As mentioned in my previous blog, I have been compiling my very first gratitude list. Since I’ve never done one of these before, I decided to take stock of the past 2 years, and not just this one.
Why Do a Gratitude List?
It is much too easy to focus on negatives in our personal lives, or in the world. Doing so, can sink one’s spirits into a whirlpool of fear, anxiety, and depression, and generally cause a feeling of powerlessness. Whereas, focusing on the positives in our lives, and in our communities, can have the opposite effect. It can make us feel hopeful, joyful, and empowered to enact change that will tip the scales of positivity further.
2020-21 Gratitude List
I am grateful for:
My family: having lost some loved ones during the pandemic, I am thankful for the ones that are still here.
My friends: there is a saying that the friendships you maintain, especially into adulthood, are like your chosen family. Well, my ‘chosen family’ has been well tested and has only grown in importance to me, the more time passes.
My career: work has always been a priority due to it being quintessential for financial survival. But fulfilling work has steadily become the MOST important criteria for me in terms of job selection. Something I only fully accepted in 2021.
My health: it’s never quite as good as it should be, but whatever level it is at, has remained stable these past 24 months. I am happy that I’ve successfully found ways to keep it that way.
My apartment: I moved into a lovely place a few years ago in a neighbourhood I’d barely visited before. Since then, the area’s undergone full gentrification and combined with the ongoing rental housing crisis in my city, I couldn’t afford to rent my apartment were I to move in today. So, I’m happy I found it when I did.
My neighbour: My apartment came with an amazing senior citizen neighbour that; feeds my cat-baby when I’m away, protects all my Amazon packages from theft, and overall, just makes me feel part of a little community, despite living alone in a metropolitan city.
Essential workers: all the individuals that put themselves at risk since the pandemic began, to ensure that our basic needs as a society are met. I feel indebted to personnel working for the food, health, manufacturing, construction, transportation, and public safety industries. And I’d like to apologize to the many sectors I am probably overlooking, but which likewise play a vital role, in our collective well-being.
Small local businesses: who have fought hard to survive, despite how challenging the past 18 or so months have been. And who, in my opinion, make up part of a city’s distinct identity, at least for its residents.
Living in a natural disaster-free zone: I’m from the West Coast, and BC has had some very unfortunate weather in recent times. From, raging forest fires to recent massive flooding requiring evacuations of residential areas. Families were displaced, natural habitats destroyed and overall, there has been so much loss. However, the greater Montreal area has been rather calm on the disaster front, and I’m very grateful for that. I feel blessed to have had such a safe harbour throughout this time.
Canada: It’s been a tumultuous few years, and through it all, I am very lucky to be living in a country that took such great financial care of its residents, in very uncertain times. The income assistance programs that were created, and extended to every sector of Canadian society, were awe-inspiring. It’s what allowed a great number of us to stay home at the beginning of the pandemic. The debt that was incurred to support our economy, and our people, was unprecedented. It was right, it was brave, it was Canadian.
In the next chapter of these chronicles, I will share how my situations and remedies exercises have been panning out so far. What I feel I’ve learned, how the experiences went, as well as what changes they’ve brought into my life.
I invite you to write your own list, I’m sure you’ll be amazed to see how quickly it can grow once you start. Sometimes it takes a visual representation of the many marvellous people, places, or things, populate our own little worlds, to remind us how lucky we are to be continuing this adventure called life.
Do you lack emotional control? Are you ruled by your feelings? Does your heart rule your mind? In that case, you may need Cherry Plum Bach Flower remedy!
The negative Cherry Plum state can be quite a dangerous state of mind, and definitely one of the most horrific acute emotional mental states that can be experienced. In this state, the individual may feel as though he or she is about to lose their mind or “explode” from within, as in when one has a nervous breakdown and is unable to keep inner mechanisms going. Many fear that they will completely lose their minds and commit acts of extreme violence and do things they may regret later. Others harbour thoughts of suicide – either physically or at a mental level – and therefore, this negative emotional state is one that is looked at with great concern.
In the negative Cherry Plum state, the processes of spiritual and mental growth that occur when energies are balanced are almost frantically suppressed at a subconscious level, and the person seeks to deny the dark forces, which everyone single one of us possesses, reside in them. The person’s own terror that dark thoughts could lead to dark actions causes them to try to drive down and suppress all such thoughts. Pressure leads to counter-pressure, and this causes immense mental and emotional strain, causing the sufferer to feel as if they are headed for a nervous breakdown, with extreme fear, mental anguish and desperate thoughts being the main symptoms involved.
A person suffering from a severe negative Cherry Plum state is unable to face his or her own inner feelings and completely denies the guidance of his or her Higher Self. This personality suffers from a fundamental fear of opening up to the process of development and is literally unable to “let go”, as a result of which the negative Cherry Plum state occurs. This state can occur both as an acute and a chronic state. What causes the negative state to arise? Many factors. Take, for example, men who have fought in wars and endured days of continuous shelling. Can you imagine what happens to the will and mental state of such people? Being in the midst of constant shelling and tremendously loud noise, as well as watching their comrades die around them – the trauma can be severe and destroy one’s will, leading to a negative Cherry Plum state. Or take for example, those who have spent time in prison camps and have been under brutal interrogation for several days, even weeks. Such horrific experiences can break the will and mind of most, and such people have often developed negative Cherry Plum states.
Children in need of the Bach Flower remedy, Cherry Plum are often bed-wetters and regularly wet their beds due to a lack of control not just of their emotional nature but their urinary bladder as well. These children, who keep themselves under tight control during waking hours, let their inner anxieties come to free expression only when there is no conscious bodily control, which usually happens at night.
While often hard to recognize because the negative Cherry Plum personality exhibits extreme outward control, people experiencing the negative Cherry Plum state may be betrayed by their eyes. Often they exhibit eyes that are wide open, staring, and blinking less than normal, as if in shock.
Once in treatment with Cherry Plum Bach Flower Essence, the personality may begin to submit itself to the guidance of the Higher Self. There it can be led through the chaos of the darkness within itself to the light that is the essence of the Higher Self. After re-connecting with the Higher Self and passing through this horrendous state, these individuals are often able to bear extreme adversities that would break a lesser personality. They become strong mentally, emotionally and even at a physical level.
In the positive Cherry Plum state, one becomes able to enter deeply into the unconscious and to use the insights gained there. He or she becomes connected to a powerful reservoir of spiritual strength, gains great spiritual insight, and makes tremendous advances in personal development.
Around 3,000 years ago, the idea that our lives were in a state of constant change became a central feature of both Eastern and Western philosophies.
Then how come, thousands of years later, most of us still approach events in our lives as if they were permanent?
Let’s dig deeper.
We live in a world that reinforces the need for urgency, expectations, deadlines, the “good” life.
In school, they often asked us, “What do you want to be?”
We were then given a list of occupations that society deems important.
I remember looking at that list, and thinking to myself… what if I don’t want to be any of these?
But that internal voice slowly starts to fade when your opinions disappear in the crowd of your peers.
And then, slowly but surely, most of us dedicate our lives working towards it.
Working to fulfill expectations and deadlines set by others.
Expectation after expectation. Deadline after deadline.
Worst of all, most of us don’t even stop to ask: Why?
Just that slight rush of reward after completing a task is enough to keep us going and to shrug off all the stress, anxiety and pressures we may have encountered along the way.
But then, after exerting all that time, commitment and energy, what are we greeted with?
Another task, another deadline, another reward.
This pattern appears in almost every aspect of our lives.
You see companies spending billions of dollars on advertising for the sole purpose of convincing our human brains to make the connection: “Buy this, and you will be happy.”
And what happens every time?
A new product comes out. You think that it is the answer to all your problems. And once you have it, the feeling fades away, and the search begins for the next best thing.
Do you see the pattern?
It’s like playing candy crush and trying to get to the final level, but then realizing that there is no final level.
Just like there is no end to candy crush, there will be no end to deadlines or to the material consumption that is supposed to bring you happiness.
These things, just like everything else we experience, are IMPERMANENT.
It took me a while to realize this.
I spent most of my life basing my feelings on the expectations of others. It was so important for me to feel accepted, to feel recognized.
It was so important to do well, to look well.
Nobody ever asked if I was actually well.
I was not sleeping, not taking proper care of myself, and sadly I struggled with depression for a very long time.
But despite that, I guess I can say that I “made” it – on paper.
I was working at a well reputable finance firm, a job that was desired by many of my peers and respected by my parents.
Even though I was working until 3 am almost every night, having mental breakdowns in between Zoom calls, and my actual life was falling apart.
But I mean, that’s okay, right?
After saying that I was okay for 5 years, I finally hit both mental and physical burn out which ultimately led me to make one of the most important decisions of my life.
I packed my bags and left for Montreal. I was on the search for my own truth of learning what life means to me rather than what society tells me it should mean.
And in that quest for truth, I discovered the concept of impermanence, along with the beauty it can bring to your life once you fully understand it.
The idea that existence is in a state of ever-changing flux and nothing is meant to stay the same.
You may be thinking… well that’s obvious! I know that today is not going to be the same as tomorrow and that people get older with age. It’s common sense, we feel it the moment we are born!
That’s what I used to think. Until I realized that knowing something and truly understanding it so you can apply it to your life in a meaningful way are completely two different things.
According to the Buddha, “Suffering arises when we attempt to make the impermanent things permanent. It is not the impermanence that leads to the suffering. What makes us suffer is wanting things to be permanent when they are not.”
Once that is understood, you become aware of the power you hold to the freedom and liberation of your own mind and the events that happen along the course of life.
Here are some of the tools that I use to practice impermanence in my daily life:
Appreciating the Beauty Behind an Impermanent World
Life is not possible without impermanence. Without change, a seed would never become a plant, and a boy would never become a man. Human civilization would not be where we are today without the millions of years of progress and evolution.
The idea that nothing will stay the same forever can inspire appreciation towards life and the present moment. Gratitude brings peace to the mind and removes the space for negativity from memories of the past and fears of the future.
So next time, take out a piece of paper and write down three things that you are grateful for.
It can be as simple as:
I am grateful for the sun rising today.
Creating Balance in Your Life: Save Space for the Good Times, and the Bad
When we understand the essence of impermanence, we understand that nothing lasts forever. This applies to both the good times and the bad.
I used to approach life in a way that when times were good, I would feel on top of the world like nothing could break me.
But then, naturally, change happens. Suddenly, the “happy” reality is gone. And then what happens? All the energy I spent during the good times, left me blindsided and unable to adapt when something shifts. This made the bad times feel like the end of the world with no escape.
So next time, when everything seems to be going well, EMBRACE IT, but also set a simple reminder to yourself that, just like everything in life: This Will Pass.
And when life decides to give you a hard time, just know that: This Too Shall Pass.
Are you lacking in intuition? Don’t ever have a gut feeling or a hunch about something? Do you lack a connection to your higher self? Then you may need Cerato Bach flower remedy!
In a negative Cerato state, the person/personality refuses to recognize the role of the higher self within himself or herself – the person lacks confidence in her own inner voice or intuition and instead seeks answers from external sources. Even though this person “knows” what is right, he or she distrusts and doubts his or her own decisions. Thus, the person becomes annoying to others by constantly questioning them and asking for their opinions about everything. Even minor issues must be examined and others’ opinions sought at all times, and this can be quite frustrating for everyone involved!
Because negative Cerato people ask so many questions and seek answers all the time for even trivial matters, they are able to gather a great deal of information. However, they don’t use all their acquired information because they don’t trust in their own abilities to make a decision.
Trusting in the judgment of others rather than in one’s own self often causes the negative Cerato personality to take action which is damaging and which is against their better judgement – just because an outside “authority” mandated that action. This lack of listening to the “inner voice” and following the advice of “external voices” leads to much disappointment and frustration on a regular basis.
After using the Bach Flower remedy Cerato, the individual’s inner voice may once again be heard and may grow stronger. The person may gain an attitude of quiet certainty so that no outside argument will deter him or her from a decision which he or she knows to be the right one.
Once returned to a balanced energy state through Bach Flower Essences, the individual will not only trust his or her inner voice and feel secure in the knowledge gained, the person will be curious, eager to learn, and enthusiastic about sharing his or her knowledge with others.
The bottom line? If ever you are in doubt about your own decisions, consider some Cerato Bach flower remedy… it just may lead you in the right direction and open up infinite possibilities for you that could never have been possible without it!
As a pet owner, the phrase, “What do you have in your mouth? Give me that!” is a universal experience, and more than enough to put any fur-parent on instant high alert. Whether it’s a trash-bound treasure, a wayward sock, or a flattened critter by the side of the road, we’ve all had to dig *something* out of that stubborn maw.
Sometimes, we’re lucky, and can merely bat away the impromptu snack without further thought. But for many of us, our faithful companions are just as dedicated to sniffing out trouble — with *magnetic* precision — the instant our back is turned. Because of this, our furry friends often manage to get their paws on something they *really* shouldn’t. And sometimes, they leave us panicked and wondering where we went wrong… and if they’re going to be alright.
But even if your critter isn’t chowing down on everything in sight, you’re still likely finding other casualties within the home instead, left by their talented paws. Shredded furniture, shattered breakables, maybe even a restless propensity to redecorate using a style of *feng shui* yet to be documented by modern man. Each beastie has its own preferred flavour of chaos. So with Lucky going dumpster-diving in search of delicacies, and Whiskers batting every breakable to the floor because *he’s* the only work of art your room needs, how are we supposed to maintain any measure of peace within our homes? And more importantly, how can we stop them from getting into trouble that we *can’t* fix?
Channel Your Inner Animal
The first step to keeping Tigger and Rex safe from their troublesome curiosity is to start thinking like them. When taking preventative action to keep our animals safe, thinking like a beastie is a critical skill to develop and put into practice. After all, it would be fantastic if we could simply *ask* them to not get into alarming situations, but until we master interspecies communication, a big part of keeping them safe is simply to try and think one step ahead instead.
So start taking the time to notice what your critters get into, and whether it’s at certain times of the day, or before or after certain events. Maybe your cat likes to chew on wires first thing in the morning because he knows it’ll get you awake enough to give him flack for it. And if you’re awake enough to tell him how frustrating he is, then you’re *certainly* awake enough to serve him breakfast! Or maybe your dog starts inching towards the garbage can after a particularly tasty meal—or even worse if he waits until you’re not even home to start digging for goodies. If that’s the case, then it may be time to invest in a locking garbage can.
Whatever the case may be, start taking note of your animal’s natural inclinations, and see your home with a fresh new — and most importantly, wild — gaze. For dogs, you could be sure to pack away any tasty leftovers that may be left unsupervised, keep the garbage can locked tight, and hide any socks or slippers that may be lying around. If you share your home with feline friends instead, you could keep an eye out for any breakables near the edges of tables, shelves, or countertops, take the time to reorganize any exposed wires that could be satisfying to chew on, or even cover your couch with a plastic furniture guard that stops them from digging their claws into the material.
Whatever the case may be, there are always solutions to your woes. Start by doing some research on the common challenges that other pet owners face. This will help you familiarize yourself with situations you may already be dealing with yourself and give you peace of mind in knowing that you’re not the only one whose home is going to the dogs.
Are You Not Entertained?
“The cure for boredom is curiosity.” Dorothy Parker was talking about people when she said this famous quote, but this method of thinking applies just as well to our furry friends. A bored pet will do whatever it takes to get the satisfaction they need. Maybe Rex howls like a banshee and chews the furniture to keep himself busy, while Whiskers finds his entertainment in singlehandedly destroying your snowglobe collection and shredding the furniture. The point is that if we don’t give our animals something to do, they will *find* something — and more often than not, it won’t be something we like.
Thankfully, there are many ways to exhaust your pets enough to be sure they won’t leave your home looking like the epicentre of a hurricane.
One sure way is to work their bodies. Get them running, jumping and playing, for a good hour or two, every single day. And yes, cats need their exercise, too, even if their one true love is naptime! There are also interactive feeders to get them using their snout or paws, and contrary to popular belief, many animals absolutely love working for their food, once they understand how to use interactive feeders. But the more you make mealtime dynamic and fun and make your pet work for their primary currency in an interesting and rewarding way, the less chance they have of finding their fun elsewhere. Everybody wins!
For critters who need to stay within a limited mobility lifestyle for any reason, you can still tucker them out without doing an entire marathon around town. Teach them new tricks, ones you can practice anywhere you go. By working their brains, you’ll get their entire body involved, which is just as good for solving any amount of restlessness. Start with short sessions, no more than five minutes at a time, as you teach them a handy new trick, like ‘shake’ or ‘spin.’ Once your pet has mastered the basics, you can level up their skills to something more difficult. If ever you’re not sure what to teach, pet trick compilation videos online are a fantastic source of inspiration for what they could learn next.
And, once again, this method is most certainly cat-friendly as well — and makes for a fantastic party trick when you show off your talented tabby’s fresh new skills!
Communication Is Key
An important part of prevention, though, is keeping in mind that if your curious critter has already managed to get into trouble once, they have exceptionally keen memories of how to recreate the magic. So instead of losing your patience with them — which, for many pets, gives them the attention, they’re seeking from you — remember that your energy will be better spent looking to the future, and troubleshooting a solution to prevent it from happening again.
After all, if our pets are acting out, it’s not that they’re trying to be difficult. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. They’re trying to tell us that their mental or physical needs aren’t being met, or that they’re not getting as much quality time with us as they would like. Or, in some cases, simply that they don’t understand the rules of the household well enough to follow them. So it’s important to listen during these frustrating moments because our furry friends are only trying to tell us what they need, in the only way they know how.
And in turn, it’s up to us to find a way to communicate what *we* need back to them, in a way that they might better understand.
What if I told you that scientists have discovered a revolutionary new treatment that makes you live longer, enhances your memory, makes you more attractive, keeps you slim, lowers food cravings, protects you from cancer and dementia, wards off colds and flu, lowers your risk of heart attacks and stroke, not to mention diabetes and makes you feel happier, less depressed, and less anxious. And what if I told you that this medicine in question not only exists, it is already available free of charge in your own home. Would you take it?
Well, guess what? It is something you have been taking every single day of your lives… and it is called sleep!
Unfortunately, there are many who don’t get some well-needed shut eye, and if you are one of those people, this article is for you! A good night’s sleep is extremely important for your overall mental and physical health. In fact, it is just as important as eating healthy and exercising, and perhaps even more so. Unfortunately, people are now sleeping way less than they did in the past, and the quality of sleep has decreased as well due to many reasons such as stress, hectic lifestyles, marital problems, irregular habits, not prioritizing daily schedules, etc. In any case, here are 10 reasons why good sleep is important:
Poor sleep leads to an increase in body weight.
Poor sleepers tend to eat more than sound sleepers.
Good sleep can increase concentration and productivity.
Good sleep can maximize athletic performance.
Poor sleepers have a greater risk of stroke and heart disease.
Poor sleep increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Poor sleep is linked to depression.
Good sleep improves your immunity.
Poor sleep is linked to increased inflammation.
Poor sleep affects mental health and your social life.
As you can see, a good night’s sleep is of paramount importance for your overall well-being, and here are five tips that can help you get a good night’s sleep:
1. Keep it regular: Go to bed and wake up at the same time, even on the weekend.
2. Keep it cool: Lower your core temperature by 1.2 degrees Centigrade to fall asleep.
3. Dim the lights before bed: Bright lights and screens disrupt production of the sleep hormone melatonin.
4. Walk it out: If you can’t sleep, get up and do something until the urge to sleep returns.
5. Pass on the Espresso and nightcap: Alcohol fragments sleep and blocks REM sleep, so don’t drink in the evening.
However, there is also a natural and safe remedy you can take to enhance sleep and help you manage insomnia. More than 80 years ago, Dr. Edward Bach, the renowned English bacteriologist and researcher who discovered the Bach Flower Remedies, had an equally strong belief that our emotional state plays a fundamental role in health, sickness, healing and critical human functions like healthy natural sleep. He came up with “Rescue Sleep”, a mixture that contains six of the Bach Flower Remedies that can help one manage insomnia and get a good night’s sleep and contains six active ingredients:
-White Chestnut: To help ease a restless mind and calm a hyperactive mind.
-Star of Bethlehem: For trauma and shock, depression, sadness and grief. It helps greatly to increase vitality and strength,
-Clematis: For the tendency to “pass out” and being unconscious, and not present mentally.
-Cherry Plum: For the fear of the mind giving way and being on the verge of a breakdown.
-Impatiens: For irritability, tension and being fidgety.
-Rock Rose: For frozen terror and panic. It helps soothe the mind and calm the nerves.
Rescue sleep can help calm restless minds, providing natural relief of sleeplessness caused by stress and repetitive thoughts in our heads. The next time you want a good night’s sleep, give Rescue sleep a shot!