am learning.

WINTER HEALTH TIPS: So If you CAN’T Hibernate…

As we enter the season of winter, ‘Kidney’ season in Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are several things we can do to insure a healthy experience.  Just as the bears hibernate, the plants and trees go dormant, we are also being asked to slow things down.  This is, of course, not always easy as we find ourselves in the midst of holiday celebrations, shopping trips and generally more social outings and commitments than at other times of year.  So yes, indulge, but do so with some awareness on the rest your body is not only seeking but requires to maintain good health.

Foods to Support the Season:
Think yummy, warm hearty soups and foods that nourish inside and out including:
whole grains, quinoa, oats, squash, potatoes, root veggies, carrots, cabbage, black beans, dark green leafy veggies
& roasted nuts.

Lifestyle Tips:
* Stay hydrated (& avoid too much salt)  Also be aware also of not OVER-hydrating.  We hear so much about drinking enough water that we forget this can be overdone as well. You can decipher whether you are imbibing a healthy amount of H2O from the color of your urine. It should be pale straw through a transparent yellow.  NO color, you are drinking too much water.   Dark yellow, still normal but add more water.  Amber or honey, drink water now. Brown – severe dehydration and possible liver imbalance.

* Keep the feet, lower back (kidney region) and back of neck area warm. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Kidneys store what is known as ‘Jing’ – the essence of life. Keeping the feet and lower back warm will help maintain our vitality and life force by nearing the Kidney ‘qi’ (energy). Also we have acupoints located at the back of the head, neck and shoulders where our ‘Wei Qi’ (immune defense) can be easily compromised making us susceptible to wind, cold and dampness. Wearing a hat and scarf can help keep you protected.

* Practice yoga, qigong and meditation for movement and stress release – this of course, in any season.  But in the cold winter months, finding indoor activities becomes even more important.

* Get ample sleep – again – this is important all year round, but even more so in the season of darkness.  A natural sleep aid if you tend towards insomnia is valerian root.  I like the tincture and get mine at Vitacost.com.

Acupressure to Maintain Balance:
The Kidney & Bladder meridians are related to the season of winter and there are several acupressure points that can help contribute to balance, as well as massage of the kidneys themselves. These energy channels are associated with more than just the kidney and bladder/urinary health but also the spine/lower back, ears, reproductive organs, knees, feet and  joints. Working with the Kidney meridian can also help reduce the fear we carry, as this is the emotion linked to this organ when out of balance.

Two key points to consider:

Kidney 1(Bubbling Wells): located on bottom of foot, 1/3 way down between first and second toes. Very grounding as it drains excess from upper body thereby addressing headaches, ‘monkey mind’, insomnia and more

Kidney 27 (Elegant Mansion): located in small depressions underneath the knob of collarbone. Brings all energy fields into balance, addresses chest congestion, asthma, shallow breathing, throat pain and emotionally, restores balance and energy flow throughout body.

Kidney massage: above belt-line, both sides of spine- stimulates the kidneys, provides warmth and reduces levels of fear in body.

Blessing to all for a beautiful Solstice,  healthy, joyous Christmas and holiday season and AMAZING 2017.:)