Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sweet Magic of Life

How many times did I check my coat pocket looking for that item in the last six months since I lost it?

It's nothing special, just a worry stone that my trusted friend gave me. It had the word "Grace" written in gold paint, long since worn away. It had some distinct markings in its shiny blackness. What kind of black stone I don't know, I'm no expert. It's just a smallish black stone of sentimental value.

My partner and I booked a massage. When I was finished my turn, I went for a leisurely walk along the beach while my partner had his turn. The beach was yielding to the incoming tide. The beach never looks the same way twice any time I go, and today was no exception. A few familiar big boulders stood out of the water. A heron meandered her way down the shoreline. The air was fresh and especially sweet just after an autumn downpour. The sun was poking its way out from behind the dissipating clouds, and the stones on the beach were especially glistening and colorful. They caught my eye and I usually leave any beach with a pocketful.

Today, I was attracted to the deep maroon ones. Maroon, like my grandma and grandpa's old Oldsmobile from the 50's. I thought fondly of them pulling up into our driveway, smiling widely. The car came to a stop as it became surrounded by numerous small grandchildren. Our grandparents never arrived without a delicious homemade chocolate cake and a quart of Neapolitan ice-cream. How they loved us!

Back from my daydream, when I got to the car near the end of my partner's treatment, I quickly pulled the assorted stones out of my pocket to feast my eyes on the haul. One particular stone caught my attention. It was a small black stone, kind of flat and oval-shaped with distinctive markings. Unmistakably, it was the missing "Grace" stone.

I can't explain how it happened, but the "Grace" stone is back!

It's not talking, either. ;)

Follow on Twitter @_PhoenixOfFaith Copyright © 2011.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Goddess Hecate

I've been exploring a book about the goddesses lately and love what I am learning. For example, while I'm reading about the goddess Hecate, who represents crossroads, I'm trying to apply what a crossroads might look like regarding my personal life.
In life, when I come to a crossroads, I now realize I always have a choice. At first, the idea of making my own choice without consulting someone "over me" seemed like an overwhelming concept. After all, I was always taught that the religious elders knew more than me about what to do. I know now, that was merely how I was conditioned to believe and it had very little to do with the real me. But, being away from that old patriarchal view for so long — and with some practice — I realized that if I know where I am going, then that knowledge often determines the direction I would sensibly and reasonably choose for myself. All by myself! No matter what I wanted to "be" I am reminded that I am really so much more. I am aspects of the Divine Feminine. I am aspects of the goddess I choose to work with — or who chooses to work with me. I am love. I am all that is. I am one with nature. I am beautiful on the inside and attractive on the outside because I am being true to myself. I am mystery. I am my beliefs. And I am even more!

The Goddess Hecate is accompanied by three hounds. Dog energy is known to be friendly and trustworthy and they have proven to be some of our best and most loyal of companions. Dogs also have inherent, instinctual ability to know information about a person. Pet owners often have noticed this trait when witnessing how their animal may growl at someone for no apparent reason to us, yet very apparent to the animal. Interestingly, the dog(s) is/are three-headed, which means the number three becomes significant. Lately I have become aware of how I live in three worlds: The daily world of work and life, the world that our governments would like to project, plus the world of love that I would like to project. Life keeps getting more interesting.

A happy new realization for me is to know that my beliefs create my reality, as encouragement to make decisions for myself. When I release or shift beliefs which no longer serve me, anything is possible. Yes, I really believe because I have seen the truth of that again and again in my life already!

I took the bold step of leaving the family religion which had been keeping me stuck. The joyous step which emboldened me to free myself of religious bondage consisted of dancing. That spirited past-time distracted me big time, so that when the crossroads of decision arrived: namely "toe the line of the religion or get disfellowshipped" — I chose the latter. At great expense to me — seemingly — yet a whole new world of fascination opened up for me. I was able to leave my belief of disability, which opened the door for me to support myself. When I got disfellowshipped that action opened a whole new crossroads of decision once again. I elected to move to British Columbia and began working alongside amazing healers which enabled me to let go of some big health issues such as chronic back pain and migraine headaches. I manifested a long-term job which I thoroughly enjoy. I wrote my autobiography. At the time I didn't know that dog energy was guiding me, but now I know why I made the choices I did. It was because I inherently trusted the inner guidance I was receiving, which was the path to freedom. It was the choice I desired to make. And I did it for my Self.

Really, if I didn't take on the challenge of changing my beliefs, where would I find myself? Or, more to the point: Where would I still be stuck?

I am sure that other crossroads will present themselves as I weave my way through this life, but I don't fear making decisions anymore. After all, if I survived the demonization by religious elders who have turned my own children against me — yet I thrive — I know I can survive anything. I am unstoppable! Becoming a self-directed person is actually faith-strengthening. But now my faith is in my Self, rather than some bully god who must use threats to keep his flock of "sheeple" in line — because some people are still at that place of learning, and that's okay.

I send love and light to all people who are desiring freedom to outgrow their childhood conditioning.

And now I know that when Hecate comes for a visit, I am about to arrive at a new crossroads. I'll keep you posted. Comments are welcome.

Follow on Twitter: @_phoenixoffaith
Copyright © 2014.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Organic Eating as a Way of Life

I am another person who has recently "gone organic." Gluten-free, too (since 2005). But, I discovered that gluten-free wasn’t good enough, when I fell sick with shingles in the summer of 2013. My doctor said I might have to live on anti-viral pills for the rest of my life to keep the shingles at bay...and I KNEW that kind of treatment would kill me. Quite literally. I walked out of his office and located a naturopathic doctor who suggested that the only way to build up my immune system and my health was to go completely organic.

"Our bodies are designed not for drugs, but for nutrition," he gently reminded me.

I could sense the clear logic in that statement and I heartily agreed with him.

So I went home and began my transition to real food.

Not a small feat, but through my learning process I discovered how much Genetically Modified Organism food (GMO food) I had been eating. Inadvertently, of course. Now I so obviously am not a fast-food fiend, being gluten-free. Most fast-food places do have not even one gluten-free item and most of that food would be GMO besides.

Nevertheless, I was getting enough crap food in my body to make me sick. It would kill me if I didn’t take drastic measures.

"Start where you are at," my new improved doctor stated matter-of-factly. "Begin with your staples. In other words, what do you eat for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner?"

I had recorded the food I was eating ahead of my appointment and found that I wasn't too far off course, from what he was now suggesting. Lots of good home cooking plus occasionally eating out at a "good" family restaurant in our neighborhood. Good food, except for lots of pesticides. *sigh* But I had to start somewhere. Some people learn much from their mistakes. Maybe not even mistakes. Just a learning process. I was encouraged!

My first shopping spree for organic groceries was most interesting. My selected foods contained the labels "organic" and "gluten-free."

I was surprised how much healthy food remains on the shelves and in the bins. The food industry would have us believe that up to ninety percent (90%) of the grocery store food is GMO and sprayed with pesticides. During my quest for healthy food and knowledge, I realized more and more new "health foods" are springing up with my kind of labels: "Organic" and "Gluten-Free." I am excited how well my new lifestyle is going!

Of course most vegetables are not glutenous. Mostly, that term applies to the breads and processed "convenience" foods. My biggest challenge was finding a "gluten-free and organic" bread. Only one such bread exists at my grocery store: Silver Hills makes a "Chia Chia" and a "Flax" gluten-free, organic bread. I put quotation marks around it because the bread base is really Sorghum. Chia seeds or flax flour are added ingredients. I find myself eating very little bread, only about two slices per week, just because the new bread is, well, kind of like a brick.

Now I read every. single. label in my quest for safe ingredients.

I discovered that all ingredients must be organic, otherwise they may be genetically modified or else sprayed with toxic pesticides — or both.

I learned that:
  • Organic labels have a five-digit product code, beginning with nine (9----),
  • GMO foods begin with eight (8----),
  • A four-digit number beginning with four (4---) means the product is conventionally-grown, likely with pesticides (or else they would call themselves "organic").

During the short time since I've "gone organic," my life has changed considerably for the better. After one week, the shingles infection had cleared up. I have regained my health, with no recurring episodes of shingles. I plan to keep my good health and that means I will never go back to the state of ignorance from whence I came. Best thing is I'm not craving any of those foods from my past. The one thing that I do miss is eating out. But, I figure that restaurants will come on board, once they figure they are losing entire families at a time by not serving organic selections.

Yet, I feel like I have barely scratched the surface.

I support the initiatives to go organic and follow many good websites and blogs to keep myself informed about eating my way to health. And really, organic is how our food existed before the big food monopolies decided to create toxic food for us. Mind-bending, isn't it?

From now on, I decide what to eat and what to avoid!

*For more information:
GMO Introduction Institute for Responsible Technology (Video)
GM Foods, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Gluten Sensitivity – What is the relationship? (Dr. Jonathan Berghamer's Blog)
Help for Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia (Video)
Dealing With Depression (Video)
Seeds of Death (Documentary)

Follow on Twitter: @_phoenixoffaith
Copyright © 2014.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Restaurant Review of Sushimoto

My partner & I chose to dine at Sushimoto since we had a yen for Japanese food. The restaurant appeared near the top in a Google search and made a claim that it served 90% organic food. One of the highest percentages, we noted. It is located under the Holdom SkyTrain Station, at Holdom Avenue and Lougheed Highway in Burnaby, British Columbia.

We arrived at 8:00 p.m. on Sunday evening and were seated almost immediately. It’s a small place with about eight tables. As we browsed the menu, no mention was made of the word “organic” so I had to wait until a waitress actually came to take our order to inquire about organic menu items. She didn’t have the answer, so she consulted with the chef and the rest of the staff. I couldn’t hear what was said because first, it was in a foreign language and second, the restaurant was loud and echoed like the cone of silence in those old Maxwell Smart sit-coms back in the day. Remember that?

After about five minutes the waitress again approached me and pointed to three kinds of wild/organic sashimi and a garden salad. Sort of fell short of the 90% claim, but oh well. Whether these folks actually know what the term “organic” means came to mind. I’m kind of at the same place I was at with the gluten-free transition I underwent back in 2005. Some people seem to think if they “buy local” they are buying organic. So I suppose we are breaking new ground and I decided to trust what the restaurant staff suggests.

The food arrived quickly. My partner ordered four kinds of fish atop a bowl of rice. I ordered Wild Atlantic Salmon Sashimi garnished with radicchio and a mint leaf. The second dish contained a beautiful Garden Salad. The dressing I'm guessing consisted of sweet vinegar, oil, slivered almonds and cranberries. Good size portions — and truly delicious!
I will know if they mislead me — even inadvertently — by morning I will have an eczema eruption with which to contend. Pesticide-laden vegetables or farmed fish filled with growth hormones and antibiotics will do that to me.

Fortunately I brought my own organic pickled ginger without toxic Aspartame. As well, I brought along an organic and gluten-free tamari sauce. There is no such thing as organic AND gluten-free soya sauce I have discovered. But for me, Tamari is a reasonable facsimile. No such thing as organic AND gluten-free wasabi either. Yes, a gluten-free version exists, but the second ingredient is Canola Oil and you can bet it’s genetically modified.

Well, sure enough, Monday morning I awoke with an eczema outbreak. I suspect the salad dressing was the culprit. Also I couldn’t help notice the divide between the restaurant’s “90% Organic” claim and the waitress suggesting four menu items. Next time we want sushi I’ll bring my own home-made dressing in my trusty “condiment bag.”

I do realize there is much mis-information about what defines healthy food. Terms such as Organic, Natural, Non-GMO, Healthy, and Buy Local, all have different meanings depending on where you live and how much industry lobbying (read: BRIBING) goes on in the government. Why, back in the 50’s Monsanto placed a food ad with the catchy phrase that "DDT is good for me-e-e!"
Imagine! The faux food industry
actually posted this ad back in the day,
and we believed their propaganda!
Imagine. DDT is a toxic pesticide now widely used on our food. No wonder organic farmers are springing up all over the map.

In a previous blog, I mentioned that I recently turned to organic eating, and as a result of the toxins in our food which were making me sick, we haven’t eaten out in three months — and it’s high time my partner and I had a date night!

I do hope that one day soon restaurants will post signs in their windows such as “Non-GMO, Gluten-Free and Organic Meals available here!”

As time moves forward I believe more and more people will be requesting healthy organic food — and real food will be the norm. The food industry as it now stands is not sustainable.

Is anyone else out there in search of organic restaurants in the Vancouver lower mainland? I’d love to know about your experiences with eating out.

Follow on Twitter: @_phoenixoffaith
Copyright © 2014.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Gluten-Free and Organic Eating

Last year I went through a bit of a health challenge that caused me to seek out the advice of a naturopathic doctor. I'm glad I did because through this consultation, it became imperative that I switch to organic foods, thus avoiding the consequences of ingesting genetically modified foods and pesticides which destroy intestinal health. For the past three or so months, I have become aware of how ever-increasing numbers people are unable to eat certain foods, due to severe allergic responses.

Happily, I noticed our local grocery stores have an expanding section of organic vegetables, prepared foods — and even meats, containing no antibiotics or growth hormones — which is happy news indeed. In order for me to take charge of my health, a growing awareness of the food monopoly pitfalls was an absolute necessity!

I am simplifying food preparation and finding easier recipes, all gluten-free. As I talk about eating healthy, more and more people are responding to me by saying, "My doctor told me to eat less bread." Or "My doctor advised me to go gluten-free."

Even the fact that regular practitioners are giving advice related to diet is a significant shift, when at an earlier time, they might have suggested a drug to cover up an undesirable symptom — or a cream to cover up an eczema outbreak (for example).

More importantly, once I opted for organics, food began to taste noticeably more delicious. The crisp is crispier, the tang is tangier, the range of taste is enhanced into a new dimension of experience!

Here is an example of a really tasty breakfast pancake, which is grain- and gluten-free. (I originally found it on the internet, but the link has since been blocked by Pinterest, saying the site has spam.) Anyway, I now have it memorized, so here is the recipe, without spam:

Grain- and Gluten-free Banana Pancakes

1/2 organic banana
1 organic egg
1 teaspoon organic Black Chia Seeds (optional — added by me, for fiber)
Pinch of sea salt
Yield: makes 4 small pancakes

Blend together in blender till smooth.
Fry in skillet for 5 minutes on each side on medium-low heat.
Yes, believe it or not, that's it! So simple, it takes ten minutes in the morning to prepare and cook this lovely breakfast consisting of one protein and one starch. On weekends I have also doubled the recipe to share with my partner. I add a bit of butter at the table. I am not crazy about adding syrup, but my partner enhances his breakfast by adding some organic Maple Syrup.

So that's my meal. I use organic ingredients, to assure myself of continued excellent health. My naturopathic doctor says I need plenty of protein and he does not subscribe to the demonization of eggs, as do some doctors. Also, a couple of scrambled eggs go great with this breakfast.

I have been eating gluten-free since 2005, but after going organic over the past three months I am enjoying food much more. As well, my energy has improved by leaps and bounds. I'm thrilled!

My understanding of what has transpired since the transition from gluten-free to organic is that while eating gluten-free foods, the fiber has now cleared out the bloating, resulting in a weight reduction of fifteen pounds. But more was needed. My body was asking for real food, clear of pesticides and genetically modified ingredients. As the years passed, my body asked me in a stronger way, by becoming ill, which in turn implored me yet again to search my way to wellness. The path led me to yet another level of healthy eating, which was the organic route. Again, my body released still another fifteen pounds, without any conscious effort on my part to reduce the weight.

And that's where I'm at now in my quest for excellent health!

Follow on Twitter: @_phoenixoffaith
Copyright © 2014.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Changing Guides

I have found myself in somewhat of a funk lately — kind of disconnected from activity going on around me, kind of in my own world and kind of blue. I’ve never been really good at sharing how I feel, but maybe it's time to come out of my shell. So, as I ever so cautiously confided my sense of vulnerability and withdrawal to a dear wise friend, she suggested it’s nothing serious, since it might be as simple as, “you are changing guides.”

I don’t know how many other people are feeling similarly, but I feel like I did a type of “flip” and I’m no longer the same person that I used to be — anymore.

True, there have been shifts in my life — some big, some not. More people who I thought might be friends turned out to be — not. On the other hand, I have made some beneficial gains. With the new energy upon us, my understanding of my new situation is beginning to make more sense after my friend consoled me about our ever-present, ever-caring, ever-guiding — spiritual guides.

I thought about other times in my life when I felt this funk. It never lasted long, as I gained new awareness around the shifts going on in my life. Most — if not all — of the changes were necessary for my spiritual growth. A true friend was always with me at the right time with just the right words, like Daisy in Chapter 37 of my book, Phoenix of Faith. I still speak of her as an earth angel that appeared at the right moment, with comforting words of wisdom to lift my spirit.

I like to walk in nature, so I fell back to what I know. I meandered to the edge of my favorite stream in a nearby park. There was no one else around, just me and the stream. I have written about some pleasant experiences I had enjoyed at this stream in a past blog.

As the brook excitedly bubbled and chattered along, the most extraordinary urge came over me to sing — something I did very little of throughout my life. Surprisingly, the singing soothed me, especially since the babbling creek seemed to drown out my unsteady and untrained voice. A few moments may have gone by when I began to notice a flurry of activity in a nearby tree. My eyes followed the sounds up the trunk into the branches to observe a flock of chickadees, who apparently did hear me over the din of the flowing water. I became intrigued with their presence as they commenced a sing-along. When I paused — they paused. When I began to sing again, they sang too! Well, at least that’s how it seemed to me.

It didn’t take very long before the sun seemed to shine brighter and warmer. The brook gurgled along more enthusiastically as the birds drew in ever closer to me. Our collective melody certainly found me in my heart, filled with gratitude, as I began to feel “at one” with all that is.

I just love nature! It never fails to fix what ails me!

Follow on Twitter: @_phoenixoffaith
Copyright © 2014.