Silver lining, a glimpse of hope in finding refuge in our community.

It has been a little over a week since an antiquated electoral college system made a madman President-elect of the most powerful nation in the world. We have gone through all but one stage of grief. There has been tears, grief, anger, protest but no acceptance. How can we accept as our leader someone who has enticed so much hatred? We have gone too far as a nation, as a people, to simply resign ourselves to four years of bigotry, racism, misogyny and intolerance or to put it bluntly, fascism.

In the last 8 days, we have heard of countless accounts of hate crime, violence towards women, people being targeted in places where they are supposed to feel safe, a French restaurant in Brooklyn, a bus, a college campus. For anyone to think that this is just a coincidence is purely delusional. These attacks are a direct consequence of months of Mr Trump directly encouraging his supporters to target certain groups of people, either by his rhetoric or by openly ordering them to do so. There hasn’t been one place where the election results was not a topic.  Medical offices had to put up signs in their waiting rooms reading “Please refrain from talking about politics as this is a place of healing”, people have randomly approached strangers and started conversations. I witnessed a man at a gas station passionately talking to drivers about a potential civil war breaking out on our beautiful land. Facebook and Instagram friends have deleted one another after decades of friendship when suddenly bigotry showed up on feeds the day after the election. To say the least, the mood of our country has been very low.

Ironically enough though, after the initial tears and shock, this outcome has brought a lot of hope and as much as it seems to have us pulled apart, it seems to have brought some of us closer together. Many have turned to social media to voice their opinion and to find comfort in the commonality. For some, it has been the only thing keeping us from depression and despair. Our desire to fight for what is just keeps us from falling apart. In a way, war has the same effect. In times of conflict, our survival mode is instinctive. We tend to work together against one common enemy. Unfortunately for us, our common enemy is our future leader and his bigoted followers. It is indeed worrisome, but we must find refuge in the fact that more people actually voted for Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump. She did win the popular vote. What we need to fight is the system, not so much each other. I personally think it is completely acceptable tjusticeo distance ourselves from those who support Trump. I tend to think that this time is too crucial to engage in arguments. People have spoken and if they have decided to support him, there is simply nothing I can say at this point that will change their mind. His supporters just had a huge victory and it is as if they were high, nothing will get through to them. They are simply too elated. We, however, cannot rest. We must prepare, organize, and create enough momentum so that our country fight the possibility of becoming an autocracy.

Thankfully, I have witnessed a lot of peaceful actions from liberals. There has been very little violence compared to what Trump supporters have done. Instead of punching, shoving, insulting people or threatening to burn someone alive because of their beliefs, faith, race or sexual orientation, we have stood up tall and marched together hand in hand to demand change. To me, the most inspiring event happening right now is the protest against the Dakota Pipeline (DAPL). Native Americans have shown us that is possible to protest peacefully and gracefully. They have proved to us, over and over that violence is not the answer and that there is strength in numbers, love, and prayers. I happen to believe that as the NO DAPL movement becomes more mainstream, it is becoming the poster child of peaceful protest. It has inspired so many and, in fact, is now even more important than ever. Our environment is at risk. People, including myself, are terrified of the consequences a Trump presidency will have on our planet.

It is clear to me that the majority of Americans believe in climate change and want a positive, healthy future for their children and generations to come.  It is in our DNA to want to succeed and be happy. Right now, we are feeling threatened by this one man and his posse who have stirred the pot of bigotry and ignorance but it has finally awakened us from our deep sleep of avoidance. We have been forced out of our comfort zone and in a way it is good. We have been energized. Every day that goes by, I feel stronger and come to appreciate things that really matter more. There is so much superficiality in our materialistic world and times like these help us center and focus on the most raw aspects of life. Happiness, peacefulness, respect,humility and integrity are all that seem to essentially matter right now. We are fighting for our rights to live without unjust rules imposed by a few.

My teenager and I often discuss reasons why we are here. Passing on knowledge and wisdom through whatever skills we have is the main one. Helping one another is obviously crucial to our survival and common happiness. There is absolutely nothing more rewarding in this world than carrying each other like Bono would sing in his 1997 U2 song entitled “One”.  Those who do not believe this are simply too distracted by all the shiny things around them! They’ve lost touch with the most basic concept there is. Our world is based on competition too much. Everywhere we turn, someone is trying to beat someone at something, or make more money, or have more than someone else. No one ever competes for less, when in reality, we should strive to have less so we can give more of what really matters, our heart.

I sincerely believe that this time, right now, is the beginning of us focusing more on the heart and less on stuff or status. I have seen so much unity in the midst of all the ugliness. What this election did is just bring everything to the surface. It has always been there. Trump is just the monster who woke it all up. But, remember, every fairy tale or myth has a hero who manages to destroy the monster. A hero usually has a pretty big posse too. I’ve seen or heard about a lot of heroes this week. Students are standing up for their immigrant, gay, black , and Muslim friends, or simply for their peers being attacked for speaking against bigotry. Strangers have taken a stand for those who were unfairly targeted. I think it’s time to shoot a new episode of that What Would You Do? show because I am pretty sure the results would be different. People are awake. They will stand for what is right. No more hiding. No more fear. And at night, or on our lunch break, we can turn to social media and see that we are not alone in this fight. We are ONE and we carry each other. Against HATE.

 

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Trump presidency: why we can’t get over it and what we can do.

Like half the country, I have been sad and worried about the outcome of Tuesday’s election. I have also been very busy and wished I could have put pen to paper earlier.

In this essay, I will address a few different things. First, I want to talk about why it is important to act and not get over it like many Trump voters are trying to encourage us to do. I will also discuss President Obama and Secretary Clinton’s reaction to Trump becoming president-elect. But mostly, I want to address the urgency Americans face to organize, reject hate and protect our neighbors from retaliation against their race, sexual orientation, religion or color.

No, we cannot move on, get over it. Trump voters’ claim is that conservatives did not take the streets when President Barack Obama was elected and therefore, we should do the same and accept the outcome. The flaw in this thinking is that these two men could not have more opposite views, and characters. When George W Bush won, many of us were sad and disappointed but we didn’t protest. We did indeed respect the voting process. Even today, most of us respect the voice of the American people even though Trump did not win the electoral vote (just like Bush), we must accept the outcome because it is how the system work. We must work hard to get rid of the electoral college system but today is not the time. We have to follow a process and change the law. What we do not accept is Trump’s hate. What we cannot get over is the anger, the hate, the bigotry, the misogyny, the racism is has enticed. That’s what we need to protest. Just 2 days after the election and there has already been countless reports of hate, from kids verbally assaulting other kids in schools, to white supremacist marching in parades. Muslims, gays, immigrants , people with disability, women, all have been attacked. Kids, Teenagers are terrified that they’re friends or family will be deported. This is just the beginning. Now that Trump has been elected, it is bound to get worse everyday. Friends, who were quiet this whole election, are now coming out and openly post racist posts on social media. Trump has given every bigot and intolerant person in this country a voice. He has given them a pass to act on their feelings, no matter how ethically wrong or illegal they may be. THIS is what we cannot ignore. THIS is why we cannot get over it.

Hillary Clinton and President Obama have a duty to work with Donald Trump. The president must ensure a smooth transition of power. This country’s future and health depends on it. We do not want to fall into another recession or worse. Think of all the hard work the President has achieved in last 8 years. He got us out of the recession Bush left us. He cannot risk things falling apart so he must work with Trump. He must guide him and the more he works with him, the more likely Trump will succeed and even change his views on some issues. Now, I know, we shouldn’t hold our breath but I am trying to address the frustration some people have had towards our President or Secretary Clinton, feeling they gave up too easily. They didn’t give up. They are looking out for us.

It is OUR job to organize and come up with a plan.

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The first thing we need to do is to report everything we witness. Through social media, we must continue to show every hate crime or bullying that happens around us. We must expose why Trump is bad for America. We are all reporters.

The second thing is to remain peaceful and not use violence. Much like NODAPL water protectors. Much like Martin Luther King, we must be willing to fight but peacefully. We must be willing to risk getting arrested but peacefully. We must show that they are abusing their power or spreading hate. Don’t make us look bad, expose THEM. Expose the anti LGBT people. Expose racists. Expose those who target Muslims. Expose those who bully immigrants children. EXPOSE. EXPOSE. EXPOSE. Use Hastags, send photos and videos to your local and national news. Send them to progressive newspapers. You see something, you report it. Because this is a form of national terrorism.

The third thing is to organize. Join every progressive, anti hate group you identify with on Twitter, Facebook, join mailing lists, etc. You need to make sure you stay up to date about what is being done by organizations that already exist. You can google the ACLU for example and join it. You can volunteer. Feeling useful is a great way to fight this awful feeling we are experiencing right now. There is strength in number.

If you are a student under 18 years old, start a club at your school, like Students against Hate and make it grow. Educate each other and discuss issues and go out do what you can but safely. You have social media on your side. In my days, we had student union organizations but we did everything by phone or word of mouth, we didn’t have the tools you guys have these days. It’s much easier to organize and gather these days. Plan on walking out and protest on Inauguration day. Don’t be afraid. Just do it peacefully.

You can also write letters to your local representatives. That’s what they do. They REPRESENT you. Even though we do not have control of either houses, we still have representatives there and they can and will be heard. But we need to hold them accountable.

Support organizations that fight for issues that Donald Trump will try to eradicate. Some of these issues are the environment ( Trump will not follow through with Paris agreement, he thinks global warming is a hoax), Planned Parenthood funding, Women’s right to choose, Immigration reforms (Donald Trump wants to make it illegal for Muslims to enter the country and wants to kick out mostly Latinos), and many more. We need to be activists. This will not be easy and it will get tiring but we need to spend the next 4 years signing petitions, making donations to the right organization, show up at rallies, etc.

I’m planning on creating a list of organizations and people to follow on social media but already you should all go make sure you follow Bernie Sanders, Michael Moore and Dan Rather.

Finally I’d like to address Donald Trump and his lies. Already he is planning on giving a seat at the table to lobbyists in his administration. Remember Trump got where he is by lying, scamming and cheating them and the system. He is NOT looking out for the average American. So we need to be very cautious. Sadly, too often, these kinds of people win before they are brought to justice. It takes courage and persistence to expose who they really are so take heart and do not give up. Find a good support system. We are stronger together. Remember, MLK walk to the bridge. It only worked because they were together, peaceful and because white people woke up and joined them. They became stronger and things changed. This is a pivotal moment in history. We do not want to repeat the bad history. We cannot go back to fascism. We must stop this now before it is too late. Go ask anyone who lived during WWII.

More later.

 

More than a detox

Here I am. 42 days later. I did it. I fasted for 6 whole weeks. I achieved something I doubted I would ever accomplished. I never thought it would be impossible but I had doubts. I mostly thought it was going to be a long painful process. On the contrary, it was rather easy. A little too easy. I fasted on fresh juices and water. Some days I would really only drink water or coconut water- my idea of speeding things up. My reason for this fast was to detoxify my body, ridding it of toxins I felt were clogging my body and mind. I had last done a 21 day fast about 2 years ago. A most recent one was a week fast. I wanted to push it as long as I could so I figured I’d aim for double the longest one I had done. Breuss juice fast is 42 days so I decide to do my own version of that, just not as strict. I didn’t do as many enema, and I didn’t have just one type of juice. I do not like fruit juices too much however so I pretty much stuck to my veggie juices. Now that I am done, I am already thinking about my next fast. See, I do not feel this one was enough. I could continue longer but I think I would rather take a break and go on a new fast in a few months.

So, besides the definite cleansing, what did I get from this amazing fast? Well, I got clarity. On a lot of things. I feel that I am more accepting of myself. I judged myself, got over many things and accepted myself. I also now care less about what people think. My whole life, I felt the need to be accepted by everyone. If not, I somehow failed or there was something wrong with me. This, obviously, is deeply rooted in the way my family made me feel. I always felt I had to prove something. I oddly feel a sense of relief. Nothing specific occurred. I simply feel more at ease.

My fast also triggered some fear in me, but it is good fear. I came to a great realization that I could very well fall back to old habits. This fear as well as the incredible achievement I just accomplished definitely will keep me in check. I think that my fear of failing me will probably keep me on track, at least for a while. Disappointing myself would be very depressing. This fast required a huge amount of self-control which I had. I cooked, but did not eat. Temptation was not really an issue. When you commit to a fast, cheating is out of the question. So now, I ask myself, if I had this kind of commitment for 42 days, if I was able to resist eating some of my favorite, not so healthy food, why would I not be able to do the same now? I refused to poison myself for 6 weeks and I need to take this discipline and keep it for my entire life. See, my problem with food was always an emotional one. It is not that I do not make good choices, it’s more an issue of self-control. If I like something, I’ll eat more than I should. If I don’t feel good, I’ll eat because I will fool myself into thinking it will make me feel better (when in reality I know it won’t). It had come to a point where I was fully aware that something was bad for me, that I would only enjoy it for a few seconds and then immediately feel bad about it. That is an addiction and I knew that. I needed to break up with food. I had no fear about fasting during Thanksgiving. I almost did it on purpose. I knew I had to look at food in the face and be ok with not eating it. It’s like any other disease. You only know you are cured if you can look at it and not touch it. An alcoholic knows he is stronger if he can have a bottle in front of him or even friends drinking and not be bothered by it.

I wanted to write this post for myself primarily. I think that if I ever feel bad habits creeping up on me, I will come back and read this and hopefully it will give me the strength to not succumb to temptations. Last time I did a longer fast, I was doing good for quite a long period of time until some life events happen and sadly fell off the wagon. I sincerely hope that this will not happen. I know that my love for food will never go away and I know that my roots will always tempt me to eat certain food that are not necessarily good for me ( cheese, butter and chocolate are my main problem) but what I need to remember is to have balance. If I can master balance, then everything will be ok. Achieving balance is a very hard thing for me. I am a black or white kind of person, right or wrong. Ask my husband! I think I ought to watch The Little Buddha again. Knowing is nothing if you cannot turn it into action. I need to turn this whole idea of moderation and the Middle Way into life, and especially in my eating habits!

Do you have issues? With food? Anything? Did you ever fast? Please share with us anything you think would be valuable to us.

Blessings

Juicing to regain health

Let’s be honest, most Americans eat really bad food. All we have to do is look at ourselves in the mirror. We’re fat, we take pills for God knows how many problems we have. We never really feel good even when we take the pill the doctor prescribed. Of course, if you live in Los Angeles, you will see beautiful people, running on the beach, exercising like lunatics. That is an exception I think. Most of us don’t have time to exercise that way and let’s get real, we love our food.

When I lived in Europe, I was never fat. I ate a lot but alway remained the same weight. Now, I live here (and love it) but let’s just say that I have been a yoyo when it comes to my weight. I get fat, then I diet, they I get fat again. Pretty much since college, this has been my pattern. I am an emotional eater. I admit it. If something goes wrong, I eat. Chocolate is my sin. I love it. No matter what shape it comes in, I will eat it. I love cake. I also love fatty food, anything with butter. But wait a minute….I used to eat that way back in Europe too so what’s the problem? One word: PORTION. I got used to eating a lot more than before. I, of course, have a chocolate addiction but that has been passed from my mother, and probably was passed on from way back! Also I admit, when something bothers me, there is nothing more comforting than food. That also sort of came from my upbringing. We used to sit around in the afternoon and eat cookies, just discussing interesting topics. I still cherish that but I know that my mom is a little to blame for not being able to say ” Hey kids, two cookies is enough!” No, my mom was super cool to me, she would let us eat the whole package! I now realize that wasn’t the best idea.

Thank goodness, I had an aunt (my dear mom’s little sister) who taught me how to be healthier. She taught me about the lemon water cure in the morning. This became a habit of mine when I was a teenager. I love lemons so that’s lucky. Some people can’t drink a whole juiced lemon in 10 ounces right when they wake up. For me, it’s bliss. I feel cleaner afterwards. My aunt also gave me tips on how to keep leaner, eating healthy proteins, etc. My mom was good too, she taught me how to fast for a day. She taught me to fast on a full moon. It is supposed to be the best time to do it. So once in a while, we would do a water fast. It was just one day but you gotta start somewhere!

So, for me, fasting was never a weird thing. I was totally opened to it. Over the years, I have done many many fasts. I enjoyed them very much except for one: the Master Cleanse. I never liked that one. I once fell into hypoglycemic attack because of that fast. Juice or water fasts are the way to go for me. I have gone on a 20 juice fast once and felt better than ever afterwards. I would alternate juice and water on my last week.

I am currently on a longer fast. Today is day 20. I started this fast because I wanted to get rid of bad eating habits. I tried to do so by just eating healthy but for me juice fasting is much easier. When you are addicted, the best thing to do is just fast. My cravings are gone now. My health is better. My skin is better. I am off most of my medications (I have an auto immune disease).

Fasting has been done for centuries and always practiced by animals in the wild. When they are sick, they retreat and stop eating until they are well again. Jesus fasted. Gandhi fasted. You will not die from fasting if you do it the right way. I recommend asking a holistic practitioner for advice or read up on fasting a lot before you start anything. I am a bit unusual. Fasting is a piece of cake for me. Other people might not react identically and if you have a serious condition, you might need to adjust your fast. There are many types of fast. Breuss Juice Fast can cure cancer in 40-50 days. Most chronic illnesses can be cured between 20-40 days depending on how severe it is. My favorite website for information is www.fasting.ws . I highly recommend spending a good week browsing through their posts to really understand how fasting work.

People are very skeptical. I am sure people think I’m crazy to fast. People think, not eating is unhealthy, you need nutrients and vitamins. Wrong and wrong. Fasting is not unhealthy. You are not starving yourself to death, instead you are giving your body the time it needs to heal itself. You give your car a check up every so many miles.  Well, your body needs a good cleansing too. Think of all the bad stuff you ingest, fatty food, saturated fat, sugar, GMO foods, artificial coloring, animal products that are hard to digest and rot in our guts. Your body will be so thankful that you give it a break. It will get rid of toxins for you. It will use its awesome mechanism and do the work for you! All you have to do is give it time! Yes you will have some symptoms such as a coated tongue and maybe headaches the first few days if you are really toxic, aches and pains, but that goes away or even can be avoided if you know what you are doing. As fas as vitamins, calcium, etc. Don’t worry. If you juice fast, you will get all the vitamins and nutrients you need in your juices. You will probably get even more than your regular diet AND it will get to your bloodstream a lot quicker giving you amazing energy. You will sleep much much better. Green leafy vegetables have calcium. Papaya tea will also be a good addition if you are worried about calcium.

When you fast, it is a good idea to help the detox process by dry brushing your skin, drinking lots of water, using a tongue scraper and doing regular enema (I know many of you are scared but honestly if you do just water enema, it is no big deal, no pain, you just lie down and wait) I do not recommend enema from the store. The prepackaged one have too much salt in it and it is unnecessary and uncomfortable. Doing enema will relieve any pains you might have as it will relieve toxins out quickly. Deep breathing and meditating is a good idea. Walking outside is good. Some people can keep doing their regular exercise routine while juice fasting. Some prefer easier exercise such as yoga and stretching.

If you wonder, aren’t you light headed when you fast? The answer is no. I am never light headed. When I did Master Cleanse, I was though. I think the maple syrup just gave me too many highs and lows. I like to stick to Fresh juices because it is the most natural. Now, if you decide to juice, you need to buy a good juicer. You probably need to spend over $100. I personally have a Breville Fountain which I love. I make about 30 ounces of juice in about 5 minutes, cleaning including.

Juice fasting is really not that scary. It is the easiest type of fasting. When you juice fast, you get to keep working, exercising, etc. You can drink more juice if you feel you get hungry. The only rule is to try to get at least 80% of your juice, fresh. That means no bottle juiced. Sometimes I do cheat but I always follow that 80% rule and always get unpasteurized juices. My favorite is from Evolution. They are expensive but if you are on the go, it’s convenient. I also like drinking lots of coconut juice when fasting because it is so good for you and has good electrolytes.

If you are adventurous enough to juice fast to get rid of your symptoms or food or any sort of addiction, I would recommend starting slow. First do a 1 day fast. A week later, do a 3 day juice fast, then 5 day, then 7, 10, 14, 21, 42. I’m the crazy type, I went from 5 to 20 but that’s because I felt I could. Listen to you body! It knows! People ask me, why are you still fasting? My answer is that I do not feel I have achieved optimal health so I continue for as long as I can. I know I am still detoxifying because my tongue is still coated in the morning when I wake up. When my tongue is no longer coated, then I will stop.

Now, a very important thing is how you come out of a fast. People have actually died because they ate a big meal after fasting. What you want to do is eat raw vegetables and fruits for 1/2 the amount of time you fasted (the best on the first day of breaking a fast is watermelon only, then you slowly add more fruits and veggies every day). So if you fast for 20 days, you need to eat raw veggies for 10 days. Then you can reintroduce (if you wish, or you can just stick to a raw diet too) other food, starting with broth, soups, oatmeal. My first food on my last fasting adventure was plain oatmeal. It was the best oatmeal I ever tasted! You should ideally eliminate all sugar and white starch, all caffeine and alcohol. You just cleaned yourself so why trash it again? I know this can be difficult so maybe come up with a plan. My plan (because let’s get real, I love butter and chocolate) is to allow myself once a week to have semi bad food. For me, it doesn’t matter what I put butter on, so I will allow myself to have veggies sautéed in butter once a week. I will allow myself to have something with cheese and I will of course allow myself to eat chocolate once in a while. The other important part of my plan is to intermittent fast when I stray. That means that if I eat bad food on Monday, I will juice fast on Tuesday and Wednesday. The key is to not accumulate toxins. Therefore if you go crazy on food or alcohol, just give your body time to heal itself for a couple of days to put you back on the right track. There is some great information about intermittent fasting out there. Choose what works best for your body.

Eating healthy is a lifestyle. We all stray once in a while and it is alright I guess. We are only human.

I will keep posting my experiences. Please ask any questions regarding this topic in the comment section. If you have something you would like to ask but do not want to advertise it to the world, I will provide my email.

I will also try to post as many links and recipes as possible to help you through your journey!

Remember, you are your own boss. Don’t be scared by what conventional doctors tell you. They will try to scare you by saying that fasting is dangerous. It is false. Trust me. Some people owe their life to fasting. Check out Gerson Therapy. They have a documentary of the same name on Netflix. It is great and it shows how our conventional medicine tries to prevent holistic cure to do its amazing work in the United States.

Happy Juicing!