The Hope for Peace & a Prayer

Every morning I say Baha’i prayers which include family, friends, those who have passed.  I know there is war, violence, inhumane actions in all parts this world – on personal levels, small scales and large.  The current escalation between the United States and Iran, however, triggered the anxiety I felt as a child during the cold war between The USA and Russia. (jw)

  Several months ago I began including this prayer:

O God!  Let his American democracy become glorious in spiritual degrees even as it has aspired to material degrees, and render victorious a JUST government.  Confirm this revered nation to upraise the standard of the oneness of humanity, to promulgate the Most Great Peace, to become thereby most glorious and praiseworthy among all the nations of the world.

You can change it in any way that fits your own thoughts, feelings and country.  The full prayer is on The HeART of Spirituality where is also a selection of  Christian, Jewish, Native American, Hindu, Jainist, Native American, Muslim, Sufi, Zoroastrian etc. prayers

Click here to find the prayer that best speaks to you:

Prayers for Humanity & Peace

Also see: Frankly Freddie – Guide to World Peace & Goodwill toward All

Frankly Freddie – Guide to World Peace & Goodwill toward All

My 5 simple rules EVERYONE should follow for Peece on Earth

and Goodwill toward Man

  1. Instead of raising arms, raise your leg. No one ever dies from a squirt of pee.
  2. Never bark at strangers, greet everyone with a friendly sniff . . . below their belt.
  3. Raise your tail, not your flag.
  4. Rolling over is not a sign of defeat, it’s an invitation for a belly rub.
  5. Don’t wait for others to scratch your back, give love.

DSCN6116

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT RET

Wishing you a life of treats, back rubs and bowls of plenty.

Frankly,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, Canine Dog Therapist, RET.

“It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world.

The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.”

 Baha’i World Faith

 See also: The Hope for Peace and a Prayer.

 

Fur Fun: Think about it

Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.” 

Mahatma Gandhi

Paws, 2 thoughts

Thinking Thoughts by Peggy

Fur Fun: Buried Alive

When under ground

and no one’s around

it’s very dark before the dawn

or perhaps it’s dawn before the dark?

 It’s sometimes hard to tell

So make sure you’re planted

at just the right depth

and not in some deep well
1-5-2017

Judy’s “Psycho-Logical” Mind – How to live in the present moment

I always smile when people tell me they want to figure out how to live in the present moment.  My response is – it’s impossible not to live in the present moment, the present is all there is . . . this very nano-second in time.   

Full Disclosure

I’m simultaneously blessed and cursed.  I remember very little of my past (including yesterday) and have difficulty thinking about the future. I have to concentrate to plan ahead, only have goals if they have been imposed and my sense of time is . . . if it weren’t for the sun or the clock I’d have no sense of time . . .

My brain doesn’t “think” whole thoughts but rather gathers impressions, patterns, concepts.  When whole thoughts, words, come out of my mouth (or the computer keyboard) it’s the first time I’ve heard them.

It’s not that I practice living in the present moment . . . it’s simply how my brain is hard-wired.  If your brain is similarly hard-wired you know exactly what I’m talking about.  If your brain is wired differently you may be goal-oriented, remember details about your childhood, even be prone to anxiety and stymied about what I’m trying to describe.

Why it’s called “peace of MIND”

It’s our THINKING that focuses on the past or the future.  The measure of our peace of MIND is determined by how much we are able to focus our thinking in the present.

That’s largely why meditation, reading, sewing, exercise, painting . . . doing anything that captures your attention as you experience it creates the “flow” where past and future are not in your thoughts.

 Every time we think “should have”, “could have”, or “would have” we are THINKING about past experience. Every time we become anxious or fearful we are THINKING about a future, which may or may not happen. 

Maybe your reaction is . . .  that doesn’t make sense, for someone who spent decades as a psychotherapist analyzing, dissecting, bisecting life’s experiences, expectations and beliefs.   

“One hours reflection is worth 70 years of pious worship”

Because we are a composite of all our past choices and experiences, thinking, reflecting on the past is important IF our focus is to learn and grow.  Reflection about our past or future, without learning, is not usually helpful when we stay stuck in  “shoulds”, “coulds”, “woulds” or “what if’s”.

Irrespective of what happened yesterday or last year and what may or may not happen tomorrow, the present moment is all you have, however, your brain is wired. 

Reflect on that.

The HeART of Spirituality

GOD’S ART – POINTILLISM

“Each of these 48,741 dots represents a galaxy.

Each galaxy is a collection of billions of stars. The stars themselves trap untold planets, asteroids, and possibly even life in their gravitational clutches.”

cmass-0

“But this image, which is just one-twentieth of the night sky, is a mere pinprick of a window into the universe. The universe is thought to be 93 billion light-years wide. The width of this image is 6 billion light-years.”

Read the entire article, click HERE

 Pointillism is a technique of painting in which small, distinct dots of color are applied in patterns to form an image.

Pointillism used the science of optics to create colors from many small dots placed so close to each other that they would blur into an image to the eye. This is the same way computer screens work today. The pixels in the computer screen are just like the dots in a Pointillist painting.

 

Fur Fun: Opportunity

The Fate of young ladies who “demurred”

with Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos or Mark Zuckerberg  

There once was a Miss

who declined a kiss

fearing the poor lad

would make her look bad

if the news leaked

about her and this geek.

There’s no mystery

The rest is history

 This fearful honey

is out of the money

Fur Fun: Life Lessons from Noah’s Ark

  1. Don’t miss the boat.

  2. Remember that we are all in the SAME boat.

  3. Plan ahead.  It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark.

  4. Stay fit.  When you’re 600 years old, someone may ask you to do something REALLY big.

  5. Don’t listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.

  6. Build your future on high ground.

  7. For safety sake, travel in pairs.

  8. Speed isn’t always an advantage.  The snails were on board with the cheetahs.

  9. When you’re stressed, float a while

  10. Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.

  11. No matter the storm, when you are with God, there’s always a rainbow waiting.

However,

The woodpecker might have to go!

Fur Fun: Succeed or Fail

In my opinion, one of the most “damaging” things we can tell our children, or ourselves for that matter, is that if we set our mind to it and have the perseverance we can do anything, accomplish anything, be anything.  WRONG.

No matter how much I may want to be a nuclear physicist my brain simply will not grasp the finer, much less coarser, points of physics or math.  No matter how much I might want to be a sumo wrestler, my body, dexterity and athletic ability forbids it.

So if I were going to talk to The Cat in the Hat I would tell him to change what he preaches to:

You have brains in your head

You have feet in your shoes

Try things, succeed OR fail,

You’ve got nothing to lose. 

fd0f57d38a4b6a79ec24e10df11a9465

(jw)

Fur Fun: Freddie’s Forwarning

 You can’t be vain

dancing in the rain

for it’s a sure bet

your paws’ll get wet

your fur will matt

and you’ll looked like

a drowned cat

 

Our Inspiration – Maui and the Healing Power of the Brain

Anyone who has ever had a pet or watched wild critters knows animals are inspirational (I’m told there are even people who find reptiles, insects and other vermin fascinating – myself . . . I prefer mammals . . . but who’s to say . . .).

I’ve had a horse, Misty, dogs and cats.  My last kitty Maui, long after his passing, has been particularly inspirational:

  • Maui inspired me to write his story as a book to help children know that they too can flourish with patience and persistence.
  • Maui’s story is proof the brain, YOURS and mine, is capable of “rewiring” and “repatterning”. 

To read Maui’s story click here

  • Maui inspired Judy and I to create MAXyourMIND (formerly Catnipblog) to share neuroscience research and how we can all live better, healthier lives harnessing the power of our own minds.

Maui was part Siamese and lived up to the breed’s reputation of being intelligent, playful, social and quite mischievous.  

Maui

I named him for the jokester god of the Hawaiian islands. What happened to him was no joke.

When Maui was 11 years old, he had a  blocked ureter.  The treating vet told me Maui would not live.  I brought him home and helplessly watched Maui do nothing but lay on the floor with his chin on his favorite water bowl.  He didn’t eat for days and his back legs were weak.
One day Maui couldn’t move his back legs at all. The vet had neglected to tell me that cats not eating for 3 days or more can lead to heart problems which can result in a clot that blocks the femoral artery. The blockage causes the back legs to not function.  A permanent condition.

 The vet repeated Maui could die at any time and suggested putting him down. I was distraught.

Hope against hope, I took Maui home and helplessly watched him drag around with his two front legs.  It took him one human year or 7 cat years to rewire his brain and regain use of his back legs.

Maui taught me first hand about persistence, resiliency and how with patience the brain can be retrained  . . .  and the paws will follow.

For Maui and His Back Legs book, click here

Our human brains, too, have incredible plasticity.  Maximize aspects of your life by focusing on what you want and minimize what doesn’t support your wants and needs.

The old sayings “Practice Makes Perfect” and “The Power of Positive Thinking” have been proven accurate through scientific research . . . and Maui.

Peggy

 

 

 

Sneek Peek into My Curious Mind, Fitness – it isn’t all physical

Fitness Test

by Peggy

Be profligate to propagate

Go decorate and waste,

Entice, delight and entertain

With zeal, make your case.

Sing, laugh and dance

The night away, in joy of lushness share

Exuberant displays the way

To win creations ware.

A partner for the dance

Of life will watch you and will know

The vigorous display of yours

Must be a costly show.

And cost is good

Revealing all for everyone to see

A fitness such to leave

you well, with excess energy.

So they will know that your genes are,

with few mutations, fit

By your display of uselessness

Like poetry and wit.

Survival Of The Laziest

Now, I’m no mollusk but I do know that as I’ve aged I’ve slowed down . . . along with my metabolism.  Turns out this is GOOD news:

Less Active Species May Live Longer

“This is what a group of researchers from the University of Kansas found after taking a close look at some extinct as well as living species . . . analyzing the physiology and evolution of as many as 299 species of aquatic mollusks — including present-day snails and slugs — over last five million years.”

“They delved into the occurrences and extinction of different species over the said period as well as their respective metabolic rates or the amount of energy each of the creature in question needed for survival.”

“Much to everyone’s surprise, the findings of the work revealed that metabolic rates make a reliable factor for predicting the likelihood of extinction of a certain animal species or community of species.”

“We found a difference for mollusk species that have gone extinct over the past 5 million years and ones that are still around today.  Those that have gone extinct tend to have higher metabolic rates than those that are still living . . . those that have lower energy maintenance requirements seem more likely to survive than those organisms with higher metabolic rates.”*

“Maybe in the long-term the best evolutionary strategy for animals is to be lassitudinous and sluggish — the lower the metabolic rate, the more likely the species you belong to will survive . . . Instead of ‘survival of the fittest,’ maybe a better metaphor for the history of life is ‘survival of the laziest’ or at least ‘survival of the sluggish.'”**

I was going to go for a brisk walk but I’ll take a nap instead and . . .

live to walk another day.

judy

*Luke Strotz, lead author of the study

**co-author Bruce Lieberman

Fur Fun: Throw it Around

Throw kindness around like confetti

Sprinkle it slow, sprinkle it steady

Let it fall from the air

stick in the hair

get caught on the lips

sit on by hips

Throw kindness around without care

Show there’s more than enough to spare

A Happy Snacky Peggy Post

One of my long time friends (whose initials are jw but shall remain nameless) is a bit of a sugarcarboholic and green isn’t her favorite food color.  She also is in chronic pain and lacks energy.  When I found this research I wanted to share it and I know she reads this blog.

The Chemistry of Joy

Our mood, outlook and energy levels are determined to a huge extent by the chemicals serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and their relationship to one another.

We feel good when they are in balance. Beta endorphins also create a feeling of well-being, connectedness to others, and emotional stability. They even help us tolerate pain.

  • If levels of norepinephrine and dopamine are low, people will slow down, sleep a lot, have trouble concentrating and find it hard to motivate themselves. They can have a “sluggish” depression.
  • On the other hand, people with high levels of norepinephrine and dopamine, and possibly low levels of serotonin often feel angry, resentful and despairing. They can be critical and demanding. This would be an “agitated ” depression.
  • A third kind of depression can occur with low levels of serotonin, which results in people feeling fearful , worried and inadequate. This is an “anxious” depression.

maui-making-tea

In the Kitchen by Peggy

  • Sluggish Depression – Eating to INCREASE norepinephrine and dopamine: 
    Eat high quality proteins throughout the day, lean beef, low-fat meats and fish.
  • Agitated Depression – Eating to DECREASE norepinephrine and dopamine:
    eat the same as to increase serotonin but eat very small amounts of protein. A vegetarian diet would be good.
  • Anxious Depression – Eating to INCREASE serotonin:
    Increase carbs, eat tryptophan, which is in nuts, dairy, and meats. Eat regularly throughout the day. Get some protein, but not a large amount.

SUGAR (also alcohol) elevates beta endorphins, which may be why people have sugar cravings. This elevation only lasts a short time, because the body metabolizes it quickly. This results in a “low” that follows the sugar “high”, and you want more sugar! My friend (who shall remain nameless) can avoid this by eating complex carbs and protein.

Cholesterol helps the brain make the chemicals we need. So if you are depressed, eat some fat: Halibut, salmon, grains and nuts that have omega 3 and animal fat with omega 6 are both needed in balance.

    *    *     *

Hopefully my friend will not only read this post but start to eat better.  To make sure, I’ll suggest it for the book we are working on . . . 

“Hacking Your Way to Happiness” (It’s a work in progress, just like my friend). 

Peggy

Back Legs and Other Tails

Receive a free PDF copy!

“The Pulling, Climbing, Falling Down Tale of

Maui and His Back Legs”

Please help support Peggy . . .

We’re honored to have you as a reader . . . . . If you download the PDF please put a brief review (even  one sentence will do) in the COMMENTS section below or e-mail us at PeggyJudyTime@gmail.com

Here’s the link to a FREE PDF copy of Maui:

The Pulling, Climbing, Falling Down Tale of Maui and His Back Legs

forgive2 (1)

 is now published on both Amazon & Kindle

Click here to see what people are saying about Maui’s book.

THANK YOU!

(jw)

Spiritually Speaking – Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited

George Herbert Walker Bush was the 41st president of the United States.  He flew combat missions in World War II.  This is part of a letter he wrote his five children before the start of the Gulf War in which he discussed the phrase.

“CAVU was the kind of weather we Navy pilots wanted when we were to fly off our carrier in the Pacific,” he said. “We had little navigational instrumentation, so we wanted to CAVU, ceiling and visibility unlimited, and because of the five of you whose hugs I can still feel, whose own lives made me so proud, I can confidently tell my guardian angel that my life is CAVU and it will be that way until I die. All because of you.”

  • “Be fair in thy judgment, and guarded in thy speech.

  • Be unjust to no man, and show all meekness to all men.

  • Be as a lamp unto them that walk in darkness, a joy to the sorrowful, a sea for the thirsty, a haven for the distressed, an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression.

  • Let integrity and uprightness distinguish all thine acts.”

“Be an ornament to the countenance of truth, a crown to the brow of fidelity, a pillar of the temple of righteousness, a breath of life to the body of mankind, an ensign of the hosts of justice, a luminary above the horizon of virtue, a dew to the soil of the human heart, an ark on the ocean of knowledge, a sun in the heaven of bounty, a gem on the diadem of wisdom, a shining light in the firmament of thy generation, a fruit upon the tree of humility.”

Baha’u’llah, The Baha’i World Faith

“If you give birth to the genius within you, it will free you. If you do not give birth to the genius within you,

it will destroy you.”

Jesus, The Gnostic Gospel of Thomas

You be the judge

Typically Peggy and I would post this on CATNIPblog since it is health related but I think it important enough to share it with you.

I personally knew two men in their 40’s and a close friend in her 50’s (all spent the good part of every day with cell phones to their ears on personal and professional calls) who developed malignant gioblastoma brain tumors just behind their “phone-ear”.  Each died within 1 – 2 years of diagnosis.  Coincidence?  Pre-disposition?  I don’t know but it changed my behaviour and I only use the cell on “speaker” mode.  

When I read this release it got my attention.

Always having to look over my shoulder for people in white lab coats.

Cross talk: Federal agencies clash on cellphone cancer risk*

By LAURAN NEERGAARD AND SETH BORENSTEIN, ASSOCIATED PRESS

“Two U.S. government agencies are giving conflicting interpretations of a safety study on cellphone radiation: One says it causes cancer in rats. The other says there’s no reason for people to worry.”

“No new research was issued Thursday. Instead, the National Toxicology Program dialed up its concerns about a link to heart and brain cancer from a study of male rats that was made public last winter.”

THE ORIGINAL STUDY

“In a $30 million study, scientists put rats and mice into special chambers and bombarded them with radiofrequency waves, like those emitted by older 2G and 3G phones, for nine hours a day for up to two years, most of their natural lives.”

“The levels the rodents experienced were far higher than people are typically exposed to.”

THE FINDINGS

“Last February, the National Toxicology Program said there was a small increase in an unusual type of heart tumor in male rats, but not in mice or female rats. The agency concluded there was “some evidence” of a link. Also, the February report cited “equivocal evidence” of brain tumors in the male rats.”

“Thursday, the agency upgraded its description of those findings. The heart tumor increase marked “clear evidence” of cancer in male rats, it announced. There is “some evidence” of brain cancer.”

“The change came after the agency asked outside experts to analyze the findings.”

“We believe that the link between radio frequency radiation and tumors in male rats is real, and the external experts agreed,” said John Bucher, the toxicology agency’s senior scientist.”

“While his agency said the risks to rats don’t directly apply to people, the study raises safety questions.”

THE DISAGREEMENT

“The FDA immediately disagreed, firing off a press release assuring Americans that “decades of research and hundreds of studies” has made the health agency confident that the current safety limits for cellphone radiation protect the public health.”

“Plus, FDA pointed out confusing findings from the rodent study — such as that the radiated rats lived longer than comparison rats that weren’t exposed to the rays. The toxicology agency said it appeared that the radio-frequency energy helped older rats’ kidneys.”

“There’s a reason two different government agencies are clashing — they’re asking different questions, said George Washington University public health professor George Gray.”

“A former science chief for the Environmental Protection Agency, Gray said the toxicology program examined how cellphone radiation affected animals. By looking at what it means for humans, the FDA “brings in more sources of information and data than just these recent tests in rats and mice,” he said in an email.”

You be the judge.

*https://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/cross-talk-federal-agencies-clash-cellphone-cancer-risk-58909891

I remember I don’t remember being hung-over

I have little, VERY little, memories of my childhood or adolescence – or adulthood for that matter.  It concerned me when a therapist colleague said “not remembering” was an indication of repressed memory probably of horrible childhood trauma.  Ai yiiii yiiiiii.  Maybe I was beaten, or worse, and all these years believing I had nice parents.

I told a psychiatrist friend about my memory “affliction”thinking he would suggest decades of psycho-analysis at best and in-patient treatment at worst.  He looked passively at me and without the slightest hesitation said, “All that indicates is your childhood was boring.”

This is one of my aha moments that I DO remember and spurred me to investigate the neuro-biology of emotion.  What does that have to do with hang-over?  Read on!

Hung Over by Peggy

Excerpts from:

You already know without a doubt that most of your memories are ones that were highly emotional experiences.

“Emotional experiences can induce physiological and internal brain states that persist for long periods of time after the emotional events have ended, a team of New York University scientists has found. This study, which appears in the journal Nature Neuroscience,also shows that this emotional “hangover” influences how we attend to and remember future experiences.”

“How we remember events is not just a consequence of the external world we experience, but is also strongly influenced by our internal states–and these internal states can persist and color future experiences,”explains Lila Davachi, an associate professor in NYU’s Department of Psychology and Center for Neural Science and senior author of the study.”

“‘Emotion’ is a state of mind, . . . findings make clear that our cognition is highly influenced by preceding experiences and, specifically, that emotional brain states can persist for long periods of time.”’

” . . . data showed that the brain states associated with emotional experiences carried over for 20 to 30 minutes and influenced the way the subjects processed and remembered future experiences that are not emotional.”

“We see that memory for non-emotional experiences is better if they are encountered after an emotional event,” observes Davachi.

I’m so relieved!  Not only wasn’t I beaten . . . or worse . . .  the biggest hang-over I’ve experienced was the result of my exceptionally boring life.

(jw)

Initially posted on CATNIPblog.com

*To read the entire article, who the authors are and the research behind it click HERE.

Sunday Sermon, Part IV, Two Wings of a Bird

“Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light-years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual … “

Carl Sagan (1934-1996)

Hold up your hand for just a second.  Feel anything?

At any given second 100 trillion neutrinos are passing through your body  . . .RIGHT NOW.

The majority of neutrinos in the vicinity of the Earth are from nuclear reactions in the Sun. The solar neutrino flux for us on Earth is about 65 billion neutrinos, passing through just one square centimeter of area on earth, every second.  That’s a lot of neutrinos and we are not able to see them, sense them nor understand them.

There is so much, too much, that is not perceivable to our limited senses nor explainable by our reason.

I was a psychotherapist in private practice for 30 years.  Not only did people share their fears and sorrows but unexplainable encounters with spirits, near death experiences and life altering experiences with the divine. I admit I was sometimes skeptical.  Over time it became impossible, to dismiss what intelligent, discerning people shared.  

I now think of science as one wing and religion as the other wing of a bird; a bird needs two wings for flight, one alone would be useless . . .  

 . . .  and I circled back to my study of faith and my belief we live a domino life where when one falls we all fall, where one succeeds we all succeed.   I discovered two faiths I’d not originally studied – Unitarian Universalism and Baha’i. They not only complemented each other but each offered something a bit different.  

Baha’is believe in and share all the UU principles:  

  1. The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  2. Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
  3. Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth;
  4.  A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  5. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process;
  6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;

. . . and most importantly the 7th UU principle –

Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

The Baha’i World Faith brought me full circle back to childhood and to God but it wasn’t the God of fear but of love.

When I read the three core principles which are the basis for Bahá’í teachings and doctrine: the unity of God, the unity of religion, and the unity of humanity From these stems the belief that God periodically reveals his will through divine messengers: MuhammadJesusMoses, Zoroaster, Buddha, Krishna the Bab and Bahá’u’lláh.  It was an “ah-ha moment for me that all establishers of religion. the great religions of the world, represent successive stages in the spiritual evolution of human society. That religion is seen as orderly, unified, and progressive from age to age unexpectedly resonated.

Through decades of trials and tribulations I realize the magical thinking in my childhood, that the world revolved around me, wasn’t quite accurate . . . however,

. . .  perhaps some magical thinking persists 60+ years later.   Every morning I say a Baha’i prayer for family, friends, acquaintances,  past clients and a prayer for those who have passed.  The recitation of all the people grows longer each day and takes longer than the prayers . . . The difference between then and now is my prayers are steeped in love, not terror. 

        *          *           *

I’m attending a sermon writing workshop led by Kent Doss, the reverend at Tapestry Unitarian Universalist Congregation – not because I plan to deliver sermons but because I’m fascinated how ministers, rabbi’s, priests and preachers write and deliver something inspiring enough to capture the imagination and stir humans to transformative right action. week after week after week which seems a daunting undertaking.  

To read Part I, The Interconnectedness of All Beings click HERE

Read Part II, Head & Heart click HERE

Read Part III – Stardusted, click HERE

 

 

Mini Sunday Sermon, Part III, Stardusted

Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist, says it best . . .

“So you’re made of detritus [from exploded stars]. Get over it. Or better yet, celebrate it. After all, what nobler thought can one cherish than that the universe lives within us all?”

Not only are we synchronizing our heads and hearts, one with another, (Part II) we are interconnected with the Universe.  All is  from the same matter.

We are made of stardust. It’s like a line from a song, but there is some solid science behind this : Almost every element on earth, including you and me, was formed from the heart of a star.

Next time you’re out gazing at the stars, (all 5 stars we can actually see in a city) twinkling in the night sky, you are looking at the energy released by nuclear fusion reactions at their cores.

When a massive star explodes at the end of its life, the resulting high energy enables the creation of oxygen, carbon, iron, nickel, and all the other elements – the building blocks which make up the world around us and in us. 

The explosion disperses these elements across the universe, scattering the stardust through stellar winds which makes up planets including Earth, eventually some of it finds its way into our bodies.

There is so much we are not able to perceive through our senses:  The Earth’s electromagnetic fields that guide animals engaged in long-distance migrations, sea turtles and Monarch butterflies, birds, use Earth’s magnetic field as a navigational system; smells which compel my dog Freddie to lift his leg; dreams that portend the future. 

I admit I don’t understand science.

How do liver cells know how to make more liver cells and new heart cells know how to take up the beat?   We’re not fixed at all. We’re more like a pattern or a process, a transient body, cells continually dying and rebuilding all the time, and a continual flow of energy and matter being created . . . without my awareness . . .

Not only are our hearts synchronizing, our brain waves vibrating in unison but the very atoms of our cells are dying, being reborn and quivering in recognition we are all made of stardust.

Everything around us does this. Nature is not outside us. We are nature.

     *          *           *

To read Part I,  Interconnectedness of all Beings click HERE

 Part II, Head and Heart, click HERE

Part III – Stardusted, click HERE

 Part IV, Two Wings of a Bird, click HERE

 

Mini Sunday Serman, Part II, Head & Heart

As you read on my last Mini-Sermon post – I didn’t pray again for 50 years*.  During those decades I studied or was exposed to the tenants of many faiths and beliefs:  Buddhist, Greek Orthodox, Seventh Day Adventist, Catholic, Jewish, Lutheran, Baptist and even atheist. 

I discovered two things: First,  the bedrock of all religions is love, compassion, unity and the interconnectedness of all beings.  Second,  no matter what belief I studied something was amiss to me.  It just didn’t make sense (if belief could ever make rational sense) how each could claim to be the only truth, the true spiritual path.

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So scientific research became my focus and bolstered my belief in the interconnectedness of all humans  (and animals).  With newer and newer technology the science continues to be even more fascinating and compelling.  Here’s just a small sample**:

  1. Mirror Neurons – These are a type of brain cell that respond equally when we perform an action and when we witness someone else perform the same action. This neural mechanism is involuntary and automatic and with it we don’t have to think about what other people are doing or feeling, we simply know.  When I see you smiling, my mirror neurons for smiling fire up, too, initiating a cascade of neural activity that evokes the feeling we typically associate with a smile.
  2. Touch – When you hug another person, brains release oxytocin and causes secretions of endorphins.You don’t have to be in love, have sex, or give birth to get a boost of oxytocin (although these experiences certainly do that). Cuddling, hugging, making eye contact, and even shaking hands gets oxytocin, the bonding hormone, flowing
  3. Epigenetics – Scientists have long-known that parents pass genetic traits down to their children, current research suggests that life experiences like famine, trauma, stress can also produce chemical effects in DNA which shorten life-spans, appear as anxiety, depression and fear, inherited through generations and generations down the line.
  4. Neural synchrony –  Singing in groups triggers the communal release of serotonin and oxytocin, the bonding hormone, and synchronizes our heart beats.  When we pet an animal our blood pressure lowers and even more astounding their blood pressure lowers too. Studies of 3-month-old infants and their mothers have determined their heartbeats synchronize to mere milliseconds.

The electrical neuronal activity of two people involved in an act of communication “synchronize” in order to allow for a “connection” between both subjects.  The rhythms of the brainwaves corresponding to the speaker and the listener adjust according to the physical properties of the sound of the verbal messages expressed in a conversation. This creates a connection between the two brains, which begin to work together towards a common goal: communication.

Scientists can find out if two people are having a conversation solely by analyzing their brain waves. 

There is more research but just these four areas alone reinforce my belief in the interconnectedness of all beings. Next . . . our inter-glactic connection on Mini Sermon, Part III.

    *           *           *

To read Part I,  Interconnectedness of all Beings click HERE

 Part II, Head and Heart, click HERE

Part III – Stardusted, click HERE

 Part IV, Two Wings of a Bird, click HERE

Mini Sunday Sermon – Interconnectedness of all Beings, part I

I attended a sermon writing workshop led by Kent Doss, the reverend at Tapestry Unitarian Universalist Congregation – not because I plan to deliver sermons but because I’m fascinated how ministers, rabbi’s, priests and preachers write and deliver something inspiring enough to capture the imagination and stir humans to transformative right action. week after week after week which seems a daunting undertaking.  

Our first workshop assignment was to brainstorm topics.  Probably because I spent a large part of my life as a psychotherapist, steeped in life and death matters, I thought up dozens of topics.  Thinking is one thing, writing another . . .  and sermonizing? . .  .

My topic choice was “selected” by two of the participants (who shall remain nameless in case my topic is a bust) as the one that interested them most.  Not sure about the title yet but the theme is the interconnectedness of all beings.  

Here’s the first 5 minutes:

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“This limitless universe is like the human body, all the members of which are connected and linked with one another with the greatest strength . . . “   –(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, pp. 245–246)

Sounds lofty but I’ve believed that since childhood.  Don’t know where my belief came from – it wasn’t from any religious leader because I didn’t have any.  Even as a child I had the notion – I hesitate to call it a knowing – that we are all connected. . . that we live a domino life where when one falls we all fall, where one succeeds we all succeed.

My belief probably originated in my own magical thinking.

I was in grade school during the height of the threat of nuclear destruction, the cold war between the United States and Russia. In 1950 the U.S. began the construction of the hydrogen bomb. Nuclear destruction wasn’t an abstract idea in my 6-year-old mind because I had seen newsreels at the movie theatre – (the days of black and white newsreels, two cartoons and a double feature for 50 cents)newsreels with pictures of hydrogen bomb tests and people digging bomb shelters.

During the school day I believed the drop-and-cover drills we regularly practiced would protect me . (How adults thought that going into a school cloak-room because there were no windows and covering our heads with our arms would protect us from nuclear attack boggles my mind today.)  

At night, in bed, in the dark I lay awake trying to decide where I could go in our tiny 2-bedroom house when we were bombed and I wasn’t at school.  There was no safe place, all the rooms had windows.  In our backyard there was an old, deep, dark cellar dung into the ground and covered by huge, heavy wooden doors.  Too heavy for me to open. The concrete steps were really steep and led into a pitch-black hole.  It smelled and I knew that there were spiders and maybe even snakes inside. The cellar was even more scary than the bomb.

The more I thought about being killed by a bomb, the more terrified I became.  

I knew nothing about prayer, not to mention God, but one night, having exhausted all the possibilities of safe places, I silently prayed.  Silently, so no one would hear me, I prayed for world peace.  The next night I prayed for world peace and my mother and father being safe.  Another night I added my younger brother.  I didn’t particularly care for him but I was as scared of my parents’ thinking I was a bad sister as I was of the bomb and the cellar.  Night after night I silently prayed, each night adding another relative.  Newly added was my fear it would be my fault if anyone was killed by the bomb because I didn’t pray for them.  It was my secret ritual and the only way I could stop thinking about that cellar.  One night I was over-whelmed with the responsibility of remembering to include everyone I knew . . .  . and I stopped praying . . . I stopped praying for almost sixty years.

    *       *       *

To read Part II, Head and Heart, click HERE

Read Part III – Stardusted, click HERE

Read Part IV, Two Wings of a Bird, click HERE

 

 

The 3 “R’s of Old Age-Raving, Ranting & Regretting

maybe-better-not-do-a-tantrum-on-the-floor-because-who-knows-if-I-ever-will-get-up-again (title – compliments of Sarah! http://secretartexpedition.wordpress.com)

I do not like being an old lady.  There’s not much I can do about it but I don’t like it.  I don’t like it!  I do NOT like it!  If there was someone watching right now I would lay down on the floor, pummel my legs up and down and scream out obscenities which I’m too embarrassed to write down proving I’m an old lady because I was taught that ladies, no matter their age, don’t swear.  Even now, when I can’t be sent to my room, I hesitate to say “hell” or “shit” much less utter worse.  The problem is I don’t even know what current swear words are.  (There’s even a bigger problem if I lay down on the floor.  With no one here to watch  I might not be able to get back up without help.)

The urban slang dictionary didn’t exist until I was well past middle age and I couldn’t even look up cuss words that were creative.  I’m now stuck with the “hells” and “I don’t give a damns” because that’s all I learned.

Let’s talk about wrinkles (it’s easier than the belly fat that has accumulated around my mid-section when even sucking in my stomach it still blubs around like Santa Claus’ bowl full of jelly.  So wrinkles it is.) 

Why would I want wrinkles? . . . to  prove I’m as wise as I have ostensibly become?  Phony baloney, I’v never seen a wrinkled owl.   Rather than look wise it’s easier to look down my elongating nose at people who have plastic surgery, botox or collagen treatments.  If I weren’t scared of pain and had the money I’d get rid of my wrinkles.  Instead, I’m doomed to cultivating a self-righteous attitude about my aging, sagging, bagging body and pretend to embrace how old I am.

I’ve tried political correctness – how wonderful it is to be wise, to have accumulated all this worldly experience and be on social security . . . I’ve tried to embrace aging, smile when people ask me what I do and act like it’s  wonderful to have no career, no purpose, no energy.  I’ve tried wrinkle creams that promise me youth.  I’ve tried laughing at the “old age” cartoons that appear in my in-box and sting in their truths.

Give me the money (and a bottle of numbing vodka – ladies don’t want alcohol breath) and I’ll be on the next surgeon’s schedule to tighten my jowls, pull up my eyelids and get rid of the bags under my eyes . . .  

I’ve even considered moving to another country where old age is supposedly venerated.   But I’m too tired to pack so I live in these here United States where I’m wise enough to know it’s the youth who say it like it is and have the energy to make this world a better place.

Old age – phooey. It’s highly over-rated . . . by the elderly.

A Cautionary Tale

Dance while you’re young

Pierce your tongue

Dye your hair green

Eat fat, not the lean

Don’t give a lick what makes you tick

Eat, drink and be merry

because if you tarry

you’ll soon be too old

all covered with mold

and have to scrap it off with a stick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frankly Freddie – Here a nip, there a nip, everywhere a nip nip

View image on Twitter

 “Not all cats are affected by catnip. According to Cat Behavior Associates, the “catnip response” is hereditary, and one-third of all cats lack the gene that enables them to feel the high. Even a cat who does have the gene won’t be affected by catnip until they’re at least six months old.”

Catnip definitely won’t get you humans high (don’t even think about it . . . ), and don’t give your kitty a catnip treat for working so hard at protecting you in the bathroom and bringing you presents of mice and birds (we canines would never bring you vermin).

Peggy & judy want to help you find your mellow but if it drives you wild with desire for more CATNIP I won’t be pleased.

Frankly,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, B.E.

Blogger Extraordinaire

*CATNIPblog was inspired by and is dedicated to Peggy’s cat Maui who lived to prove the brain can be rewired and healing is possible.

Maui’s Healing Tale

Monday with Mae & Me

“When choosing between two evils,

I always like to try the one I’ve never tried before.

Mae West

 

RATS! Hunger, Chronic pain & Me

Penn neuroscientists have found that animals’ brains can suppress feelings of chronic pain when they are hungry.

The study, which was published in the science journal Cell, found that temporarily shutting down chronic pain is part of animals’ survival behaviors when searching for food.

According to a press release, approximately 300 neurons are capable of shifting the brain’s focus to hunger, thus eclipsing the effect of chronic pain.

The researchers apparently didn’t set out expecting that hunger would influence pain sensation so significantly, but when they saw these behaviors unfold, it made sense to them. “If you’re an animal, it doesn’t matter if you have an injury, you need to be able to overcome that in order to go find the nutrients you need to survive.”

The Penn team also discovered that the neurotransmitter NPY is primarily responsible for selectively suppressing pain responses. This research could potentially be applied in humans to ameliorate chronic pain after injuries and serve as an alternative to opioid medications.

Naked Mole Rat sez:  “At your service. We rodents are here to help”.

 

National Day to Munch Away & Dad

My Dad lived by specific culinary principles:

  • Cake’s main purpose was to hold up the frosting. 
  • Pepsi was the beverage of choice because water was for bathing, not drinking.
  • The only edible food was brown and white (unless it contained copious amounts of sugar), green food should be reserved for insects or chimpanzees
  • Fruit was only safe to eat if it was in a pie. 

If he had known that June 17 was National Eat Your Vegetables Day he would have celebrated with a loaf of french bread & butter downed it with a Pepsi and a cinnamon roll for desert.

 On June 17 – National Eat Your Vitamins, Phytochemicals, Fiber, Potassium Day:

  1. Take a vegetable to lunch
  2. Vege-out
  3. Be corny
  4. Drink Doctor PEPPER
  5. Stalk celery

June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month, and National Eat Your Vegetables Day is one more opportunity to remind everyone to continue with this part of a healthy diet.

Each vegetable has its own nutritional content though generally, they contain a little protein or fat and varying proportions of :

  • Vitamin A, Vitamin K and Vitamin B6, provitamins, dietary minerals and carbohydrates.
  • Phytochemicals, some of which have antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and anticarcinogenic properties.
  • Fiber which is important for gastrointestinal function.
  • Essential nutrients that are necessary for healthy hair and skin.
  • Potassium may help prevent the formation of kidney stones.

When eating a diet consisting of the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables, it may help

  • Lower the risk of heart diseases and type 2 diabetes.  
  • Decrease bone loss and protect against some cancers

It is recommended by the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans, to consume 3 to 5 servings of vegetables per day.  This recommendation may vary, however, depending on age and gender.  For most vegetables, one serving is equivalent of 1/2 to 1 cup and can be eaten either raw or cooked.

Lettuce All Munch Away!

Click here: FOOD IS MEDICINE 

to learn how my Dad “made” me eat junk food and some scientific research – how what we eat can make us happier and combat depression

I feel a great sadness

eruption

destroying to build

losing our way to win

and dying so that others may live

In my hope

I feel a great sadness

   *     *    *

Bahá’ís are encouraged to see in the revolutionary changes taking place in every sphere of life the interaction of two fundamental processes. One is destructive in nature, while the other is integrative; both serve to carry humanity, each in its own way, along the path leading towards its full maturity. The operation of the former is everywhere apparent–in the vicissitudes that have afflicted time-honoured institutions, in the impotence of leaders at all levels to mend the fractures appearing in the structure of society, in the dismantling of social norms that have long-held in check unseemly passions, and in the despondency and indifference exhibited not only by individuals but also by entire societies that have lost any vital sense of purpose.

Though devastating in their effects, the forces of disintegration tend to sweep away barriers that block humanity’s progress, opening space for the process of integration to draw diverse groups together and disclosing new opportunities for cooperation and collaboration. Bahá’ís, of course, strive to align themselves, individually and collectively, with forces associated with the process of integration, which, they are confident, will continue to gain in strength, no matter how bleak the immediate horizons. Human affairs will be utterly reorganized, and an era of universal peace inaugurated.
(Universal House of Justice, To the Bahá’ís of Iran, 2 March 2013)

Whine On!

Twenty-eight days since fracturing my ankle (but who’s counting).  I was looking forward to my doctor’s appointment yesterday (“looking forward to a doctor’s appointment” – now, that’s a first for me) thinking I will finally give the orthopedic boot the boot and be frrrrrrreeeeeeee.  Not.  I forgot the ligament was going to take longer to heal than the bone.

  • The good news: The bone is healing, I don’t have to wear the boot to bed, the wrapping is off and can take a shower without my foot sticking out into the room.
  • The mediocre news:  I have to transition from the boot into an ankle brace sloooooooooowly . . .  for a month.
  • The bad news:  My ankle hurts if I walk and pain makes me crabby.

Elixir Fixer by Peggy

This would make a lesser person take to the bottle.  Which reminds me, today is National Wine Day. Read this fascinating post on the benefits of wine which include things I need RIGHT NOW:

  • Anti-aging  (who knew?)
  • Blood thinning (so it no longer boils)
  • Boosts immune system
  • Increases bone density
  • and . . .  6 more benefits (you’ll have to click on the link below to learn how all 10 benefits help you)

Click here: WINE ON!

 

Sitting Possibly Makes My Brain (Yours too) Thinner?

(BUT I’m relieved that the pea is getting younger as my body grows older!)

judy recuperating by Peggy

“A team of researchers from UCLA and the University of Adelaide studied 35 non-demented adults who were from 45 to 75 years old. They gave each study participant the International Physical Activity Questionnaire to determine how many hours on average they spent sitting and how much physical activity they got each day. Each study participant also underwent a high-resolution MRI scans of his or her brain.”

The researchers found that the more hours the subjects sat the thinner the medial temporal lobes of their brains tended to be. (Each hour of additional sitting correlated with a medial temporal lobe that’s 2% thinner.) This was regardless of how much physical activity they engaged in when not sitting. 

 Some of the possibilities of how sitting impacts your brain include:

  • Your blood may not be circulating as much throughout your body and therefore your brain. This could mean that your brain is not getting as much oxygen or the waste products in your brain aren’t being cleared out as effectively.
  • You don’t burn as many calories, which could lead to weight issues, which then alter a wide variety of mechanisms in your body.
  • Your body’s metabolic machinery and hormones may be impacted so that your brain is not getting as many nutrients or is being exposed to other conditions such as higher blood sugar.

More recuperation by Peggy

Correlations and associations do not mean cause-and-effect.

A study with only 35 people has many limitations and does not prove that sitting will make part of your brain thinner. “Maybe in this study, the people who were more likely to sit more each day also were more likely to be less active socially, have less stimulating jobs, or have other circumstances that could be affecting their brains. Alternatively, could thinning medial temporal lobes somehow be affecting their behaviors so that they sat more?  More studies are needed to figure out what is actually happening.”

*The medial temporal lobe is part of the brain responsible for forming longer term memories. It tends to thin as you age to begin with!

“Nonetheless, this study does add to the concern that “sitting is the new smoking”, which by the way nothing to do with “cigarette butts.” Other studies have associated regularly sitting for lengthy periods of time with increased risks of obesitydiabetesmuscle and back problemscancer, and other health problems.”

https://www.forbes./too-much-sitting-may-make-your-brain-thinner-study-suggests/

To learn how Googling can help your brain, read this:

 Google On! My brain grows younger while my body grows old.

the thinner the medial temporal lobes of their brains tended to be. Each hour of additional sitting correlated with a medial temporal lobe that’s 2% thinner.

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I’m Afraid Being Afraid Shrinks My Fluffy Brain & Creativity

 I don’t have a great memory. Never have.  The worst is retrieving numbers.  In the “olden days” when telephones were attached to land lines when you moved you got a new phone number. Every time I moved I immediately forgot my old number and it took months to learn the new one.  

That hasn’t changed.  What has changed is now not remembering why I just deliberately got up, walked into the bathroom and can’t remember why I’m there.

Now I’m learning that the brain centers largely responsible for remembering are connected to the creativity centers.

Fear and long-term stress

“We have a lot of knowledge about what happens when we are in a constant state of fight-or-flight. And those examples come from syndromes like PTSD, experiencing terrible situations for a long period of time. Here we come to a concept of brain plasticity, which basically means that what you’re experiencing can change your brain. It can make your brain grow so that it’s nice and fluffy and strong or it can shrink it down.”

“PTSD, high stress, can shrink the size of your temporal lobe and increase the size of the amygdala structure that is processing fear information. It also shrinks the size of a key brain area that I’ve studied for the last 25 years called the hippocampus, which is critical for long-term memory.”

“The hippocampus has been more recently implicated in creativity and imagination. Because what imagination is, is taking those things you have in your memory and putting them together in a new way. So just in the way that the hippocampus allows us to think about the past and memory, it also allows us to imagine the future. Long-term stress is literally killing the cells in your hippocampus that contribute to the deterioration of your memory. But it’s also zapping your creativity.”

I’ll put some art supplies in the bathroom so when I forget why I’m there I can sit down and do something creative.

Who knew I’d be a “national symbol”?

I’ve written many posts about my history of fibromyalgia, just not recently.  

My “foot episode” has caused a bit of a fiber flare-up, just in time for National Fibromyalgia/ME Chronic Fatigue day on May 12th.  

Here’s my story and I’m sticking to it:

In 1995 I contracted an invisible “illness”.  Out of nowhere I experienced excruciating burning pain in my hands, arms and legs followed  by years of gastrointestinal, cardiological, dermatological and emotional symptoms.  At the onset I was also in peri-menopause and experiencing mood swings, wildly, uncontrollably ric-o-shaying swings between happy to annoyed – which I’m minimizing for public consumption.

Back then fibromyalgia was not recognized by the medical community as a “real” ailment. Doctors considered it to be a syndrome: Unexplainable, unverifiable and psychosomatic. It was a Hysterical Middle Aged Woman’s Syndrome, as doctor after doctor told me. based on test, after expensive test coming back negative.  I was told nothing was wrong with me and to go home and “Get a life”.DSCN1413

Forever imprinted in my memory is an appointment with the chief of neurology at one of Los Angeles’ major medical schools (the doctor and medical center shall remain nameless because this is a true story)  He reviewed the test findings, looked at me knowingly – as if we shared a secret – and said, “You’re a psychotherapist. You know about psychological issues”.  He leaned forward, compassionately touching me on the knee and winked,  “Go home, live a good life and take up a hobby like kick-boxing.”  The only reason I winked back was to blink away the tears that were threatening to disrupt the façade that I wasn’t a hysterical middle-aged woman.

DSCN1414

I searched for anyone – gynecologists, gastroenterologists, cardiologists, neurologists, rheumatologists, environmental specialists, acupuncturists, immunologists, chiropractors – to name to what I had, to give what was invisible to everyone but myself a label other than HYPOCHONDRIAC.  I looked fine, acted fine, and thousands of dollars of medical tests came back negative.  All I took away from the 100’s of doctor’s visits was a stack of psychiatrist’s cards doctors handed to me on the way out of their office.

After years of  pain, escalating exhaustion, depression, countless doctors and tests I did qualify, on all counts, as a hysterical middle-aged woman .

Well over a decade later fibromyalgia was recognized by the medical community as “real”.  Current research indicates it might be a neuro-inflammatory/auto-immune disease impacting the  central nervous system.  No one knows for certain and there is no current cure.  

I’m no longer middle-aged or hysterical.  

But the doctors were right – it is, all in my head.

 Check out Carolyn Thomas’ My Heart Sisters –“You look great!” – and other things you should never say to heart patients and lots of other great posts about invisible illness.

  • Why, when you tell someone who is ill that they look good, they’re offended?
  • Practical ways you can encourage someone who is ill.

May 12th has been designated as International Awareness Day for Chronic Immunological and Neurological Diseases (CIND). The CIND illnesses include Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Fibromyalgia (FM), Gulf War Syndrome (GWS) and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS).

May 12th was chosen as it is the birthday of Florence Nightingale. She was believed to have suffered from ME/CFS.

This is National Invisible Illness Awareness Week

P.S.  There are hundreds of millions of people with “Invisible Illness” in this world.  Click above to  read more information.  

Yum Yum – Why you may have been eating insects your whole life

The thought of eating bugs doesn’t appeal to me, particularly if I can identify them on my plate – pulverized, unidentifiable, mushed in my food, doesn’t bother me.  Now that I’ve read this article I stand somewhere in-between revulsion and delectable.

Tasty by judy

One of the most widely used red food colorings – carmine – is made from crushed up cochineal insects, native to Latin America where they live on cacti.  Farmed mainly in Peru, millions of the tiny insects are harvested every year to produce the coloring.

A staple of the global food industry, carmine is added to everything from yoghurt, ice cream, to fruit pie, soft drinks, cupcakes and donuts. (the delectable part)

It is also used extensively in the cosmetics industry and is found in many lipsticks. (makes me not want to lick my lips)

Cochineal on a cactusImage copyright MARK WILLIAMSON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY Cochineal insects, the white dots on this cactus, are found across Latin America

Here are the facts:

  • The bugs, which are about 5mm or 0.2 inches long, are brushed off the pads of prickly pear cacti.
  • It’s the wingless females that are harvested, rather than the flying males. (I’m bugged by this discrimination)
  • The insects are dried and then crushed to produce the red coloring
  • It takes up to 70,000 individual insects to produce just 500g of dye
  • The red color comes from carminic acid, which makes up almost a quarter of the bugs’ weight, and deters predation by other insects (and promotes predation by humans)

“I’d love a mouthful”

Look for the word “carmine” on a food product that contains it or “natural red four”, “crimson lake” or E120.

Carmine is a very stable and reliable natural food dye that can be used to create a wide range of colours – pinks, oranges, purples, as well as reds.

Supporters also point out that it is a natural product first discovered and used by the Maya and then the Aztecs more than five centuries ago. They claim that it is far healthier than artificial alternatives such as food coloring, rings made from coal or petroleum by-products. (double yum)

Click here to read the entire article: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-43786055

Celebrate!

It’s Cinco de Mayo time

Drink tequila and lime

Eat to the beat

Take a chance and dance

so the chips don’t go to your hips

https://catnipblog.com/2017/06/22/brain-dance-bust-a-move-and-a-toe-or-two/

Read:  Research findings suggest that combining physical, cognitive, and social engagement like dance can improve cognitive health.

See:  Twirl, Whirl & Swirl

Meet my Feet, Day 5

My journal pages are filled with scribbles, scrawls, doodles, smushes of paint and free writing as evidenced here:

Smushed paint, “found image”

Smushed paint, doodles with marker, free thought writing

This is what I wrote.  Looked at the picture I doodled and wrote spontaneously.

We create life trails and no not, not know

where they lead nor what we encounter on the way

as we make our way to an unknown end.

We leave a line for others to follow.  

The trail of our life

Clear paths or littered with debris.

Need to catch up? Here’s what happened to me:

In pain, Need Sympathy

Food for the HEEL

 

Write On! How to Empty your brain to reduce stress

Non-stop writing, stream of consciousness, free writing . . . it doesn’t matter what you call it – it can change your brain, change your day, change your relationships, change your life.

I’m not being overly dramatic as there is a body of research which shows that simply putting pen to paper changes your brain.

Easy Peasy Writing How-to

Write on! by Peggy

Choose a focus – a situation, feeling, thought and create a “topic Sentence”  If you can’t think of a specific begin with “Right this moment I am thinking . . . ” or “I am feeling . . .” or ” “I can’t think of anything . . . “

It can be anything in the past, the present or the future.

  • Use a pen that writes smoothly and comfortable to your hand.  Don’t use a keyboard since the act of writing with your hand is important.  Your small muscle movement is expressive (much like artistic expression, your handwriting is unique to you.  It doesn’t matter if it’s legible or beautiful as the movement registers with your brain in ways that tapping out letters on a keyboard do not).
  • Set a timer for approximately 20 minutes.  It takes that long for your unconscious brain to push through your logical thinking processes.
  • Use a journal, a piece of paper, a brown bag – it doesn’t matter.
  • Start with your “topic sentence”, thought, feeling . . . just start. 
  • Write continuously for 20 minutes, never letting the pen stop.  If your mind goes blank simply makes loop-d-loops with the pen until you have words to put down. Write quickly, spontaneously, intuitively.  It doesn’t matter what you write just put down on paper where your mind takes you.
  • Do not be concerned about spelling, punctuation or grammar.
  • Do not be concerned if it doesn’t make sense.

Read  research How Writing About Past Failures May Help You Succeed In The Present,  click here

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Food for the HEEL

Went to the doctor and the doctor said:

“Your ankle bone’s fractured, wear a boot to bed.”

“The ligament is torn

but don’t be forlorn,

 there’s great news for 3 weeks –

no driving, no cleaning (even if it reeks).”So here I am with my foot propped high

It is what it is, no need to ask why.

Since there’s no one to cook me a good meal

I settle for ice cream ‘n cake that help heal

Read How I “landed” up here:

In Pain, need Sympathy

 

 

In pain, need sympathy

A stroll was my goal

Stepped in a hole

Spring, sprung, sprankle

twisted my ankle

It’s a painful thing

Put my foot in a sling

Can still squawk 

but it’s hard to walk

Read What the doctor said here

April 29th – Flashy Fun!!

In 1982 the Dance Committee of ITI founded International Dance Day to be celebrated every year on the 29th April, the birthday of Jean-Georges Noverre (1727-1810), creator of modern ballet. The intention of the International Dance Day Message is to celebrate dance, revel in the universality of this art form, cross all political, cultural and ethnic barriers, and bring people together with a common language – dance. 

Take a look at another flash mob, click here:  DO RE MI

 

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How to get the most from your hot soak

Here is the follow-up to 

research on lowering blood pressure, helping dementia and brain trauma with hot baths

 “A hot bath is the original hydrotherapy — water treatment — and still the best. Immersion, buoyancy, heat, and vibration (if you’ve got jets) all have useful biological and sensory effects, many of which are useful to people with injuries, pain, anxiety, depression, and more”.

Bath Buddies

1. Don’t make it too hot. Hot baths are a soothing escape, but too much heat will stimulate the nervous system. While you may feel tired ,you are not as relaxed and  may not be able to sleep for a while.
2. Cool your head–or feet. Sticking your feet out of the bath lets off some excess heat, while keeping the benefits of a raised body temperature. You can also pour cool water on yourself . This will help you to feel better after the bath.
3. Do some self massage in the bath.  
4. Stretch in the bath. The warmth decreases muscle tone, flexibility is increased and the buoyancy makes me stretches easier. 
5. Drink water-you will sweat in a hot bath (which helps eliminate waste from the body). Drink before and after. Being dehydrated can make you grumpy.
6. Baths are a great treatment for muscle soreness. The heat gets in much deeper than using a heating pad/pack. They are especially good for low back pain. Most low back pain is muscular, especially “knots” in muscles, which a hot bath can ease.
7. Try deep breathing-it may increase your relaxation. Not slow breathing but deep and strong.

Source: https://www.painscience.com/articles/bathing.php

Click here for the research on lowering blood pressure, helping dementia and brain trauma with hot baths

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Spring has Sprung and so have I

Since retiring, my to-do list: clean out clothes closets, clean out the garage, the cupboards, replant the garden, paint the living room AND get rid of STUFF.  So far I’ve done very little un-stuffing. 

judy’s Cluttered Closet by Peggy

I just edited a research post on CATNIPblog and I’m relieved to know I can blame my brain which is scientifically on hiatus. 

Here’s a section I edited out on CATNIP trying to symplify the post.  Couldn’t bear to throw it away and lose it though . . .

“Why do we allow clutter to accumulate? . . .  it’s because we don’t want to make decisions about throwing things out. We think we might need that item someday. Blame the psychological effect called loss aversion. Humans are averse to losses. Our brain says, “If we get rid of it, then we’ve lost it.”’

“Can the process of removing physical clutter help us release negative emotional attachments in our lives? O’Reilly says there is a basic, intrinsic pleasure in increasing order.”

“O’Reilly has found that people will organize things as a way to relax and pass the time. An example he finds noteworthy is walking down the aisle of an airplane and observing people playing solitaire on their laptops.”

“They’re sorting fake, digital cards on a laptop,” he said. “Why? I can’t think of a more meaningless activity—sorting stacks of cards that aren’t even real cards. And yet we love to do it, because it’s satisfying to put things in their place.”

Read the full research, click here:

Daunted by “spring” cleaning? Blame your brain

 

 

 

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Why do dogs have floppy ears?

But what’s behind this mysterious change? What possibly could link tameness and ear cartilage? Skunk Bear’s latest episode shares one fascinating hypothesis that ties it all together, and explains shortened snouts and patchy coats along the way.

Why do pets and livestock tend to have “drooping ears?”

“Wolves, for example, have perky, upright ears. But the ears of many dogs are distinctly floppy. Darwin saw this odd trait in many domesticated species — “cats in China, horses in parts of Russia, sheep in Italy and elsewhere, the guinea-pig in Germany, goats and cattle in India, rabbits, pigs and dogs in all long-civilized countries.”

“The incapacity to erect the ears,” Darwin concluded, “is certainly in some manner the result of domestication.”

“A century later, an ambitious (and adorable) experiment in the Soviet Union proved him right. At the time, Vladimir Lenin’s pseudo-scientific dogma had no room for classical genetics. So Russian geneticist Dmitry Belyayev disguised his own research as the study of animal physiology. He retreated to Siberia and attempted to domesticate the silver fox.”

“Belyayev took 130 foxes from fur farms and started a breeding program. He only picked the tamest foxes — those that seemed less jumpy around humans, and less likely to bite — as parents. When their pups were grown, he’d pick the tamest ones to breed again.”

“In just a few dozen generations, Belyayev’s foxes were tame. And, lo and behold, their ears were distinctly floppier. Just as Darwin suspected, the change in behavior had caused an unexpected change in appearance.”

 

I lose 2 pounds every night . . . by breathing

My brother Rick and I have had a “weight-off” for two years.  We check in every week to report our weight lose (or gain).  Rick weighs himself once a week while I obsessively weigh before bed and when I wake up. Every morning I’m always 2 pounds lighter than the night before.  I’ve never known where my 2 pounds  goes  . . .  until now . . .

The enlightening facts about fat metabolism

” . . . fat is converted to carbon dioxide and water. You exhale the carbon dioxide and the water mixes into your circulation until it’s lost as urine or sweat.”

“If you lose 10 pounds of fat, precisely 8.4 pounds comes out through your lungs and the remaining 1.6 pounds turns into water. In other words, nearly all the weight we lose is exhaled.”

judy’s journal

“This surprises just about everyone, but actually, almost everything we eat comes back out via the lungs. Every carbohydrate you digest and nearly all the fats are converted to carbon dioxide and water. The same goes for alcohol.”

“Protein shares the same fate, except for the small part that turns into urea and other solids, which you excrete as urine.”
“The only thing in food that makes it to your colon undigested and intact is dietary fibre (think corn). Everything else you swallow is absorbed into your bloodstream and organs and, after that, it’s not going anywhere until you’ve vaporised it.”

“The good news is that you exhale 200 grams (7 ounces) of carbon dioxide while you’re fast asleep every night, so you’ve already breathed out a quarter of your daily target before you even step out of bed.”

Eat less, exhale more

“So if fat turns into carbon dioxide, could simply breathing more make you lose weight? Unfortunately not. Huffing and puffing more than you need to is called hyperventilation and will only make you dizzy, or possibly faint. The only way you can consciously increase the amount of carbon dioxide your body is producing is by moving your muscles.”

“But here’s some more good news. Simply standing up and getting dressed more than doubles your metabolic rate. In other words, if you simply tried on all your outfits for 24 hours, you’d exhale more than 1,200 grams (42 ounces) of carbon dioxide.”

“More realistically, going for a walk triples your metabolic rate, and so will cooking, vacuuming and sweeping.”

“Metabolising 100 ounces of fat consumes 290 ounces of oxygen and produces 280 ounces of carbon dioxide plus 110 ounces of water. The food you eat can’t change these figures.
Therefore, to lose 100 ounces of fat, you have to exhale 280 ounces of carbon dioxide on top of what you’ll produce by vaporising all your food, no matter what you eat.”

Changing clothes, cooking vacuuming and sweeping don’t really appeal to me.  I’m going to go to bed now, sleep for 16 hours, and lose 4 pounds.

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