“Spring is the season of absolutes, of taking root, of pushing forth into life.” (Donna Eden)
Spring is officially here, and with it there is often a sense of new energy and a desire to create space for something new. In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), Spring is associated with the element of Wood and the energy of the season is about new growth. It is also about action, assertiveness, and finding a sense of healthy determination. Like a sprout pushing forth from the earth, the energy of the season encourages us to move forwards in our lives, acting in our own best interests in an honest and unified way. We can assert ourselves in service to both our inner voice and our community. Rather than delaying happiness until certain conditions are met (when you get that job, hit that goal weight, find that relationship, make that money, etc), you give yourself permission to feel good now. Brain science shows us the power and the value of feeling good first. As Shawn Achor, PhD writes in his book The Happiness Advantage: “Happiness fuels success, not the other way around. When we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive.” Spring is about putting energy into action, promoting full and optimal expression of yourself. It is about setting an intention and consistently acting on that intention to create what you want to experience in your life. The energy of spring helps you push through what is to express something new, knowing that this benefits all. When we act in support of our own wellbeing, we also promote the wellbeing of those around us.
On the physical level, the Liver governs the season of spring, and as such spring is an excellent time to nourish your body by clearing space within and detoxifying. To support that goal, we will soon be joining together in Moksha’s 4th Annual Community Spring Cleanse. The cleanse will run in support of the “Live your Moksha” challenge, with a group meeting on Sunday April 22 and the cleanse running April 27-May 6. The cost is $90 and if you have coverage for naturopathic medicine, receipts will be issued for reimbursement from insurance. If you have been a part of the cleanse group in the past, you are invited to join again for free! This is a nourishing, food-based cleanse good for beginners as well as people familiar with the detox process. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info or to register. Pre-registration is required.
Use the energy of spring to express yourself with a sense of healthy determination. Now is an optimal time to act on your dreams and bring them into being. In the words of Steve Jobs: “Your time is limited so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly ant to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Sustainability and Coherence
“Be the change you want to see in the world.” (Mahatma Gandhi)
My intention for this month had been to write about spring and the awakening of dormant energies, ending with an invitation to extend the “Live Your Moksha” Challenge in a personal way through the 3rd annual Community Spring Cleanse. With all of the recent world events, however, I would like to take this opportunity to share a few thoughts on sustainability, chaos, and coherence.
There is no doubt that massive movements of energy are happening all around the world. We have most recently seen the obvious evidence of this movement in Japan and Libya, but its effects are also visible in the broader spectrum of environment, politics, and economics. With such a strong movement of energy, it’s not surprising that people are feeling the effects in a very personal way. For some there may be a specific call to action, a desire to evoke sustainable change. Others may be forced to examine aspects of their psyche and lifestyle which are no longer sustainable. Some of us have been personally touched by tragic events, and certainly we are all capable of extending ourselves in compassion to those whose lives have been so suddenly altered. Forces of nature have been active, and so have forces of man. As this energy moves, some of us may be pushed to deal with personal upheaval in our own lives and some of us may be inspired to creative action. Many of us are being confronted with aspects of our lives that are not sustainable, and in this confrontation we may be asked to face our fears and come to awareness of things we might otherwise choose to ignore. Perhaps that which is not sustainable is being brought to our attention so that we can do something about it. We have a choice: we can gracefully and consciously move with the energy of change, or we can resist it.
As part of the call to sustainable living, we may be asked to let go of the familiar and step into an experience of chaos and unpredictability. This can be frightening not only because of what a situation entails, but also because we as humans tend to feel safe in our ability to predict.
If we can predict, we can manage and maintain a sense of control. Our ability to predict helps us feel safe and it helps us feel powerful. We invest much energy into the things that make us feel safe and we become attached to them. However, chaos is by its very nature unpredictable. Probabilities become irrelevant and a quantum field of possibility opens up— this is the nature of chaos. Yet there is still an active force within the chaos, and an active force within the quantum field. This force is both subtle and powerful. It has a strong organizing effect, and I believe that we can consciously align with this force by intentionally creating a state of coherence.
Coherence is a psycho-physiologic state of wellbeing. Your body, mind, and spirit are aligned in a healthy and harmonious way. Some people experience coherence when they are in love, or “in the zone” or in a creative flow. Each of us has a unique personal experience of coherence, and we know it when we’re in it. We feel good, we feel balanced, we feel energized, we feel capable, and we feel alive. We are conscious, open-hearted and engaged with the world around us. Words like loving-kindness, compassion, freedom, peace, energy, connection, and bliss describe our experience. In naturopathic philosophy, this state of coherence is synonymous with the “vis medicatrix naturae,” or healing power of nature. It recognizes that there is an innate life force, a creative energy that animates every atom in existence. When we consciously bring ourselves to a state of coherence, we open up the flow of this life force energy and allow it to have an organizing effect in our lives.
So with this all in mind, I have chosen to experience events of the last month as a call to consciousness. The emotional experience of each individual influences the energy that affects us all, and when we create coherence for ourselves it not only benefits us but the collective as well. This makes it of utmost importance, then, that we remember how to be in an unpredictable experience and still maintain awareness of our connection to life-force energy. Rather than becoming disorganized and feeling lost, can we focus on creating coherence and sustainability? In a big way, this asks us to take our yoga practice off our mats and into our lives. Can we be grounded, mindful, and centered? Can we be present, connected with our breath and listening to our bodies? Can we tolerate discomfort without losing focus? Can we maintain awareness of our connection to prana and life-force energy? Can we use this connection to maintain coherence in the face of uncertainty? Can we maintain a practice of nurturing our connection to self in a healthy and harmonious way? In a literal sense, we must embody that which we wish for.
Issue 125: Say No to GMOs There are plenty of reasons to avoid and beware of genetically modified (GM) foods. As you may know, genetic modification of foods is a process that takes genes from a completely different species and places them into the DNA of a plant or animal. That alone is a reason to avoid them, but new research reinforces previous findings that GM foods lead to organ disruptions in rats and mice. Scientists reviewed 19 studies and discovered certain parameters—including blood and urine biochemistry, blood cells, and organ weights, including the kidneys, liver, heart and spleen—were significantly disrupted in GM-fed animals.
As you might suspect, these findings could translate into a warning for human health, since GM foods are mainstream. In the past, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) has publicly condemned genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in our food supply, saying they pose “a serious health risk.” AAEM has even called on the U.S. government to implement an immediate moratorium on all genetically modified (GM) foods and has urged physicians to prescribe non-GMO diets for all patients.
The AAEM reveals a long list of disorders associated with GMOs: “Several animal studies indicate infertility, immune dysregulation, accelerated aging, dysregulation of genes associated with cholesterol synthesis, [faulty] insulin regulation, cell signaling, and protein formation, and changes in the liver, kidney, spleen and gastrointestinal system,” they say. These newer findings will no doubt reinforce their stance.
The problem with GM foods, however, may hit closer to home than you think. Unfortunately, you probably have eaten GM foods or are currently eating them—perhaps unknowingly. GM corn and soy make up more than 80 percent of all GMOs available and are found in nearly every processed food in the U.S. What’s worse is that GM food manufacturers don’t have to say on the label that a food contains GMOs. The truth is that if you don’t see the Certified 100% Organic Seal, then chances are that the food is filled with GMOs.
Not only are GM foods prevalent, but GM foods are also patented inventions protected under copyright and proprietary information laws. Therefore, corporations who control GM seeds will allow them to be studied only under highly limited conditions and timelines—usually 30 to 90 days. Typically, it’s the USDA—who doesn’t see the need to conduct in-depth, long-term studies—that is solely allowed to study GM seeds and foods.
You’ll be interested to know that there are a few biotechnology companies who create GM foods, but one stands out: Monsanto. For years, this biotechnology has been pumping GM foods into mainstream America, and it shows no signs of letting up. For example, Monsanto has recently genetically modified soybeans to produce omega-3 fats. They plan to get this manufactured soybean oil in all the conventional, mainstream food products possible, including milk products, meat products, puddings and fillings, nut and nut products, baked goods, baking mixes, cereals, grains, fats an oils, fish products, cheese, frozen dairy desserts, pasta, gravies and sauces, fruit juices, snacks and soups. Monsanto is only one FDA approval away from this becoming a reality. Like other GM foods, this GM soybean oil may not make it to the label, but be on the lookout for it. It goes by “stearidonic acid (SDA) soybean oil.”
GM food invasion doesn’t stop there. Now these biotech companies are further messing with Mother Nature and trying to get their wares to infants. Scientists have introduced human genes into the DNA of 300 Holstein dairy cows in order to create a product with the same properties as human breast milk. The reason? When it’s market-ready, they want to make this available as an alternative to breast-feeding or formula.
Jeffrey M. Smith, best-selling author of Seeds of Deception, is on the leading edge of uncovering what GM foods really are. He says, “There are two primary reasons why plants are engineered: to allow them to either drink poison or to produce poison. The poison drinkers are called herbicide tolerant. They’re inserted with bacterial genes that allow them to survive otherwise deadly doses of toxic herbicide. Biotech companies sell the seed and herbicide as a package deal, and U.S. farmers use hundreds of millions of pounds more herbicide because of these types of GM crops. The poison producers are called Bt crops. Inserted genes from the soil bacteriumBacillus thuringiensis produce an insect-killing pesticide called Bt-toxin in every cell of the plant. Not surprisingly, both classes of GM crops are linked to dangerous side effects.”
You may be wondering what you can do to protect yourself from GM foods. Learn everything you can about them, avoid conventional, processed foods and be sure to purchase Certified 100% Organic Seal foods or organic produce, meat and dairy from local farmers using non-GM seeds.
Say No to GMOs—before it’s too late.
This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.