In celebration of International Women’s Day, I’d like to share some reflections on what it means, for me, to be a woman in 2021, and to give a nod of gratitude to those women (and Others) I consider to be my personal protagonistas. The list is extensive and includes family, friends, colleagues, clients, men, and even strangers.
I’ve recently had the opportunity to go back in time through an exploration of history from 1650 to the present in pursuit of completing a degree. It was clear during that period of time there were absolute prohibitions to a woman’s “rightful” place in the world. My reference for “rights” was drawn from the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, conceived during the French Revolution. Words fleshing out the vastness of “rights” include “liberty, property, security and resistance to oppression”. At the time, this was directed mostly to “men and citizens” and inconsistently to Others (women, people of color and indigenous people). While it has been a journey from oppression to liberation by varying degrees, it was most often after a period of revolution, sparking a period of enlightened thinking, that came the opportunity to broaden the meaning and application of rights to Others. Some of these Others were indistinct and humble archetypes of sovereignty and strength while others were revealed prominently, both unmasking inequity and to saying YES, we too can make a statement about resistance to oppression.
My grandparents, born in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s were subject to a hierarchy of rights prejudiced by their poverty. My grandmother told me once how she planned an escape from her alcoholic husband. She scrimped from their meager budget and hid the money behind a picture until there was finally enough for two bus tickets, one for her and one for her youngest daughter. Having no place else to go, she went back to her childhood home in Virginia. Eventually her husband found her and brought her back to New Jersey with the sanction of my great-grandfather.
There is no hierarchy in bravery, courage, standing up for what you believe in, or acting on behalf of a greater good. At the end of the day when violence or oppression threatens and you persevere (as in the Suffragette Movement, Malala Yousef, or my grandmother), you have acted on behalf of the collective in speaking in favor of humanity and against oppression.
I sometimes think about my life and how what I’ve been able to accomplish and achieve is because of the women who came before me, indistinct or prominent, who laid the groundwork for me, to lay the groundwork for those who come after me. The destiny of humanity is in our collective hands.
Go into your local health food store, pharmacy or food market and you will see a variety of CBD products. Can this miracle herb help you sleep better, provide pain relief, or help with anxiety? How do you know which brand is the real deal or is just blowing smoke? What about dosing and frequency? These are questions I asked myself while sorting through research as well as advertising material in the quest to find relief.
One of the torments I’ve wrestled with as a result of Lyme’s Disease is what I call “The Jimmy Legs”. It alternately feels like muscle fibers in my legs are unwinding and at the snapping point while unseen entities are crawling up and down my legs. The only relief from these unpleasant sensations is by curling my toes and flexing/extending my feet while moving my legs. If it sounds strange, it really is! While on a road trip last year, the symptoms became overwhelming. I finally stopped into a health food store and relayed my story to the gal behind the counter. She recommended a brand that was helping her with pain and sleep so trusting her, I bought a small bottle. Not only did it provide me with relief but also with a very restful night’s sleep.
Let’s begin your journey to a more informed relationship with CBD. It certainly has a lot to offer for those challenged with sleep, anxiety and pain issues, so let’s get started!
Our amazing body has many operating systems including immune, nervous, muscular, circulatory, endocrine, digestive, etc. While each system functions independently, they influence the others’ function as well. In 1992 it was discovered there was a system responsible for “overseeing” the whole operation – the endocannabinoid (ECS) system. Through the use of receptors found in the brain, central nervous system and immune cells, the ECS activates when stress or trauma presents. Receptors are like keyholes and chemical messengers are the keys that unlock chemical responses. In the ECS, they provide relief of pain, anxiety and inflammation.
Your body naturally produces endocannabinoids when you engage in “feel good” activity. This includes lifestyle hacks like physical movement, using stress reduction techniques, eating a low inflammatory diet, etc. One of the endocannabinoids, Anandamide, activates what we call the “runner’s high”. When called for, endocannabinoids attach to ECS receptors and we have the experience of “Wow, I feel really good right now”. Research shows these naturally produced endocannabinoids can:
limit neuron activity meaning decreased anxiety
reduce pain and inflammation
regulate sleep-wake cycle as well as inflammation and immune response
CBD can be a beneficial supplement in supporting the ECS. Remember, stress and inflammation can derail us physically and mentally. Research shows that supplementing with CBD blocks enzymes that metabolize endocannabinoids. The end result is endocannabinoids stay in the system longer to enhance our experience of “feeling good”.
There are over 100 active chemical compounds (“cannabinoids”) found in Cannabis sativa, the plant from which marijuana and hemp is grown. The two cannabinoids in the spotlight right now are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). THC is what gets you “high” from smoking/ingesting marijuana while CBD, the subject of this informative piece, is NOT psychoactive.
Marijuana has THC levels much greater than .3%, more often in the range of 10%. This is what accounts for the psychoactive effects and why it is only available through medical marijuana stores with a prescription or from your local street dealer. The ranges of THC potency can be affected by many things including harvesting time and methods as well as by hybridization. Hemp has THC levels lower than .3% and is the plant used for CBD.
CBD is harvested from the trichome of the female plant of Cannabis sativa and it serves as the indicator of when it is a good time to harvest. The best time to harvest is when the trichomes are a milky color with a few golden pods. Both THC and CBD are derived from the plant material.
Other things to know about CBD:
It has been documented as an anti-inflammatory, a neuroprotective, and an immune modulator.
Agricultural hemp was legalized by the 2018 Agricultural Farm Bill which is why we can legally purchase CBD oil.
Other (confusing and misleading) monikers include: CBD rich hemp oil, hemp derived CBD oil and CBD rich cannabis oil (all CBD comes from hemp!)
It is generally regarded as safe.
It is NOT medical marijuana.
Charlotte’s Web is a high CBD strain of medical marijuana.
Broad Spectrum CBD has THC removed.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized CBD as beneficial for pain and inflammation.
CBD may interact with blood thinners.
If you are taking prescription or OTC medications, have a conversation with your doctor/pharmacist before taking
MS – Cannabinoids can lessen muscle spasms, tremor and muscle weakness.
Colitis – Regulates tissue response to excessive inflammation in the colon
Liver – Influences pathophysiology as well as treatment of various liver diseases
RA – A daily 5 mg/kg dosing inhibits disease progression.
Anxiety and sleep – Decreases anxiety and steady improvement in quality and quantity of sleep.
“How much and how often can I take it?” you ask. My research reveals that oral dosing every 4 – 6 hours has a longer lasting benefit and is more helpful for chronic conditions and mood management however, it is best to consult with the manufacturer, your doctor or your pharmacist. This site has some great information on dosing based on your weight: https://www.cbdoil.org/best-cbd-oil-for-pain/
There is a lot of information out there which I have attempted to synthesize and condense thru this article. If you would like to try CBD oil, consider it high quality if it meets this criterion:
It is “full spectrum” meaning it contains components of the whole plant.
The product has been lab tested and is ISO Certified.
You can obtain a certificate of analysis from ISO labs.
The CBD concentration is what’s listed on bottle.
There is less than .3% of THC in the CBD product.
Extraction is NOT by alcohol or hexane. Best extraction is by CO2.
Be sure it’s UDSA certified organic hemp.
Some CBD products contain valerian or melatonin for sleep, ashwaganda or L-theanine for stress and curcumin for inflammation. These additions may be helpful if CBD by itself is not providing the relief you are looking for. As I like to say, give weed a chance.
After completing my research, I am satisfied that the brand initially suggested to me meets the “high quality” criterion. Not only that, it really did help take the edge off of fascial pain and helped me get a good nite’s sleep. If you’d like to talk more about CBD, please feel free to get in touch.
This information is not medical advice nor is it intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. You should consult your physician before making any medical or lifestyle changes. Remember, research is ongoing about the benefits as well as contraindications for CBD. Caveat emptor!
I’d like to give a nod to the articles/authors/researchers consulted for this article:
CBD & hemp oil: Everything you need to know. Part II: The System. Deliciousliving.com 35-43
CBD and Massage. Massage & Bodywork. September/October 2019. 43-55
We’re ending week #6 of our hiatus a/k/a experimenting with the “new normal”. Many of my friends have started their third round of cleaning, sorting and disposing. During the first two weeks of the departure from usual, I cleaned, etc. with such vigor that the result, aside from dust free corners, was a nasty case of tennis elbow! Allow me to share some of my ruthless clearing out techniques so that perhaps, after your next round, you’ll actually be done.
Many of my inspirations have come from Marie Kondo (https://konmari.com/) as well as Real Simple Magazine (https://www.realsimple.com/). Who doesn’t feel more centered and at ease after looking at Marie’s entry webpage? LOL Please do take a look and you’ll see what I mean. Keeping this short and sweet (the collective refrain of Kondo and Real Simple), please do consider these options:
Wind up with one empty drawer in each room. We indefensibly had what could be considered three junk drawers in the kitchen alone! Toss what you haven’t used in a year and once you start this liberating action, you’ll find your way to that empty drawer. It’s rather satisfying just to open it up and see the bottom. The takeaway is – you can accomplish anything!
When you look at an object in your home, do you wonder why you still possess it? If so, spend a minute or two reflecting on what the object represents to you (maybe a wish to have known your grandmother better or a fear of being cast as the ungrateful friend for having gotten rid of X) and then decide how you can attain that wish/feeling without the object in your home. After reconciliation, send the item off to a thrift store with a blessing. My favorite – “May you find you way to the person who’s excitedly waiting for you”.
If and only if when looking at an object, you become flooded with wonderful memories and delightful feelings, the object stays. This applies as well to clothing, books, miscellaneous dust collectors, etc. I used this tactic for sorting through a 10 ft. in length shelf of photo albums accumulated through the 90’s. My criterion – a picture had to generate a positive feeling on a scale of 8 – 10 for it to stay. After that project, when I look through the 3 remaining albums, it is an instant charge of love, excitement and joy. How many pictures of the Grand Canyon do you actually need to feel the excitement of having seen it for the 1st time?
As you clear and re-evaluate your home spaces, consider your vision for the area? To entertain friends and family, to quietly and cozily read,… then take steps to fulfill that vision. Remember, you are capable of great possibilities! You have that empty drawer!
Make your home/space user friendly! Place objects in the vicinity of where they will be used – no more spreading it around. When I cleaned out the junk drawers, I was surprised to find votive candles, decorative metal candle tops for Yankee Candles, lighters, wick trimmer, etc. in each of the drawers. In addition, I had a container in the living room which held more objects of the candle lighting genre. After sorting, etc., all remaining items wound up in that box. Yea! Maybe now I’ll actually get a candle lit on a rainy evening.
I think you get the idea. It is a process, like what we are learning through our hiatus, of what we are able to let go of so we can make way for the new. It is a process of consciously raising our inner vibration so that no matter what happens, we have safety nets and we know exactly where they are and how to use them.
Did you know that the electrons on the Earth’s surface play an integral role in the state of our health and well-being? You may be thinking, “What in the blue skies is she talking about now?” and yet, I’d invite you to take a minute and get into your way back machine. Call to mind the times when you were barefoot on the sand, climbing barefoot up a tree or walking in your yard and then, call to mind the feeling of what that was like. It’s all there in your memory. I’ll bet there was a sense of connection, a sense of feeling energized and that you even felt more of “yourself”. You likely even promised yourself that you would settle your feet upon the Earth more frequently just because of how wonderful you felt.
We are aware there are cycles of rest and activity not only within the movement of our planet but within our own physicality. Perhaps you can take some of this down time and begin to notice some of those subtle and not so subtle cycles,… the rising and setting of the sun and moon, ebbing and flowing of the tides, the birth-life-death cycles, the pumping of your heart influenced by outside stimulus, the cycle of your breath. All of this and more is an expansion and contraction of energy facilitated by electrons, protons and neutrons as well as gravity.
Those cycles, our energy levels and our inner state of being can be influenced by neutralizing free radicals which is what happens when there is an uptake of free electrons readily supplied by the Earth. The result of this uptake can liberate organs, tissues and cells from inflammation while balancing our inner energy ecosystem.
Various studies have revealed , among other things, that grounding can:
Lower cortisol levels
Improve sleep patterns
Shift us from sympathetic NS (nervous system) activation a/k/a “fight and flight” response to parasympathetic NS activation a/k/a “rest and digest” or “tend and befriend” response
Improve immune response
Lower inflammation and pain response
As our environment becomes infiltrated by excesses of EMFs (electromagnetic fields) and RFDs (radio frequency devices), it becomes more important to balance that influx and earthing is the perfect antidote. Easy ways to get an upsurge of Earth energy: walk barefoot for 20 minutes on the Earth (dirt, grass, sand,…) and/or replace rubber soled shoes with leather soled shoes (do they even make them that way anymore???) and/or lay on the Earth and b—r—e—a—t—h—e .
While I’m not sure about the hooking up of grounding devices to your bed, I am sure about the effects of walking/laying on the Earth. Give it a try and let me know about your experience.
Those of you who have known me awhile remember my quarterly newsletter via snailmail. Even though I was “busy” with life at home and my office, there always seemed time to do something that I really enjoyed doing,… writing. After we moved into our new space six years ago, that particular enjoyment began to vaporize as I spent more time outside,… walking, biking, gardening, just sitting and looking at the sky. I experienced a shift in what I was choosing to enjoy because there were new opportunities all around. Although I really missed writing, it became easier to shift because my new explorations were equally enjoyable.
Words have always been very exciting to me. They are the only way to capture a thought or feeling and then express it so another might share an individual’s experience. There have been times when I’ve attempted to express a thought in words and that doesn’t always go so well. I find myself exploring word options in order to capture the conversion from thought to verbal expression more accurately. Words, through books, have always been like guardian angels to me in they have always brought me information when I needed it most,… and they explained the mysterious in ways I could understand.
If you follow astrology, you know that the end of last year was as the beginning of new trends in how we will live, individually and collectively. Like a thunder on the horizon, many people I talked to were aware of those faint rumblings that were forecasting inner changes requiring BIG sacrifices. We were aware that we were literally standing on the threshold of an evolution of consciousness requiring us to explore new ways of thinking and being. We would be required to walk more gently on the planet thus leaving less of a footprint. We would be learning that less really is more. We would be learning that we ARE the change and what we want that to mean. We would also learn there is no substitute for a deep human(e) connection.
On an existential level, we knew the opportunity would arise to transform the experience of fear (of those changes) into the experience of activism. Fear activates the autonomic nervous system and it is from there that we live in a state of fight and flight. Here we are sure there is no way out of our present terrifying circumstances and that there is imminent threat to our survival. Living through this perception, we cannot possibly become aware of the opportunities waiting to be discovered. For each of us, these opportunities will be different and will only be visible through a new perspective.
While I did not live through WWII, my mom (who did) told stories about blackout curtains, fall out shelters and her family in Hungary living under the Russian regime. I’ve read “The Diary of Anne Frank” and Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” and was compelled to think about what life must have been like during that time. The words that keep coming up in my mind,… BUILDING RESILIENCY. Where we find ourselves today and what we are able to achieve given our present circumstances will be the harbinger of where we will find ourselves in the future. This is a time where we can learn about what it means to share, not take ourselves so seriously, and create a “new normal”. To paraphrase Joseph Campbell, we must be willing to give up the life we’ve planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us. That thought can be terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. It can be terrifying when we believe ourselves to be forced into changes,… or it can be exhilarating when we believe ourselves to be capable of taking up a challenge, no matter the reason for its appearance in our life.
Like many people throughout the world, my life and future are uncertain. My second career of 21 years that I love has been sidelined without notice. I’m choosing to take this as an opportunity to reconfigure life as I knew it to what it might become. As with the Lymes, I’m learning the lessons this new time brings, not without meltdowns and by becoming more resilient in spite of them. I feel determined to learn new ways of what it means to be alive on this glorious planet with a mysterious interloper that makes me work harder for inner peace than I am accustomed to. The truth is, we cannot grow without experiencing the discomfort of outside forces. We learn best when we are so uncomfortable that we must seek out alternatives. This is how we evolved over the years and how we will continue to do so in the future. As a matter of evolutionary trajectory, we are compelled to rise above uncomfortable.
The other nite, I met my sister for dinner at a café still open for business. We ate dinner in our separate cars with the windows rolled up because it was raining and we talked on our cell phones. It was comforting just to see her. One day we will laugh at this memory,… right now I’m crying because to grieve the loss of what we knew is significant in the process of moving forward.
Have you ever thought about “opportunities missed”. I have. After further consideration about this, for me they cannot be referred to as “opportunities” but rather portal openings into the dimension of possibility. By this I mean that something happens (a card, a conversation, an insight during meditation) and I’ll say “WOW! … Let’s take a look at that later”. Then I don’t,… and when the attempt is made to rekindle the moment, it just doesn’t happen and if it does, not in the way I could feel the intensity of its original presence, inviting me to explore my inner resources further with the guidance of something much wiser than myself.
During a recent bout with Lymes, I was cleaning off my desk and found a card sent by a friend. It had a message about the dolphins, said to be incredible healers. Desperately needing a nap, I decided to sit with this dolphin energy. All that can be said is that it was one of the most amazing experiences watching “mechanizations” appear in my mind’s eye to cleanse my blood, watching it turn from thick, gooey and black with white stripples to a healthy, rich black with thick, glimmering ruby veins running thru it. The nap alarm went off and instead of staying with this journey for a bit longer (the timer was for 20 minutes)… I got up because there things and people requiring my attention.
In reflection afterwards, I felt like I may have missed delving further into this dimension of possibility,… as if Jesus or Buddah or Einstein came to spend time with me and I could only “give them” 20 minutes of my time. This raised the question for me, “ How did I become so self important as to let pass by the possibility for enhancing my state of well-being… for enhancing that connection?”
Each item placed in the bag evoked a memory. Among the treasures was jewelry bought back in the 80’s and coins found in the bottom of a thrift shop purse. Each at the time was an affirmation of success or of Providence extending her hand with the suggestion of hidden treasure.
It was time again to dispose of things taking up space in the heart as well as on the shelf. There was a level of expectation that each item would be of great value so she called around to make an appointment with procurers of jewelry and coin. Having found someone with the facade of honesty, she called and scheduled an appointment.
Sitting in a substantial leather chair at a generous table, it was clear this was a place where sizeable sums of money were exchanged and she watched as the buyer began to appraise the items. His hands moved like a blackjack dealer in segregating the objects into their appropriate lots. When all was said and done, he delivered his proclamation of value. Wry amusement began to flit through her mind and the anticipated windfall vaporized before her eyes. As her gaze settled on one assembly of coins, she began contemplating the concept of value,… the worth placed on what we value in our lives.
She began to contemplate a significant personal relationship, greatly valued and recently in distress. It was unknown if communication was merely suspended or ultimately terminated. Emotionally rumpled from the impenetrable silence, she began to consider that perhaps what she valued and invested in this relationship did not have the same value for the other. Most most troubling was the apparent disparity in the valuation of the relationship.
This seemingly innocent experience (of “cleaning house”) brought an unexpected treasure to the level of awareness. That being aware of what is valued is more important than having items of value. That what we value might not have the same level of worth as another,… and that’s OK. That sometimes relationships shift and that new relationships will materialize.
Just for today, take a look at what you value,… is it money, beliefs/thoughts, relationships? Do you hold so firmly onto that value that there is no room for it to be reconsidered? Are you willing to release what you have to make room for what you want? Taking a look at this may be challenging,… yet in the end you will be more clear and willing to access hidden treasures of your own.
This past weekend while riding the bike trail back from Allaire State Park, my eye caught this expansive, green field,… and it invited me to take a time-out. Since the wind was strongly pushing against me on the way out as well as on the way back, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a breather.
I walked out into the field and after inspecting for goose poo, found the perfect spot to lay down in the soft, lush grass. There was a large tree in the middle of the field just coming into bloom and looking up, there where large puffy clouds circumnavigating the sky. I closed my eyes and began to take in the sensory data around me,… a light, clean fresh scent in the air,… it was slightly cool when it first entered my nostrils,… the ground beneath me was soft yet held me firmly,… and the sounds of various birds lifted my spirit as though I were flying with them.
I felt my heart-rate as well as breathing begin to slow. They became more rhythmic and soothing and the tension in my body begin to dissipate. It was then I became aware of the sounds of motorcycle racing at Wall Stadium! It was like a buzz-saw in my auditory canal, almost drowning out all of the other more desirable and relaxing sensory data. I could feel myself starting to get annoyed by this unwelcomed intrusion and then, as quickly as I’d recognized the sounds of the racing and the effects it was having on my “moment”, I decided to see what would happen if my attention became more focused on the nature sounds. Directing my attention to the birds, the feeling of connection with the Earth and the breeze actually resulted in less of an awareness of the sound at Wall Stadium. I was excited about this revelation and continued to lay, immersing myself in the breeze, birds and feeling of the Earth. After a bit, opening my eyes revealed a spectacle of barn swallows swooping and diving all around me. It were as if in that moment I’d become a part of that scene and I left feeling amazing.
Just for today, make a conscious choice about what will be your focal point in any given moment. Become aware of where you are putting your attention and if it is not filling you with joy, amusement, pleasure, peace, then,… you may want to make another choice!
Has February been as challenging for you as it has for me? After being sidelined with a sinus infection (the teeth hurting, ice pick stabbing you in the eye, dry coughing, mouth breathing kind of sinus situation), there came a point I was definitely on my way to clear breathing. I was thinking how wonderful it was to be on the other side of all that and started coughing. Suddenly, my knees buckled and pain seared through my lumbar. My low back, my “Achilles’s Heal”, felt like someone pulled the plug out. It even hurt to breathe. Fearing I’d herniated something, a trip to an emergency care center hooked me up with some pharmaceutical grade pain relief and a sense of relief that I’d (only) probably severely strained the muscles. It’s 10 days now since that happened and I’m relieved to see that this will resolve. Perhaps not as quickly as I would like yet it will resolve.
February has been an immensely humbling experience. My personal preference is to allow the body to use its innate healing wisdom to take care of health challenges and help where possible. With the sinus infection I’d used nasal strips for congestion as well as herbal steams, saline spray, elderberry syrup, manuka honey, goldenseal tincture and rested. My body had in fact taken care of the infection in 10 days. While it was hugely inconvenient and financially stressful, I used the time to catch up on webinars and reading. Keep your eye out for some very helpful information about cold and flu interventions to be posted here.
The back pain was something else. I was really concerned about the intensity and more than that, the incredible limitation of movement. I even needed help getting in and out of the car and putting my socks on! On the affirmative side, it gave me new insight into the experience of pain as well as the effects of pain on the body and mind. It is difficult for those who haven’t experienced intense, debilitating, continuing pain to recognize the effect on one’s state of mind. Between the cold, grey days of February, to be out for the count with the sinus infection and then to be disabled by a cough, there were times when I felt myself starting to drift to darker state of mind. At some point, a snippet of wisdom from recent readings led me to the acknowledgment that regardless of my state of mind, the situation was going to be what it was and that I could be in that situation in one of two ways – disheartened or find ways to uplift my state of mind by investing in that which enriches my heart and mind. This has certainly been a practice in conscious choices and has made the month thus far more palatable.