I’m Back

Wow! It has been a long time since my last post, and perhaps you have been wondering if I had left for good. As many of you know, I had yet another knee replacement. In spite of my best intentions to use my recovery time for writing and other creative pursuits, I soon found out that pain medications and coherent writing did not mix. Thankfully I had enough moments of clarity NOT to actually publish what I had written during that time.

As hard as it is to admit, I’m human. Once I was done with the medication I had gotten out of the habit of blogging. Adding to the situation, my very old computer has decided to work at a snail’s pace and my patience level was exceeded. Not all of my issues have been resolved, but I decided that it was time to get back to this website. I really did miss it.

I started writing again, logged on to my computer to publish it, but my site was down. Finally, I’m back on line.

One of the things I had been pondering while I was away was the issue of content. I have topics that I regularly write about and that are meaningful to me. I’ll continue writing posts about meridian tapping, health and wellness, as well as things/people/events that inspire me. But……what would you like to see? I love answering questions or engaging in dialogue about the topics that interest you. If it interests you, it is sure to interest someone else too.

It’s good to be back. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Running Reduces Risk of Death

That was a headline in ScienceDaily. The fact that exercise is good for us, reduces the likelihood for a whole host of illnesses, and increases longevity is well established. This study from the American College of Cardiology does offer what I consider to be some surprising information.

First, this was a large study (55,137 adults between the ages of 18 and 100) and was conducted over a pretty long period of time (15 years) adding to it’s credibility. Here is what I learned.

  • Compared with non-runners, the runners had a 30% lower risk of death from ALL CAUSES
  • Compared with non-runners, the runners had a 45% lower risk of death from heart disease or stroke
  • The benefits were the same no matter how long, far, frequently, or fast the participants ran
  • Participants who ran less than 51 minutes, fewer than 6 miles, slower than 6 mph, or only 1-2 times per week had a lower risk of dying compared to those who did not run at all
  • Individuals who ran consistently over a period of six years had the most significant health benefit
  • The lead researcher, DC Lee, Ph.D suggests that even 5-10 minutes of running may be sufficient to improve longevity. That means that the excuse “I don’t have time” just won’t cut it anymore.

The complete study can be found at:

Duck-Chul Lee, Russell R. Pate, Carl J. Lavie, Xuemei Sui, Timothy S. Church, Steven N. Bair. Leisure-Time Running Reduces All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality Risk. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 2014;64 (5): 472 DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2014.04.058

Habenula

Today I learned that I had a body part of which I was not previously aware. I have a habenula and so do you. According to an article at ScienceDaily the habenula is a very small brain structure that is about the size of a pea. Apparently the habenula, particularly a hyperactive one, can cause symptoms such as low motivation, pessimism, and an expectation for negative events such as those found in depression. Researchers at the University College London believe that a better understanding of the habenula could help in developing more effective treatments for depression.

According to Wikipedia it seems that the habenula may be involved in the release of several neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norephinephrine, and serotonin. The neurons of the lateral habenula are considered reward negative meaning that they are activated by unpleasant events. The habenula is also involved in processing pain, reproductive behavior, nutrition, sleep-wake cycles, stress responses, and learning. That is a lot of power and influence for such a small area. There are some studies showing that electrical stimulation of the lateral habenula has been used successfully in the treatment of severe depression.

The complete University College London study can be found at:

Rebecca P. Lawson, Ben Seymour, Eleanor Log, Antoine Lutti, Raymond J. Dolan, Peter Dayan, Nikolaus Weishopf, and Johathan P. Roiser. The habenula encodes negative motivational value associated with primary punishment in humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2014;DOI:10.1073/pnas.1323586111.

Why is Obesity Bad?

This seems like an obvious question, but there are researchers that say that there are reasons why overweight and obesity are bad beyond the obvious answers. The reason is inflammation. Some of my health care heroes, including Drs. Hyman and Oz, have been talking about inflammation for quite a while. Researchers at the University of Oslo have been working to discover the relationship between overweight and inflammation. A synopsis of this can be found at ScienceDaily.

One of the things they have found is that overeating increases the immune response. This causes the body to generate excessive inflammation. Our body’s storage of fat (energy) causes the inflammatory reaction. Inflammation causes a number of diseases such as arthritis and heart disease. They have also found that we can reduce inflammation by losing weight.

Overeating may also be causing stress for our mitochondria. Mitochondria are the energy producers in our cells. Normally our body can clear out the damaged mitochondria, a process called autophagy. Unfortunately, when we overeat this autophagy process is also damaged and the damaged mitochondria accumulate. This activates the immune response causing…………….you guessed it……inflammation.

These findings have implications for a whole host of chronic illnesses, and may explain why certain illnesses appear to be on the rise and also the importance of diet as a necessary factor in treatments and cures.

More on Exercise

Not that we should really require any more convincing, but there has been another study that concludes that exercise to improve cardiovascular strength may protect our cognitive function. Researchers at the University of Montreal found that older adults whose aortas were in better condition and had better aerobic fitness performed better on cognitive tests than those who did not. While there are all kinds of hypotheses about the causal relationships, the link between fitness and age-related decline in cognitive exercise helps maintain the elasticity of arteries, including those that supply the brain. This study was reported in ScienceDaily.

The complete study can be found at:

C.J. Gauthier, M. Lefort, S. Mekary, L. Desjardins-Crepeau, A. Skimminge, P. Iversen, C. Madjar, M. Desjardins, F. Lesage, E. Garde, F. Frouin, L. Bherer, R.D. Hope. Hearts and minds: linking vascular rigidity and aerobic fitness with cognitive aging. Neurobiology of Aging, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2014.08.018.

Keeping My Word

In general, keeping my word isn’t a terribly hard thing for me most of the time – at least not the way I have interpreted that before. When I was studying Verse 8 of the Tao Te Ching this came to mind again and in a somewhat new way. When reading from Tao Te Ching: The Definitive Edition by Jonathan Star I read, When speaking, be truthful. In that sense keeping my word is about telling the truth. The context surrounding the statement seems to be pointing to more than avoiding lies. It seems to be about being in harmony with truth, not just following a rule.

In Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book Change Your Thoughts Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao the translation is Stand by your word. This seems to call for even more personal integrity and elicits many more questions and poses more pitfalls. It would be easy to get bogged down in this (and I did) with questions like “can’t I ever change my mind?” or “does that leave any room for spontaneity?” or even “everybody lies sometimes.”

After tapping and meditating on this for a while I have come to believe that this statement, like much of the Tao isn’t about behavior as much as it is about who we are at the core. It doesn’t mean that I can’t ever tell somebody I’m going to do something and then decide that I can’t or don’t want to do it. It means that if I have committed to doing something I then need to speak the truth to the person about why I am no longer going to do it. I’m not going to blame someone or something else, make an excuse, avoid, or simply not follow through.

Not only can tapping be useful for gaining a deeper understanding of a text like this one, it can also be quite valuable in changing the way you feel after having gained the insight. I was flooded with memories of all of the ties that I have made excuses, heaped blame, and therefore devalued my own word. All of those memories have been responding well to tapping. I addition, tapping has helped when I’m tempted to lie, distort the truth, or make excuses now too. There are many reasons why we choose not to be truthful or not stand by our word. Are you afraid you will hurt someone’s feelings if you tell the truth? Tap! Are you afraid that someone will reject you if you give your real opinion? Tap! Are you afraid that you won’t make the sale, get what you want/need, or win the approval of others? Tap!

To read the entire translation of the Tao Te Ching Verse 8 click HERE.

To learn more about tapping click HERE.

If you need help tapping on issues related to keeping your word click HERE.

 

It Will Be Difficult

It will be difficult is one of the excuses identified in Excuses Be Gone, a book by Dr. Wayne Dyer and published by Hay House in 2009. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I have personally used this one. It also comes up frequently in therapy. People (myself included) very often can cite all of the reasons why they want to do a particular thing or why they should make a particular change. If I’m in a good mood, feeling full of energy, and feel that the person is highly motivated (again, including myself) my initial response to the excuse it will be difficult is, “so what?” Why does something being difficult mean that I shouldn’t or couldn’t do it? When I have actually asked that question aloud, people look at me like I’m crazy. There is an unspoken maxim I guess that states that one should never do something if it will be difficult. Sometimes it is difficult to imagine, but the opposite might also be true. It could actually be easy. Without a crystal ball it is often pretty hard to tell. I might know that it was difficult for me last time or that it was difficult for someone else, but I can never know for sure that something will be difficult. It may not be very helpful to jump to that assumption either.

Dr. Dyer’s paradigm for managing this excuse might include asking (for a complete version please check out his book):

Q – Is it true? Will it be difficult?

A – Probably not

Q – Where did the excuse come from?

A – I allowed it

Q – What is the payoff? How does this excuse help me?

A – I get to avoid risks and stay the same

Q – What would my life look like if I couldn’t use this excuse?

A – I’d be able to be myself

Q – Can I create a rational reason to change?

A – Yes

Dr. Manuel’s (mine) paradigm is similar but includes tapping (not a surprise).

Q – Where did this excuse come from?

A – Start Tapping. Let your thoughts flow freely while you try to answer this question. This might include becoming aware of what you are feeling, when you have used this excuse before, and how it feels when you use it. Get as specific as you can about the excuse, the purpose of the excuse, and the desired outcome of the excuse.

Q – Was there a time that this excuse helped or protected me?

A – Start Tapping. The answer is probably yes. Now keep tapping and get specific, remembering the instances in which the excuse was somehow beneficial to you. Try not to get caught up in self-judgement or blame. View the events as if they were a movie or as if you are seeing it happening in the distance and keep tapping.

Q – What am I afraid would happen if I drop this excuse?

A – Start Tapping. Again, you will get better results if you can suspend judgment about yourself and about having used the excuse before.
As you found out in the previous step, you developed the excuse for a reason. Now, while tapping, you can look at the fear or anxiety that entices you to keep using the excuse and perhaps re-evaluate its usefulness to you.

Q – What would be the benefit of eliminating this excuse?

A – Start Tapping. All things have pros and cons. Now is the time to look at the positive side of eliminating the excuse. Your results will be best if you can get very specific and get a clear vision of what things might be like on the other side of the fence if you eliminate the excuse. Remember, the grass is supposed to be greener on the other side so focus your energy on all of the good things awaiting you if you jump over the fence without the excuse.

If you decide to keep the excuse, please do so without self blame or regret. You can at least know that you understand your own motivations and decisions. If you decide to let go of the excuse, congratulations. You now know that the opposite is equally possible. What you are contemplating may actually be easy. You might also be aware of your own ability to do things that are difficult (assuming that it might really be difficult.)

To get a copy of Dr. Dyer’s book, click HERE.

To learn more about tapping, click HERE.

 

 

The Perfect Swim

poolFor REAL swimmers the perfect swim might involve getting a personal best time, breaking a record, or beating a formidable opponent. While all of those things would be exciting, they don’t capture the essence of my personal perfect swim. This morning I came pretty close in spite of getting my head stuck in the rectangular inflow or outflow drain thing at the end of my lane.

I thought the morning was going to be a total bust. I got up late, forgot my flip flops, and just generally felt “off”. But when I put my foot in the water to check the temp I found the water to be perfect. I jumped in and started swimming. My stroke felt good. I was enjoying the bubbles. The air temperature above water was perfect.

After about 30 minutes I stopped to adjust my goggles and found that I was all alone. The other lap swimmers were gone and it was just me. The silence was wonderful. I started swimming again. I was aware of the approaching time when I would have to get out to go to work but found myself thinking “just one more lap.” This wasn’t me pushing myself to do more because it was uncomfortable and I wanted to quit. It was quite the opposite – I didn’t want to stop swimming because it was all just too perfect.

Most days aren’t like this. The water is often colder than I would prefer. Some people like to open up all of the doors and windows in the pool area which makes the air temperature pretty cool. I don’t enjoy that. There are people who like to use the pool area for catching up on gossip. That always breaks my reverie. The chlorine can smell too strong. My goggles have bad days too and seem to leak no matter what I do. Sometimes my cap bothers me and other times my swimsuit seems to rub. In spite of all of these frequent annoyances there are always other days like today when everything seems perfect. They make it all worthwhile and keep me coming back another day.