Friday, December 30, 2011

Preparing For Our Breaking Point

When I reach my breaking point, sometimes I don't feel like there is any valid "reason" for it.  I just feel plain terrible and have this feeling in me that nobody should feel happy if I'm feeling so miserable.  Or I feel an irrational sense of control towards those around me.  Wednesday, December 28th, those who crossed my path were innocent victims to the seething anger I was feeling.  I had lost control of this emotion and despite all my attempts to be mindful, I felt such an overwhelming sense of frustration that I couldn't hear my own mindfulness bell. There is a feeling I get when I know I should make another choice, when I know I should let go and change my current course but on Wednesday, I wasn't listening to it and pushed it aside, clinging to my hurt and frustration.  I even left the house and tried to calm myself in nature.  This helped a little but there was something in me that was rigid, firm, unbending and unwilling to compromise.  It wasn't until after raising my voice at my sweet little girl and seeing the fear in her eyes that I began to soften.  I remember having that same fear and disappointment when I was yelled at as a child and it had such a severe affect on me.  I vowed I would never do it to my own child.  And here I was, again.  It has been very few times but they are there.  My highest self may be present when I have these outbursts but she's not in the driver's seat.  It felt more like the child in me who needed to be heard and listened to was behind the wheel, making all the decisions.  The biggest problem is that I am not a child anymore and must find it within me to be the adult, functioning from my highest self.

I do believe that repair is critical after moments like the one I had on the 28th but I don't think it's enough.  Or we could walk around treating people terribly and then apologize and think that's ok to do over and over again.  I am determined to work on myself and look into my core to see what it is that is brewing inside of me so I can have a deeper understanding and make the changes I need to.  This might be through therapy, healing on a physical level or noting if lunar-menstrual cycles have anything to do with it and plan accordingly... awareness of self, mindfulness of self.  Preparing myself for the moments when I am unable to hear the mindfulness bell.

I have been repairing with my daughter for the last few days, being kind and attentive but not giving in to our regular rules.  Trying to be more understanding when she acts out, who knows, maybe she's imitating my own behavior.  She is a vivid mirror.  I am trying to breathe into the sensations I have within me to see where they are coming from and how I can move forward so that I can minimize and ultimately eliminate these breakdowns in mindfulness. It doesn't mean I won't get angry or have these feelings again, but I don't want to inflict pain on those I love.

I remind myself of my imperfection.  I take responsibility for my actions.  I breathe into my core being and promise to do my best.

Breathe. Smile. Understand Yourself. Have Patience.

The photo for this post if from Graur Codrin's profile on Free Digital Photos.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Learn to Stop

"In daily life, there is so much to do and so little time.  You may feel pressure to run.  Learn to stop! Touch the present moment and you will touch peace and joy" - Thich Nhat Hanh

I know for a fact I have blogged about this quote before but it seems quite apropos right now with the bustling of friends and family and presents and parties... which I LOVE!  I love being with the people I love, friends and family.  I love planning activities, menus - especially the sweet treats involved, though I often make the healthy, gluten free, low glycemic version.  But what I always forget is how exhausting it can be too, especially if we don't take time to recharge - also something that I've written about many times.  

Now, right now, during the holidays it may seem impossible to slow down, especially if there are multiple young children involved in the festivities but I am trying to do two things.  When I'm in a social gathering to relieve myself of any pressures (self-imposed or otherwise) to do too much or go beyond my capacity.  And it takes being fully present in the moment, the second thing I'm trying to do, to stay aware of any self-imposed pressures to do too much, or to be aware of when I've reached my limit and to know when, where and how to STOP and let go.  Even if for a short moment, so that I can release the pressure that been building up, unwind even just a little, and recharge for the rest of the holiday festivities! 

Whatever holiday you are or are not celebrating these last few days of 2011, I wish you peace, joy and a beautiful present moment!

Breathe. Smile. Stop. Laugh. Wink. Exhale. Enjoy!

The photo in this post is from Chris Sharp's portfolio on Free Digital Photos.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Humble Request

We are busy, busy getting ready for family to come in town but had a simple request to those of you who already follow via email if you feel so inclined.  I just upgraded my blog to allow for people to follow it more easily so, please "follow" the blog by going to the follow box on the right sidebar of the blog... and to anyone stopping by and checking the blog out, it would be GREAT to have new readers!!!

Breathe. Smile. Celebrate. Love.

The photo for this post is by Topstep07's profile in free digital photos.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Imperfection is perfect

I am often surprised by the tone in my voice especially when I've reached my limit.  Maybe surprised isn't quite the word, more like embarrassed or ashamed.  Often I may say words that would normally convey a kind or neutral message but the tone in my voice carries with it annoyance, frustration, anger or some other emotion.  Yet I want to be able to temporarily mask my real feelings until a later time when I can feel more 'in control' so that I might spare my loved ones from further pain or discomfort.  The worst time to express myself is when I am engulfed in strong feelings of anger.

But what do we do then, when we have to interact with those involved in the moment?  I'm not sure I have THE answer, nor do I think there is any one answer.  And it is in this circumstance that I find my tone gets curt and just not so nice.  It is in the moment(s) immediately following the stimulus and before our reaction that we make a critical decision about how we want to play out the scene.  Those moments are what Elisha Goldstein calls the "space" between stimuli and reactions.  It is in that space that we 'should' try to calmly inform our loved ones that we are feeling frustrated and need some time before we can talk about it.  And this is my dilemma,  is it ok to have a curt tone of voice?  I often struggle with the tone and energy I exude even if the words out of my mouth are not mean.  I have a lot of judgement towards myself for the moments I speak with a curt tone with my family.  When I'm with my daughter, I often cannot take time "out" to cool off or rather it's not the most practical thing to do, like when we are in the same room, at a friends house or in the car together.

I suppose that a terse, low tone is better than all out screaming (which I have done for brief moments). I think the issue really for me can be that of dealing with the negative emotion and feelings swirling inside me and then accepting my imperfections and that I will not always say the right thing at the right time.

Recognizing the mistakes I make and rectifying them seems to be far more important than trying to not make them at all.  And as I write all this, it seems so clear and simple. Ideas I've read elsewhere and have heard over and over.  Yet here I am still trying to understand the nature of human interactions, my own internal workings and how the drama of life plays out.  I am determined to slow down, especially in the space between stimuli and reactions!

Breathing. Feeling. Swirling. Smiling.

The photo for this post is from Evgeni Dinev's profile on Free Digital Photos.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Loving Speech: A Deeper Look

I was recently asked by a friend and reader of this blog to write on honesty and doing so even when what we have to say may not be easy for the other person to hear.  This has also sparked a great idea to incorporate YOUR ideas, meaning you who read this blog, into my idea pool.  I would love for you to write in with topic ideas as it helps me get inspired!  So send me your topics and I will try to feature one reader suggestion a month!

I touched on the topic of Loving Speech in a previous post.  I think the term loving speech explains itself but I myself often struggle with determining what loving speech looks like in practice.  I have determined that there is no step-by-step procedure that we can plug into every circumstance but there are some things I have tried to do in the past that have been successful and hope they can assist some of you in your loving speech endeavors.

If I am the person who has some feeling or truth that I need to share with a friend or loved one and I sense it may be difficult for that person to hear it, I will first look VERY deeply at what it is I am feeling, thinking, needing.  One of the best ways to do this is to journal about the "issue" I have so that I can clearly understand my feelings around it, clearly see the most important parts of it, especially those that will need to be communicated, and look at the part of my being that is involved with this issue. When I say 'part of my being' I mean, is this issue related to the child in me, the adolescent or the adult. This can often help us see who inside of us is in the "driver's seat" as it relates to the issue because let's face it, sometimes it's that little girl or boy who's making those snap reactive decisions or that feisty teenager who was so rebellious is the one who yells at our loved one today.

Doing this kind of writing can also help us prepare for speaking with our loved one.  In the past and even still I have had to share my difficult feelings with my loved ones first in writing, for several reasons.  When I am in the moment talking, I often forget things that I need to say so writing them down helps remind me and having my loved one read about it first helps ease the tension I have around the issue and around any fears I have about talking.  Also, I often forget my mindfulness when I am speaking, especially when the discussion is fresh or raw, so writing keeps me mindful as I can do my best to ensure that the message is delivered mindfully and lovingly.  So I think that writing a letter is a more than acceptable first step to engaging in Loving Speech with our loved ones.

After the letter has been read or instead of a letter, we should always schedule a time to actually discuss the issue.  It is crucial that we speak when we are not heated with anger and that we inform our loved one that we are having a hard time and that we would benefit from having a Loving Speech conversation about an issue.  I cannot stress enough that we cannot speak when we are heated with anger as our perspective will be tainted and we will likely say something we regret, I've done it and it doesn't feel good for anyone involved.

I find that speaking from the point of view of how I feel vs telling the person what he or she is doing wrong also helps bring to light the issue in a lovingly way.  So I might say one of the following:

"I feel very frustrated when...."
"I find that I have a difficult time when..."
"I notice that I don't understand..."
"From my perspective it seems like you're...."
"When you said, 'XYZ,' it made me feel...."
"Can you help me understand why you..."
"It would help me if you could...."
"Is there something one your mind..?"

These statements reinforce that it is MY perspective or feelings and that I am trying to find out more about the situation or my loved ones perspective so that we can try to come up with a solution.

Along with Loving Speech also comes Deep Listening.  So, even though I may be the one that has a frustration with my loved one, I must do my best, my very, very best (this can be very difficult) to listen deeply to what my loved one says and ask questions when I don't understand or explain myself even more in reaction to what he/she says but we must also let our loved ones speak fully too!

Finally, we should always try to have Loving Speech conversations about positive things too, on a regular basis, so that we are not always sitting down to focus on the negative.  Something Rishi and I have done in the past, which I think as a result of this post we may need to start up again, is to sit down with each other a least a couple of times a week and share things that we are grateful for about each other and note the things that we each did that helped us or that made us happy so that when we have to sit down and discuss our grievances we can feel strong and secure in the positive foundation that rests on all the things that we love about each other and that we are grateful for.

I think that this way of speaking is pertinent to almost all relationships and can really help us clear the space and energy.  Something I often struggle with is determining for myself what issues are serious enough to share and with whom.  Do I do this with an acquaintance, unlikely, but possible.  Coworker, should but may not.  Friend, more likely to but it might not always happen. Husband/Wife/Partner, definitely.  Child, absolutely.  Do I tell them every single annoyance and frustration, probably not unless it's frequent, reoccurring or turning into resentment/anger.  So I am NOT perfect with this.  These are things I have tried to do but do not necessarily do to perfection, but hopefully this can give guidance and ideas for the next time you need to discuss something difficult with another person.  Clear, positive, compassionate communication can enhance any relationship!

Breathe. Speak. Love. Listen. Communicate!

The photo in this post is from Prozac1's profile on Free Digital Photos.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Being Wrong Can Be Right

So my family has an "I'm right" gene where we really stand this ground til the bitter end.  I carry this gene too.  I have in the past been so stuck on being right, perhaps to prove my intelligence or worthiness but it was years before I realized how tremendously frustrating this trait can be.  I can remember 3 people in my family hurrying through the door into my house to verify who was right about a piece of information they had been arguing about during the entire ride over and what struck me the most was the energy that I sensed about it not being so much about finding the true answer but about someone being right and the others being wrong.  So, I'm not trying to say that we shouldn't search and discover the truth, or point out huge fallacies such as racist based wrong doings because that is indeed very important BUT I'd like to take a deeper look into the attitude and energy behind being right, especially on the one-on-one personal level.

When I think I'm right whether it's about a fact, belief, opinion or philosophy and so does the other person in the conversation, one of us is very likely not right and possibly even both of us may be wrong or we may both be right, all depending on the topic and circumstances.  When I make every possible attempt to show you how right I am it means I'm showing you how wrong you are, which doesn't necessarily make you feel very good.  I noticed that this can even happen when my showing my rightness is meant to relieve someone from discomfort.

We had my uncle and his girlfriend in town and they were over for our 2nd Indian take-out dinner with my mom and sister and niece.  Most of the group have a hard time with spice so we ordered raita, a yogurt based side dish that can help ease the pains of spiciness.  Well, after everyone was sweating from the fire in their mouths and even the raita wasn't helping, I remembered that sometimes restaurants have been known to spice their raita.  I tasted it by itself and it did indeed seem spiced.  I had my sister and husband try too to make sure I wasn't sensing the spice from another dish.  Then I began spreading the news, so the really sensitive mouths might spare themselves from further burning.  My mother insisted the other bowl of raita next to her wasn't spicy but tears were streaming down her face due to the fire burning in her mouth.  So, we did another 3 party taste test and that raita was indeed spicy.

But in the process of proving my rightness, even though it was to be for the benefit of all those in the room, I proved my mother wrong which based on her reaction didn't make her feel better - even if it was going to put the fire in her mouth out.  She still had a sense of irritation by my needing to prove my rightness.  But you may be thinking, "But you were right!"  Well, I was right but that doesn't mean I needed to loudly and brashly prove my mother was wrong (a beautiful mother daughter tradition ;-)  This is a dangerously slippery slope that doesn't have the same approach each time.

In my 20-20 hindsight, I think next time I may simply say, "Maybe I'm wrong.  It seems spicy to me but it's possible that I'm wrong."  Or I could have said, with a sincere tone, "I'm sorry for offending you, I really was only trying to spare you further discomfort."  In other circumstances we could also say, "I think this is right, but I'm not 100% sure.  Shall we look into it together?"  or "I may be wrong."  Even if we feel like we are 100% right, the attitude can really make a difference in how we make others feel.  There is a certain level of humility that we attain when we realize we are not always right.  I have learned to admit being wrong as well as reduce the need to prove my rightness, though I'm not perfect so it does happen.  But I do notice I feel better when I'm not out to prove myself right and admit that I can make mistakes!  Allowing others to have some rightness and accepting our wrongness can actually have an amazing affect on our relationships...

Breathe.  Be Right and Wrong.  Be Wonderful.

There's an interesting TedTalks by Kathryn Schultz on this and Richard Carlson's Chapter 12 on pg 33 of his "Don't Sweat the small stuff" book also has a great perspective too!

The photo for this post is from Exsodus's profile on Free Digital Photos.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


I am often amazed at the little voice in my head and how negative and surprisingly judgemental it can be.  That little voice is our self talk, that which we are often not even fully aware of and even less in control of.   Many, if not most, of us are engaging in frequent negative self talk that often involves judging ourselves based on millions of preconceived ideas we have for how we are supposed to be.

During one of those 70 degree November days we had a few weeks back, I decided not to sit at my computer during Anjali's nap but rather to go out and clear our vegetable garden of the falling leaves.  And it took me the majority of the time that I was out there to finally stop pointing out in my head all the things that weren't good enough about the garden, the way I planted the seeds, how it was growing, how I could be tending to it better.  And then I looked around our back yard, and the judgement went on and on... and instead of simply noticing all these things, for example that there were millions of leaves everywhere that needed to be cleaned up or that I could take better care of the rest of the yard, make it look nicer.  Instead of simply being aware of these things, there was a negative, judgemental gremlin attached to every thought I had and everything I noticed.  The lack of landscaping, the weeds that have taken over the yard, the toys strune about.  Those of you who know us, know that our yard, especially the back yard, tends to be pretty low on our list of priorities.  Long story short, the things that I noticed were not really the "problem" but the judgement carried with it could become one.  We have chosen to focus our time, attention and energy on other things and we do not want to use chemicals to kill weeds, so our yard doesn't look nearly as nice as others.  But the birds come and hunt their worms, the squirrels eat our acorns and the chipmunks scurry about too!  But I still judge myself!

Luckily, after getting my hands in the dirt and really giving the plants lots of love, the clutches of negativity and judgement began to soften and finally release and I really began to relax and be present with all the beautiful life that surrounded me.  The lovely green plants that we cultivated and have allowed to thrive.  I noticed the beautiful blue sky and soft clouds floating by... all things I wouldn't have noticed if I'd kept myself locking in my negative self talk.

Positive affirmations are key to reversing any negative self talk.  Meditation helps us to become aware of it.  Love, Nature, Kindness also help!

Breathe.  Affirm.  Soften.  Let go!

The photo for this post is from africa's profile on Free Digital Photos.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

In Gratitude

Giving Thanks - a beautiful practice.  A practice that can bring us closer to the abundance in our life, closer to our loved ones, closer to our true selves.  I have tried in the past to practice giving thanks everyday.  Even Rishi and I have taken the time to express gratitude each day to each other, though, as busy as life gets, it tapers off and isn't done as often.  I think that we should take more than just one day out of the year to stop and express our deep gratitude for what we have in our lives and those loved ones we have to share it with.

At the same time, though there is much that I am grateful for, I struggle deeply with the holiday that is before us - Thanksgiving!  I love gatherings of people that I love and even more so when there is great food involved.  But just as I believe that we must look deeply at our own personal pain and suffering, I believe the same is needed to look deeply at the pain and suffering that exists in the history of this country.  Over the past decade and a half, as I've learned the stories that make up the beginning of this nation, stories of it's formation that are the foundation of all the systems, processes and deeply held attitudes and beliefs, I see tragedy, betrayal, lies, deep suffering and much much more.  We must acknowledge that this holiday, even though it presently embodies family togetherness, deep gratitude, warm connections and sharing and love, and wonderful food, it is based on a dark, greed filled tragedy and masacre of the native people who were living here when the founders of this country arrived.  If we do not embrace the true nature of this holiday, we cannot embrace ourselves wholly.  I will link to a few other blogs and articles that explain in much more detail, not for the faint of heart, so that we can face and embrace the truth that lies beneath the sugar coated holiday we all know about.

I do NOT mean that we cannot enjoy being with our loved ones, enjoy delicious food (in mindful moderation!) and create fabulous memories on Thanksgiving.  BUT, I think a great practice, even if it's just our own personal practice is to take a few moments of silence or in meditation, giving deep thanks to the millions of souls that lost their lives tragically as part of the formation of this country.  I also plan on expressing hope for the souls in the present day who are currently forming this country into what it will become to find deep mindfulness.  Ultimately, I think having conversations with our families and others about the true history of Thanksgiving will lead to a transformation of consciousness that could ultimately lead to a transformation in how we honor our past.

I am grateful for everyone who takes the time to read this blog!  For my amazing husband and daughter!  My parents and sisters.  The family that I gained through my wonderful marriage!  My extended family!  I have so much gratitude for our house, my husbands employment, the food on our table and the love in our hearts!  I give thanks for the universe and all the gifts I have received!

Breathe.  Remember.  Embrace.  Love.  Give Thanks!

In Gratitude, to the native people of this land who lost their lives, their land and part of their heritage and spirit as it was stolen.  In Gratitude to the African slaves torn from their homeland forced to work to build this country from the ground up.

This is one of the best articles I found that express and explain what I am referring to in this post:

You could also check out Howard Zen's A People's History of the United States.

The image for this post is from Michelle Meiklejohn's profile on Free Digital Photos.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Peace, remaining calm in your heart!

"Peace is not the absence of chaos or conflict, but rather finding yourself in the midst of that chaos and remaining calm in your heart," Mr. John Mroz.

I have read this quote a few times and it keeps coming back to my mind, especially when I cannot find the calm in my heart, like when Anjali slaps me three times in a row for not letting her play in the car, or when there's crazy traffic and I'm running super late... I think living this quote wholeheartedly is what I am striving to do in this life but it might be this entire lifetime that I need to learn to practice this.

I suppose I shouldn't be so hard on myself, I can remain calm a lot of the time but there are certain things, triggers, that just push my buttons so hard that a switch is flipped and the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde syndrome is activated, turning me into an evil villain..  or at least that's how I feel on the inside and many times how I act on the outside.  Of course, we all have a little Mr. Hyde (the 'evil' one) in us... perhaps evil is not the most mindful of terms, but that part of us that isn't as skillful in loving kindness and compassion.

Often it's the little hurt girl/boy inside of us that didn't get heard or it's because we are not living our lives to their fullest potential, or we just haven't taken the time to really cultivate deep mindfulness, loving kindness and compassion!  Or it's all three or more reasons.  Whatever the reason, we have a part of us that has a knee jerk reaction that isn't always the kindest. And this part of us may be the part that rules our behavior the majority of the time.  Or just part of the time.  Regardless, that part is there, perhaps just a seed, or perhaps a fully sprouted plant in our consciousness!  Meditation is one of the most powerful tools that we have at our disposal to quiet that side of our beings down so that the loving kindness can flourish!

I know that I have tried to pretend that part of me doesn't exist off and on over the years but it's during those times that it seems to gain more power and control.... I have also tried to avoid conflict, pain, discomforts, anger, etc because wow, how hard are those things to face!!!  VERY!  And we usually feel about as chaotic as those feelings themselves!  or the situation!  Facing conflict and pain means facing our darkest side and that same side in those around us, even in our closest loved ones.  And this is definitely uncomfortable, perhaps even shakes up our reality in a way that disturbs us.  Mindfulness comes into action so that we don't behave with that knee jerk reactive part of ourselves but that we are able to take an objective perspective.  See what role I am playing in creating the situation and to come up with a solution.**See disclaimer below.  And mindfulness also lets us see that we are not the only ones that feel this way, that darker side of ourselves and our lives isn't bad, it just is.  It's there and ignoring it just makes it a monster.  Confronting it helps us to realize that it's just as scared as we are!

Mindfulness is the tool to remaining calm when in the middle of a hurricane, giving us the awareness to approach the conflict peacefully so that we can share in the solution without guilt, shame, fear or any other negative emotion or if those emotions arise, we are more equipped to manage them!  And meditation is the technique that is very effective in attaining high levels of mindfulness!

Breathe.  Look Deeply.  Smile.  See the Dark.  Breathe in the Light!

(**Disclaimer - this is NOT possible if there is any form of abuse going on, verbal, emotional or physical!  People who are abused do NOT play a part in their abuse, even if they have done something to anger the abuser, the fact that the abuser cannot control him/herself is not their fault!)

The photo in this post is from a staff member from Free Digital Photos.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Self Care: Make the Time!

I was reminded by a great friend of mine recently the precious value there is in self-care and I've touched on this topic in at least one or two earlier posts.  I've been running around trying to get my mom settled in her new apartment and offering my moral support to another family member who is going through a really hard time... and of course, I am happy to do so and usually have the energy and time too, when my faithful babysitters are free, but taking care of others does utilize our own energy so it's crucial that we take the time to rejuvenate ourselves!  I definitely want to be clear that we can take care of ourselves AND support those around us as long as doing so doesn't hurt anyone else or ourselves!

I was remembering when I worked in San Diego for a non-profit law office taking in the stories of immigrant women survivors of domestic violence - literally translating their stories of abuse as part of their legal case to get their immigration papers in order without the help of their citizen abuser husbands and it weighed terribly on my heart.  So I had to take a permanent reprieve from working day in and day out with that sort of trauma.  It is very easy to make other people's stories and stress feel like our own, especially when we care deeply for them.  There is a way to keep our energy from being drained - self-care!  We also can work on grounding ourselves through deep breathing, meditation and imagining a protective energy around us when we know we are going to be interacting with people going through a very hard time or for those people who work with trama survivors or who are in very difficult situations.

There is always going to be something to do, someone to help or somewhere to go - and we should do it as our lives and time permits.  Supporting those around us and in our community can serve us at a deep, core level where our heart, mind and souls meet.  BUT, if we are running on empty, then we are no good to anyone.

Please, please, please let us vow to take time to calm our minds, release all heavy energy from our heart, focus on some simple beauties in life like the sunset, a beautiful flower, an autumn breeze, relax in our own way and refuel ourselves so that we can continue on our life path and be support for those around us!

Breathe. Smile. Release. Rejoice. Rejuvenate!

The photo for this post if from Elwood W McCay's profile on Free Digital Photos.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Setting Boundaries: Kind but Firm

I remember when someone suggested years ago that I didn't have healthy boundaries set up with a particular relationship.  I didn't even really know what that meant - and through my cultural studies over the years, I learned that it can mean very different things in different cultures!  Even to this day, I struggle with creating healthy boundaries within my family, friends, acquaintances and colleagues.  Theoretically, I think I have it all figured out.  In practice, that is a much different story!  I can remember thinking as a child that if I avoided all conflict and never made my own needs more important than those around me than all would be well.  That notion right there may give some insight to the environment that was my childhood home.  (**Disclaimer - I LOVE my parents, but as with all humans, they are not without their faults, as I am not either, and thus have given me many opportunities for reflection, growth and to see how I might try to do things differently)

Well, I have definitely realized that being the kind of "yes-woman" I thought I should be is NOT the way to go as it leads to passive aggressiveness, untruthfulness, unresolved feelings, etc.  And luckily, it never got me into too much trouble - though my husband would beg to differ on that as it relates to my high school days!

So, then, how do we set boundaries without pushing people away, being mean/rude, or without seeming like selfish, ego-mongering jerk?  Well, I don't have one nice, neat answer but here are some ideas worth sharing...

Something Rishi and I learned in our parenting class can be a GREAT guide in setting boundaries - Kindess with Firmness or Firmness with Kindness.  When interacting with my 2 year old, this sounds like, "I hear you that you want to play for one more minute, but it's nap time.  I love you but we are all done."  I can guarantee I do not always get kindness back in return but I actually do sometimes.  (I also get angry screams and loud "NOs" too, as she sometimes gets from me when I'm not on top of my game!)

We should also check in with ourselves and make sure we are taking care of ourselves and to make sure that our commitments, relationships, responsibilities, etc are nourishing us in some way for the better/in a positive way!  Now this is the tricky part, especially as it relates to our families.  I am known for not always being so kind with my words and tone when it comes to speaking with my own mother.  But I have also been known to toggle between giving and giving to her and having to back off big time to get some reprieve.  I have found that I feel the best when I can control my tone and keep it kind but be clear on my boundaries for what I can do and then offer some suggestions for how she can figure out the things that I either can't do or am not willing to do at that time.  Of course there is guilt involved for not wanting to do everything for my own mother, but I truly believe that if we do everything for another person - both people ultimately lose out because one is exhausted and the other hasn't learned his/her own lesson is self care and personal responsibility.  When I've told my mom that I can't do something - she often does it herself, hmmm and probably earned a rewarding feeling of accomplishment too!

I do think there comes a point when we can give so much to others that we have to be sure to take care of ourselves and it is up to each of us to figure out what that limit is and what it is we can do to feel taken care of.  I firmly believe that TRUE nourishment and self care comes from a non-commercial, natural source.  Buying a new pair of $200 boots, not the best nourishing self care, but definitely not the worst.  Getting into nature, getting a massage, spending time with a nourishing friend, these are some great, non-commercial, natural ways to take care of ourselves!

Breathe. Smile. Take care. Be Firm with Kindness. Love!

The image in this post if from prozac1's profile in Free Digital Photos.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Trusting Intuition

As I've mentioned before, I have been working on re-igniting my long time passions for health and wellness that I've had now for the past 13 years - which up until now had only been a personal journey but now my intent and vision is for it to become a professional one as well.  This blog has been part of the foundation for the new flame I am igniting to help the passion grow!  Reiki has been another part of the foundation.  I am able to receive the benefits of the reiki energy for my own healing from when I went through my attunements and whenever I practice on others.

Reiki at the simplest level is an amazing relaxation and stress reduction technique but at it's most complex, well, I'm not even sure if I know all of what it is at it's most complex, but at a deeper level, it is an energetic healing modality that helps balance the subtle energies of our body.  The healing can be physical, emotional, spiritual, ancestral and karmic.  The subtle energies that Reiki helps to balance include our chakras, our aura and our own ki or chi.  And indeed these energies are very subtle, which can make it difficult for us to grasp them and to grasp reiki.

There is science behind it - all matter is energy, energy is also all around us in forms that we can't even perceive, and since we are made up of different forms of energy too - why wouldn't we be able to use the inherently positive energy from the universe to help rebalance our energies?  This is actually deeply connected to Quantum Physics - much of which I intuitively understand but have not studied at any great lengths therefore will not go into that aspect of it, yet anyway!

The intuitive part is the part that doesn't fit into hard science and can easily be discredited by the scientific, pragmatic left brain side.  Intuition is that gut feeling you have that tells you "yes, go forward!" or "Nope, run away dear, run fast!"  Many of us second guess this part of our being or we are so disassociated from it that we don't even feel it.  Often our socialization, our families, our experiences or trauma have created an even further divide between our conscious mind and our intuitive body.

I know I'm always preaching about meditation- but it is a wonderful way to start to reconnect to our intuition.  Also, when we are faced with decisions, we can do a "decision meditation" where we sit and get into a meditative state and then bring the decision into our conscious mind and see what our "gut" feeling is.  That feeling may be in our gut or it may be in another part of our body, but often it is more of a feeling, the less rational side of things.  That "gut" feeling may contradict everything you know and believe but it is your intuition telling you something from a more expansive place.  If you find yourself thinking too much or being overly cerebral about it, then you're probably not intuiting.

An example of how my intuition works best is my people meter.  There have been now several occasions when I met a friend of a friend (different friends) and had a bad feeling in my gut and sure enough, usually within a short period of time, that person did something pretty bad to the friend.  I often second guess the feeling, afraid that I'm being judgemental or not giving them a chance but each time it's been confirmed by actual behaviors.  I have also had personal experiences where I just didn't listen to my intuition several times until I finally started to feel badly about a situation.  It was only once feeling bad that I realized I kind of knew all along this wasn't going to work out.  So there is merit to listening to your intuition and it can save you from unnecessary discomfort!

Intuition can also inform you about some of the goodness in your life or what that goodness is.  Listening to intuiton can help us figure out our life passion, what we need to focus in in the present moment for our own wellbeing or the wellbeing of our loved ones!  When we have that feeling of inspiration, that is our intuition telling us, "YES!" Whatever has inspired you, your intuition is letting you know that it is for your highest good!!!

**Disclaimer** There is of course a great difference between an adrenalin rush and inspiration.  There are some experiences, foods or substances that may give us an adrenalin rush or stimulate us but they may not be good for us...  food addiction, smoking, drama, gossip, etc... try to pay attention to the difference!

I really urge anyone I talk with to start to connect with their intuition and use it as part of their decision making information.  Don't base an entire decision solely on intuition, especially major ones, but use it in addition to your pros/cons list and the other things you do to make decisions!

Breathe! Smile! Intuite! Trust!

The image for this post is from Simon Howden's profile on Free Digital Photos.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Invitation: Guided Meditation and Boost Your Immune System

I would like to invite you to participate in a teleconference I will be participating in with a colleague of mine, Sonali Sadequee. It will be Tuesday the 25th (today for those of you reading this from your email) from 7-8pm, EDT. See below for details. Please, please, please email me at, immediately, if you plan on participating!

Free Health & Wellness Teleconference - October 25 at 7-8pm

Join Sonali Sadequee, Nutrition and Wellness Coach and Jyoti Kaneria, Reiki Master and Meditation Coach for this informational and inspiring teleconference:

To join this conference call:

1. Please join my meeting, Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 7:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time.

2. Use your microphone and speakers (VoIP) - a headset is recommended. Or, call in using your telephone.

Dial +1 (636) 277-0136

Access Code: 613-962-566

Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting

Meeting Password: prevention

Meeting ID: 613-962-566


Online Meetings Made Easy™

Part I. Stress Reduction Meditation with Jyoti Kaneria

Are you stressed out? Not sleeping well? Unable to Concentrate? Do you get sick frequently & recover


  • Participate in a guided meditation
  • Take home practical skills for starting your own Meditation Practice
  • Learn how meditation improves your immune system, decreases stress and thereby your health
    • Studies show that people who meditated regularly for six weeks showed less activation of their immune systems and less emotional distress when they were put in a stressful situation.

Part II. Flu/Cold Prevention - with Sonali Sadequee

Do you suffer from:

  • Annual cold/flu symptoms and discomfort
  • Lack of energy/fatigue
  • Excessive mucus production
  • Nasal congestion
  • Headaches
  • Slow recovery from sickness/wounds/injuries

To understand how to stay well this winter, you must know that flu is not caused by a flu virus…as popular belief has us thinking. Flu is CAUSED by a suppressed immune system and TRIGGEREDby a virus.

Therefore, in the teleconference, we will share with you how to support your immune system in being strong and resilient! So your immune system can do what it is designed to do…fight of illnesses and infections.

You will learn about easy and practical methods to preventing cold/flu this season. We will discuss:

  • what foods boost the immune system
  • which lifestyle practices help us prevent exposure to virus
There are lots of actions we can take before actually succumbing to chemical treatments that often times have negative side effects. Sonali brings you grounded information based on science and nature so that you can make your own decision from an educated and well informed place.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Art of Apologizing

Today we were supposed to move my mom's stuff into her new apartment in an amazing retirement community but the person we hired to move her got sick, so all the planning, organizing and preparations were shaken up and had to be shifted to another day.  When I got the call, I was really irritated and felt myself freeze up into Mrs. Inflexible!  I caught myself hardening my tone with my mother, as I do far too often, raising and tensing my voice as I do when I'm frustrated.  "No, I can't do Thursday!" I said, knowing that I probably could do it with a few texts to babysitters but just feeling down right childish and wanting someone else to feel how frustrated I felt.  And really, what did it matter!  It's not even me moving.  I may have coordinated a good portion of this move, but at the end of the day, I wasn't even planning on lifting any boxes and at the last minute, even I got sick and wasn't going to be there for the first part of the day.  But I wasn't in control anymore and things weren't going as I had so delicately planned!!!  Finally, after a few calls, my mom and I rescheduled everything for Thursday, the day that the freight elevator was available at the apartments.

I still felt myself wanting to be inflexible, digging my heels in and pouting because all my hard work was ruined... as if rescheduling to a different day really ruined anything.  As a matter of fact, because of the rescheduling of things, I actually ended up having practically the whole day to myself.  I was feeling better from the stomach bug I'd had the day before, Rishi had planned a big morning out with Anjali, since I was supposed to be moving my mom and then now, I didn't even have to do that anymore!!  What was I gaining by staying so irritated at this whole situation and at my mom?  As I was driving to a coffee shop to get some work done, I realized what a jerk I'd been to my mom, again!  Those of you who know me, and most of you do, know that I've got some issues with being nice to my mom.  I'm fully aware of them, but completely out of control with them.

One thing I've learned over the years is how excruciatingly significant and utterly beautiful apologizing can be, not only for the person who received the wrong doing but especially for the person who's done the wrong doing.  I think I learned to apologize at a much older age than most people and still sometimes find it to be one of the most difficult things to do but when I do it, and I try to do every time I 'should,' I remember how simple it really is and then that magical sensation of calmness comes from having humbled myself away from the arrogant, inflexible person that desires to brood in her corner and into a person who takes responsibility for what she's done and recognizes when she's done it and then let's the other person know.  I have been the victim of having someone very close to me, in the past, who would lash out and almost never apologize.  Being treated this way is no fun and can make one feel a little alienated and crazy.  The apology definitely doesn't excuse the "undesirable" behavior, but it does help heal the hurt it has caused!  And both "sides" are hurt, so both sides get to heal when those simple words pass from one's mouth.  I know it helped me today and I hope it helped my mom.

Breathe.  Smile. Apologize. Recognize. Energize!

The picture for this post is from Juan Gnecco's profile on Free Digital Photos.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Our Teachers Are All Around Us

This past weekend I was wiped out, primarily because of my lunar cycle starting and just feeling down right exhausted from it.  I felt heavy, tired, inexplicably sad, scattered and unmotivated to do much of anything.  On Saturday, I napped when Anjali did and woke up feeling a little better but not completely.  Rishi unexpectedly had to meet someone to show his mom's car that they're trying to sell, which meant a heavy, tired, inexplicably sad, scattered, unmotivated me alone with a well rested Anjali.  Not that I don't do that every single day of the week, I just usually feel a bit stronger and I expect to have Rishi there to buffer on the weekends.  So, needless to say, I felt the brooding Jyoti coming on.  Laid it on thick with Rishi when he was leaving and then tried to get Anjali distracted with something so I could continue to zone out.  But I remembered I hadn't watered the garden yet.

So, I told Anjali that we were going to water the garden but that we couldn't get too wet, we just had to get the water in the garden and that was it.  Yeah, right! She loves water and loves watering herself as well as the garden.  But I was irritated, didn't want to have to take her clothes off, dry her off and get her dressed in dry clothes, upstairs!  I just wanted her to stop playing in the water.  Stop being a kid. A kid in love with water.  I snapped at her.  Threatened to turn the water off.  Moved it away from her every time she got near.  Finally, still brooding, I gave up fighting her and just got lost in my own thoughts as she literally soaked herself from head to toe.

As I was lost in thought, I started to fear that my negative energy was going to go into the seeds, never mind the kid, and they wouldn't start to sprout.  Then, I pulled focus with my eyes from the water and saw Anjali in a state of complete bliss, dripping from every place possible, laughing and just wholeheartedly loving the moment.  I started to break from my brood of a moment.  I felt myself lighten up, loosen up and relax.  I smiled, even though I had to fight myself to let myself smile.  I giggled at this wild child who felt so satisfied with herself and the moment despite the crisp temperature and her drenched state.  She started to laugh and then I started to laugh and then I let go completely and allowed myself to play with her with the water, splashing her, moving it and then getting her again.  All the while intensifying the bliss of the moment for both of us.  Our eyes caught one another and we just cackled away.

Then I pulled focus again, back to the garden that I was supposed to be watering and saw a speck of green.  I thought it was a leaf that had fallen but then I stood up and walked closer and looked again... it was a sprout, a collard green sprouted!  And there were several of them.  And some kale sprouts too!   My heart just melted!  My Anjali sprout and my collard sprout both having a joyous afternoon in the water and love.  She was so excited too, once I got her to see the tiny plant!  Ahhhh, what a beautiful moment.  And what amazing teachers, my two little sprouts, to help remind me of what is truly important!  Don't forget, we are NOT perfect, just seeking those perfect moments that constantly surround us!

Brood just for a moment, it's ok.  But then pull your focus and try to see what perfection surrounds you!

Love. Smile. Water. Drench. Sprout. Breathe.

The photo for this post is from Danilo Rizzuti's profile on Free Digital Photos.

Humbled. Thank you!

Before delving into ideas that I have for my next post, I have to say that I am deeply humbled and moved by the thoughtful, personal and positive feedback I have gotten about this blog.  Many of you who read this regularly have contacted me directly and shared your response to several posts.  It may sound cliche to say "You are what keep me going..." But it is SOOO true.  Otherwise, I get bored when I feel like I'm just talking to myself here.  I'd probably keep doing it as this is my space for keeping my own self focused on what is inspiring, moving and important.  But I have to say hearing from you and how my words, thoughts, ideas and experiences have touched you or helped you gives me such a deep level of inspiration.

Thank you!

Breathe. Smile. Inspire. Love. Give Thanks!

The picture for this post is from Arvind Balaraman's profile on Free Digital Photos.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Anger, Control and Letting Go

Anjali and I have had some moments over the past week or so... Moments that have REALLY tested my ability to handle getting really angry. Wow, it wasn't always pretty and man did I feel pretty lousy by my reactive response to our moments. Many of these moments happened during our "Anjali plays with water in the sink and Mommy brushes her hair and teeth" process in the mornings. And I noticed how stuck with that particular process I was, even though she was continually acting out during it, screaming "No, it's MY turn to brush my teeth" when it was my turn or vigorously splashing water out of the sink. You may be saying, that's what kids do. And yes, you're right, but she hadn't been doing that. She would play so calmly and nicely in the water and then let me brush her teeth after having her own turn to do it. So finally, in a bit more of stern way than I would have like, I ended the process, quickly turning the water off and telling her in a pretty stern voice, "Ok, we're done. We're done here." And then I moved her to the other room whilst she screamed, "No mommy, no!"

The whole point of this background is to show where I was stuck with my need to control situations and not wanting to change and therefore letting the whole situation get worse and worse until I was kind of crazed with anger. I could only see that process as the only way I could get her hair done and brush her teeth. I was also so stuck and controlling to have her hair done precisely in the way I could do it when she was standing at the sink. After moving her, she was pretty pissed with me so was then on a "No!" rampage for everything we had left to do in our morning routine. Pushing me even deeper in to my need for things to get done and to be done in a certain way. And to top it off, we had a time limit - needed to meet someone or had to be at a class by a certain time. Which for me send me into a bit of panic mode... which meant more stern voices and more "No Mommy!!!!"

With all types of scenarios that exist out there in our routines, our behaviors even our attitudes and beliefs - we can get stuck in them or in a cycle of control for how things should be or should go. When I am in this kind of place I can become incredibly angered and if I don't have enough control, it is in these moments of anger that I can say or do things that I will either immediately or ultimately regret. I ALWAYS regret the not-so-nice things I say to Anjali, usually immediately but always ultimately. But I'd love to get to a place where I could communicate more calmly or recognize sooner when it's time for me to let go! The longest I've gone with staying angry with her has been a couple of hours. But, like I always do after I've reacted way more reactively than I prefer, I sit down with her once we've both calmed down and explained to her why I chose to do what I did, or apologize for what I'd done that was a "mistake" as we call it in our house, and I give her a big hug and a kiss! I feel this is better than not doing it but not nearly as good as handling the situation more calmly. I would still have moved her, but if I'd had more control over my anger and less control over how I thought things should go, then I probably could have changed the scenario without hurting her feelings and without having to felt the rage that built up in me.

As I look back on these moments that she and I have had over the past week-ish, I realize how much of my anger could have been prevented if I had just let go of my preconceived notion of how things should go or be. And if I had recognized that it was time for our process to change or be modified in some way. Letting go is oh so much more difficult to actually do in the heat of an angry moment than when looking back at a situation with 20-20 hindsight, but I have to say, when I meditate, make sure my blood sugar levels are stable and get enough rest, it's so much easier than when even one of those factors aren't present. My goal for this next week is to do my best to recognize when I could be more flexible, how I can change a situation when it is clearly not working and to try to do it all with a calmer, softer voice... we'll see!

Let Go. Let Change.

The picture for this post was from anankkl's profile on Free Digital Photos.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Loving Speech

The people closest to me have probably at one time or another either witnessed or been victim of my temper - which can manifest as a stern voice, a muted, non-emoting tone, a quick snap, a passive aggressive action and on a rare occasion even a scream or yell. I have a pretty hot temper, which may surprise some but will make others nod their heads in agreement. Becoming aware of ourselves is similar to the process of an addict admitting their addiction. When we become aware of our traits, characteristics, habits, we are admitting to ourselves that this is who we are in the present moment. This is the first step to our being able to evolve and transform into the best possible version of ourselves.

Here is Buddhism's 4th Precept: Deep Listening and Loving Speech that has inspired this post. There is so much to learn and discover in this precept.

Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I vow to cultivate loving speech and deep listening in order to bring joy and happiness to others and relieve others of their suffering. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I vow to learn to speak truthfully, with words that inspire self-confidence, joy, and hope. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to criticize or condemn things of which I am not sure. I will refrain from uttering words that can cause division or discord, or that can cause the family or the community to break. I will make all efforts to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.

Loving Speech sounds easy, as do a lot of these practices, but I have found that when I am even the slightest bit stressed out, burnt out, stretched thin or just not feeling myself, this is one of the first things to go, especially towards those closest to me. Again, another reason why meditating is so crucial because it helps keep us from getting so mentally fatigued from all the goings-on in life that we can maintain our Loving Speech.

This isn't to say that we shouldn't address serious or negative issues in our lives or relationships, it merely means that we shouldn't use knee-jerk reaction speech when we feel frustrated or angry. Now, just last week I probably raised my voice and/or spoke in a "not-so-nice" tone towards my daughter, my husband and my mother. Have I failed at being able to engage in Loving Speech - not entirely. After each instance, I took a deep breath, apologized and acknowledged my wrong doing. Do I always do that? Not always, but I am ruthless for making sure I take responsibility for my feelings, actions and words. So, the second step - making sure we let those around us know we are sorry for our mistakes and letting them know how we feel without blame or lack of responsibility.

In Thay's practice he speaks on "Beginning a New." Every morning, when the sunrises, we have another 24 hours to start over, try to do things differently, reflect on what's going well, what's not, how we can make things "right" and then try it again when we make mistakes. I suffer greatly from perfectionism in terms of trying to evolve into my highest potential but I am humbled by my mistakes into remembering my humanity. Even though there have been some ugly times when I would be excrutiatingly ashamed to have anyone there to witness, I am deeply moved when at night, after saying "I love you" as I close the door to my daughters room, she says to me, "Thanks, Mom!" Or when she spontaneously says, "I love you my mommy."

Speak Lovingly. Listen Deeply. Breathe. We are alive.

The photo for this post is from pal2iyawit's Profile on Free Digital Photos.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Our Nourishment and The 5 Contemplations

My quest for healthy living began years ago when I struggled with sinus infections and the regular antibiotic "remedy" prescribed by 'western,' allopathic doctors wasn't getting to the root of the problem. At the same time I worked in a health food store. I quickly learned how directly related what we eat is to our health and wellbeing. This is practically basic common sense nowadays - or is it? I'd say it is, but even those who know it may still have a hard time practicing mindful, healthy eating, even if in their mind they really want to.

Of course, there are many who still don't believe the common knowledge of "we are what we eat" and continue to poison themselves with processed or fast foods. But those who have come to really understand the importance of what we eat may still be having a hard time actually putting it into practice. Well, this might be because we really have to search high and far for healthy food and there can often be a higher price for it.

One the other hand, some of us may have a hard time putting our desires to eat healthier into practice due to what Thich Nhat Hanh calls our habit energies. These are things we do, by habit, pretty obvious huh. But the key is that when we don't apply mindfulness to even our eating habit energies, we end up eating what we're used to eating, which may not be all that healthy. And it takes a lot of energy, focus and mindfulness to not only be become aware of what we eat but to also do the work to change the not so healthy habit food energy into healthier choices.

There are also lots and lots of resources out there now for finding out what would be the best choices for you and your body type. A word of caution though, there are many different "schools of thought" out there and if you do the research it can become very confusing. You'll find info on veganism, vegetarianism, paleo-dieting, high protein, low carb, ayurvedic, macrobiotic, candida cleansing etc... The list goes on and on. I do not promote one over the other but have personally been drawn to some due to what has helped me feel my best.

Below, I'm going to list some books that have helped me but it is always important to find what you connect with the most. Then there is always the importance of seeking out someone who's trained in one or many of the different schools of thoughts out there. See below for links to books and trained professionals that I know of in the area.

Mindfulness is KEY for becoming aware of our bodies and to note when we're getting hungry. If we wait until we're starving to find something to eat, then we usually make poor choices for food. So, it's key to use your mindfulness practice to be aware of when you eat or don't eat, when you get hungry and the choices you make so that you can start to plan ahead and begin to improve the quality of the food you choose to put into your body.

Another key practice that can help improve our eating habits is maintaining mindfulness when we actually sit down to eat our meals. In Thich Nhat Hanh's practice, we practice reciting The 5 Contemplations and eating in silence (which I haven't done in forever) so that we can be aware of our attitude towards our food and how well we chew and allow the food to nourish our bodies. I have been talking about reciting these contemplations for years but only periodically bring them out to read. My goal for writing this post is to memorize them one by one so that I can say them every day during at least one meal a day. I've gotta start practicing what I preach! So, you want to know what the 5 contemplations are? Of course, here there are!

The Five Food Contemplations to be recited before eating.

Contemplation 1:
This food is the gift of the whole universe: the earth, the sky, numerous living beings, and much hard, loving work.

Contemplation 2:
May we eat with mindfulness and gratitude so as to be worthy to receive it.

Contemplation 3:
May we recognize and transform our unwholesome mental formations, especially our greed, and learn to eat with moderation.

Contemplation 4:
May we keep our compassion alive by eating in such a way that we reduce the suffering of living beings, preserve our planet, and reverse the process of global warming.

Contemplation 5:
We accept this food so that we may nurture our sisterhood and brotherhood, strengthen our community and nourish our ideal of serving all living beings.

After almost 15 years of exploring different diets and deepening my own self-improvement path, I have really come to believe that our attitude towards life and food is more important than the actual food we ingest. Now, this might seem to contradict everything I said above. Let me clarify. I do not think a person can eat fast or processed food all day everyday and maintain a great attitude and not suffer some kind of physical consequence. But on the contrary, if someone eats the healthiest diet in the world but has an anxious, nervous or fearful attitude towards their health or isn't fulfilling their passions or life purpose, then this person will also likely have some physical or emotional consequences. Hence, the extreme importance of applying our mindfulness towards our mind and body. Identifying and "consuming" our primary food, that which inspires and motivates us, our purpose(s) in life and then ingesting healthy secondary food - the actual items that we put into our bodies. In harmony and with mindfulness, we can create a healthy balance within our mind, body and spirit so that we can achieve our highest potential.

Breathe. Eat. Purpose. Inspiration. Contemplate. Smile! :-)

Some books I've found helpful are listed below though I do a lot of my research online. I currently eat a non-vegetarian diet, low in carbs but I do eat them and they are 95% of the time whole grain carbs (brown rice, quinoa, etc) and tons and tons of veggies and fruit and nuts!

Eat Right For Your Blood Type
Ayurveda: They Science of Self-Healing
Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing

Two local practitioners that I would recommend:

Sonali Sadequee is a holistic health and lifestyle counselor. Check out her site here.
Caroline Friedlander is a natrapathic Doctor. Check her out here.

The photo for this post was from Nathan Greenwood's profile on Free Digital Photos.