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  • I Held You Every Second Of Your Life

    I loved the months that I spent anticipating motherhood.  Knowing that a beautiful and profound change in my life was on its way floored me and flushed me with joy.  When you are expecting, every second of that time (waking and sleeping) is consumed with physical and emotional reminders.  Our baby was due this week.

    On Friday morning, May 18, I would post up the following:

    “She drove to work with a tired and tenacious energy that was echoed by the shirtless meatheads wandering the freeway to detect the source of the traffic back-up. The orange sun rose hot in the sky, the particulate matter that hung around the big city reflecting the harsh, yet glorious glare of entropy. She took a deep sniff of the coppery exhaust of mankind and smiled to herself, grateful for another day to dance in the acidic rain of life.”

    It was a day just like any other day and I was feeling exhausted but full of a life force to create and to make new beginnings.  At 3:00 pm that same day, I found out I was pregnant.  That rain of life would mist a precious new head.  Entropy suited me perfectly.  I vacillated between crying happy tears and frightened, shocked tears.

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  • Don’t Follow Your Passion – Do What You’re Good At

    I have heard that if you do what you love, you will never work another day in your life.  It seems to me that current think has twisted how you should apply that to your career. Current think will have you believe that if you do what you love, the money will miraculously follow. It will have you believe there is no way you can’t succeed both financially and as a contributing member of society if you just follow your dream.  But if you’re not really good at what you “love” or if you’re not a standout at your “passion” relative to all the other valuable people in the field/trade, …well then, the world doesn’t owe you anything.

    Understanding that I don’t necessarily need to do what I “love” has been a real epiphany for me lately.

    I went through a bit of a woe-is-me period not too long ago.  Because this “find your passion and the rest will follow” chatter has been so prominent in our culture lately, I had myself convinced that despite initially becoming a scientist because I found earth science fascinating, I needed to do something else.  I thought this because the popular advice I was hearing was that you should find the one thing in the world you absolutely love that doesn’t even feel like work.  Once you find That One Thing and then pursue it as a career, money and success will magically appear in its wake.  Did I embark on my career because I love sitting in front of a computer manipulating software in a windowless office for 9 hours a day?  No. OK, then.  So what do I love?

    Well, I’m excited by science.  I took a few geology classes and decided to major in it because I thought it was so cool.  The other things I love doing can be found on my About Me page.  I love hanging out with my cat and all animals.  Writing is something I do without expecting any pay (this blog).  I write because it’s a compulsion, and a form of self-expression and because I love the catharsis.  Other things I love are  being up in the middle of the night reading and philosophizing when the rest of the world is tucked away and then sleeping odd hours during the day.  And I adore hiking and yoga.  I love spending part of every day tinkering around in the kitchen.

    So this advice to do what I love had me really confused.  I was trying to figure out what I was doing wrong that would allow me to incorporate all these things that allow me to get lost in time into my career.  So, here’s what my imagined career started to look like:

    We live on a ranch (near a city so I have access to the cultural center but also near the mountains so I can hike).  We have maybe three dogs, the house cat (Dove), and a barn full of other cats I have adopted from shelters.  I have a herd of alpacas, a couple of goats, and some horses.  So that’s my workplace – an idyllic ranch.  Doesn’t it sound so much better than an over air-conditioned skyscraper, I kept asking myself?

    So, I make a little bit of money from the alpaca fleece.  But what else?  What else am I doing that I love that is going to wondrously give me satisfaction, pride, and that pesky little thing called money?  Of course!  I will teach yoga and meditation.  Perhaps this could be a getaway spa-type place where people come for rehabilitation amongst the fresh air.  A bed and breakfast type place where I lead the stressed-out city folk on revitalizing hikes and feed them from my organic farm.  And then, on the side, I’ll write an amazing book and it will be a best-seller and will support me for the rest of my life.  I would hate to give up science, so I guess I will have to start a center, maybe an observatory, or perhaps be a guide at a park, a consultant on the side, a teacher?

    After contemplating and cultivating this dream career for many years, I slowly started to descend in to a period of malaise, a strong distaste for The Office Job.  I started whining to my sister about it during a weekend we spent together with my mom up in Vail (a place especially conducive to one imagining The Dream Life) and she said I should read a book our dad had recommended to her.  It is called So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport.  He makes some really good points in the book.  One is that the world doesn’t owe you anything simply because you’ve identified your passion.  You need to create something valuable to give to the world after putting in the time to become good at it and only then will you receive something back.  In becoming good at something, that in turn stokes your passion for it.

    So maybe I can have my Land of Levity with birds chirping, beasts running wild and office refugees doing yoga, but the world doesn’t owe me that kind of life in the sense that it will “pay me out” as a career choice.  I could pursue the lifestyle, yes, but that doesn’t mean it will be the thing from which I earn money or be successful or feed my ego. The world has no career karma saved up for me just because I can envision my ideal lifestyle.

    So I have given up on this “dream career” for now. Why?  Because I’m a scientist.  That’s what I do.  It’s why I spent seven years in school and have arduously trudged up the learning curve in my field over the last nine years.  It doesn’t mean I can’t still find time to do yoga and read and meditate and spend time with Dove and volunteer and write when I’m not at the office.  And on top of that, I’m a good scientist.  I’d probably suck at doing the other things I imagine that I love, or at least suck badly enough that it wouldn’t earn me money because I’d be a novice, which in of itself would probably discourage me.

    I know what it feels like to be a novice in a field I know little about.  I know because I spent the first 10,000 hours of my career as a scientist (which pretty much just ended) until I passed over in to the “expert” category and feel proficient and confident (most days).  See Malcom Gladwell’s Outliers if you haven’t heard about this phenomenon.  It’s frustrating and it’s hard work to learn and prove yourself and grow both professionally and personally.

    And that is what I have come to discover.   Being good at something and having a coveted skill is what brings career satisfaction.  Being good at something generally requires an investment of time to develop that skill.  And you probably wouldn’t have invested in that skill in the first place if it wasn’t something you had a propensity for and an interest in.

    I now see why all these seasoned guys (okay, well maybe the seasoned ones are 5% women in my career…I discuss that more in this post on women in science) might really love their jobs and pop in to the office on their days off.

    If you love your work, great, but it is still something you are doing for yourself and/or your family to live.  Your work could be supporting you financially or psychologically, or both.  It’s still something you are expecting a reward from, whether monetary or pride or to feel valued to some extent.  If you happen to love every second of your career, you are still getting paid so it’s still technically work.

    Now, I’m not saying it never happens that someone is wildly successful at turning their passion in to a job or business.  All I’m saying is re-think what the world owes you.  Re-think whether or not it will feel like work if you throw yourself into something, passion or not.  And think about all those times that you started to enjoy something once you got really good at it.

  • Coddled Eggs

    I am one of those people that needs breakfast.  My day starts early and I need something to get me through until lunch.  I always try to have my fruit smoothie when I first wake up and then an hour or so later I have something with a lot of protein in it.

    There are always studies out there talking about how having a healthy breakfast can help you lose weight or hold your weight steady.  I don’t know what the latest research speculates is the actual mechanism.  I have heard that the satiation and mindset of having eaten breakfast prevents overeating later in the day and also that it gets the metabolism stoked up for the day.  I just know my whole day and life is better if I have a good stable breakfast.  I love the old saying that says to breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and supper like a pauper.

    Sometimes I will do my breakfast sandwich or a taco and some days I do coddled eggs.  Chief isn’t much of a breakfast eater but I like to make him breakfast every morning to keep him healthy. Sometimes I almost feel badly forcing him to chew down a whole breakfast sammie, so the coddled eggs might be better for a light morning eater.

    Coddled eggs is one of my favorite ways for preparing a simple and portable egg breakfast using ceramic egg coddlers.  I had never heard of them until recently, but they are these beautiful little blue ceramic containers.  One of the things I like about this breakfast is that I can continue to get ready in the morning while I’m cooking and then can grab it when it’s done and take them to work to eat after my commute.  To make it, you do the following:

    P1050407

    • Bring a pot of water to a boil.  It should be big enough to fit in as many coddled egg containers as you are cooking.
    • Put a generous dollop of clarified butter in the ceramic container.  I like to wait for the butter to melt by holding it in the hot water and then kind of swirl it around the inside of the coddler.
    • Crack two sustainable, pasture-raised organic eggs in to each coddler and screw on the lid.
    • Turn the burner down to a high-medium heat. You want the water just below the base of the lid so it’s best not to have the burner on really high heat.P1050409
    • Let the eggs cook at a soft rolling boil for about 14 minutes.  You may want to play with the cook time to get the eggs prepared how you like.  Chief likes more of a runny poach-style egg whereas I prefer mine slightly more like hard-boiled eggs, so sometimes I take his out a couple minutes early.

    Then you have a portable, satisfying breakfast in a pretty little container.  Just salt and pepper and eat the eggs out of the coddler with a spoon. The picture below also has a few chives I added from our garden. P1050413You could also always scoop the eggs out and serve on a plate with toast, avocados, etc.

    P1050412

  • Fly Swatter

    a poem, by Emily Ness

    I apply lip gloss
    Content and quiet

    A noise begins
    A fly attempts escape through glass

    His persistence annoying
    His delusion mystifying

    I feel guilty for his pain
    The pain he brings on himself

    His hopeless situation depressing
    His hopeful action maddening

    I wish he would stop destroying himself
    I wish he wouldn’t make me choose

    I could kill him
    I could flinch with each agonizing thud and buzz
    I could wait to find him shriveled

    So I open the window
    I release him

    Lucky

    Now our lives diverge

    My skin crawls

    Jangled
    Damaged

    Why, fly, why
    did you ever fly in to my house?

  • Kitchen Beautician Shopping List

    Below I have listed some of my favorite natural beauty/health products that can be found at Whole Foods or ordered online if you don’t have access to a natural supermarket.  A lot of the items are components for many of the kitchen beautician recipes I have listed on this site.  Some of the items are useful to have in any kitchen too.

    Hyland’s Homeopathic Smile PRID Drawing Salve : I love this homeopathic drawing salve in the orange tin for two things: 1) first aid and 2) blemishes.  It’s an all-natural salve with sulfur for antibacterial properties.  It is great for applying to any scrapes or cuts.  It also works really well for healing blemishes or ingrown hairs because it helps draw anything out from below the surface of the skin.

    Vanilla Oil in Jojoba Oil – I love this for multi-tasking and always keep some in my travel bag.  It can be added to bathwater or you can add a few drops to a fragrance free moisturizer to scent it naturally.  This also works great to use as an eye cream at night.  The aromatherapeutic property of vanilla is uplifting.  It’s kind of a nice unisex smell that I think both genders find comforting and sexy.  You can even use it as a perfume, dabbing it on pulse points.  Because it comes in a jojoba oil carrier, you can also use it to remove eye make-up in a pinch but it might be too expensive to do that every day.

    Egyptian Magic Skin Cream – I love the ingredients in this skin cream – olive oil, beeswax, honey, bee pollen, propolis, and royal jelly.  It is an amazing night cream but also can be used as a body moisturizer, eye cream, or like a pomade to smooth flyaways or the ends of hair.  A little goes a long way.

    Body Brush – Body brushing feels so amazing and is great for your health and skin.  I have the details in this post.  I like to keep one next to my shower and also keep a small travel one in my toiletry bag.

    Sore No More – I was first introduced to this botanical formulation when a Jivamukti Yoga instructor applied it on our backs when we were in downward dog.  It really helps to ease sore muscles and brings a pleasant warming tingle to any particular area.  The menthol and camphor also really help to keep sinuses clear so this could be used as sort of an all-natural Vick’s Vapo Rub type of thing.  It’s a wonderful thing to give someone you love a quick rub on the shoulders and neck with.  It has capsaicin from peppers in it for the warming effect so do a test spot first to make sure your skin isn’t sensitive to it.

    Almond Oil – I use almond oil in a bunch of my kitchen beautician recipes including the pumpkin and honey mask and the rose petal bath.  You can also use it to wash your face if you are doing the oil cleansing method.  It’s also a great oil to make a quick scrub out of by combining it with sugar or sea salt and a couple drops of essential oil.

    Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay – This calcium bentonite clay is amazing for drawing out blackheads and just really refining the skin.  You can see how I’ve used it in the pumpkin and honey mask.  I also did an iteration of the same mask the other day when I didn’t have pumpkin at home.  I put in a little bit of vinegar instead and had amazing results with that too.

    Honey (or manuka honey) – Honey is awesome for its antibacterial and moisturizing properties.  I’ve mentioned using it in a milk and honey bath, in various masks, and mixing with vinegar if consuming for getting beautiful from the inside out.  I just keep a bottle next to my bath.  I’ll often just squirt some in to soften and moisturize my skin or smear it straight on my face as a mask on its own.  The bottle I have has become granulated which is kind of perfect because then it does a bit of exfoliation as well as moisturize the rest of the time I sit in the bath.

    Baking soda – I love baking soda for dumping in to the bath (for softness and detoxing) as well as using it as a really simple exfoliator as I described here.  It also works great to dump a bit on your toothbrush after you’ve put the paste on to help polish and whiten teeth.  I also occasionally use it to remove product build-up from hair.

    Vinegar – I’m sorry.  You all know my obsession with vinegar by this point.  It can be used as a hair rinse for shine and in the bath to neutralize pH’s.  I also like using it mixed with the Aztec clay for a clarifying mask or you can dilute it and use it as a toner.

    Sea Salt – I love sea salt for putting in the bath (like the red wine bath) as well as for making scrubs.  I will eventually add some more recipes in the beauty section of the blog for specific recipes but you can generally mix it with a little bit of oil (grape seed or almond) as well as essential oils for a good body scrub to do in the shower.

    Whole milk – Whole milk works great as a moisturizer and also has lactic acid, which helps to exfoliate.  I’ve mentioned using it for the milk and honey bath.  The other thing I really like to do with it is to soak cotton balls in milk and then place them over the eye area to restore moisture.  The coolness of the milk also helps to reduce puffiness.

    Coconut Oil – Coconut oil has wonderful benefits for both internal and external consumption.  It has antibacterial and antifungal properties.  It works great as a body moisturizer all on its own, especially after a day at the beach.  I also love using it as a hair mask.  I just apply it to my hair and then make a hair towel out of cling wrap and put a towel over that and add some heat with a blowdryer or the sun.  You can rinse it out after 20 minutes to an hour (or sleep in it with a shower cap on) and shampoo and condition as usual.  If you’re going to be beachy all day too, it’s kind of nice to apply it to the ends of hair and put it in a loose braid to keep everything hydrated.  It’s also a great natural personal lubricant.

    Rose Water – Rose water works as a toner for slightly dry skin and can also be used as described in the rose petal bath.  I like to keep it in the refrigerator and use it as a really refreshing mist on a hot day or after a good workout.  Orange water works great too and has more astringent properties.  The rose water can also be used in recipes.  The other day we mixed it with sugar to make a simple syrup and then made strawberry rose gimlets with muddled strawberries and gin.

     

  • Dream Land

    Something is happening.  There is a disturbance in my reality.  I can’t understand what but it is irksome and not quite right.  My world is being shattered.  Wait, it isn’t reality that is collapsing, it is reality encroaching.  I refuse to accept it.

    Can I not retain the preferable world, the one where everything being inside out and upside down is odd, yes, but understandable?  I prefer the world where existence is an enigma, incomprehensible.

    I imagine this is how it is in an insane asylum.  The drugged and sleepy state is the normal state.  This world is full of ghosts and potential worlds, possible outcomes.  Potential is the key word.  Reality quickly bores or deflates.  It’s better where everything is garbled.  I can fly and I can bounce.

    There it goes, that sound again, yanking me in to a place I don’t want to inhabit, like police sirens pulling me over.  I beg you officer, let me stay where I know new beginnings lead not to endings but to additional beginnings.  I don’t want to be taken some place where I am forced to adhere to a schedule and a finite space.  I want to keep moving up, eventually bursting through the clouds in to the great beyond. Let me have my own rules.  Let me see a vivid picture and believe my hallucinations.

    There it goes again…disturb me again and I will bash you again.

    And then reality implores me.  It glows and reveals the time.  The minutes in which to properly prepare for my day are slowly being consumed, cannibalizing the life of my dream self.  I long for it again, the nourishing and wholesome deliverance on the other side of my eyelids.

    At first nothing is important and then I realize there is something that might matter.  It’s today’s weather and no matter how comfortable my bed is, it might be a different story on the other side.  I will be kicked out of this warm nest and will need to be prepared for when I go soldiering out there in to the known.  I can forget about the other stuff this day might bring but I can’t escape this.   Is it raining?  Is it snowing?  Is it hot?

    No, none of it matters.  Let me return to where nothing matters.  I can’t. I musn’t.  It’s time to leave.  It’s 6:42!

    What are the four things that I must do in order to leave the house?  I need to get dressed.  I need a bag with things for the day.  I need some food.  I need to do basic grooming.  A pass of the brush will do.  But not the knot on the back of my head.  I want to keep that with me to remember Bed, the world I inhabited earlier.  I hope my dream world doesn’t change much while I am away, unable to shepherd the beasts and defy physics.  I loved it there.

    This is the dialogue I have had with myself every morning for approximately the last 25 years that I have had to awake with an alarm earlier than my body intends.

  • Make Your Own Kombucha

    Have you heard of kombucha?  It’s a really popular drink in the health foodie community but has been consumed throughout human history, beginning in ancient China and spreading to Russia.  It’s a refreshing tonic made from fermented sweet tea that delivers both powerful antioxidant and probiotic benefits.  It has a slight fizziness to it and is tangy and slightly sweet at the same time.

    The first time I tried it I didn’t know what to expect and was really surprised by the vinegary taste (like how you’re expecting milk and you get orange juice?).  Once I learned more about it and went in with a different mindset, though, I found I really loved the taste.  It is so refreshing and energizing. I find myself craving it, especially after a hard bike ride on a warm day or a yoga class.

    The kombucha drink is made by the kombucha “mushroom” acting on the sugar in sweet tea.  The “mushroom” is also called SCOBY (which is Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast).  The process begins much the same as it does in the post in which I described the vinegar process.  The fermentation produces acetic acid (as it does with ACV), as well as lactic acid and gluconic acid.

    Along with these organic acids, kombucha also contains a number of other beneficial components.  It has a spectrum of active enzymes and amino acids that are produced by the microbes in the SCOBY.  The tea contributes polyphenols and the drink has an array of beneficial bacteria (probiotics).

    Because of the actions these constituents have on the body, kombucha has been cited as aiding in the prevention of some types of cancers and other degenerative diseases and boosting the immune system.  It may also help to fight yeast overgrowth resulting from an abundance of sugar in the body (from sugar or alcohol consumption) because of the acetic acid present, which stabilizes blood sugar.  For more information about kombucha helping in the prevention of cancer, check out Tom Valentine’s Search For Health.  Kombucha has also been cited over the centuries as having anti-arthritic compounds and liver-protective detoxifying and cleansing compounds.  There have been various studies investigating exactly how this works  (I won’t bore you with the details) but now most of the evidence is anecdotal.

    So, the only downside of kombucha as far as I’m concerned is the cost.  It usually runs about $4 for a 16-ounce bottle.  To circumvent this prohibitive cost, I began brewing it at home, which has also turned out to be a lot of fun!  To do this, you will only need a few ingredients: SCOBY, tea, sugar, a heat-resistant glass jar and a clean cloth to cover it.  Chief and I have been playing around A LOT with the ratios so the recipe I have below is a simple recipe that we have found to work best but our experiments are ongoing:

    • ¾ liter boiling water
    • 2 liters cold filtered water
    • 1 cup plain white sugar
    • 8 tea bags of organic black tea (or equivalent amount of loose tea wrapped in muslin)
    • 1 cup kombucha (from a previous batch or that comes with the SCOBY)
    • 1 kombucha mushroom (SCOBY)

    Bring water to a boil in a teakettle or pot.  Put the tea and sugar in to a large glass jar.  I usually tear the paper off the tea bags.  It took us a while to find the right glass jar because some were too big and some had the bottoms crack off because they weren’t made for boiling water.  We eventually found a nice 3 liter jar made for heat and canning.

    Empty Bottle Sugar

    Pouring Hot

    Once the water has come to a boil, pour it over the tea bags and sugar, just enough to cover them.  Give a gentle stir without breaking any tea bags and making sure all the sugar is dissolved.  Cover the jar with a clean cloth fabric and allow it to sit for about 20 minutes.

    After 20 minutes, remove the tea bags and gently squeeze them to get out any excess.  Be sure you don’t leave any bags behind.  Fill the jar about 4/5 full with cold filtered water and gently stir.  If the whole batch is at room temperature, gently place the SCOBY along with the cup of kombucha liquid from the previous batch/starter.  Cover with a clean swatch of organic fabric and secure tightly with a rubber band to keep out insects, etc.

    Scoby by Jar

    I have had good luck with the brand Goldfinch for the starter mushroom that I ordered from Amazon.

    Place the kombucha in warm dark place where it won’t be disturbed.  Depending on the temperature and how you like your kombucha, it will take anywhere from 7-21 days for it to be ready.  It should have a slight sourness and some fizz and you shouldn’t be able to taste the tea when it’s ready.  Feel free to start tasting it after the seventh day to see how it’s changing.

     Kombucha on Table

    Once it’s ready, we like to funnel it in to 750 ml growler bottles we get from the local pub that has beers on tap.  It’s a good excuse to try some good beers so you have bottles for kombucha!  After pouring them in to the refillable bottles through a funnel, secure the top and place them in a dark place for about 3 days.  We like to label them as we go along with information about when they were brewed and any variations.  For exmaple, we’ve occasionally brewed some hibiscus tea along with the black tea, or added galangal root we dug out of the garden and ground turmeric root, etc.  Then they can be refrigerated and served once cold.

    If you get too busy or go traveling and forget a batch for a long time, no matter.  It will have just turned to vinegar and you can use the vinegar for cooking/consuming, cleaning or beauty treatments.

    Your SCOBY mother will grow a spongy pancake-like daughter with each new batch.  You can save these in a glass container along with some of the kombucha liquid for additional batches or give them away to friends or give them to your kids to be grossly fascinated with.  I hope my family is getting excited about their Christmas presents 😉

    Please place any questions in the comment section.  I love talking about kombucha!

     

  • Earthing

    Have you ever noticed how amazing you feel after walking barefoot on a beach or through dewy grass?  Have you experienced an indescribable peacefulness after swimming in the ocean or spending the weekend camping?  As a geologist, I’ve spent a fair number of days sprawled out on rocks soaking up the warmth while eating my lunch and basking in the great outdoors.  I was always aware of a connectedness and exhilaration that would come over me, but I just assumed it was the fresh air.  While being outdoors is the one common denominator in all these activities, I have recently discovered that there may be an additional explanation that is based on science and the electrical potential of the Earth.

    The Earth is basically a limitless reservoir of free mobile electrons.  What this means is that no matter what type of charge comes in to contact with it, the Earth can completely absorb the charge or send electrons to neutralize a positive charge.  This is the reason we have a ground in electricity.  If there were ever some power surge, the excess energy would dissipate in to the ground where it is neutralized.

    The desire to go barefoot or dip in to a body of water, therefore, may be a biological desire to neutralize electrical energy in our body and to tap in to the diurnal electrical rhythms of the Earth.  We all strive for balance and to be “grounded” and this might be exactly how this term evolved.

    It has been proposed in research over the last 30 years or so that almost every type of modern disease and psychological or physiological stressor can be attributed to an abundance or scarcity of electrons.   That may sound a little oversimplified but let me explain what I mean.

    Having positively charged free radicals in the body can wreak havoc on well-being.  Free radicals are basically just a molecule that have an unpaired valence electron, which leaves the atom or molecule unstable with a positive charge.  Presence of free radicals is otherwise known as something being oxidized (basically the same process as rusting).  That is why there has been an advent in understanding the benefit of consuming anti-oxidants or using them in skincare products.  Oxidants are what ultimately cause tissue damage, aging and degeneration because these positively charged free radicals go barraging through healthy tissue seeking electrons to become stable and harm the tissue from which they take electrons in the process.

    If our bodies are full of these free radicals from stress, environmental toxins or dietary toxins, coming in to contact with the Earth will basically allow the free electrons to flow in to the body and neutralize them before they cause damage. Chronic inflammation is thought to be associated with the damage caused by free radicals as the electrons are poached from the tissue.  Inflammation is associated with many of the diseases that plague our modern society including heart disease, chronic pain, diabetes and arthritis.

    In addition to reducing inflammation, coming in to contact with the Earth (otherwise known as Earthing), is hypothesized to improve stress levels, increase energy and decrease insomnia as a result of normalizing the diurnal electrical patterns in the body and equilibrating them to the natural pattern of the Earth.   Earthing can be a great thing to do once you have traveled across time zones for this reason.  Putting yourself in to contact with the Earth resets your daily clock and adjusts your circadian rhythm to the new time zone.

    It is such a simple thing, Earthing.  We obviously evolved as a mammal that was meant to be in contact with the Earth without insulating barriers.  Even early humans walked with conductive materials on their feet such as leather or skins and slept on the ground.  Have you ever noticed how often modern day humans are in electrical contact with the Earth?

    That’s right.  Almost never.  Take a look around and notice how many adults and children are walking around with shoes that put a rubber or plastic barrier between us and the Earth.  How many houses are completely removed from the Earth, covered in insulating materials such as wood, carpet and/or elevated and completely removed from any contact with the ground?  Almost every single one.

    How To Earth

    Earthing is really easy to do.  You can get the full benefits of coming in to electrical equilibrium with the Earth in about 15-20 minutes a day.  It’s as easy as being in contact with the earth or a conductive material that is in contact with it (rock, ceramic tile, or concrete like in a basement or on a sidewalk, etc.).  Walking in direct contact with the Earth works great, as well as just placing one’s feet or body on it.  If you like wading in the water, it can be accomplished there, especially saltwater, which has extra conductivity.

    In the book Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? I checked out after I had an interest in this subject, the book’s author, Clint Ober, talks about grounding devices (such as bedsheets, pads for forearms or feet at the computer, etc.) that can be connected to an outdoor grounding device.  I also just stumbled across a resource for Earthing devices that sells products and has a great video that summarizes this post.  I haven’t had a chance to try them yet, but am thinking about ordering one of the products.  It sounds as though the effects of sleeping grounded are profound.

    But just walking around barefoot or lazing with as much skin as possible touching the Earth is pretty easy to do!  The feet work particularly well because of the vast amount of nerve endings, whose tissue is supposed to be especially conductive.  It has the added benefit of stimulating the feet, as in reflexology.  I find it interesting that our feet evolved to be such reflex points at the same time we were always making contact with the Earth with them.

    Next time you’re working in your garden, walking on a beach, working in your concrete floor basement, or attending your child’s sports match, try removing your shoes and see if you feel any different after about 15 minutes.  Note your pain, energy and stress levels, happiness, and sleeping patterns.  This is something so simple to try and really you have nothing to lose.  It seems like a pretty easy thing to convince kids to do too!  This simple act has brought a lot of healing energy in to my life.

  • Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse for Hair

    To make your hair soft and shiny, try rinsing it with 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar mixed with 1 cup of cold water.  Apply the solution by pouring it over the hair after conditioning and then rinse with cold water to help seal the cuticle.  Take care to avoid your eyes.  This is a really inexpensive way to clarify the hair and make it silky-looking.  Add a few drops of any essential oil if you like to help eliminate the vinegar smell, though it mostly evaporates after the rinse.  My favorite oils to use in the solution are either rosemary, lavender, or bergamot.  Try using a few drops of tea tree oil if you have any problems with dandruff.  You may find you don’t need to use conditioner on the days you do this.

    This is a trick I have been using for some time and my mom recently told me my grandmother used to use it as well.  She would wash her girls’ hair in the kitchen sink and rinse it with a vinegar water solution.  I love hearing about these tried and true simple tricks that have been passed down through the ages.  Apparently the hair and scalp are both slightly acidic so this rinse just helps to balance the hair to its natural pH.  Not to mention, you all know how much I love vinegar for consuming and for beauty!

    While I’m talking about hair and vinegar, I’ll use this post to tell you that I did try using the whole “no ‘poo” method.  Besides the name “no ‘poo” which really annoyed me, this method just didn’t work for me.  It basically consists of washing hair with a solution of baking soda diluted in water and using a vinegar solution as the conditioner.  If you try Googling this, you will see what a craze it is.  A lot of the people that have tried the method really rave about it.

    I loved the idea and always appreciate resourcefulness and anything that applies to the whole “want not, waste not” philosophy but I just couldn’t get this one to work.  I tried tweaking a lot of things throughout the process including the type of vinegar, the ratios, and the frequency but absolutely nothing worked.

    I feel like I gave it an honest try because I spent five weeks doing the method during which time I basically looked like a greasy drowned rat.  Normally I consider natural to be beautiful, but I felt like a little misfit throughout this whole experiment.  I think the way I felt was reflected in the way I interacted with the world and I was kind of moping around.  Even my mom admitted it looked terrible!  When your mom tells you a look/practice isn’t working, listen up people!

    The whole concept still makes a lot of sense to me.  That is, our hair produces extra oil to compensate from it being stripped of shampoo and that many of the ingredients in shampoos and conditioners are bad for the environment and unhealthy for us to absorb through our skin.  But I just wasn’t looking professional or feeling like a sexy bitch walking around looking like a well-fed meth head.  I am thinking I might give it a try one of these days again, especially if I go hang out in the wilderness for a couple of months!  I suspect I would have adjusted more quickly had I just completely quit washing my hair for a month and hardly used the baking soda shampoo.

    After the failed experiment, I did go out and find some sulfate-free, all-natural shampoo with argan oil and seaweed extract by the Seawood Bath Company that has a eucalyptus and peppermint scent that I am really loving.  Actually Chief found it at Whole Foods since I didn’t have any shampoo or conditioner in the shower for him.  I don’t think my hair has every looked better since I started using this shampoo and conditioner.  Walking around with it doused in natural oils for five weeks may have helped my cause though!  I am using the apple cider vinegar rinse 1-2 times per week.

  • Unfolding

    a haiku, by Emily Ness

    Ephemeral blooms
    Buoy my profound wonder
    That now never ends

     

    This haiku was inspired in Houston on a warm, fragrant walk to my bus stop in the morning.  That’s where many of my poems and stories are born.