Book Review – People of the Blue Water: A Record of Life Among the Walapai and Havasupai Indians

I had this book on my shelf for many years before actually reading it.  As I was packing to move to the southwest I found it and decided that it was the perfect time to put it at the top of my to read list.  I’m very glad that I did.  My primary complaint with the book is that it was too short.  I wanted to know so much more – about the Native American people and customs and about the author and her motivations and experiences.  The author’s abiity to evoke that sense of wonder and curiosity is a testament to both the subject and her writing style.

There were times when I was horrified by some of the customs and found it difficult to keep reading.  I almost quit several times.  If you are an animal lover – beware.  While episodes of what I would call extreme cruelty were explained within the culture and zeitgeist, it didn’t make it any more palatable.  On the other hand, there are certainly positive lessons to be learned as well.

 

The book was highly readable and is really a compilation of events that were shared in letters with the author’s family.  I could imagine these tales being retold in social gatherings and probably gaining a life of their own.  I can only imagine what a mother far away must have thought about her daughter’s adventures.  I am sure I would have been both proud and horrified.

The description of the location made me remember fondly my own trips to the Grand Canyon and to yearn for another trip.  Now that I live closer, that might happen more often.

Live vicariously – read People of the Blue Water by Flora Gregg Iliff.

Tapping Exercise – Feeling Overwhelmed

Its embarrassing to admit this, but sometimes I feel so overwhelmed that I forget to tap.  I hate it when I suddenly, after way too much angst, think about tapping.  Here is a short tapping exercise to get you started when you find yourself doing the same thing.

Say this statement aloud, “I feel overwhelmed.”  Rate the intensity or truth of the statement on a 0-10 scale where 10 is very true.  Write the number down for later.

Repeat this setup statement three times while tapping on the karate chop point.  “Even though I feel overwhelmed right now, and that’s my excuse for not tapping, I deeply and completely love and accept myself and all of my feelings — even my excuses.

Begin tapping, using a different reminder phrase at each of the tapping points.

Eyebrow…I feel overwhelmed

Side of Eye…So I can’t tap

Under the Eye…I feel overwhelmed

Under the Nose…I feel so overhwhelmed that I can’t even do anything

Chin…I can’t even tap because I’m so overwhelmed

Collarbone…I feel overwhelmed

Under the Arm…I AM overwhelmed

Top of Head…You would be too if you were me

Eyebrow…I have good reasons to feel overwhelmed

Side of Eye…I am overwhelmed

Under the Eye…So it’s okay if I’m stuck

Under the Nose…Well, maybe its not ok with me

Chin…Tapping is pretty easy

Collarbone…I could probably tap, even though I’m so overwhelmed

Under the Arm…And I feel pretty good after I tap

Top of Head…It just might work

 

Take a deep breath and say the original statement again, “I feel overwhelmed.”  Rate it on the 0-10 scale.  Was there any change?  If your new rating is above a 3, continue tapping with the statements above or use your own words about what you are feeling until the intensity or truth of the statement comes down.

Valentine’s Day Traditions

When I think of Valentine’s Day I always think of red construction paper, doilies, stickers, and hearts.  Our tradition was to make our Valentine’s Day cards instead of purchasing them. Pictures were sometimes cut from old cards and silly rhyming verses were created.

How many of you know why the tradition of Valentine’s Day was started? I know I didn’t. Accounts differ somewhat, but most people agree that Valentine’s Day started with Saint Valentine, who was a priest in Rome. He was jailed and executed for marrying couples during a ban on marriages decreed by the Emperor Claudius II. Valentine was executed on February 14, 269.

This corresponded with a holiday that honored Juno, the Roman Goddess of women and marriage and the festival of Lupercalia.  In 496, Pope Gelasius set aside February 14th as a holiday honoring Saint Valentine.

Valentine’s Day has been celebrated throughout history in various ways. In the Middle Ages, men and women drew names from a bowl to see who would be there valentine. They would wear these names on their sleeves for a week. That is where the expression, wearing your heart on your sleeve, comes from.  Interestingly, the selection of names from a bowl in order to “pair up” was also a tradition associated with the festival of Lupercalia.

As Christianity  emerged, old pagan practices were changed or renamed. At one point the names of saints were drawn from the bowl instead and the boys and girls were expected to draw inspiration from the chosen saint throughout the year. By the middle of the 18th century, written cards and gifts were exchanged.

In England several hundred years ago, many children dressed up as adults on Valentine’s Day. They went caroling from home to home. A tradition song was “good morning to you Valentine; Curl your locks as I do mine — Two before and three behind; good morning to you, Valentine.” That doesn’t seem very romantic to me.

In Wales wooden love spoons were carved and given as gifts.  Hearts, keys, and keyholes often decorated the spoons. These decorations were understood to mean “You unlock my heart!”  This was the basis for the expression “spooning.”

Another tradition was for young girls to write the names of her boyfriends on bits of paper.  The paper was rolled in clay and dropped in water. The first name to rise would be her true valentine.

Bay leaves were also useful among unmarried girls in finding a husband. They would pin 5 bay leaves to their pillow on the evening before Valentine’s Day. One leaf would be in the center and the others to each of the four corners. If they did this then their future husband would be revealed to them in their dreams.

Finally, from Italy, here is a custom I like. In the evening the couples go out to dinner. Then, gifts are given such as red roses, perfume, diamonds, or Baci Perugina.  Baci Perugina are small chocolate covered hazelnuts that contain a small piece of paper with a romantic poem in four languages.

This year, seek your own tradition.  It is a holiday to say “I love you, Je t’aime, Moi oiy neya, Ich liebe Dich, Ti amo, Saya cinta padamu, Mahal Kita, or Eg elskar deg.

Enjoy!

Lea’s Rules – Avoid Corn

Picture of fresh corn with husk pulled back exposing the beautiful yellow kernelsAnyone who knows me very well knows that I need to avoid many common food items because they make me very sick.  It is not a casual “I think I’ll stop eating snails” kind of thing.  Perhaps the hardest for me has been corn.  Sure I like the taste of corn bread, corn on the cob, and creamed corn.  Giving it up isn’t without some severe nostalgia; however, the real difficulty lies in the pervasiveness of corn in the American diet.

Because of my relative success, many people have asked me for the guildelines I follow in eliminating corn from my diet.  Beward – purging your diet of corn is not for the lazy or faint of heart.  It takes an abundance of dedication, research, and perseverence.  I believe it is worth it.  In response to the questions, I have prepared for you my short  list of corn avoidance rules.  While written with a bit of humor to counterbalance the bitterness of the task, I am also being serious about what can be involved.

  1. Do not eat processed foods – not ever.  If you feel you absolutely must eat something that comes in a package, don’t eat it if it contains an ingredient you cannot read or do now know what it is.
  2. Make everything from scratch so that you know what is in it.  Even your common spice containers may be suspect.
  3. If you don’t have to peel it, chop it, or core it – eat with great caution.
  4. Put manifacturer’s phone numbers on speed dial. Plan to call the company before using almost anything in a box, can, or frozen food section.  Remember, corn does not have to be labeled.  The fact that it isn’t listed as an allergen on the package doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
  5. Never assume you know what is in the product you are ready to eat.  Even powdered sugar has corn starch.
  6. If it is something that could stick together, but isn’t sticking, it probably has corn starch to prevent the sticking.
  7. If it comes in a pill/tablet – assume it has corn in it until proven otherwise.  It should be listed on all medication package inserts and your pharmacist should be able to check it out as well.  Unfortunately all of the ingredients in your medications don’t simply say corn.  They will be called something else most of the time.
  8. Only buy supplements or vitamins that specifically state NO CORN.  “No corn added” is not sufficient and is a real give away that there is probably corn. If it is supposed to be chewable it has to be sweetened with something.  That something is often corn.
  9. Bottled spiced and herbs, condiments, sauces, and gravy are all suspect.  Call the company or make your own.
  10. Deli meats almost all contain corn.  Roast your own turkey, beef, or chicken at home and slice it thin.  Think like a pioneer woman. Convenience does not exist.  You need to pre-plan everything.  If you do the planning, it can almost feel like convenience on some days.
  11. Buy a very nice insulated cooler/lunchbox and carry most of your meals with you.  This is a place to make a good investment.  If you happen to go somewhere that is corn safe, count your blessings and take your food back home for another day.
  12. Always carry corn-free snacks in your car, purse, briefcase, or pocket.  Don’t be caught unprepared.
  13. If you are going to eat out, skip the condiments that are on the table.  Tell your server that you would like to speak to the kitchen manager because you cannot eat corn.  I have found most places to be very knowledgable and willing to feed me safetly.  I carry a laminated card with me that lists my food allergies so that the kitchen can have it while preparing my food.

For people with serious corn allergy it gets even worse from here since many other things are also made from corn products, including plastic bottles we drink from.  I have not become sick from a plastic bottle yet, but do try to stay away from them.

I know it sounds like a lot, but my philosophy is that it is a small price to pay to keep me feeling healthy.

Peace in – Peace out!

I know that many people have developed the habit of starting the morning with the news, whether print or digital. That habit can have some merit since you can prepare for the weather, have the latest news to discuss with colleagues, or enjoy a chuckle if you are reading the comics.  The downside is that you are also exposing yourself to all of the negativity that has accumulated in the world the night before.  Have you ever wondered how reading about murder, theft, hunger, poverty, corruption, and deceit might impact your day?

I have found that I often start my day at a full sprint.  I pop out of bed and fly through my morning performing tasks at superhero speed trying to get as many things done in as short a time as possible.  Again, this has both positive aspects as well as hazards.  When in sprint mode I can cross many things off of my to-do list and give the appearance to myself and others that I am amazingly efficient and effective.  But at what cost?  After this sprint to get things done I am usually too tired and too grumpy to enjoy the free time that I expected to have later.  Truthfully, when in that mode I suspect that I’m not all that pleasant to be around either.

At different times in my life I have made the effort to exercise first thing in the morning.  I got up very early and dedicated that time to riding my stationary bike.  Most of the time I also had some positive attitude or personal growth CD playing in the background.  The combination was fantastic.  I know other people use yoga, meditation, spiritual study, prayer, or running as a way to get their day started in the right direction.

Other times, and prior to the time change (now sunrise comes after my work day begins), I took my dogs on a short walk to get some fresh air and exercise and to enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery.  They felt better.  I felt better.  That feeling persisted throughout my morning at work.  Once darkness and black ice interfered with our early morning walks I began using inspirational CDs during my commute to gently lead my mind where I wanted it to go. Most mornings you will find me listening to WayneGirl with headphones in the snow Dyer, Anthony Robbins, or the Dalai Lama.  I confess that during the Christmas holiday season (starting around Halloween for me) I listen to endless hours of Christmas music instead becauase I adore it.

I am trying to be more aware of my mindset at the beginning of my day and have noticed that when I do plan for a peaceful start that I have a more peaceful day.  I can tell a difference in the way I feel about the world, myself, and the people I meet when I have made a conscious choice to start my day in this manner.  It does take some planning and intention to manage my time in the morning so that this is possible.  It is all too easy for me to just hit the floor running.  But, much like the garbage in – garbage out metaphor in computing, peace in – peace out seems to be every bit as true.

Tapping Exercise – Head in the Sand

Do you have a tendency to bury your head in the sand and try to ignore problems?  If so, this tapping exercise from my upcoming book Unleash Your Primal Power: Totem Tapping for Health and Happiness might be just what you need to get started on a path of managing things more directly.

Begin tapping on the karate chop spot and use these words as your setup:  Even though I would rather play the ostrich and stick my head in the sand, I deeply love and accept myself.  Even though it feels like it would be easier to ignore my problems and hope they will go away on their own, I love, accept, and forgive myself.  Even though I would prefer not to see the problem so that I don’t have to do anything about it, I accept the reality of my situation and accept all of me.

Eyebrow…Playing ostrich

Side of Eye…Sticking my head in the sand

Under the Eye…Playing ostrich

Nose…Ignoring my problems

Chin…Playing ostrich

Collarbone…Hoping these problems will magically disappear

Under the Arm…Playing ostrich

Top of Head…I don’t really want to deal with this

Eyebrow…Playing ostrich

Side of Eye…I know it doesn’t really work

Under the Eye…Playing ostrich

Nose…I have to pull my head out of the sand sometime

Chin…Playing ostrich

Collarbone…I might as well face it

Under the Arm…Playing ostrich

Top of Head…I can do it now

Take a deep breath and let it out.  Notice what you feel.  You are likely to need to repeat this several times or add your own words about playing ostrich and how it has shown up in your life.  Drop me a comment and let me know how it worked for you.

Happy Tapping.

Jumping to Conclusions

I hate to admit this, but I tend to jump to conclusions. That’s not much of a surprise. In fact, my Myers Briggs personality type is INTJ.  That J stand for Judging. Now in the Myers Briggs, judging does mean judgmental, but there are those tendencies.

This personality trait shows up frequently while driving. Recent a truck pulled out in front of me and I instantly thought, “wow, that is an odd color for a truck.” In a split second, and without much information, I made the assumption or jumped to the conclusion that the truck was a funky color.  Upon closer inspection I noticed that the truck was actually covered with dirt and other evidence of an off-road adventure.  Underneath all of that the truck appeared to be white – a very normal color.

So what – you might say.  By itself this even had very little meaning. As I continued to ponder this I wondered how often I make snap judgments without all of the information.  This also raised some other questions.

  • When I do make snap judgments, am I open to additional information?
  • How often are these judgments correct?
  • Am I really not very observant?
  • How do I take in more information?
  • Would I benefit from slowing down by judgments?

I am a work in progress and plan to consider these questions more as I go through each day.  Perhaps this is an issue that speaks to you too.  How many snap judgments do you make?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.