Connecting with NATURE
What does it mean to be connected to nature?
It means to heighten your awareness of the birds and the sky, to feel the deep pull of the earth beneath your feet,
to allow the rain to cleanse you more than skin deep, and to turn your face toward the sun and allow its energy to revive you.
It means to breathe deeply and allow the air that brings you life to fill your lungs
and remind you that all that you are is connected to all that is.
Everything is connected. We are part of this big beautiful world—connected to everything that is—connected to the water that covers the oceans and the ground beneath our feet. Our very survival depends on this connection. We need this beautiful earth to support us. And she has indeed given us everything we need.
Over time, mankind has moved away from our awareness of our deep connection to nature. We drive cars instead of walking everywhere. We live in towns instead of forests. We get our food from the grocery store. It isn’t that we are no longer connected to the earth. But our connection has changed. In some ways we have lost our awareness of it, and in some ways it has become polluted. For example: Even though we don’t hunt and gather, we still eat and our food still comes from the earth. Even the chemicals they put in our food ultimately come from the earth. But I think you will agree, our interference in the food supply has had a profound effect on our well-being.
The same is true of our connection to our environment. Think about the natural rhythm of night and day. With the introduction of electricity, which in many ways has made our lives easier, we have interrupted our own biological rhythms. Because we now have synthetic light, we have extended our daily light-filled hours. This in turn has affected our ability to sleep, which has a huge impact on how we feel.
I believe starting this whole 28 day project by making some adjustments in your connection to and are AWARENESS OF your connection to nature herself will have a profound impact on how you feel. Originally, I was going to have you begin this project by focusing on your Connection to Self, but I think you will quickly see how it is actually repairing your Connection to Nature that will have the most dramatic and rapid impact on how you feel.
And restoring that connection, as with all things, must begin with simple awareness.
Becoming Aware of the Natural World
Nature is ever with us, always in us, continually surrounds us, supports us and holds us. We are held in the bosom of Mother Earth, nourished by her and irrevocably connected to her. We cannot exist with out her. She sustains us. Nothing that we touch does not originate with her. Even the soft cotton blanket on your bed came from the cotton plants growing in fields under the sun and even the plastic bottle filled with water that brings us both life (the water) and grief (the plastic) found its beginnings in the deep wells of oil beneath the earth’s crust. Everything comes from this planet. All the physical things that heal us and the things that harm us. Both medicines and toxins come from the earth. We talk about having an all-natural lifestyle, but the truth is, there is nothing that we have created, even the poisonous additives we put in our food and the garbage we throw into the ocean are all-natural. They find their origins in the earth. They come from nature…
But we have changed them…
We have taken natural resources and manipulated them. But this does not mean they are not natural anymore. We have transformed them into things that we no longer recognize as being part of nature. Sometimes these things bring us joy, and sometimes they bring us pain. Every part of a gun came originally from the matter that exists here on earth. So, does every part of a respirator that sustains life and allows our loved ones the time they need to heal.
Allow this into your awareness.
You may feel that you have become disconnected from Nature, but you have not. It is impossible to become disconnected from her and still live. In fact, your body will go back to her when you die. What you have lost is your AWARENESS of this connection.
When you breathe, you take oxygen into your lungs and you breathe out carbon dioxide, which is in turn taken in by the plants, which in turn breath out oxygen for you to breath in again.
So how can you say you are disconnected?
All the food you eat, be it an apple directly from the tree or a fast food burger filled with manipulated compounds you can’t even being to understand, comes from the earth. This food is broken down and becomes the cells of your body.
So how can you say you are disconnected from the earth? Yet your awareness of your connection to nature has been interrupted.
And this interruption is causing you pain.
You are busily going about your day, shopping, working, playing, eating, sleeping. You are doing all the things you normally do while feeling that you are disconnected from the sun and the air and the trees. You cannot be disconnected from these things. They are the building blocks of life. But you can FEEL disconnected from them.
And that is what we are going to address today.
Even in our modern, city or suburban homes, we live much closer to nature than we think. From almost anywhere, you can look at the sky and see the deep grey of a storm moving in. You feel the change in the barometric pressure when the weather changes, even though you may be unaware of it. You feel your mood or energy level shifting, but you probably don’t realize the change is connected to the change in the atmosphere. You may feel a bit on edge, a bit of wild, unmanaged energy. You might not be able to focus well, or you might feel uncomfortable physically. How frustrating to have these feelings and not know why! You look for a solution, maybe even thinking you have done something to make yourself feel this way. What you are unaware of is that the feeling is caused by the change in your environment and that it is completely natural.
I used to live on a sailboat. It was hot inside with all the windows closed, so I slept with the windows open. When it started to rain, I felt the first drops stinging on my face because there was a big window (hatch) right above my bed. I had to jump out of bed, run up on deck, and close the hatch (usually in the pouring rain by this time) to keep it from pouring directly on my bed!
Now, when the barometric pressure begins to fall, I wake up. Even if it is in the middle of the night. I toss and turn, and I cannot get comfortable no matter how hard I try. For the first few months after living on the boat, I did not make this connection and I agonized over why this was happening to me. Eventually I realized my body had become so used to jumping out of bed at the first stinging rain drop that I had become ultra-aware of the barometric pressure changes. And now, when I feel uncomfortable, I know if I wait just a few minutes, it is going to rain. And when it does, I feel this incredible rushing relief, this intense sense of peace. It’s like I can feel the pressure burst as the heavens open to water the earth. I feel the release in my own body and I pull up the covers and drift into a wonderful, deep sleep. And when I wake up, I feel rested, happy, and ready to start my day.
As we go through this week, you will see how your energy level, your mood, even the action of the chemicals that are released in your body and your brain are all affected by what is going on in the rhythms of the planet. The idea is to work WITH Mother Earth, not against her. And in order to do that, you first need to be aware of her.
Re-connecting to your awareness of the natural world is easy to do because everything around you is nature. You simply need to open your eyes.
Yes, you can bring potted plants inside, fill a vase with fresh flowers, and open up the windows to let the fresh air blow through your home to increase your awareness of nature. But you can also become aware that your floor is made of travertine marble tiles that came from a mine in Mexico or your kitchen counter is granite that was once in the mountains of Vermont. You can look at your imagine in the bathroom mirror and think about how the glass came from grains of sand on a tropical beach or you can touch the silver bracelet on your arm or your silver earrings and envision the mine in Taxco with its rich veins of sparkling metal. You can even feel the wooliness of a favorite pair of warm socks and imagine that they came from the thick coat of a sheep somewhere in the high Andes Mountains of Ecuador. These things all help restore your connection to nature. Even eating lunch is an opportunity to raise your awareness of the natural world. When you bite into a crunchy apple and feel the coolness of the fruit inside your mouth and the juice running over your tongue and down your throat, you are connecting on the deepest level possible with the earth. You are taking it into your body and letting it become you on a cellular level.
Nature is all around you. Like I said before, all you need to do is open your eyes.
Sit in your favorite spot in your home. Cuddle up with a favorite notebook and pen and make a list. On the list you are going to write down everything you see that you are aware came from nature. You will probably get bored of writing before you run out of things to write down.
As you are writing, think of how some things have been altered. It is perfectly fine to think of things that have been altered in both good and harmful ways. Be aware of emotions that may come up, but don’t get stuck in them. Some of what we have created from our natural resources and some of the ways our lives have changed because of those creations do not benefit us. We will address that this week. Today is just about becoming aware of these things.
After you make your list, go touch a few of the things on your list. Feel the sleekness of the well-worn arms of your wooden rocking chair. Become aware of the texture of the palm leaves used to make your rattan end table or the coolness of your favorite piece of clay pottery. Even your heavy cast-iron skillet was once part of the earth. As you touch it, feel the cool roughness on your fingers and try to imagine what the rusty iron ore rocks looked like before they were smelted and combined with other minerals to make your favorite piece of cookware.
Tell yourself that you will continue to be aware of how nature is all around you as you go through the rest of your day.
Add to Your Daily Routine
As we go through this week, you will naturally become more aware of the natural world around you. Keep your awareness turned on. Eventually it will become part of your lifestyle.
Eat Happy Foods
THE FRESH FOOD MARKETS ARE one of my favorite things about living in Middle America. I love poking around through piles of mangoes and avocados and sweet potatoes and chia and yucca and round, ripe limes and heads of purple cabbage and dried chilies and hibiscus flowers. I love the crushed spices that hang in little bags and the unmarked bottles of local honey and the oddly shaped blocks of creamy white cheese. And I love bringing home a bag filled with all the raw ingredients to make homemade spaghetti sauce or Yucatan pumpkin soup. It is easy to do, fun, and super nutritious.
There is very little that we do that is more important than the choices we make about what we eat. The compounds in food have a profound effect on, not just our health, but on how we feel. We know there is a deep connection between what we put in our bodies and what our daily life looks like, but still we make choices we know are not good for us.
I am not talking just about eating too much sugar or the wrong kind of fat. I am talking about the chemical make-up of food. FIRST: Processed food is full of toxins, some of which are banned substances in parts of the world. SECOND: Natural foods are filled with compounds that can enrich our lives by helping us feel more energetic and happier, helping us sleep better, even increase our spiritual experiences and intuition!
When I began to study the foods eaten in most of Middle America, I was amazed. So many of them are filled with things that make you feel great! So, I made a list of HAPPY FOODS that I am excited to share with you. So very cool to think that all this time the people here have been literally eating themselves happy! Now YOU can EAT YOURSELF HAPPY too!
Take stock of your pantry and then…..Go Shopping! Take a look at the list of foods below and see what you already have. Then pick out you favorite things on the list (or new things you want to try) and go get them! For easy and delicious recipes that include these foods, you can go to the 28 Days to Happify Your Life FB page and look in the ‘files’ section. And if YOU come up with any great recipes, please post them so we can all share!
This is probably my favorite exercise in the whole book because I Do this myself all the time and I have noticed a BIG difference in the way I feel. ALL these foods are things people eat on a regular basis here in the tropical beaches and lush rain forests. This list encompasses food from Southern Mexico to the farthest reaches of Panama.
The important thing is, these foods are high in happifying compounds. Included here you will find foods high in things like:
L-Tyrosine: a building block for dopamine
Anandamide: The bliss molecule! (found in raw cacao, so eat more chocolate)
Vitamin D: a natural mood booster
Vitamin B1: helps you relax and feel less stressed
Vitamin C: can be as good as Prozac for depression!
Magnesium: balances the stress hormone, cortisol
Lycopene: bye-bye blues, baby
Capsaicin: a natural pain killer
Zinc: a natural anti-depressant
And lots of other mood boosting compounds!
The Happy Foods List
Stay away from refined sugar…super, super important!
Also, notice there are ZERO processed foods on this list.
Do the best you can to eat whole foods bought fresh.
Almonds, Avocados, Bananas (nature’s magic chill-pill), Black beans, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cacao, Cactus, Cantaloupe, Cane sugar (raw), Carrots, Chamomile, Cervesa (oops! How did that get in there? Scratch that…) Cheese, Chia Seeds, Chicken, Chilies, Cilantro, Chayote, Coconut, Coconut oil, Coffee, Corn, Cucumbers, Cumin, Eggs, Garlic, Grapefruit, Grouper, Hibiscus flower tea (also called Jamaica), Honey, Kidney beans, Lentils, Limes, Mahi-mahi, Milk, Mint, Oatmeal, Onions, Oranges, Papaya, Peas, Peanuts, Peppers (hot ones contain a natural pain-killer!), Pineapple, Pork, Potatoes, Pumpkin seeds, Rice, Romain lettuce, Snapper, Shrimp, Spinach, Tamarind (detoxes your pineal gland which makes you happier, gives you a better night’s sleep, and increases your spiritual vision!), Tomatoes (a tomato a day can raise your happiness quotient %52!), Tortillas (always corn), Tuna, Turmeric, Vanilla, Watermelon, Yucca, and Yogurt
Add to Your Daily Routine
You might want to memorize this HAPPY FOOD LIST! (OK, you don’t have to memorize it, but keep it handy). But, for sure, you should add as many of these foods to your daily routine as you can, and I guarantee, you will start feeling happified in no time!
Go all in, totally all-natural, with your food. Make a commitment to spend the rest of this course eating only things that have un-altered, whole-food ingredients. No preservatives, no additives! You can DO IT!
The Dark Night
Today is about the natural rhythm of the earth and the moon and the sun. And it’s about how you are connected to that rhythm.
There are hormones released in your pineal gland that help you wake up and fall asleep. You are probably familiar with serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin is famous for helping people feel happier and more positive and upbeat. But most people are not awake that serotonin is the hormone released in the brain to help us wake up. It’s the alarm clock that goes off as the sun peeks above the horizon. This soft light is “seen” by your pineal gland—also known as your third eye. It “sees” that it’s morning and it releases serotonin into your body to wake you up.
As the sun slips back beneath the horizon, the pineal gland, which actually has rods and cones similar to your regular eyes, sees that the light is slipping away and releases melatonin to signal your body that it is time to go to sleep.
If melatonin is not released properly, you can bet you are not going to get a good night’s sleep.
Turning on the lights as the sun goes down is a bit confusing to your third eye. The man-made light tricks your pineal gland into thinking it’s still daytime when it might actually be ten o’clock at night. This is a problem, because then the gland is unaware that it’s time to release the melatonin, so your body can get its goodnight message. The result is that you don’t get tired. And not being tired makes it a tad bit difficult to fall asleep.
And when you DO finally make it to bed, not only are you not ready to sleep (even if your body feels exhausted, you know how sometimes you are soooo tired but you just can’t relax and fall asleep? Well, this is why.) but by having too much ambient light in your bedroom, you prolong your wakefulness. Most people have tiny lights from an alarm clock, a TV, a computer, or other electronics. These appliances add a HUGE amount of light to your room. They might seem small, but try shutting them all off and look at the difference in the light in your bedroom.
In addition, if you live in town, light comes in from outside in the form of street lights. Have you ever been way out in the country where there are no streetlights? Dark is really dark there.
In the jungles and rain forests of Middle America, in villages way off the beaten path, there is little or no electricity. Families may sit around a fire in the evening if they wish to stay up after the sun goes down, but for the most part, when the sun goes to bed, the people go to bed too. They don’t have “light pollution” from electronics, appliances, and street lights. Their internal clocks are in rhythm with the sun and the moon. And their pineal glands “see” when it’s time to go to sleep. They get that lovely dose of melatonin and off to La-La Land they drift. And we all know, a happy night’s sleep means a happier, more energetic day.
Make your home a haven for a good night’s sleep. This activity has a couple of steps to it.
Go look at your bedroom and take stock of the electronics. Find a way to cover up the small lights like the numbers on you alarm clock or the pin-point lights showing there is power available on your computer or TV.
Evaluate the light coming in from outside. Do you need darker curtains or shades? If you don’t have the funds or time right now to buy them, find a light weight throw-blanket, silk beach wrap, or large towel—anything that will help block out the light—and have it handy to tuck over the curtain rod tonight.
As the sun goes down this evening, limit the amount of synthetic light you use in your home. Use table lamps with low wattage bulbs (under 60) or lights on dimmer switches instead of bright over-head lights. This will give your body the message that it needs to get ready to go to sleep.
When you sink into your pillow tonight, do it in the dark, restful room you prepared earlier in the day.
Add to Your Daily Routine
Now that you have make your home ready to embrace the night, make a commitment to turn down the lights every evening and keep your bedroom as dark as the night sky on a Panamanian island. Trust me, in no time you will find your self sleeping better and being ready to wake up and embrace the morning the next day.
Take ALL the electronics out of your bedroom for the rest of this course. If you SUPER have to have your phone close by, place it face down on a table so you can reach it, but it is not in your personal space. If you feel you can handle it, out it on silent so it doesn’t wake you up in the middle of the night.
Don’t use any electric lights after it gets dark. Go with candle light only in the evenings for the next 28 days. I love the glass jars with candles in them. You can buy them that way or buy small pillar candles and put them in canning jars or even re-purposed spaghetti sauce or other food-storage jars. Use a LONG HANDLED LIGHTER to light your candles so you don’t burn yourself.
Let the Sun Shine In
They call vitamin D “The SUNSHINE vitamin” because, although it is available in some foods, the best source of this happy-boosting nutrient is the glorious sun herself.
One of the things I love about life in the tropics is the way so much of life happens outside. It’s fun just to stroll down the street and stop in at the fruit and veggie market or stop and get a paleta (all-natural Popsicle) because there are always pleasant people to nod and smile to or stop and chat with.
But people are not just outside when they are doing their daily errands, they are outside all the time. They take their kids to the beach, go swimming in rivers, lakes, and cenotes, collect fresh wild fruits and herbs, go for long walks, tend to small gardens, and invite friends over to BBQ. And all that time outside gives them plenty of time to absorb lots of sun.
And getting enough of this readily available vitamin is more important than you think.
In a study conducted by University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Centre for Rural and Remote Area Health Research, Dr. David Turnbull said, “In the US alone, between 50,000 and 60,000 people die each year because of issues related to not getting enough sun exposure.” He went on to say that studies have indicated that vitamin D can help prevent cancer, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, bacterial infections, inflammatory bowel disease, elevated cholesterol, and rheumatoid arthritis.
But the benefits of getting enough vitamin D are not relegated just to physical health. Vitamin D-rich sunlight has been shown to increase available serotonin and elevate your mood, reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, and promote a sense of over-all well-being. It’s a powerful tool in the battle against depression and one you should take advantage of whenever possible.
This assignment is sure to make you feel good. Take some time today—around lunch time or in the early afternoon if you can—and get your body in the sun. Make sure to get at least 15 minutes of that warm, wonderful light because that is how long you need to really absorb a significant amount of vitamin D. You can take a walk, weed your garden, rake leaves, even shoveling snow will get you outside in the sun!
Here are a couple of things to remember:
FIRST: You cannot get any vitamin D through glass. So, sitting in your house in a sunny spot won’t do the trick.
SECOND: I hate to tell you this, but sunscreen limits the absorption of vitamin D by up to %95! So, slathering on sunscreen is not going to allow you to absorb the vitamin D your body needs.
Add to Your Daily Routine
Make it a habit to spend at least 15 minutes every day in the sun.
Three Little Birds
"Don't worry, 'bout a t'ing, cause eve'y little t'ing is gonna be alright.
The words to one of my favorite songs by Bob Marley come to mind many mornings. It's a song I truly have in my heart. It's about happiness and contentment and about being in the moment, uncomplicated and filled with joy for the simple things. It's about noticing the lovliness that is right in front of you and about our natural connection to nature.
Woke up this morning, smile with the rising sun (Yeah-Yeah!)
Three little birds, pitched by my doorstep (Yo-Yo!)
Singing sweet songs (hey now), of melodies pure and true (Hey now!)
Singing, this is my message to you...
And the message the three little birds came to deliver was, don't worry, every little thing is going to be alright.
You know, not worrying can seem so difficult to do. When someone tells you, "everything is going to be alright," you know it might not be true. Everything might NOT be alright. You might lose your job. You might never feel better. You might lose the person you love. And that is all true.
Let me tell you a little story.
There was a homeless man named Jerry who lived on an island in Panama called, Isla Colon. It was a beautiful island with white sand beaches and homes and business that were built on stilts right out over the water. It was always warm and bright green parrots flitted through the trees and sometimes howler monkeys came into town to visit.
I liked Jerry. He was sweet and soft spoken and never complained about a thing. So one day I decided to offer to pay for a night in a hotel room for him. I thought he light like to take a hot shower and sleep in a comfy bed. But when I said, "Hey, Jerry, I want to pay for a hotel for you to sleep in tonight," he looked at me as if I was nuts.
"Why would I want to sleep in a hotel?" he asked as he stretched out his hand to show me the beautiful beach. "I get to sleep here!"
My world view has been rocked over and over again as I have connected with simple, lovely people....even homeless ones. Who would have thought that Jerry slept on the beach because he wanted to? In fact, he told me all about how his days unfold. He gets in the ocean and washes his clothes and his body every morning. He has a little coffee pot he plugs in to a public outlet in the park and he makes coffee. And then he pours cereal made from corn that is very much like cream of wheat into that same coffee pot. He adds a little water and some powdered milk and he says it makes the best breakfast ever, full of nutrition to help him start his day.
When he finishes his breakfast, he cleans up the coffee pot, puts it in his shopping cart where he keeps all his things and pulls out a broom which he uses to sweep the park sidewalk clean. He enjoys his friends and the sunshine and the birds in the great banyan trees and every night, when the sun goes down, he falls asleep in the sand under the wide open sky and with the stars overhead. "Life is good," he says.
You see it's all about perspective.
Yes, things might not turn out the way you think you want them to. But in the end, every little thing really is going to be alright. Even the Bible says, "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" Matthew 6:26-27.
So, don't worry. I have made meals in a coffee pot. In fact, Jerry and I shared coffee-pot cooking recipes. Find joy where you are. Trust me, it is always there.
And I think Jerry was on to something... Living so close to nature has some powerful effects on how you feel. Sleeping in the sand grounds you. Breathing all that fresh air clears your lungs and helps you think clearly. And listening to the birds does more for you than you even imagined.
Did you know that bird songs have been shown to improve mood, concentration, and even boost creativity? How cool is that! Studies show that listening to the birds can boost your mood for four hours after the birds quit their melodious celebration. So, take some time today to tune in to some twittering songs.
Find a comfortable place to sit where you can set your phone or laptop nearby. Do a quick search for Relaxing Rainforest Bird Songs and pick a track you like. (YouTube works well for this). Turn up the sound and then and allow your attention to focus in on what you hear. As you listen, allow a feeling of peace and joy to well up from the place just below your rib cage. As you become aware of thoughts that float in, let them go until you are not thinking at all but just listening to the twiddles and chirrups of nature’s glory and feeling wonderful.
After doing this for 5-10 minutes, gently tell yourself that you are going to be aware of bird songs today. By making that association while you are still listening to the songs, you will subconsciously create a connection that will allow your attention to pick up on the sounds of birds singing all day.
Pull yourself out of your reverie, put your arms straight up over your head with your palms together and breathe in deeply. Hold your breath for a few seconds while stretching up toward the ceiling. Breath out firmly and let your arms fall to your sides. Turn off the sound track and go about your day, being mindful of all the birds you hear during the day and into the evening.
Because you focused on feeling peaceful and joyful during this exercise, those same feelings will naturally want to come back to you every time you hear birds singing today!
Add to Your Daily Routine
When it comes into your awareness that the birds are singing, take time to listen!
Get outside every morning when the birds get up and spend some time watching their antics and really listening to them. See how many different types of birds you can identify. You can keep a running list. When I lived in Virginia I was able to identify more than 50 different kinds of birds in my own backyard!
Relax and Rejuvinate
FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS, our ancestors slept on the ground. Today most people in Middle America sleep in hammocks, which is lovely. But still, I often see construction guys taking a nap on the ground in the shade in the heat of the day. They are stretched out fully, body in contact with the earth. They may even have their feet a few inches above the ground, propped up on a rock, or a wall, or a large tree trunk. It feels really good to lie on the ground with your feet on a tree trunk. I know, I used to do it all the time when I was a kid.
Now, I know why.
Resting on your back, with your body outstretched and coming into contact with the earth, provides you with a profound connection to the planet beneath you. It allows for that magical electoral exchange between you and the earth. It also aligns your spine, hips, and shoulders, and it releases pressure on pinched nerves and opens your chest to allow for deeper, freer breathing.
Taking it a step further and getting your feet a few inches above your head allows you blood to flow back to your internal organs, your heart, and your brain. Hours and hours on your feet can be exhausting, but a few short minutes with your feet on a tree trunk is better than an hour-long nap. You get up feeling energized, alert, and refreshed. Take a few minutes to try this exercise and see how quickly you notice a difference in your over-all energy level.
oh, and there is MORE TO laying on the ground than just stretching out and relaxing. This video give you a good explanation of some of the reasons WHY you feel so good after really connecting with the earth.
I understand that laying on the ground may not be easy to do, especially if it’s winter. But you will still get great results from laying on the floor inside. So today’s activity is to do this inside. You won’t get the earthing portion of this activity, but you will get all the other benefits, and they will feel great.
Just laying on the floor with your knees bent will feel good., but it increases the impact of this activity if you can get your feet up above your head. Socked feet on the wall works well. or, you can put your feet up on a couch or chair. A good way to do this is to rest your legs from the knees down on the soft pillows of a low couch. Get comfortable and lay there for 10-15 minutes. You might get so comfortable, you even find yourself falling asleep!
Add to Your Daily Routine
When your back is aching from being on your feet too long, or you just can’t seem to wake yourself up at the I-need-coffee-hour in the middle of the afternoon, make it a point to get on the floor with your feet up. If you can’t do this at work, do it as soon as you get home in the afternoon. It’s a great way to rejuvenate yourself!
Do this one outside, even if it’s winter! Get outside every day for the rest of this course and find a tree or a big rock or something you can prop your feet up on. Lie down on your back directly on the ground and put your feet up. Be smart and dress warm if it’s cold outside, but it really is fine to lay in the snow (remember making snow angles when you were a kid?) Stay there for 10-15 minutes. In some ways, this is even MORE amazing if it is cold outside! It is incredibly invigorating. You will be amazed!
THERE WAS AN OLD MAN WHO LIVED on the island of Bastimentos in the Bocas Del Toro region of Panama. He lived in a wooden house up on a hill and spent his days making artisanal coconut oil from piles and piles of fresh coconuts. When the cloudy oil—still with traces of coconut in it—was finished, he poured it into old rum or gin bottles and sold it to his neighbors who, like me, used it for everything imaginable.
Coconut oil has tons of health benefits. It lowers cholesterol, increases weight loss and boosts brain power. But, today what I really want to talk about is adding coconut oil to your daily bath and beauty routine.
Did you know that coconut oil is an anti-bacterial? It naturally kills germs and is perfect for everything from brushing your teeth to washing your face. If I put lotion on my face, I always break out. If I use straight coconut oil with its germ-killing properties, I have soft, smooth skin and it is always clear and healthy. Coconut oil also works great to whiten and cleanse your teeth. That germ killing magic makes it a perfect ingredient for toothpaste and studies show that swishing with coconut oil for a few minutes every day literally pulls the stains from your teeth (It’s called oil pulling if you want to look it up) In fact, when it comes to taking fantastic care of your body, coconut oil is a super-power to the rescue.
I am going to give you some great tips and recipes to use coconut oil as an all-natural health and body product, but first I want to show you how to take it up a notch.
Add herbs and flowers and bark.
This is just wonderful. Imagine coconut oil infused with chamomile flowers or green tea leaves. Think of silky coconut oil infused with fresh peeled ginger and then used to make a luxurious brown sugar body scrub. This is a feel-good way to connect with nature. In fact, it’s a connection that goes more than skin deep.
When you take a shower, the warm water opens your pores and whatever body products you are using absorb into your skin. So, what if you use all natural-health boosting things like chamomile, ginger, and rosemary in your conditioner and body wash? People have been doing it for centuries, in fact, probably almost since the beginning of time. You can literally absorb the health boosting properties of your body wash through your skin. Have you been feeling anxious? Add relaxing chamomile flowers to your coconut oil. Infuse them in coconut oil and then use the oil to make nature infused goodies that will help you relax. Need an energy boost? Infuse orange peel in your coconut oil and make a body scrub that will get you going and charge up your day.
Every herb or spice you can think of has health-boosting properties. In fact, people used to use them primarily as medicine, not just for flavoring foods. For example: cayenne pepper is an all-natural pain reliever, valerian is an anti-depressant, and ginger boosts energy and helps heal digestive issues. I am sure you know other examples and, in a little bit, I am going to give you a list of lots of nature’s flowering and fruit-bearing gifts to us and how they can help you.
OK, let’s get to work.
Get a plastic container you can safely put in your bathroom and fill it with coconut oil. (If you want to infuse it with lovely things from nature, see the instructions below)
When you take your next shower, use a plain washcloth (not a scrubby) and a little coconut oil to scrub your body clean, just like you normally would with soap or body wash. Then, after you get out and dry off, rub coconut oil all over, including your hands and face. (Don’t worry, remember its anti-bacterial and will kill germs so you don’t break out!) The oil will absorb very quickly, and you can get dressed without worrying about harming your clothes.
As you are doing all of this, remember to be present. Focus on what it feels like and think of where the oil came from (a tropical jungle in paradise!) Be thankful that nature gives you everything you need to take care of your body.
Now for fun!
Go to the last chapter in your copy of Feeding Your Intuition. There you will find recipes for some fun things you can do with coconut oil.
Pick a few recipes and make a plan to try them. You can use plain coconut oil, or you can infuse the oil with herbs, dried flowers, or spices. (You will find a list of herbs and their benefits below) I HIGHLY recommend you try making an infusion. You will LOVE the way it makes you feel!
To do the oil infusion:
You will need coconut oil, a clean jar, a big pot for boiling water, a clean towel, and the dried herbs or spices you want to use.
Choose the dried herb or combination of herbs you want to infuse into your coconut oil (there is a list below)
Pour the dried herbs and/or spices into a bowl and lightly crush with a pestle or the back of a big spoon to release the fragrant oils.
Pour into a COMPLETELY DRY and CLEAN quart size glass jar that has a screw-on lid. Canning jars are great, but you can also re-use any glass jar you purchased food in as long as you sterilize the jar and allow it to air dry until it is completely dry (spaghetti jars work well).
Pour coconut oil over the spices to fill the jar and then screw on the lid.
Heat a large pot of water to a boil.
Then shut off the heat and set the pot in a warm place where it will be safe for a few hours.
Allow the water to cool slightly and then submerge the glass jar in the water. It does not have to be completely covered.
Cover the pan. If you don’t have a cover or the jar is too tall, use a dish towel.
Allow the jar to sit until the water is completely cooled. Then take it out, reheat the water and repeat the process. Do this until the jar has soaked in a water bath for a least three hours.
Strain and discard the solids.
Store the oil in the jar in a dark place.
Here is the list of easy to find herbs, spices, and flowers
and what they can do for you.
Valerian Root: A powerful sleep-aid!
Also wonderful for:
Relieving menstrual cramps
Sage: An important anti-inflammatory! Sage is an all-natural pain killer. Most pain comes from inflammation. Get rid of the inflammation and get rid of the pain!
Other stuff it’s great for:
Increasing your memory
Neutralizing free radicals
Boosting your immune system
Fighting eczema and acne
Rose Petals: Reverse the signs of again. Roses promote collagen production which helps get rid of wrinkles!
Also a great:
Menstrual pain reliever
Stress and Anxiety reliever
Mint: A powerful anti-bacterial. Mint kills germs and is a great addition to toothpaste and skin cleansers!
Its also wonderful for:
Relieving nausea and headaches
Boosting your happy
Boosting your memory
Lemon or Lime Peel: A great cleanser and detoxer. Lemons and limes can get you squeaky clean inside and out!
They also help:
Relieve symptoms of colds and flu
Boost your mood
Lavender Flower: The word Lavender comes from the Latin word Lavare....to wash! It’s a wonderful disinfectant and germ killer!
It’s also great for:
Promoting sound sleep
All-natural pain relief
Green Tea: You can prevent cancer or even heal it naturally by saturating yourself with green tea!
It’s also great for:
Protecting your skin from harmful UV rays
Promoting weight loss
Making you smarter
Boosting your energy
Coffee: Coffee makes you smarter! It gets right into your brain where it releases dopamine! More dopamine means more firing neurons and that means better cognitive function.
It’s also great at:
Making you happier
Boosting your energy
Protecting your cells
Helping you live longer
Chamomile Flower: A powerful wound healer! Chamomile was used by the Romans, Greeks and Egyptians in healing salves.
It’s also a great:
Nervous system soother
Cacao: The greatest source of antioxidants on earth! In fact, the Bribri Indians of Costa Rica, one of the longest-lived people groups anywhere call it, "The mother of us all." The carefully guard their cacao forest and say this delicious treasure is the secret to long life!
It’s also wonderful for:
Clear minded thinking
Seriously boosting your Iron
Black Pepper: Yes, it’s an aphrodisiac! Black pepper stimulates blood flow and can really help get things going!
It’s also a great:
Cinnamon: A powerful anti-inflammatory aid
It’s also good for:
Faster healing of wounds
Balancing your blood sugar
Boosting memory function
Cloves: A great anti-oxidant and immune system booster
Also great for:
Cure for mouth and tooth problems
Love booster (aphrodisiac!)
For more info on herbs and spices and what they can do for you, I really like this website.
Check it out!
Add to Your Daily Routine
Bathe with coconut oil every day. Use it to cleanse and soften your skin and brush your teeth. Make it an every-day part of your bath and body care.
Go all-natural. Make a commitment for the rest of this course to use only all-natural products not only in the bath, but to clean with too. You can find the recipe for Charly’s Jungle Juice—a great DIY cleaner you can use on almost anything—on page …. in your copy of FEEDING YOUR INTUITION. And if you want to, you can even infuse vinegar AND honey with medicinal herbs and add those ingredients to all the lovely things you can make to keep yourself and your home happy and healthy!
Week ONE Review
OK, So let's sum up week ONE and take a quick look at the cool stuff you have already added to your daily routine!
Here is what your days are shaping up to be:
Wake up in the morning and lay in bed with your eyes closed while you listen to the birds sing.
Get up, take a shower and scrub your skin clean with coconut oil infused with fresh herbs and flowers
Enjoy a hearty breakfast made from whole foods like fresh eggs, spinach, and almonds cooked in coconut oil with sliced avocados and pineapple on the side.
Get dressed and head out for your day.
Take a break in the afternoon and go for a walk in the sunshine.
At the end of your walk, lay on the ground, with your feet propped up on an old tree. Completely relax, allowing all your energy to flow back to your core and your body to connect with the earth.
Go home and have a yummy dinner filled with Happy Foods like snapper with a mint and honey sauce, topped with crunchy cucumber and pumpkin seeds.
Fall asleep in a blissfully peaceful, dark room and be refreshed and ready for the next day.
What a wonderful way to be....
More is on the way!!!!!!