Blog #99 Breath, Air, and Keeping Lungs Strong

                       Blog #99 Breath, Air, and Keeping Lungs Strong

 Summer is arriving, bringing warm weather, increased humidity and more air pollution.  The recent dip in air pollution due to much less travel, manufacturing and commerce in the last few months with the onset of coronavirus will quickly diminish and then disappear when the economy becomes more active again.  Actually, the air, water and soil pollution will likely become worse than before due to the United States governmental moves to reverse 98 environmental protections established prior to 2016 (see New York Times, June 2, 2019, where each protection is listed).   Since our government is not currently looking out for our best interests, but rather supporting industry, we will have to look out for ourselves and for each other.  Following are some suggestions and ideas for healthy breathing and strong lungs.

Optimal breathing.  Abdominal breathing allows us to bring more oxygen into the lungs and therefore into each cell of the body than does chest breathing.  Abdominal breathing (also called diaphragmatic breathing) comes naturally to some people, but takes practice for many.  It usually is easiest to learn to breathe this way lying supine, then when seated, and finally while standing and moving.  You will know that you are breathing diaphragmatically when you place one hand across the upper chest and the other across the lower abdomen, and the upper hand moves only minimally, while the lower hand moves noticeably.  Diaphragmatic breathing also involves muscles in the back and on the sides of the lower to mid-abdomen.  With continued practice, you will usually also be able to feel muscles expanding and contracting when you place your hands on these areas of your body. 

Breathing exercises.  There are virtually an unlimited number of breathing exercises, including those for detoxification, increased oxygenation, calming the mind, elevating the mood, improving digestion and elimination, increasing energy level, improving memory and intellect and improving and deepening sleep.  One very simple one is a “triangle” in which each of three parts of respiration is maintained for seven seconds (if that length of time is uncomfortable, it can, of course, be changed).  The three parts are: inhalation through the nose for seven seconds, hold in for seven seconds, and exhalation through the mouth for seven seconds.  Unless there is irreparable damage done to the lungs or related musculature or other internal structures, people can learn to greatly increase their vital capacity with various breathing exercises, when done consistently, on a daily basis, over time. 

Calming mind and emotions.  Mental tension will increase muscular tension, which decreases the lungs’ vital capacity and also interferes with the body’s utilization of oxygen.  Prolonged negative emotions, such as fear, guilt, anger, worry and grief interfere with internal organ function and cellular biochemistry, creating endocrine and other imbalances in the body, suppressing the immune system and increasing the likelihood of degenerative and acute disease.  Treating oneself with loving consideration, learning to be non-judgmentally aware of one’s thoughts and emotions as well as one’s level of structural relaxation will help enhance health, vitality, and mental acuity.  One safe and effective meditation is an inner smile, which involves smiling with one’s eyes, directing the smiling feeing inside oneself, allowing a half-smile to happen with the mouth, closing the eyes, and breathing peacefully three times before opening the eyes again. 

Fresh air and sunlight.  Fresh outdoor air is important for health.  Although city air is not particularly clean, it is still usually better than air in closed indoor spaces.  If affordable, a good air purifier will help improve the quality of indoor air.  Except when a person has skin cancer, regular time in sunlight is vital for good health, since it is energizing and a good source of Vitamin D.  Standing on the earth is also revitalizing, even if shoes are worn.  Before the discovery of the appropriate medications, lots of rest, sunlight, fresh air, and wholesome food was the treatment of choice for tuberculosis, a serious respiratory infection, which has now been largely eliminated.  Covid-19 also is an infection that primarily affects the lungs.  When out of doors, put on masks when within six feet of others or if suffering from symptoms which might be Covid-19.  Otherwise, let the fresh air and sunlight in. 

Looking out for others.  During this pandemic, certain suggestions and rules are in place to protect oneself and others.  When these rules are violated, i.e. not washing hands with soap and water sufficiently, not wearing masks when required by law or requested by businesses or vulnerable individuals, not isolating oneself for 10 days or more after close contact with someone known to have Covid-19, etc., people may endanger people in their communities with viral spread.  Unless you are a first responder in a hospital setting, masks are worn primarily to protect others.  Hand washing protects everyone, as does quarantining when appropriate.  When others are harmed due to lack of hand washing, mask wearing, or avoiding the company if others when ill, the offending individual may feel conscious or subconscious guilt.  These feelings, in turn, may result in disturbed emotions and thoughts as well as physical tension, all of which can compromise breathing. 

This blog could go on, but I think this is enough for one reading. I wish you good health and inner peace in these challenging times. 

This blog’s offer:  I have moved into a new space and have numerous new and/or unopened items that I will offer at little or no cost to interested individuals whom I currently am treating as patients or whom I have treated in the past.  Email or call me and we can make arrangements for you to see these items. 

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Blog # 98 Vital Factors for Good Immune Health

                    Blog #98 Two Vital Factors for Good Immune Health

 The two major factor affecting immune system health are reducing toxicity and optimizing nutrition.  Because we are in the midst of a global pandemic, I will present some suggestions that can help relatively quickly.

                                                  Detoxification

 Remove toxic cleansers from your home, with the exception of Clorox and other bleach based products, alcohol and other alcohol based products, hydrogen peroxide, and possibly a few other germicidal agents, such as some high quality aromatic oils.  Good substances for cleaning include vinegar, baking soda, detergent and water, plus some other non-toxic cleansers that you can find in your local health food store or online.  Check the labels or even call the companies to check about ingredients.  One of my favorites for cleansing stubborn grease is Scour Off, made by Shaklee.  (I am not a distributor).

 If you can afford to do so, purify your water with distillation, reverse osmosis, or a filtration system that also removes most or all fluoride.  There are quite a few companies that sell reasonably good water purification systems.  I have used Water Wise for water distillation and the Berkey water filter system.   Drinking lots of water, herbal teas, and/or fresh organic vegetable juices can help support your health.  Also beneficial for the immune system, especially for the skin, is to keep the indoor temperature around 66 – 72 degrees (maybe a little cooler at night) and to keep the air somewhat humid.  When the skin, especially in the nasal passages, is dry, it tends to crack and become inflamed. This makes it especially permeable to invaders, such as harmful viruses and bacteria.

 Avoid habits that deliver toxins into your system, such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and the regular use of recreational drugs.  Engage in habits that will help detoxify your body, such as regular exercise (walking, running, weight lifting, Pilates, etc), learning to breathe deeply from the abdomen, and daily breaks for relaxation, yoga, chi gong, meditation, self-hypnosis, listening and playing harmonious music, or reading inspirational writings, to name just a few activities.  Getting sufficient sleep and insuring that your sleep is sound is another excellent habit, and is essential for good health.

 If possible, spend some time daily outdoors among trees.  Another good option is spending time by a large, relatively unpolluted body of water.  Walking and resting in natural settings is inspirational and also beneficial for the body. 

                                                            Nutrition

 Most highly nutritional diets will help detoxify the body.  Perhaps the best detoxifying diet is a plant-based diet with lots of organically-raised vegetables.  Dark leafy greens are especially detoxifying.  Also essential for most people are a large variety of root vegetables, such as turnips, rutabaga, parsnips, carrots, beets, some potatoes, and more.  These provide a rich source of pre-biotics, which help support and grow the friendly micro-organisms in your digestive tract (the microbiome).  Fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, fermented carrots, beets, ginger, garlic, onions, and also soy bean paste (miso) are all rich in a variety of friendly micro-organisms.   If you consume dairy, then high quality yoghurt or kefir are also good sources of probiotics. 

 Fruit, beans, nuts, seeds and some legumes and grains are also excellent nutritional sources.  Pectin is an important fiber for immune health.  It is most concentrated in the fruit skin, so it is best to consume organically raised fruit so you can leave the skin intact.  Some excellent sources of pectin are apples, lemons, oranges, grapefruit, guavas, gooseberries and pears.  If people are not vegetarian, then homemade bone broth and wild-caught small fish from relatively unpolluted waters are highly nutritious.  And remember to include seaweed and mushrooms in some of your meals, if you are able to consume them. 

 Vitamin C and D are two of quite a few vitamins that are important for optimal health.  Vitamin C can be obtained from citrus fruit, white potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers, as well as many other fruit.  Vitamin D is best gotten from sunlight, but when that is not possible, then high quality fish oil or other vitamin D supplements can supply this needed nutrient. 

 Avoid consuming substances that are detrimental to your body.  Many people are sensitive to certain foods, and they should learn what these foods are and avoid them, at least for several months, if not permanently.  Some are sensitive or allergic to peanuts, dairy, fish or raw vegetables.  All people should avoid white sugar and flour as well as processed meats and most other processed foods.  There are exceptions, such as frozen fruit, high quality yogurt and bottled organic tomatoes.  Gluten creates inflammation in many digestive tracts, even if we don’t feel any discomfort, so frequently, gluten-containing grains, in particular wheat, barley and rye, should be avoided.  Artificial sweeteners, processed salt, and most oils are harmful.  If we consume foods to which we are sensitive or allergic, then our bodies are distracted into counteracting the problematic foods rather that devoting a lot more attention defending against circulating viruses and opportunistic cancer cells. 

 Finally, be kind to yourself, learn from your mistakes, forgive yourself, look for things for which to be thankful, and proceed to make life a little better each day.  This way, you and your immune system will become increasingly healthy.

 This blog’s offer:  Contact me and ask me for my new address and phone number.  I will shortly close my existing office due to the country’s pandemic shut down, and will open a much smaller, part-time space.  I wish you safety and good health. 

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Blog#97 Balancing Life at the 2020 Spring Equinox

                          Blog# 97 Balancing Life at the 2020 Spring Equinox

In the year 2020, the Vernal (spring) Equinox occurs earlier than most others.  Around this time, give or take a couple of days, there are equal amounts of sunlight and darkness.  You could think of it as a waxing moon or a rising sun, with the Summer Solstice or the full moon being the maximum. The vernal equinox can be viewed as a tipping point, from more darkness into more light.  With this change, there is a surge of growth in the world: animal young are conceived or are growing more and more rapidly.  Trees are starting to bud, tree sap is rising in maximum amounts.  Humans become restless and want to socialize, explore, flourish.  Unfortunately, these outgoing activities may help viruses and some other microorganisms proliferate. 

So this particular spring, it might be enjoyable to learn a new skill, such as taking a photography course online.  It might be fun to cook meals using new recipes, clean house (some people like doing that), write that novel or memoir or poetry or article you’ve been meaning to write.  It could be rewarding spending time with a partner or children and learn to communicate more effectively.  Learning about foods or exercises or herbs and other supplements could be essential in helping protect your health or the health of others. 

In addition to the above, there are many things you can do to help sustain yourself through the stress of the coming weeks, months or year.  Here are just a few things which some people may not have thought of. 

  • Learn and practice abdominal breathing. This is also referred to as belly breathing and diaphragmatic breathing.  Not only will it help calm the mind, it will also help increase lung vital capacity and also help improve blood and energy circulation throughout the body.  This improvement of circulation through the organ massage provided by abdominal breathing will help improve digestion and elimination as well as help improve endocrine and immune system function. 
  • Massage both feet, especially the soles, for at least 20 minutes every day. This will help cleanse the body of toxins, make walking more comfortable, improve physical balance and stability, calm the mind, and will help support functioning of the internal organs, musculoskeletal system and more.  
  • Create, read, watch, and /or listen to something inspiring every day. This will help counteract some of the stress and fear people may be feeling regarding health, occupation, finances, responsibilities, family and more.  This habit can also help improve intuition and allow access to more ideas than would be possible if worry, fear and other emotions took over the mind. 
  • Eat as healthfully as possible, stressing whole foods that nourish and benefit the body. If some of these foods are not available, consider consuming a high quality multivitamin and mineral supplement or else some high quality herbal supplements to nourish the body and mind and assist in defense against various agents of infectious disease.
  • Without self-endangerment, offer and provide assistance, such as grocery shopping, car transportation, money gift cards, or cooked meals to those who are vulnerable and in need.

This blog’s offer:  please feel free to contact me with questions about ways to support your health.  I may suggest nutritional supplements, yoga stretches, or new ways of coping with the world situation.  Currently, my office is still open to offer treatments to those who have no signs or symptoms of infection.  I wish you safe passage through these difficult times.

 

 

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Blog #96 Staying Healthy During a Pandemic

                    Blog #96 Staying Safe from Infection During a Pandemic

With news of the corona virus invading the media, most of us are probably starting to formulate plans to protect ourselves and our loved ones.  This blog features information about prevention, some of which may be novel to readers.

From Perelandra, an organization located in Virginia, which frequently features information about resisting and recovering from infection and about potential pandemics, I am including the following suggestions:

Wash your hands frequently with soap and hot water. Soap between your fingers, don’t forget your thumbs and finger tips. Or if water is not available, use alcohol wipes or anti-bacterial hand sanitizers. 

Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth. If you do touch your face, wash your hands.

If infection is spreading in your region, wear a surgical mask when in close quarters with others, or at the grocery store. The key to the effectiveness of the mask is wearing it properly so there’s no space or openings between the mask and your face. Also, don’t reach under the mask to scratch your face. And if you do, don’t put that mask back on.

Monitor your temperature. If it spikes, stay home from work out of consideration for other commuters and your coworkers.

Wear leather gloves at the gas pump.

Stay hydrated. Especially drink water. 

Shower and shampoo as soon as you get home, and put the clothes you were wearing straight into the hamper. Set yourself and your family up to make this easy. Put a hamper by the door through which you enter your home, and hang clean robes for each family member to use from the door to the shower.

Leave your shoes at the door. Have a set of indoor slippers ready if your floor is cold.

Carry your own pen for signing receipts when you’re shopping.

Learn to use smart phone pay systems, and get them set up now so you can avoid having to touch the credit card swiper or sign anything at checkout counters or gas stations.

Use disinfectant wipes to clean surfaces two to five times a day, depending on the number of people using them. Surfaces include doorknobs, countertops (don’t forget the edges), light switches, shared keyboards and mouses, printer keypads, shared phones, water cooler buttons, fridge handles, sink handles, toilet handles, remote controls all on/off switches and more.

Wipe down tablets or smart phones frequently through the day, especially if you share them with others.

If someone in your house isn’t well, separate their toothbrush, give them separate hand towels, launder bedding frequently.  Wear a face mask while in their room, handling the bedding and laundry and consider using disposable/compostable dishes, utensils and paper towels for the duration of the pandemic.

Air out the building or the office, floor or classroom once a day for at least 15-20 minutes. It’s a short time of being chilly, but it pays off with not breathing in stuffy air full of everything your coworkers or family have been exhaling!

Set up humidifiers (moist air vaporizers are best) in your home and office during the colder months when indoor air is dry. If you use filters, give your humidifier a thorough cleaning once a week to ensure nothing is growing in there and then travelling out into the air.

Sneeze or cough into your elbow. Teach your kids to do this. Remind friends and coworkers to do this, too.

Maintain good toothbrush hygiene.  Replace your toothbrush regularly — especially after an illness, and keep your toothbrush covered when not in use.

Get a good night’s sleep. Lack of sleep may profoundly impact your body’s immune function.

Keep your mind and emotions calm.  Fear, anger, worry and sadness are not inevitable responses to a pandemic.  Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. 

Should you and your family find yourselves at home for an extended period of time due to illness, it is helpful to have the needed supplies. Prioritize and purchase gradually so it doesn’t seriously impact your budget.

One way to do this is to buy extra non-perishable foods with your regular groceries each week. Also, if you are able, buy an extra supply of the herbal, vitamin and multimineral supplements or prescription medicines you or your family members need to take regularly.  Check out my blog #94 for some suggestions re: remedies to strengthen your resistance to viral and other infections.

This may sound like overkill, and maybe it is, but in some cases, this approach would likely be very wise and may even save lives. 

Other things you can do is eat very healthy, get regular chiropractic and/or acupuncture treatments, is that is feasible, and get some regular exercise, even it is just doing Yoga or Tai Chi or even walking around in a small area. 

This blog’s offer:  here is a link about preparedness from the Red Cross that you might appreciate.  Anatomy of a First Aid Kit

As always, feel free to contact me with questions or problems, as well as for professional support of your health in these challenging times. 

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Blog#95 Addiction: Shaking the Habit

                                       Blog 95 Addiction:  Shaking the Habit

 Recently, I listened to an interesting interview with Annie Grace, where she described her addiction to alcohol and how she eventually overcame it.  One of the things she did was do extensive research for a year about how to overcome addictions (in her case, alcohol) and how to reconcile conflicts between the conscious and subconscious minds regarding habits and life choices.  The person’s conscious mind might want to stop drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes or consuming large amounts of sugar, or whatever else a person might do that impacts their health and their self-esteem negatively, (to say nothing of their finances).  But their subconscious mind may want to continue engaging in addictive habits.  Until a person can resolve this conflict, they will be struggling with themselves, something that consumes energy and negatively impacts health and self-esteem in the long run. 

 She presented approaches which had worked for herself.  For one thing, she had never labeled herself as an alcoholic, and felt that her attitude gave her more power to take the next step.  She stopped drinking alcohol for one month.  She stopped 100% and promised herself that after a solid 30 days without alcohol, she would then allow herself to take a drink, and she had to do this mindfully.  This meant that she was completely aware of what she was thinking, feeling, tasting, smelling, seeing, hearing, and touching as she purchased the alcohol, as she took it home, and she opened the bottle, as she poured herself a drink, as she raised the glass to her lips, as she took a sip, as she swallowed, and as the alcohol then traveled down her esophagus and into her stomach.  Now, understand that she already consciously wanted to quit, but her subconscious had felt differently.  She chose a month free from the substance because by that time, the physical aspect of the addiction would be past, and what would be left was the mental and emotional attachments.  When she listened to her mind and body as she took that first sip after 30 days, she realized that she did not even like the feel of the alcohol in her body.  She also understood that she had survived emotionally and socially for 30 days without the substance.  She was able to quit, and no longer felt conflicted regarding alcohol consumption.  Understand, if she had been so addicted that she had severe shakes when she stopped drinking, then should would have needed some professional help to free herself from the substance.  Fortunately, she was not that seriously addicted.   

 Annie Grace has shared her experiences and approach to quitting free of charge, and has helped many other people free themselves from alcohol addiction. Some of these people occasionally may have a drink. One to two drinks per week probably will not increase the risk of cancer, stroke, ulcers, autoimmune illness, heart attack, etc.  But more than this can negatively impact one’s health.  And generally, when people have been struggling unsuccessfully with a habit for a long time, they are relieved to finally succeed in freeing themselves.  It would make no sense to go back to the way things were.

 Something struck me as I listened to her interview:  the same method of quitting alcohol should be helpful in quitting any other substance, as long as as a person is not seriously physically addicted.  I am including a link to Annie Grace speaking for a few minutes about her overcoming her addiction.  If that sounds good to you, or if you think it could help someone you know, you can find more information on her website.  Here is the link:  it would be best to cut and paste it to your browser.  Free Alcohol Experiment program 

 This blog’s offer:  Consider having several sessions of hypnosis, as well as self-hypnosis instruction to help quit any undesired and harmful habit.  As a certified hypnotist, I can offer this service and instruction.  Happy New Year 2020. 

 

 

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Blog #94 Good Health – Important for a Fulfilling Life

 Blog #94 Good Health – Important for a Fulfilling Life  

Many people consider good health to be one of  our most precious assets, and for good reason.  Without our health, we may not have the energy or endurance to work at a job, care for others, enjoy the world around us, and achieve and embody the things that matter most to us. 

With the New Year, winter weather, and the flu season here, it is important to take extra good care of ourselves.  There are many vital aspects of self-care.  These include getting sufficient sleep. Sound and peaceful sleep allows the body to heal and rebuild, helps the mind to stay sharp, supports the various organ systems to function well, and keeps us more emotionally in balance.

Proper nutrition is another factor of self-care.  Staying well-hydrated and consuming whole, nutritious, non-processed foods aid in both keeping the body and mind vital and minimizing toxicity.  The better nourished and the less toxic we are the more able we will be to resist acute infections.

Regular exercise is also important for health.  Walking, running, Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, stretching and weight lifting all can be helpful.  Playing at sports you enjoy, such as tennis, canoeing, or biking, as well as gardening, housecleaning and repair, and wilderness hiking can also be helpful.  Regular exercise can improve blood and lymphatic circulation, eliminative function and detoxification. Other benefits are better muscle tone, greater self-confidence and a calmer mind. 

Maintaining strong posture and abdominal breathing helps with all aspects of health and vitality, from feeling centered, to keeping the joints aligned and stable, and establishing  good balance to prevent missteps and falls. 

Also important in maintaining good health are various holistic therapies.  Massage helps relax muscles and improve circulation and lymphatic drainage.  Chiropractic adjusting also does the and especially helps to teach us to keep musculoskeletal and nervous systems functioning optimally.  Acupuncture helps coordinate and balance the body’s electrical and circulatory systems, which can generally support health and well-being.  Tonic and medicinal herbs can help improve resistance to infection and also remedies physiological imbalances. 

Now, I want to focus on several herbal remedies that often can prevent colds and flu or shorten their duration.  The Chinese herbal formulas Yin Chiao and Gan Mao Ling can help halt the onset of an upper respiratory infection when taken at the very start of symptoms, such as the first hint of a scratchy throat, headache, fatigue or slight warm or chilled feeling.  Yin Chiao treats a more heated condition and Gan Mao Ling is helpful with a more chilled condition.  Since many infections present as a combination of both hot and cold symptoms, it often is helpful to take one each of these remedies.  Frequency is usually three times a day, for two or three days.  Once the infection has fully manifested, these herbs will be of little help.  They can be obtained from stores in Chinatown. Better quality versions of these herbs can be obtained through an acupuncturist. 

Another helpful remedy is a combination of vitamin C and Echinacea.  I personally like Standard Process brand Cataplex C and Medi Herb brand Echinacea Premium.  You can tell that an Echinacea supplement is potent if it makes your tongue tingle.  The stronger the tingle and the longer it lasts, the better the supplement.  Usually, taking one each of these, morning and night for several days to a few weeks will keep you resistant to colds and flu strong.  They will also speed up recovery from these infections.  It is best to purchase vitamin C and Echinacea from a holistic practitioner rather than from online companies. 

Lastly, Sambucus Elderberry concentrate, preferably in liquid form, is an excellent tonic. Since it is very sweet, it is not appropriate for everyone, but most people tolerate it well.  Elderberry concentrate can help support you through the flu season.  Then, it is best to then take a break until the next year’s flu season.  Usually one half to one teaspoon one to three times a day will be sufficient.  Sambucus Elderberry concentrate can be purchased at Whole Foods and similar stores. 

This blog’s offer.  Feel free to call me with questions or come in for a consultation and treatment to support your health this year.  Resolve to treat yourself with kindness this year. 

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Blog#93 A Thankful Attitude Can Help Make the Holidays Happy

                   Blog#93:  A Thankful Attitude Can Reduce Holiday Stress

 There are many reasons why people feel stressed during the winter holidays.  Busy schedules, tight budgets, tense personal relations, food overload, and traveling or receiving guests are just some of the issues.  However, the end of year holidays can give us inspiration and support inner calm and happiness even in the face of challenging situations. 

 Let’s start with All Hallows Eve, All Souls Day, the Day of the Dead and similar holidays. From October 31st to November 2nd, people of diverse countries, religions and cultures renew their connection to deceased family and friends with special foods, decorations, costumes, altars, and other celebrations and rituals.  The living receive guidance from the dead and show appreciation and respect for friends and relatives who have crossed over.  The living celebrate the lives of the deceased and also give thanks for their own ongoing lives.  Death is not seen as a tragic ending or loss, but rather as transition, transformation and continuance for which to be thankful. 

 Following this holiday, Thanksgiving helps remind us how essential the earth, plants, animals, and other people are for our survival.  Thanksgiving Day and similar holidays are celebrated on varying dates and places throughout the world, including the U.S., Canada, some Caribbean islands, Liberia, Germany, the Netherlands, and Japan.  A common theme is giving thanks for the harvest that will sustain celebrants for another year. Thanksgiving dinners often provide massive quantities of food.  Centuries ago, there was likely a good reason for these large meals.  Then, food often was scarce and people could not be sure how much nourishment they would be able to obtain between autumn harvest and the following spring, when the earth once again became prolific.  Eating big meals in autumn, when food was available, helped people put on a little extra fat, which the body could burn off in the dead of winter. 

 Finally, Christmas, Winter Solstice, Chanukah, Kwanza, New Years, and similar holidays all share a similar theme – celebrating the returning of light after maximum darkness. Whether we thank Christ, the savior for bringing us peace and salvation (Christmas), whether we regard with wonder the Sun God gradually returning more light to the world as we start moving toward spring (Winter Solstice), whether we commemorate the miracle of the Festival of Lights, when one cup of oil kept a poor woman’s candles burning for eight days (Chanukah), the themes of enlightenment, blessing and miracles are present.  And the New Year – celebrating the birth of another life cycle, and Kwanzaa – commemorating survival of African culture and traditions throughout the world both embrace survival and rebirth.  

 Looking at things from the perspectives of treasuring friends and family, living and deceased, thanking the earth for daily survival, and celebrating the return of light into our days, and mercy, grace and peace into our lives, we could conclude that we have much to be thankful for, and that we can do much to make the holidays happy.  A thankful attitude can help reduce physical and emotional stress and help increase the joy in each day.

 This blog’s offer:  please accept my best wishes for happiness, prosperity and health for the coming yearly cycle. 

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