I’m having a contemplative Mother’s Day morning, reflecting on how grateful I am to have the wonderful, sweet mother that I have. She was always conscientious about promoting what she knew to be the healthiest lifestyle available for me and my brothers as we grew up. This is what mothers do- we nurture and tend, we worry about the vibrancy, health, happiness and longevity of our children and we do everything we can to cultivate those qualities in our offspring as we raise them. One thing that our current society has figured out in recent years, though, is that mothers also need to take especially good care of themselves, because if they don’t, they cannot adequately fulfill all those aspects of nurturing that I was just describing. A good mother needs the following things in the right amounts to sustain her: nutritious food, down time to rejuvenate, recharge, and contemplate, space to flex and move her own muscles, and sweet love in return. Too often mothers sacrifice and sacrifice and then never get that recharge…. and in thinking about this, my primary sense of heartache is with respect to the mother that we all have and share in common, and that is the Earth. The Earth truly sustains us, raises us and takes care of us, and she needs care, love, rest and rejuvenation just as we do. I realize that as a woman of nature-based spiritual practices I may see this differently from many…. but no matter what your religious or philosophical background, I don’t think you can deny some universal connection to the Earth as a mother. The earth sacrifices herself to us constantly not only for our nourishment and survival but for our entertainment. Her resources are our very umbilical cord- without them, our development halts. The Earth’s atmosphere is a womb-like, protective space…. outside of which we still don’t really know how we could survive long term. We’ve experimented and considered life outside of this safe, warm, breathable place, but there is still nothing as of yet that shows us any sense of comfort compared to what we have and know now. I look around me and am brought to tears by the vibrant life- the neon green pulsating and the yellow and purple flowers, the amazing sounds of hundreds of different birds outside my window, the knowledge that already in the last week or so my very property has started to fill up with edible, nutritious greens, and flowers that are attracting some of the largest bees I’ve ever seen. There is a breeze that feels so good to take in, and a warm sun that melts the tension away….and if gravity, and our personal connection to this earth is our umbilical cord, our life line, then all of this beautiful growth is a rich placenta. In knowing this, somewhere deep inside myself I feel a little pit of gnawing in my stomach, for I understand deeply that if this is so, then there is no escaping the natural rhythms that are true for all motherly cycles on this planet. If we don’t properly fertilize our connection to this rich placental surrounding, then we will shorten the cycle and this lining will need to shed itself in order to start over completely. I’m actually okay with this happening, for I know that I can never separate from these rhythms. As far as I know, we, as a society, do not currently have any one perfect answer as to how we will cultivate a greater confidence in long-term resource availability on this planet, but at least, on this Mother’s Day, see if you can honor the mother we all have in common. Ultimately it is likely to be the cumulative effect of all of the tiny things we each do individually to preserve resources and honor the Earth that allows us to stay here in this rich, beautiful, life-giving womb the longest. On the other hand, maybe it is our time to have faith and muster up the courage to accept the unknowns of the future and what it will be like to allow ourselves to be born into a new form of existence…. one in which we don’t have this instant cord of nutritious connection, where we learn to exist differently, and to expand, and grow and maybe that next time around instead of cutting the cord and learning to walk, we will cut the cord and learn to fly. On this Mother’s Day I hope that all of the beautiful, amazing mothers I know will take care of the equally beautiful nature around themselves, and show your love to her just as you will to your physical birth mother, or the loving mother that raised you. I hope that you will do this and also sense your own wings spreading and strengthening. Happy Mother’s Day.
There is so much talk out there about detoxifying the body, and so many different types and styles of detoxification available now, that it becomes difficult for people to know what is right for them. While it may currently be trendy, remember that in choosing a method of detox for yourself, it shouldn’t seem weird or trendy. It should seem like something that is nourishing and supportive of the body. I am getting ready to embark on a 21 day systems purification cleanse, and the method I will use is the Standard Process kit. The recommended program really is simple: you are supposed to eat food- nutritious, organic food. You should never be starving. You don’t drink lemonade for breakfast, lunch and dinner…. you drink smoothies and allow yourself unlimited vegetables, normal serving sizes of lean proteins. To be more exact, you use their protein smoothie powder blended with your choice of fruits and vegetables, and you can have 2 or 3 of these shakes a day, in addition to whatever other healthy vegetables and proteins you want. A comprehensive list of foods is included in the kit. You take herbal cleansing formula capsules as well as fiber capsules in addition to the smoothies and the whole foods. After the first week you switch from the cleanse capsules to a green superfoods capsule to optimally support the organs while the body is allowed to go into a deeper stage of detox, moving beyond just the blood sugar and fluids, to releasing toxins stored in the fat cells and organs. A cleanse should have you providing the body with dense, nutritious foods. During this cleanse you would cut out all sugar, carbohydrates, alcohol, caffeine and processed foods. Does it take a little bit of planning? Yes! Does it cost money to buy all the supplies for this three week reboot for your body? Yes! I have seen a lot of people who really need to do this shy away because they feel it is expensive or they feel it will be too inconvenient. But they also never get to see the changes they wish to see in their body that they so severely need, and they go on feeling miserable about it. This cleanse will spur weight loss, will show you that you really can eat in a much healthier way than you are currently doing, and will help get rid of certain annoying bodily symptoms that may be due to retained toxins. It is well worth all of the effort and investment that goes into it. Feel free to read more about what I am talking about at http://www.standardprocess.com and click on the 21 Day Purification Program for details. If you want to talk about this or any aspect of system cleansing in general with me, please do! Also, check out my website, http://www.nikkisnature.com and look on the events page for more details on an upcoming free detox meeting night I am holding at my office in Canton, CT. This is to answer personal questions, provide specific details on how to do the detox and get ready to order kits for anyone who wants to join. There are a group of people planning to detox all at the same time starting around 5/11…. so if you want in, we’d love to have you! When we start, I will have a private online forum for all of those participating so that we can support each other and share experiences. It’s spring cleaning time, and this is one great way to go at it on the personal health level.
Lately I have been more and more aware of the need to include teachings, skills and exercises in mindful awareness when working with my health care clients. When people come to me wanting help with pain, losing weight, quitting smoking, managing stress or anything else, I’m becoming more acutely aware of how helpful it would be if each of those people could work on being more aware of the present moment more of the time. Staying more clear and aware of each moment decreases stress astronomically, and there are some health professionals that suggest that stress is the primary root cause for up to 80% of illness. When you are really enmeshed in the present, you are able to exist within yourself as you are, and realize that you are okay. It sounds impossible to some, especially when stresses and hardships of life are at the forefront of the mind the majority of the time. Learning mindful awareness skills means learning how to bring the mind back to focusing only on the present moment, and learning how to do that more and more regularly throughout the day. Being in the present moment means a clear focus, and an awareness of the body and mind simply as they exist. In fact, I am able to practice this as I type. Even though I am producing thoughts, and transferring them onto the screen, I am trying to practice focusing on only myself in this moment as I work on this task. What this adds up to is a feeling of immersed concentration and an appreciation of what you are doing- without any active worrying about the future, or ruminating about the past. This is the key: reducing worry about the future, or getting stuck in the past. Eckhart Tolle says “everything that has ever happened to you has happened in the now”, and I love this, I understand it, and I enjoy helping others come to that realization as well. What I mean when I say that it is the key to everything, is that every single thing in life becomes easier and more approachable, more pleasant, and more infused with gratitude when you learn to step right back into the now regularly. No matter what problem you are facing, you can assist your ability to perceive it and manage it by stopping throughout the day and scaling your thoughts back only to the moment you are in. If you can really settle into the sensation of your body wherever you are in space, and start with “I exist”, you can learn to take it from there. This requires practice and skill, and in today’s hectic pace I’m finding that very few people have these skills or have even contemplated that they are important, or lacking. Most people go through the tasks of their day disconnected from the body in the present, while the mind wanders and chatters, worrying about things, fabricating ideas of what may or may not happen, and so forth. The thing is that you don’t have to be a zen person, or knowledgeable in meditation or yoga or anything else in particular to begin to learn to practice mindful awareness. You just need to have a willingness to be open to changing and improving the way that you experience life. Mindful awareness, or present moment awareness skills are increased through many of the modalities that I use in my work such as hypnosis, meditation, Reiki, and dream work, but I have found that even in straight up physical therapy, and dealing with chronic pain, that mindful awareness practices are extremely beneficial for people. This topic is abstract and supported by different types of philosophical thinking, so I welcome your questions and comments here! Also, if you are interested in learning mindful awareness through my introduction to meditation series class which begins this Thursday evening, or are interested in any other approaches, contact me anytime. www.nikkisnature.com
I was listening to a really interesting podcast the other day about childhood obesity and what a terrible problem it is in our country. The statistics were alarming. They stated that something like 40 percent of children are overweight or obese, and for adults this number is up to two thirds of the population. The podcast included a panel of well-respected health experts holding a brainstorming session about possible approaches to this huge issue. It was highlighted that children eat what they are given, and so it is obvious that adults and especially parents are the ones that need to change what they are doing. One person said that if you distribute material asking parents if their child is obese, that most will just ignore it, thinking it is not a problem. So another expert suggested that maybe we should point out that a child being overweight is a glaring form of malnutrition.
I loved thinking about this problem from this vantage point, because it is completely true, but not often talked about. When you hear the word malnutrition, you may conjure up images of skinny children in third world countries with bloated bellies and such. This is certainly malnutrition, but now think of the child that is being raised predominantly on processed foods. The cheap foods that we have come to rely on as a country for our sustenance contain very little of the nutrients that we need to healthily sustain the body. When you don’t have adequate nutrients, the body becomes very good at holding onto what it has as a defense mechanism. The difference between our obese children and the starving kids in Africa is that our kids have a regular influx of lots of calories, but they are empty. So the child living on processed meat, cheese, carbohydrates and sugars is actually almost as unhealthy as the kid in the starving rural third world community.
As I take this concept further, we cannot deny that adults need to address this problem for themselves as well as for their children. People that have trouble losing weight and are in a constant battle to do so may not need to eat less (though this often helps initially), but may really need to just eat better. We know this on some level, and yet the hectic business of our lives often gets in the way of making that mindful decision about what will be eaten that day. This is where mindful awareness clear thinking come into play. The only way to start eating healthier is to break habits of picking up certain items out of convenience… and this won’t happen unless you stay fully aware of your intentions and your actions at important times, such as when shopping and planning/preparing meals. I believe that people need frequent and easy access to nutrition education, but I also believe that people do know a lot of the basics already. They know that they should eat more fruits and vegetables and less processed junk, but it isn’t easy to change habits. This is where I enjoy helping people to have strong intentions and the mental clarity to follow through with them. This is often worked on through hypnosis or developing meditation skills. It may sound far-fetched, but meditating can definitely help you to lose weight by helping you to return easily and frequently to a clear, focused state of mind where it is easier to see the big picture over the usual instant gratification. Please feel free to comment here and add your thoughts on weight loss issues in our country. They are certainly adding to a growing pile of health issues that is becoming insurmountable.
If you need help with health issues or would like to attend an upcoming hypnosis session or meditation class, feel free to contact me anytime through http://www.nikkisnature.com. I am happy to help, and wish you all a healthy and peaceful day!
My intentions were to finish my thesis and relax for a while. My regular job as a physical therapist has been going well and I was looking forward to reading some fiction, having plenty of free time to spend gardening, working on the house and hanging with the family. Well, I did finish my thesis and that went very well… but I noticed a vacancy opening up in a nice storefront location in Collinsville where I live. I had no intentions of opening a business at this time. I hadn’t saved enough money yet, I thought, and I hadn’t had that period of time to enjoy where there was nothing in particular to accomplish. I guess I just need to admit that I am a very motivated person. Well, maybe not motivated in general for everything, but extremely motivated when it comes to pursuing ideals related to my passions and my perceived role in the growth of the world. Anyway, I felt I had to inquire about the open space, just to see what the rent would be, to prepare myself for my future business venture. It turns out it was quite expensive for what it was, and I realized that I would have to save quite a bit of money to feel ready to open a retail shop front such as that one. However, in the midst of inquiring about that space, I stumbled upon another open space that was very different, but ended up calling to me. This space was not a retail shop front, but an office space in a quiet building. The rent was super affordable, and it just seemed to be mine. The office building is a homey house in a very convenient, easy-to-get-to location in Collinsville. Most of the other tenants leasing offices in the building are women with health and wellness skills and services- a psychotherapist, a holistic nurse, a reflexologist, a massage therapist, and a few others. The building is quiet, welcoming and perfect for the atmosphere I need to lend to people looking for private sessions with me. Also, the tenants work together to help each other with marketing and promoting holistic care. How could I not be a part of this team? It felt like a perfect fit… so I took it.
Needless to say, this started a nonstop stream of work for me- setting up the space, marketing, planning an LLC, designing client forms and procedures, working evenings to build up a decent inventory of my homemade candles and soaps… and the list goes on. The more I become immersed in creating my own personal role in the world of healing, the more opportunities seem to continue to present themselves. I’ve been scheduling personal sessions at the office for hypnosis, Reiki, and holistic physical therapy, and traveling to people’s homes to provide physical therapy to hospice clients who need a therapist with a compassionate, holistic touch. I’m also scheduling classes to make sampling holistic and meditative healing work available to small groups of people at an affordable price. Why do I work so hard on setting up my practice? I often ask myself that, as I don’t feel I’ll be making much money at it for some time. I don’t really fully know why in a way that can be put into words. I do know that I am meant to promote two important principles that need lots of education and exposure in today’s society. One is that our connection to nature is a key facet in our health, and the other is that looking inward, and doing inner work of various sorts is crucial to our health as well. These concepts are still on the fringe for the general population, and though they are being talked about more, the act of putting them into practice is still relatively rare.
So, I opened a holistic healing office space almost as an impulsive action. I guess I am a poster child for going with your intuition. The bottom line is that as much work as it is, it feels fantastic to be doing this. I think it is important for people not to overlook that creative impulse that sometimes shows itself as the opportunity in which their unique brand of goodness may be offered to others. This applies to people in every vocation. Don’t feel like you are settling on something that doesn’t challenge you in a good way just because you have to. I’m not saying we should all drop everything and live out of the backseats of our cars to pursue our dreams. Not everyone can do that- especially people like me with families and other obligations. I continue to work at my established job so that I can afford to do the things I’m doing. It uses up most of my time, but I know it’s worth it. If you’ve read this far- thank you for listening! Usually I write semi-educational articles about interesting health concepts I’ve discovered, but today is a relaxing Saturday morning for me where I’ve already had two cups of coffee, and am sitting here contemplating the new twist life has taken for me lately. I’ll stop my stream of consciousness introspective morning rant and sign off now, as I have advertising deadlines to address. I wish you all a wonderful weekend and an amazing spring. Follow your intuition and your higher purpose- I think you’ll be glad you did! Love and peace.
So, here is the official start of the Nikki’s Nature blog. Every day I am tempted to post my thoughts on facebook related to healing, mental and spiritual insights, holistic approaches and many other things. I usually stop myself, though, because I see the posts through the eyes of the masses and realize how much of it could be taken as preachy, idealistic or pedantic when out of the context of a healing forum. This seems like a good place for me to talk unhindered, where I know those that read it are doing so by choice, even if it is only a select few! I hope this page provides a safe place for discussion and inspiration. Peace!