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Imagine, or perhaps it’s true, that it’s midday, you’re belly’s rumbling and you’re about to clock-out or otherwise disengage from your workday for a precious break to nourish yourself.  How do you invest this small fraction of your day that is entirely for you?  Perhaps you negotiate life’s greater goals and find the time too pressing to fantasize, then go on, hurrying to run errands, eating whatever is available while catching up on the eternal to-do list.  Grabbing another caffeinated beverage to boost you through the afternoon.

Coming home from work, you negotiate the evenings routine and find the exhaustion of the day’s work to predominate over any greater goals.  Settling into your usual spot, be it kitchen counter, couch or favorite chair, you sift through the mail or click on the TV while mindlessly consuming the quickest available caloric sustenance, a meal prepared far away, long ago and made to last many months in your cupboard.

Perhaps this scene is familiar to you or someone you love, perhaps it is not.  Consider for a moment, how a collection of events such as this might accumulate into a month, year or even decade of neglect to those greater goals that once seemed vitally important.  Granted, the midday or evening hours may not be the most abundant in energy or ambition, nonetheless for people whose 40 hour work-week does less than satisfy the heart’s desire, what other time is there?

artistic blossom bright clouds

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

According to Chinese medicine, the heart is the body’s emperor.  The Emperor demands that all other aspects of life obey his command, and will only fail when all those before him have already fallen.  That said, the heart as an organ can endure great strains with many other organs working diligently to protect the most vital, essential rhythm that keeps everything else going.  Many organs suffer silently for many years, giving small signs that can be adapted into a slightly different posture, energy level and by ignoring changing lab values.

Maintaining a health heart is something that must be done beat by beat.  Every family in America is in some way touched by heart disease.  Be it coronary artery disease, stroke, myocardial infarctions, depression, insomnia, mania or simply the lack of love for life.

Sure, a myocardial contraction results from a change in voltage across the cell membrane (depolarization), which leads to action potentials in the sinoatrial (SA) node.  This depolarization causes a wave of contraction to pass across the atria. Following atrial contraction, the impulse is delayed at the atrioventricular (AV) node. From here purkinje fibres allow rapid conduction of the electrical impulse via right and left branches, causing almost simultaneous depolarization of both ventricles, approximately 0.2 seconds after the initial impulse has arisen in the sinoatrial node. Depolarization of the myocardial cell membrane causes a large increase in the concentration of calcium within the cell, which in turn causes contraction by a temporary binding between two proteins, actin and myosin.  Sounds very straight-forward, yet how it all begins remains a great mystery of life.

Supporting this mysterious and essential action is a major aspect of cultivating health and happiness in our daily lives.  It is a task that is greater than paying our bills, repairing our homes or watering our gardens.  Yet, any task throughout our day can lend to heart health when the Emperor within is ruling from a place of peace and harmony.

In the 5-element Chinese medicine tradition, much of the effort is on what we call, “restoring the emperor or empress to his or her throne.”  This includes restoring the appropriate perspective on what truly matters in life.  It critically requires that we come to truth with ourselves about what we believe in and what we put up with.  In our truth, the reveal of how we may be living without integrity or honesty can require significant changes in our lives.  Every step of this process is valuable, as we come into closer relationship to our heart, our purpose and ultimately the greatest gift of happiness in life.

Life is a journey, and when the heart’s strengths are held at the center (love, compassion, happiness, joy and connection) we are sure to find a path that allows us to thrive.  This journey takes effort often greater than the work required to keep the daily cogs of a system turning.  Rather it may require breaking down the system in order to find a new path, a new model that reveals a more fulfilling life.

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The Toxicity of our Health & Beauty industry

In 2017 there were over 1.5 million people diagnosed with cancer in the United States. When you’ve been through the experience of a family member or loved one enduring cancer diagnosis or treatment or if you know the experience yourself it is clearly one to be prevented at all cost. We put so much effort and money into finding a cure for cancer. However the phrase, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” never rung more true.

 

 

woman with glitters on face and body

Photo by Daria Rem on Pexels.com

It is such an awful conundrum that an American industry has created a mis-conception that women are less-than and that a product can bring them to a state of worthiness. Make-up and the majority of our health and beauty industry is based upon a false truth that there is a necessity for artificially created products that are necessitated by the inherent faults of women.

Foundation, blush, eye-shadow, mascara, lipstick, nail polish and more might be fine if they are a one-time special occasion use for a theatrical production of dramatic expression. However, the unfortunate experience is that many women feel they cannot leave the house without “putting their face on” for the world to accept them as they artificially are with layers of chemical products overlying their authentic self.

How have we come to this place where billions of women feel more empowered to “conceal” their blemishes and alter their natural coloring with toxic substances that can cost them their lives through the carcinogenic substances they spend their hard earned dollars on? Media and advertising infiltrates even the most mindful of us all. And those who allow advertising to seep into their consciousness on a regular basis have no hope but to follow the masses and purchase the Maybeline, Cover Girl and even Burt’s Bee’s products that proclaim beauty, acceptance and maybe some version of happiness.

Unfortunate for women bought into this modified version of self is the reality that the majority of the chemicals used in our health and beauty industry come with an enormous cost to one’s health. Carcinogenic compounds (those that are known to cause cancer) permeate the industry. Hydroquinone, parabens, phenylenediamine, coal tar, diethanolamine, dioxane; nanoparticles, formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, toluene and petroleum distillates are all known to cause cancer and are common ingredients in make-up, lotions, nail polish and other products in the “beauty industry”.

What is beautiful about cancer? Nothing at all. So what is a girl to do? Here are a few suggestions to help girls of all ages move through life with health and beauty together at their side:

  • Learn to appreciate the natural you! Identify people and places that accept the natural you and work to enhance those relationships.
  • Read labels carefully! If there is an ingredient name you do not recognize and know to be safe, check it out at ewg.org/skin-deep, the most comprehensive database for chemical safety online and completely free!
  • Avoid nail polish! The microcirculation of the nailbed provides ready access of chemicals in nail polish into the bloodstream.
  • Change the trend! Avoid teaching children that it’s a positive thing to paint their faces, fingernails or toenails with any regularity at all.
  • Encourage companies to make better products, although even the most “natural” nail polish on the market today contain significant toxins.
  • If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your body! Your skin absorbs everything it encounters, some substances far more readily than others. Make sure your putting on your body things you feel great about consuming.
  • Opt for all natural products:
    • shea butter, bees wax and organic herbal extracts in organic oils for moisturizing
    • Baking soda and essential oils for deodorants
    • Apple cider vinegar and baking soda mix for hair products along with natural oils for conditioners and detanglers

In the last 100 years our chemical industry has exploded to infiltrate nearly every household in America. Along with that come the unwelcome impacts of carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, bio-accumulative toxins, neurological irritants and more. It’s well past time to make a change for our personal health, and for the health of all beings downstream whether that might be children, grand-children or the fish and wildlife that share our waterways who are subject to whatever we are washing down the drain.

For more resources for tools for daily life wellness or for individualized care managing cancer, cancer prevention or other health concerns please visit Stillwater Clinic & Apothecary at 418 High Street in Lyons, Colorado.

 

References:

EWG.org DIRTY DOZEN ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS; 12 Hormone-Altering Chemicals and How to Avoid Them.

Preetha AnandAjaikumar B. KunnumakaraChitra SundaramKuzhuvelil B. HarikumarSheeja T. TharakanOiki S. LaiBokyung Sung, and Bharat B. AggarwalUCancer is a Preventable Disease that Requires Major Lifestyle Changes” Pharm Res. 2008 Sep; 25(9): 2097–2116.

SciammaccoDuke-EWG Study Finds Toxic Nail Polish Chemical In Women’s Bodies, Sara. Sally Hansen, OPI, Wet N Wild Among Brands Selling Nail Polishes With Endocrine Disruptors. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MONDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2015. EWG.org

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