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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

In Which I Discover a New Alternative Healing Method

I'm about to sound like an infomercial but I've been doing the awesomest thing ever!  I started it a couple of weeks ago and have been amazed at the results.  I've been miserable for almost an entire year from constant allergies and colds as my So Cal body has tried to acclimate to Washington.  Apparently my body is not a fan of damp and mold.  I've had a cough for almost 11 months that couldn't be explained and has kept me from singing - even in the car.

Doctors kept giving me pills and sprays and inhalers that didn't produce any kind of long-term results.  I was told that I was going to have to "manage" this issue with daily medication for as long as we stay in Washington.  Yeah, not really my style.  I would much rather heal my body than treat symptoms. I recently restarted NAET treatments and that gave me some relief but I still wasn't as well as I could be.  If you've never heard of NAET, check it out.  Awesome non-invasive allergy-conquering modality.  I was also still consulting with my beloved homeopath but we weren't finding any quick cures.

I was becoming resigned to just being sick until my body decided to allow itself to heal with the NAET and the homeopathy.  My energy was low.  I was completely frustrated and battling depression over the whole thing but didn't know where else to turn.  Then, a couple of weeks ago, the Universe intervened, as it always does in it's own sweet time.  I received an email from a relative who had heard about my woes through the family grapevine.  She told me about this thing called Oil Pulling.  You simply put some oil in your mouth twice a day and slowly pull it through your teeth for 30 minutes, spit it out, rinse with warm water and carry on.  She said it had produced some great results for her in regards to her allergies and sinus problems.

I looked it up online and read about it some more.  It seemed simple enough.  The idea behind it is that bacteria, viruses and toxins in your body are pulled into the oil through your saliva.  After the 30 minutes are up, you then spit out the oil and rinse with warm water.  Online, people were reporting everything from healthier teeth and gums to arthritis relief.  During visits to the dentist, they were asked what they were doing to make such a difference in their oral health and when they explained about the oil pulling, they were told to keep doing it.  And the most noticeable side effect - at least to others?  If you use coconut oil for your pulling, your teeth whiten naturally.  Coconut oil is $5.99 at Trader Joe's.  Way cheaper than Crest White Strips!

I figured I had nothing to lose.  It's inexpensive, easy and one of those things that reportedly does not have any side effects if it doesn't work for you.  Everyone has oil on hand, right?  I started with sesame oil because I didn't have any coconut oil and there were a lot of online recommendations to start with sesame since it has a pleasant taste.  It was an odd sensation at first.  This is probably TMI but the more I share this with people, the more I get an, "I have that, too!" reaction so I'll confess it here.  Due to constant sinus issues since I was a teenager, I've always had a white film on my tongue.  I'm hyper-vigilant about brushing and always having gum or mints on hand to cover any possible breath issues - real or imagined.  I've brushed my tongue with toothpaste, baking soda, warm water, etc. In my first oil pulling session, I felt that nastiness being pulled from my tongue and when I spit it out, I was almost in tears at seeing a healthy, pink tongue in my mirror!  I've been oil pulling for two weeks now and the white layer still appears but it's showing up less and less.  My mouth feels so much cleaner.

I used sesame and vegetable oil for a week and then made a trip to Trader Joe's to get the coconut oil.  I was hesitant to try it at first because it comes in a solid form.  Some websites recommended putting a tablespoon of it in a shot glass and then putting the shot glass in a shallow bowl of warm water to turn it to liquid but I would never do that every morning for more than a week.  I am not a morning person and I know from experience that anything that shortens the amount of time I can sleep in the morning will be abandoned once the newness wears off.  The relative who recommended the oil pulling to me said that she just puts a spoonful in her mouth and lets it melt so that's what I did.  It's a funky sensation at first.  Because it tastes like yummy coconut, you feel like you're supposed to eat it.  I had to remind myself to just hold it in my mouth until it melted.

Well, I've been using it for a week now and folks, you would not believe how white my teeth are getting.  I went to a new dentist today for a cleaning and the hygienist was shocked at how white they are.  She also said that I had very little plaque/tartar and thought I was a regular flosser.  Nope.  I hate flossing.  And the dental hygienist at my former dentist would always scold me for not flossing as she scraped away at my teeth so I know I don't come by low-plaque teeth naturally. The new hygienist asked if I did anything special to have such a healthy mouth and I told her about the coconut oil.  She was very excited and said she'd be researching it herself that night and trying it to see if she wanted to recommend it to other patients.

And now the big question. After doing this for two weeks, twice a day for 30 minutes at a time, how is my health?  I am happy to report that my coughing is significantly reduced.  I really have no way to measure it scientifically but I'd say that there's a 90% improvement.  I still have brief coughing fits but they happen maybe once a day instead of all day long.  And when they do happen, they are short and don't feel as deep.  My voice - both singing and talking - is coming back.  I've barely been able to sing for almost a year because it would trigger the cough.  And the cough would irritate my chords.  I was able to sing "Johanna" from Sweeney Todd on pitch today in the car with no coughing.  There is still some vocal fatigue but nothing like it was before I started the oil pulling.

And it's EASY.  I keep the coconut oil in the bathroom.  I scoop out a teaspoon of it every morning and do my pulling while I take a shower and get ready for the day.  At night, I pull while I'm on the computer.  In fact, I wrote most of this entry while oil pulling.

My boyfriend notices the difference.  My family notices it when I talk to them on the phone.  I no longer have to excuse myself every three minutes for a coughing fit.  My energy levels are getting back to normal.  I no longer feel like I'm constantly on the verge of getting a cold with watery eyes, stuffy nose and scratchy throat.  I'm not an expert on the oil pulling by any means and I can't claim to know exactly how it does what it does but whatever it is, it's working.

If you decide to give oil pulling a try, please research it online first as I haven't given you every single do and don't in this blog entry.  There are loads of websites and forums on it.  Here's a good place to start.

I've come to appreciate the "if you have your health, you have everything" quote.  For the first time in almost a year, I feel like me again.  And it's nice.  It's super nice.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Thoughts on Occupy Wall Street

I need some help understanding something.  My Facebook feed is filled with people shouting with glee over the Occupy Wallstreet protests.  I understand that people are angry about corporate greed.  I understand that people are angry that they can't find a job or their income has been cut drastically.  I understand that people are frustrated and angry right now, period.  I get that because I'm often right there with you - when I'm not taking a deep breath and telling myself that we're all where we're meant to be and this is all happening for a reason.

I understand that people are angry about bank bailouts.  I was livid over that myself.  The whole point of capitalism is that no one is too big to fail.  If you make poor business decisions and your product isn't attractive enough to make people want to purchase it, you'd better find a new business model fast or you're done.  Sink or swim.  When the government undermines capitalism, of course it's not going to work.  It's not capitalism anymore.

But here's what I don't understand, protesters.  The Apple Corporation didn't bail out the banks.  Nordstrom doesn't raise your taxes.  Dairy Queen doesn't tell other corporations that they get a free pass on paying taxes this year.  Who does all of those things?  Your government.  Your government engages in backroom deals with corporations. Your government bails out banks.  Your government artificially lowered interest rates and created the climate that led to the housing bubble.  Your government is the root of the problem.

You're protesting the wrong thing.  If you really want to see change, you should be outside your capitol buildings.  Outside the White House.  You should be screaming about a tax code that allows some to pay nothing - at all levels of income.  You should be angry that your money is being poured into an educational system that fails our kids and prevents our teachers from being able to teach properly.  You should be apoplectic that balancing our budget is not the number one priority of our government.  You should be angry that we're all putting money into Social Security and it won't be there for those of us who are due to retire in 30 years.  Corporations don't do these things.  Your government does.

A corporation is trying to make money.  That's their goal; to make money and hire the best people they can to help them achieve that goal.  When government starts regulating corporations to extremes and makes it unprofitable for them to stay in one place, they move to another.  The same way you might choose to move if you got a more lucrative job offer in another state.  Hence, we have a lot of American corporations going overseas.  Who is making it difficult for these corporations to meet their financial goals while keeping jobs in America?  Your government.

If you are a corporation and you see your competition getting back room deals and tax breaks from the government, you're going to jump in there, too.  It's fairly normal human behavior to not want to fail or let your competitor get an edge.  But who ALLOWS these deals and tax breaks to happen?  Your government.

You're screaming about a symptom instead of the root cause.  Until we have a government that does not allow corporations or unions or any other third party to have an influence on it, we're going to have this kind of massive corruption.  Yes, I said unions.  Because they're in there, too. Like corporations, they also give money to the candidates they like and who will back up their agendas.  And yet there they are on Wall Street, protesting the corporations for doing exactly what they (the unions) do.  It boggles my mind.

I don't object to the protests.  Peaceful protests are our right, as Americans.  I think that we need people speaking out and saying, "No more!".  But say it to the right people.  The people who count on your vote.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Dealing With Your Shit

I hesitated to use a curse word in this post but I couldn't think of another word that really said what I needed to say.  We have reached this point, as a nation.  We all have shit to deal with.  We all have wounds, scars, fears, stumbling blocks, etc.  In my formative years, I had a family model of,  "Sweep that under the rug.  We're going to argue about ten thousand stupid things that don't matter and ignore that giant elephant in the room."  By the time I reached my 20s, I realized that this method wasn't working for me.  I was being medicated for anxiety and depression because I hadn't learned how to process my emotions and life experiences in a healthy way.  I had to face my shit.  Head on.  I chose homeopathy and it has made an enormous difference in how I deal with life.  But that's not the point of this post.  If anyone cares about my experiences with homeopathy, I'll write another post.

The point is that I meet so many people who aren't dealing with their shit.  They don't look at who they really are and what makes them happy.  I'm not talking about being content.  I'm talking about being HAPPY.  Joyous, really.  Knowing in your soul that you are where you are supposed to be, doing what you're supposed to be doing.  I'm still working towards this myself, but I AM working on it.  Why are so many people okay with a life that doesn't fulfill them?  And I recognize that fulfillment is different for every person.  Some people are fulfilled by their careers.  Some by raising their children.  Some by traveling the world while others are happy staying close to home.  Whatever works for you.  Whatever makes YOU happy.

I think a lot of people don't bother to figure out what makes them happy.  It's too scary.  They might have to make some changes.  They might have to take some risks.  They might have to listen to that voice in their heart that says, "This isn't your path."  They might have to simply trust that voice and trusting something that isn't tangible is scary.  I understand fear.  I get not wanting to rock the boat because you have absolutely no idea where the pieces are going to fall or how the hell you're going to pick them up and put them back together once they HAVE fallen.  I've been there too many times.  And you know what?  It always works out; usually for the better and often in ways I've never dreamed of.  The Universe is pretty cool like that.

Now, what got me on this kick?  I've been watching the political antics of our country and all I hear and see is shit.  Shit that no one wants to deal with.  We can't let the economy collapse and naturally correct itself so we'll print more money and devalue our currency while prices inflate.  We can't tell people, "No, we can't give you that for free anymore.  The party's over.  Figure out your own shit."  We can't create a responsible financial plan to get our country out of debt because... well, I can't actually figure out that "because".  I have no idea why getting ourselves out of debt isn't the next logical step to everyone from the President down to the average citizen.  Oh wait, because we don't want to deal with our shit.  The failing social programs, the restrictions and taxes on small businesses, the crushing environmental protection laws, politicians who are more interested in re-election than actually doing what is right... this is OUR shit.  We created this with our crazy dances around all the elephants.

If we don't look in the mirror and deal with our own shit, we reflect more shit out and create it all around us.  And here we are.  A few decades of, "Shhh... don't talk about the elephant in the room.  Talk about everything else that's a result of the elephant and pretend that the symptoms are really the problem."  Kind of like, "Take this pill for your depression but don't look at what's really depressing you and deal with your shit."  Yes, it would have sucked to let the big banks fail but it would have been a short-term hurt.  Not the long-term hurt it's turning out to be.  Yes, it will suck in the short term to go to a flat percentage tax system (where EVERYONE pays - not just 50% of us) but in the long run, we would have a massive amount of economic growth.  For starters, companies wouldn't have to deal with pages and pages of tax code which would cut their costs and enable them to lower prices while maintaining their profits.  Plus an additional 153,503,275 American citizens actually paying what they owe for using our roads, schools, hospitals, police, fire, prisons, etc. would be a nice chunk of change.

It's time to deal with our shit.  It's time to get involved.  Stop voting for people just because they have a R or D beside their name.  Look at the track record of people up for re-election.  Are they doing what you want them to do?  Do you even know what you want them to do?  Figure it out.  If a candidate doesn't have a political track record yet (challenging the incumbent) then look at their business or career track record.  What have they done?  What they say they will do is all fine and dandy but what have they DONE?  That's the important bit.  Kind of like dating a cheater - he/she says they'll never do it again but when their record shows that they've done it 6 times before, it's time to pull your head out of the sand and tell them that you're done.  They don't get your vote or your heart, whichever the case may be.  Leave them to deal with their own shit.

So that's what I had to say this morning.  I tried to keep this simple and digestible to the average person who doesn't get as into politics as I do.  But  my main point isn't political so much as that we need to deal with our shit as individuals and as American citizens.  Because the shit is about to hit the fan and it isn't going to be pretty when it does.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Here I am.  36 years old, no career path to speak of, not married, no kids.  What have I done with my life so far?  Well, I've traveled a lot.  I'm an Anglophile and have managed to visit England 6 times in the last 17 years.  I have a BA in Music Therapy that I've never done much with.  I've taught Kindermusik, managed an office, worked in day cares and special education classrooms.  I've been a private nanny, a Tomatis practitioner and a retail saleswoman.  In a family of people who pick a career path and stick to it come hell or high water, I think I might be my parents' despair.

Am I lazy?  Easily distracted?  Do I quit when the going gets tough?  Probably a little of each.  But it's bigger than that and no one was more shocked than I when I realized the truth. You see, I'm a perfectionist.  If I can't do it right the first time, I'm not interested in it.  Even starting this blog.  I tried to start it almost a year ago and I got so caught up in finding the perfect name for it that I couldn't actually make it to the blogging part of the blog.  I'm pretty sure that I was a fairy in some other incarnation of myself because I seem to think I have a magic wand that I've temporarily mislaid somewhere.  But once I find it, I'll give it a wave and *poof*!  Everything will be the way it's "supposed" to be.

I've been getting nudged by my intuition to just write something for over a year now.  ANYTHING.  Just post something on a blog and get it started.  It doesn't have to be perfect.  It doesn't have to be read by millions of people.  I just need to take that one first step.  So that's what this is.  My first step.  Will it lead anywhere?  I have no idea.  Do I hope that someday I'll make enough money writing that I can quit one (or all) of the three jobs I currently have?  Hell yes.  But for now, I can't even think that far ahead.  I just have to post this one blog.

How often does our desire to do something "perfectly" keep us from really experiencing and enjoying a moment, a day or even our entire lives?  Whether it's moving to New York to try to make it on Broadway, a project at work, or creating the "perfect" holiday dinner - when we get obsessed with not being good enough or not having all the "pieces" in place yet, we sabotage ourselves from really enjoying the experience.  It's kind of like training for a marathon.  You wouldn't expect to go from a 50 pounds overweight, couch-dwelling, potato chip addict to a svelte trained athlete who could run 5 gajillion miles.  Or however many miles a marathon is.  You can probably tell that I fall into the couch-dwelling category at this point.  In any case, my point is that you train.  You take baby steps.

So here it is.  My first baby step.