Tap, Tap, Tapping

Perhaps it was my deep-seated desire to be a tap dancer, that attracted me to Tapping.  I first stumbled across EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique, also called Tapping, several years ago by way of Charyl Ozkaya. Charyl was my Reiki instructor and I arrived early to her Monday night Reiki circle and ended up tapping along with her class. It was foreign to me, but whatever Charyl did always seemed lovely and perfect.

Since then it has entered my consciousness many times. The one that recently got my attention was an audio presentation on HayHouse.com by Dawson Church. He is the author of The EFT Manual  He offered a print out with basic instructions and a diagram of the acupressure sites on the hands, head and chest. This is how I got started. Then I ordered his book, which explains the origins and application in greater detail.  For a simple procedure, the results can be amazing.

George Goodheart, Roger Callahan and Gary Craig were some of the early developers of this combination of cognitive therapy and acupressure. They began their practices in the second half of the 20th century and experimented with different applications. All of them were experiencing success with anxiety, depression and PTSD. Gary Craig simplified the technique to tapping on 12 acupressure points in any order and called it EFT. The success rate of this healing practice has been so great that it has been expanded to treat any number of conditions such as Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, as well as other so-called incurable diseases.

In The EFT ManualDawson Church lists three reasons for its success: 1. Reduces stress. 2. Diminishes the intensity of emotional trauma. 3. Modifies the way the brain processes emotional information.    

The technique is now being applied to any number of emotional or stress induced symptoms. The success rate of this therapy and the speed of obtaining positive results have exploded the practice. Families and children can be easily taught how to use it as well. If you are interested in learning more about EFT:

1. Watch for programs in your library. Bayport/Bluepoint Library just had one last month.

2. Check out InnerHealingArts.com with Charyl Ozkaya.

3. Dawson Church’s book- The EFT Manual

4. Tapping World Summit Video Series, led by Nick Ortner, on thetappingsolution.com. This is a free online presentation from 2/27-3/8/17, with two presentations per night, which are available for free, for 24 hrs after each broadcast. Nick Ortner is also the author of the best-selling book, The Tapping Solution.

Happy Tapping

    

Bone Broth

You may have noticed a trend that is causing a nutritional stir. My nutritionist told me about bone broth a year ago and suggested that I drink it to boost my immunity. Of course, I ran right to my organic food store, for ready made broth. It was so delicious, but so expensive. My health guru, Louise Hay, believes in it so completely, that she and Heather Dane wrote a book,  The Bone Broth Secret. 

According to these ladies, the health benefits you get are bioavailable collagen, easily digested amino acids, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. They also state that collagen production slows down after age 40 and the broth supplies what your body cannot produce.

Soups were never my strong suit, unlike Mom, who could make the tastiest soups on the planet. Mine always tasted like flavored water, but by the time I finished the book, I was ready to attempt my first broth. There are a few secrets that they share, which make them foolproof.

  1. Use good bones. This is not as difficult as it sounds. I usually buy a chicken to roast, that has no pesticides and is free range. After enjoying a meal of the roasted chicken or turkey, I put the carcass in the freezer for future bone broth. Beef bones should be from grass fed cows. I bought some at a local butcher.  If commercial bones are used, they suggest scooping off any fat or stuff that comes to the surface of the broth. You can also just make vegetable broth.
  2. Save your vegetable scraps. I keep a bag in the freezer with scraps from peeling veggies, the tops of celery and carrots that are unused, half an onion that I haven’t used, etc. Once I collect a bag full, I add them to the broth pot.
  3. Use filtered or spring water, enough to cover the bones and veggies.
  4. Add 1/4 – 1/2 cup of organic apple cider vinegar to the pot and let it sit for an hour before cooking. I use a crock pot and by the time it heats up, the bones have soaked. The small crock produces about a quart of broth when finished. I use 1/4 cp of vinegar for this size.The vinegar aids in extracting the collagen from the bones and gives it a little tang.
  5. 2 tsps sea salt and peppercorns or ground pepper to taste. I use about 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper. You can also add in a nutritional boost by adding Kombu dried seaweed, spices such as turmeric, parsley or whatever tickles your tastebuds.
  6. Bring to a boil and then reduce and cook on low for 24 hours. I prefer the crock pot for this length of time for cooking. Put it on high to start, then reduce to low, when it starts boiling.
  7. Strain and discard bones and veggies and refrigerate or freeze the broth. Beef bones may be used more than once. The broth may be used in soups and gravy or just sipping, which is my favorite. There are lots of variables and no hard and fast recipe is necessary, but so far the results are amazingly tasty. I sip a cup with lunch or even sometimes in the morning to warm up my innards. I definitely recommend checking out the book or online hints and boiling up some goodness.

Paring Down

There is something about the New Year, specifically January, that gets my declutter genes sparking. Maybe, it is because I over decorate for the holidays or maybe it is the promise of new replacements. Suddenly, things begin disappearing into large black bags in a corner of the basement. Once the momentum of my decluttering, begins to increase speed, nothing is safe, leading my husband and the cats to run for cover.

Last year, I read about an amazing Japanese organizer, Marie Kondo. Of course I had to get her book, “the life-changing magic of tidying up; the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing.” I can’t say it changed my life, as I didn’t strictly adhere to her advice. However, it certainly made a lasting impression and lit my fire for another purge.

Marie Kondo states that she has been tidying since she was a young girl and studied all traditional techniques for releasing clutter.  After many years of trial and error, she claims to have discovered the secret. Her formula is both loving and ruthless. If you love something, keep it, if not, toss or recycle it. I do find, that this philosophy resonates with me. She suggests focusing on one thing at a time, starting with something easy to weed out, such as a specific type of clothing.

For example, you put every shirt you own in a pile, whether it is in the laundry, in storage for another season or unworn with tags. Pick up each item and if it makes your heart sing, its life is spared, otherwise, you thank it for its service and let it go. She advises that you give reverence to all items that have given you pleasure and for those that did not, send them to a new home.

As you gain confidence in your sorting skills, addressing each set of clothing, you can move onto the more difficult and discouraging items such as paper work, books and photos. She claims that once you have finished ransacking and discarding, it is easy to keep your closets and shelves in order. The new found order should bring you peace and confidence. I have noticed, that after a year, a few of my closets are still in pretty good shape.

Though her philosophy may seem extreme; gratitude, recycling and love always make sense to me. Perhaps, I can start over this year with new resolve to follow her advice completely.

Black Belt or Bust

Watching my Grandkids practice karate for the last few years was captivating. They picked it up so quickly and made it look easy. I contemplated taking lessons, but was a little concerned for my aging parts. I wasn’t confident that they would move quite the same way as the younger ones.

When I saw a beginners class for T’ai Chi offered in the Bayport Bluepoint Library, I signed up. It seemed that this program was geared for all ages. After completing the six classes, I signed up for another beginners class on the advice of the instructor.  The class is led by Jim Cummings, an expert in marshal arts, who has earned several black belts, including T’ai Chi.

He explained that there are many types of T’ai Chi methods and practices, with hundreds of poses.  The one that we were learning, comprises 24 movements, which are geared to optimizing health and breathing. The poses are fluid and done slowly to utilize all the body’s muscles. They are geared to exercise the body, reduce anxiety, reduce tension and to improve balance. That recipe was enough for me.

We were instructed to learn the names of the movements and the sequence. Though that sounded easy enough, the program challenged the mind and body. The warm up exercises or qigong are gentle but get the blood flowing and muscles awake. Each class focused on several movements, which we then added to the ones already learned.

Jim is an excellent teacher, who stressed that it is not how you do the movement, but that you move.  He said that it takes hundreds of hours of practice to become proficient.  However, it is an activity that you can get better at as you age and you can profit health wise right away. The classes have attracted people of all ages.  Each lesson is interlaced with wonderful pearls of body wisdom. I may never get out of the beginner’s class, but who knows?

 

Ancestry.What?

Ever since my daughter got her DNA results, my curiosity has been peaked. Her’s favored both her and my paternal Italian/Mediterranean side of the family, with a showing of Norwegian stock. I wondered what was coursing through my veins. Previous blogs described my Mother’s lineage from Norway. My paternal Grandfather’s family came from Italy, but Grandma was a mystery.

No one in Dad’s family spoke about themselves or where they came from prior to Brooklyn. They moved upstate New York a few hours from Long Island, so we didn’t see much of them when I was growing up. After Grandma died, my Uncle did some research and let us know that she was an orphan and her maiden name was O’Rourke. Little else was known, except that she had a great sense of humor and was a lovely woman. Unfortunately, she died young before I was curious enough to ask questions.

I believed that I was predominantly Norwegian, with a side slice of Italian. The odd thing was I was always drawn to Irish culture. I rarely miss the St. Patrick’s Day parades and love Irish music, dancing and Guinness. After going on a trip to Ireland with my daughter, the attraction was even stronger.

Just before Christmas, I sent in the Ancestry.com DNA test and got my results this week. You may have guessed the results: 39% Irish, 36% Norwegian and the balance Italian/Mediterranean. It was such a fun shock. I felt closer to my Grandmother, who was such a lovely lady. Relatives said that my looks favored her and it seems her blood as well.

As my daughter and I discovered on our trip, Ireland has lots of Viking history. Perhaps my Irish roots came through the back door as well. Either way, it was exciting to find out my genetic makeup. Coincidentally, just before Christmas, my husband and I booked a tour of Ireland. Both of his parents have Irish ancestry and I wanted to experience Ireland with him. Now we both will return to our roots.

GIFTS

The best gifts are ones that come from the heart and make both the giver and the receiver feel good. They can be very simple gifts, such as a smile to a stranger. The headline of the Parade Magazine, January 1, 2017 edition, is to “Throw Kindness Around Like Confetti.” What a lovely concept and appropriate for the season.

Each new year brings its own excitement of promise. Looking ahead with a resolution for  sharing gifts of kindness means that not only will you feel better, but whoever you give the gift to, will benefit and feel better. Showing gratitude to friends and relatives is an easy way to start. As I reflect on this, it reminds me of an instance that happened this year.

Though I am courteous and smile at cashiers and people in front of me on line, I don’t usually engage in conversation. One day in the supermarket, the lady in front of me looked familiar but I couldn’t place where I knew her from. I believe she had the same feeling and as we made eye contact, we both acknowledged that we hadn’t seen each other in years. I told her that I was on my way to watch my Grandchildren and she said that her Grandkids live out of state, but were coming to visit her the next day. She was very excited and was buying some treats for them.

I was happy for her, but so perplexed as to where we had known each other. It was as if we had spoken often, but didn’t know each other’s names. I thought perhaps she had worked at a store that I frequented. She checked out her groceries, amounting to around $20. However, her credit or debit card was rejected. Her face fell and she told the cashier that she had to put the treats back.  I handed the clerk a twenty dollar bill and told her it was for my friend.

She had tears in her eyes and tried to refuse my payment, but I insisted. She packed up her goodies, hugged me and left with a smile on her face.  I felt so wonderful that I had seen her again, shared some sweet Grandchildren stories and was able to help her. For days I felt a glow inside, that I had stepped out of my comfort zone and made a difference for another person.  Kindness can be contagious and spread through imitation, as in “Pay it Forward”.

One time while going through a toll booth, the person in front of me paid for my car. Of course that was many years ago, before EZ Pass, but I never forgot that lesson and have tried to do similar “random acts of kindness”.  It almost seems selfish because it sure feels good!

REIKI

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Reiki is an ancient healing energy that was thought to have originated in Tibet thousands of years ago and was reinvented in Japan a century ago by Dr. Mikao Usui. It is well known that energy exists all around us and in our bodies. Reiki channels this energy for stress reduction and healing. I have always been enamored with the idea of energy flowing all around us and through our bodies.

By “coincidence”, I met a lady, Charyl Ozkaya from Westhampton, NY (www.innerhealingarts.com), in an airport a decade ago.  As we talked about our shared destination and professions, she divulged that she was a Reiki Master. I was instantly connected to her and committed to taking a class with her for a Reiki Level I. She was also a masseuse and conducted Reiki circles each week. Just being in her presence, my stress level dropped.

The classes were amazing and opened up a world of peace and healing. The energy was palpable as the class participants practiced on each other. Some of the concepts seemed alien at first, but I was all in with the energy. As we practiced, my hands would heat up from the energy flow. After several weeks of classes and practice sessions, we graduated as Reiki Level I practitioners.

Over the next months, I continued onto the next levels. I experienced increased energy flow and excitement from learning how to use this healing for myself, my family and pets. I learned how to send this healing and would let my daughters know when I was sending them healing lights. It was a very powerful feeling to know that I could impact the healing of others. Eventually, I received my Master level, which allows me to teach.

I began conducting my own Reiki circles at the Blue Point Wellness Center, now known as Serenity Source Spa. I met wonderful people and led them in meditation and Reiki healing. My practice also involved private sessions at the Wellness Center. When my grandson was born, I volunteered to be his babysitter and took a sabbatical from my practice. My grandson loves when I do Reiki on him. He instantly relaxes, which for a super active child, is a good thing. When my granddaughter was born, it was icing on the cake with two little bodies to work on.

In the last decade Reiki has gotten more recognition and is being used in many hospitals and adult homes. It has been found to increase healing and recovery after operations. In nursing homes, it has a calming affect on seniors. Reiki is a great addition to one’s arsenal for natural healing.

 

God Yul

Just about the time that the Thanksgiving leftovers were just a lovely memory, Grandma, Mom and Aunt Ruth would start firing up their krumkaka irons. This was the sign that Christmas was near. The Norwegian cookie maker was cast iron, shaped like a small badminton racket and sat on a crown of sorts, over the burner. This allowed it to be pivoted to heat each side. The cookies came out round, flat and soft like a crepe, about the size of a waffle with designs imprinted from the iron. We would then quickly roll them around a wooden dowel about the size of a broomstick handle until they cooled.  They could be filled with cream just before serving, but we never did.

I was usually coerced into assisting in the tedious job of making these Norwegian cookies.  It involved a lot of counting and hot fingers.  You had to wrap them before they cooled and then take them off the dowel at the precise amount, so that they remained in the tubular shape. They were a labor of love and perfumed the air with the smell of cardamon, vanilla and nutmeg. Every year, the women would scour the supermarkets for the freshest ground cardamon.

Mom would make several batches, sometimes by herself if she couldn’t recruit anyone to help her.  One batch made around 60 cookies. Often, she and Aunt Ruth would be making these after they worked all day, made dinner and put the kids to bed. After the cookies were totally cooled, they would package them up to give to neighbors and friends for Christmas. They were so delicate that only a few could go into a container without crushing them. Consequently, we had tins stacked all over the house.

Not everyone cherished these delights. One time my mother gave a few to the paperboy. She watched through the window and he got on his bike with one on each finger, sticking up like Edward Scissorhands. After tasting one, he threw them down the sewer drain. Mom still laughs about that memory.

Some family members refer to them as rolled cardboard.  The translation of krumkaka means curved cake. If you didn’t eat them just right, they would break into a pile of crumbs in your lap, which was my translation of the word. They were just one of the traditional culinary treats of our holiday.

Hooch Anyone?

I clearly am tapping into my Little House on the Prairie days. Back then, on a trip to San Francisco, I found a cookbook, Sourdough Jack’s Cookery by Sourdough Jack Mabee, original copyright 1959.  According to the intro of the little book, he spent nearly 20 years in and around Alaska and the American West.  It contains lots of anecdotes, old wives tales and recipes about the West and cowboy cooking.  Most importantly, enclosed was a packet of official, sourdough yeast. He dedicated the book to his mother, Clara, the same name as my Mom, so how could I resist.

According to Jack, the definition of Sourdough was a Canadian or Alaskan Prospector. This was supposedly derived from the habit of carrying sourdough, a fermented dough used as a leavening for making bread. The practice harks back to ancient times when someone discovered that flour fermented, created bubbles, when it got wet.

Sourdough Jack, states that the dependence on this starter led man to go to great lengths to get, protect and keep the one they had. Frontier men supposedly coined the slang word, hooch from the strong, sour, smelling liquor that rises to the top of a batch of sourdough starter after the fermentation is complete. The yeast was not only used for making bread, but also pancakes, regular cakes, biscuits and bannock (a solid biscuit made in a frypan).

The pancakes were usually made in the size of silver dollars. Jack states, that one story told to a greenhorn was, “you can never fry too many pancakes cause there’s always use for them. If you don’t eat ’em, you kin feed ’em to the dogs, shingle the roof, chink the cabin logs or even use ’em for shoe soles.”  Having made many batches of them, I never any left over to experiment with.

San Francisco is famous for their sourdough, but there is a resurgence for eating fermented foods due to its health benefits. “When bread is made the traditional way, the lactic-acid fermentation not only helps to preserve the bread, but also increases the nutrients available for our bodies,” according to Donna Schwenk in her book, Cultured Food for Life.

After reading her book, I dug out my old starter from the back of the frig, which had provided delicious products for several decades. To my disappointment, it had finally died from lack of use. However, I am now the proud owner of a second San Francisco starter and this one I do not plan to neglect.

Synchronicity

A few weeks after I started meeting with my nutritionist, Ann Marie DiGregorio, fate again stepped in with an opportunity to try an Acupuncturist at the Serenity Source Wellness Center. I have been going there for many years for massages and Chiropractic adjustments with Dr. Anthony Pusateri. The Doc helped alleviate many problems with my back and shoulders and he put me on the path to better health.

I wanted to avail myself of all the natural help that I could get and hopefully make faster progress, so I started treatment with Rory Crouse.  My team of healers was growing. I immediately knew that I made the right choice. Rory’s knowledge was astounding and I felt as if he could see right into my body and soul. With my permission, he and Ann Marie consulted and complemented each other in their treatments and recommendations.

I had never experienced acupuncture and was immediately fascinated with the ancient healing method.  Rory’s demeanor was so professional, concerned and calm, that I instantly felt better, just walking into his office. His sense of needle humor instantly resonated with me, as there is nothing like laughter for healing. It has been almost a year since I first experienced acupuncture and I am still in wonderment of Rory’s knowledge and ability to relieve budding problems.

I felt as if I was being guided on this path to healing. So many wonderful healers were seemingly placed right in front of me. Though formerly not a disbeliever in Angels, my attitude was changing as I truly felt my prayers for healing were being answered.

For the last six years, I had been happily watching my Grandkids.  However, I was about to become an empty nester, when my youngest went to kindergarten. With more time presenting itself to me, I began to question what the next phase of my life would bring.

My guidance felt so strong that I read, Doreen Virtue’s, Angels of Abundance. Her knowledge and contact with angels became irrefutable to me. I consulted her Archangel Oracle Cards, to learn more about angels. Out of 45 angel cards, the same messages kept appearing as I selected several cards each week, looking for answers.

Several cards that appeared over and over were Archangel Zadkiel’s Teaching and Learning, Archangel Chamuel’s Career Transition, Archangel Gabriel’s Creative Writing and Archangel Jophiel’s Patience.  About the fourth time in a row that I picked Teaching and Learning,  Creative Writing and Career Change, I said out loud, “I hear you.” I had chills and tears. The more that I open my heart and mind, the more blessings that seem to be rolling in and the healthier I become. Each day is so exciting!