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Under the blue September sky

What does your world look like today?

Is it bright and sunny, real nice end of September day or nothing good to talk about?

We cannot choose the weather, unfortunately, if we must stay where we are, live in a place which we might not even prefer, but that’s the reality: all doors are open, but not everyone of them takes us to a place we want to be.

Did you wake up in a hopeful mood and the day kept its promises?

Good things sometimes happen when we don’t expect them, too, as if out of nowhere. However, it’s the combination of all elements which has worked out in our favor whether we knew about that or not. The bigger success we expect, the more upsetting might be the disappointment.

Does that mean we don’t strive for more, don’t try achieving more and reaching for higher goals? We always do attempt to succeed in something currently out of reach, we should at least. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Until we experience tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, wildfires, volcano eruptions and other nature disasters, we might say that every weather nature throws at us is a blessing. That’s changing now, and we might wonder how bad it is going to get? Thankfully, the area I live has been spared from nature’ s anger.

September was a very beautiful month in Ontario where I live. The simple pleasures are readily available for everybody, we just need to set aside a moment for these experiences. The sky is so transparent today, no wind, bees still work in blooms, and there’s almost overwhelming beauty of the late fall flowers. It’s a good moment to be in.

When you have gone through millions of small disappointments, tiny and big accidents, betrayal, losses and some calmer periods of life, it feels there’s nothing that can surprise one any longer. I’ve been sticking to my principles of honesty, truth and generosity for many decades. They get tested, too, these old-fashioned principles and morals. Competition is a normal way of existence now with any means being justified. It’s not enough to know, be able and have experience, you have to prove your self-worth and value of your skills every day from new. Every single day it’s some kind of competition, feeling of being pushed and rushed. If you do not post anything on social media or website, people forget you, forget who you are, what you do and so forth.

For how long am I supposed to be competing for the social media attention?

There is nothing stable in the universe of public opinion. I noticed that blog reading is down, too. The number of views goes up, but the actual interaction is down. Shorter attention span? Sure. The amount of information avalanching over the viewers head is also remarkably larger. While I love creating art, sewing, designing new outfits and other items, gardening, nature and its mystic ways, I’m not huge about throwing this into everybody’s face: look what I have! Nevertheless, I must do just that if I ever want to have more students in my art classes or sell my art.

Early fall for dreamers? Definitely.

September calm might be ending soon, in a few weeks or so. It’s a good time to regroup, recharge, put in vegetable preserves, take a short walk, collect new colorful leaves for the next nature-painted projects. The calm before the storm or maybe just time to think about what’s ahead, to dream a bit about things unfolding my way and according to my plans. The path, however, was created a long time ago. The ripples in the universal interaction ocean cause situations which we are living in now, at this moment. We have created our today as it is together with other people, nature, universe and our actions or inactivity, with our features and our thoughts.

I hope your day is as good as you expected it to be!

Stay in touch and thanks for reading!

Featured

It’s a brilliant day

Today, it is. The heat has decreased and the humidity torture is less depressing, as well. My blog posting gaps have increased, though, thanks to all kinds of unexpected issues. It is a time when I am aware of all things I still have to tackle and bring to some conclusion, yet, I don’t do anything here and there. The privilege of older age is that you can mentally sort through the urgent things and make a reasonable decision: there’s hardly anything that cannot wait for a bit longer. For instance, posting a new article which won’t be seen by that many anyway.

It’s a wrong decision from the point of being present on the internet, but a very beneficial from the view of general feeling-and being-well-aspect. Ever since we became billions on every social media site and every blogging platform, the importance of one single post lost its meaning. Life is not long enough whatever way you look at it. I’d prefer much longer stretch of feeling like in 35-50 period. I find that around 50 it was when I had still huge energy and motivation to fight every internet battle and to squeeze myself out like a lemon to grab attention. Over time, the need to be present everywhere has really lost its attraction.

Being present in moments which matter for me personally has become more important. Sooner or later, we all realize that there will be things which we aren’t destined to do, learn or pursue. Time limits our ability to perform everything at the same level of devotion and achieve the same level of success in all areas which appeal to us. It takes huge time to achieve adequate skills in any area nowadays. However, the abundant numbers of experts and people who do counselling means there’s too much advise about everything. 

Let’s talk about how-to posts. Mainly, there are 2 groups. The first group, usually, in technical aspects of using software, app, social media or blogging platforms, writing or drawing and painting tools are helpful. The second group is where the heading says “how-to”, but the article lists reasons why and immediately takes you to the button to purchase something. We already know why, if we are looking for the practical application of this new whatever it is. I’m really interested in finding examples of using a tool, a strategy, I want to see how it looks in reality, but that’s not possible. There are immediately ads and all kinds of offers to buy. Food takes very much space on the internet, as well, too much for me personally. I stick to the old and extra simple recipes, better yet, the ones which consist of a few ingredients. That’s also very beneficial for our digestive system.

Then there are the numbers articles: 10 things what to eat and 10 what not to, 7 ways to wear an outfit, 6 ways to relax, 5 ways to prepare a particular food and to exercise. Very often it is “how to be happy” in numerous ways. It’s usually a list of things which we all know, have or do not intend to have, do or do mind doing. It’s something which we are aware about, but we have a reason not to engage in it, or we are already mastering that aspect. This type of list provides with no discoveries. One advice can never suit all. The most interesting articles for me are about personal experiences, the diverse ways we live.

Today, it is a really brilliant day. Just with the right amount of heat and sunshine. With well-formed attractive clouds sailing the bright blue sky. With bees still working blooms and butterflies hurrying from one flower to another. With tomato branches almost touching the ground because of the heavy fruit. With fantastically orange and perfectly round pumpkins. I also saw hummingbird 2 times this year. That’s so cute for my location!

The summer has been too short as always. It was too hot, we had too much rain, it was too dry sometimes, too stormy here and there. And it will be definitely too cold in the winter. No perfect weather for us, and here I laugh a little. Our feeling of entitlement has spoiled us. I personally do not complain, I take summer over winter any time. The virus has had big impact on our life here in Ontario, as I suppose, in the place where you are at. We thought it will be a fairly swift battle and we would be done with it. Maybe you have lived as you wanted, but I here couldn’t. Restrictions are still all in place, except, there is no lockdown.

I have such insanely huge amounts of produce, I’m not sure what to do with it. We are giving away part of it to husband’s colleagues, sometimes to anybody who will take it. I am seeing all benefits of growing vegetables and flowers from my own seeds. These plants are very strong, they practically do not suffer from the regular plant diseases. It makes a lot of sense to take care of your own seeding material. Since I haven’t been anywhere, only at home (almost 2 years already!!!), I am attaching a few pictures of my garden. It can be enough, but dreams and memories take me to other places; where I have been, which I will visit and what I’m not going to see. Well, the Earth is small and big at the same time, just like this life: so uncomplicated and manageable one day, but absolutely stunning or overwhelming the next.

Have a good September which is just around the corner! Thanks for reading!

The rainy July, uncertainty and assumptions

Summer never disappoints, even when there’s more rain than in the fall or more heat than in Mexico. Just knowing, that the days are long, and light stays on longer is so satisfying. Recurring certainty gives a feeling of stability, but we are not yet 100% there in Ontario. We are fairly uncertain also about the length of vaccine efficiency and what happens next and so forth. Questions which will clarify themselves as time passes by.

The last 2 years have been a huge test: they have tested our patience, endurance, tolerance and self-efficiency. I am usually aiming for predictability and certain order of upcoming events, just like in nature: summer comes after spring, and then there’s fall, and winter. Clarity, simple sequence of events. During this period, it’s been knowing nothing about what to expect, misinformation, lies, doubts and promises which often didn’t turn into actions.

Time doesn’t take into account whether we like being in this mess created by virus or not: it just runs away and, in some cases, – out. This time period will stay in our memory for quite a while. Is the pandemic over yet? In some places and countries, it seems we are winning, and then, a new variant occurs, and we start losing. It looks like this is not the end of pandemic yet. I wish it were, though.

Are you also so much used to wearing a mask that it will seem strange leaving house without it? Or disinfecting surfaces and washing hands for hundred times? I’ve heard that people are having more anxiety attacks, more upsetting days, spending more time doubting themselves and the future. I’d say that is normal taking into account the circumstances. We feel very much entitled to many things and we often take them for granted.

Maybe this is a time when we simply allow the flow to take us? I’ve been always against the flow, against the rules, against demands, commands and external control. However, I find that most current requirements make sense and I comply with them. There is a lot of scientific evidence on how we survive. I’m happy that after spending more than a full month on a computer and on the phone, we finally got both vaccine doses. It’s three weeks now. It is a relief. Some feeling of order? I’m not saying that I feel very safe now, but it’s somewhat reassuring that, most likely, nothing bad is going to happen.

We are not back to any normal yet, although, we’re trying to pretend everything is ok. It will never be the same as it was pre-pandemic. Globalization has its plusses and minuses. One of the biggest troubles: any disaster affecting health becomes global in no time. Unfortunately, global trade is fine, global pandemic – not at all because it is handled inefficiently and as bad as only possible. Do two doses of vaccine ensure you’re done with the virus? Probably not. We’ve already heard Pfizer saying they detected the immunity was weaker after 6 months.

Depending on where you are, you might be fine or not at all. We in Ontario are trying to return to life without virus. I hoped people would love to attend the outdoor art classes now, after almost two years of everything online. It doesn’t seem so. Not much response because there’s also no place where to get attention, not even one specific place. Facebook just wants me to spend more money so that they would show to somebody what I publish. Well, Facebook, it’s been two very tough years, so nothing goes to you. I won’t even mention other media sites. If you’re not an influencer, post whatever you want, hardly anybody will see it. The problem is also that everybody is selling something, and buying happens mostly from the huge global outlets, go outcompete those.

I was reading how a marketing expert said she just made a million giving advice. Have you also noticed that teaching somebody to make money always results in high profits? Everybody is attracted to read about “make-money-quick”, or watch it, or listen to it. Unfortunately, it will always depend on your location, digitalization level, type of thing you do, demand for what you do and the basic mindset of your potential customers. However, it will mostly depend on how much you can invest in what you do, how much you can spend on advertising, help and specialists and creation of your product. Do you think I’d had any problem if I could run my ads every hour on numerous TV channels or have them everywhere sneak up on you on the internet?

The presence and visibility are the biggest problem.

When I started writing this blog and created the other blog and art website, I thought it would result in some extra attention. I’ve got blog friends, nice people to talk to online, that’s true. I spend a lot of time posting, returning likes and answering to comments. For art blog, a post usually takes about 2 weeks in making because I usually have to paint what I’d like to show, then take photos (what a hassle!) and then, putting it up is easy, but, altogether – very, very time-consuming. Basically, I’ve spent abnormal hours dealing with both blogs, and return is great when it comes to online following and friendships, but financially, it’s practically nothing to show for. It still makes sense compared to spending many hours on social media and not getting any traction. Well, it is like this: whatever you do, be influencer and famous, and then even dumb things you say or publish will get lots of publicity.

Global pandemic, global competition, global trade, global profits or losses, – but the effects of all that are very personal, very individual, very painful frequently. I do sometimes long for the time when somebody just drops in, they are happy with what I have to offer, they do not run around to 100 other places before making decision, and life is so simple because everything is in balance, everything happens. I am just wondering how could life become so complex? Getting a simple “yes” or “no” is practically impossible. It takes numerous emails, text messages, back and forth, numerous explanations and waste of time, and then you still don’t know whether you achieved what you wanted.

As always, I will post this very delayed article with a few pictures from my garden. Just like summer, garden never disappoints. Even when I don’t have time, plants just do their thing: they bloom, grow and bring fruit. Compared to everything else, it’s such a winning and rewarding effort. I do take great care of my pictures, but I suppose since I’m not emphasizing the photography aspect, they go unnoticed. As you know, I used to post more frequently, but cannot right now: life is too complex. I am re-opening the studio, moving art classes outdoors, preparing materials, and that takes about 10 hours a day or more.

Wishing you to recharge and rest during the summer! Thanks for reading if you did!

Silence heals

Listen to the silence

Stop the noise

We are almost always surrounded by background noise. If it were only bird voices and wind in the trees, that would be still fine. However, more and more often I want to stop the noise of devices and TV and pollution of mind which leaves a permanent residue. I turn off the news and TV, and I don’t scroll that much through social media sites if at all. How social are they? I just looked at Facebook, it is like this: ads, ads, ads, a hundred times repeated quote, a nice picture, ads, ads, more ads. Quite frequently, it seems there’s noise everywhere and for no good reason. Thankfully, we can tun the sound off. We can leave all angry discussions alone and head out to the park, or garden, or simply get out and turn devices off, too. Which is what most people won’t do. There are always good reasons, business call or request, kids needing something, or friend wants to talk and so forth. However, we deserve a moment of silent relaxation, and not only in sleep.

Silence as a healing factor

Listening to silence should be big priority in our life which is attacked by numerous influences every single moment, every time we look at a screen. Many people admit they meditate. Nowadays, meditation is understood very broadly as simply devoting time for going deep inside oneself and removing noise of disturbing thoughts and our internal reactions to external events. Lots of people don’t even know how to meditate or do it in a way which is not the mainstream concept of this activity. I personally think we can only benefit from detaching ourselves for a moment from active external attacks and whatever way we do that. Therefore, being in a silent environment becomes a healing experience which allows recharging.

The silent environment

Take a breath of freshness

The one advantage of COVID pandemic is being able to listen to the silence. I sit outdoors or on my veranda late at night watching stars and sky. Eternity seems so close, and the universe is straight before my eyes. I take a breath of the sky, and stars sparkle in the huge dark dome of extended purple-blue infinity. It’s very easy to get lost in this silence and forget about all troubling matters. Not a sound. In the morning, nature sounds wake me: birds, wind or rain. For a moment, there was hardly any traffic, and I thought that was terrific. What a relief! Air is so clean, the sky so pure that one cannot help but assume: we do produce and manufacture too much, and many of them are useless things. This all deepens imbalance and causes disturbance of the natural equilibrium.

Uninterrupted break from noise

We need silence from time to time, complete silence which is not interrupted by shriek alarms, screams, rude language, car and heavy machinery noises and sounds of never-ending rush. Switching from loud environment to soft and mild sound environment makes one breathe much easier. Freeing the body from chains of all-surrounding noise gives the brain the much-needed break. Remember how walking in a park or forest put you in elevated mood? That refers to moments when the only sounds are nature-related. Just like our eyes require diversion from screens, our ears need the same. We should leave specific time for music and specific time for listening to podcasts and other audio material.

Dreamy infinity

Keeping sensory organs in balance

This life is loud already; we might say, much too loud. Living life in headphones contributes to anxiety, nervousness, insomnia and restlessness. If we use some sensory body parts too much and abuse them in a violent way, the balance is destroyed. No human is supposed to listen to something 24 hours a day, that’s why we need sleep. We need it in order to recharge and heal. During sleep, our immune system fortifies our defense mechanisms, the brain clears out pollution and resets its processing ability. Sleep is the time which we absolutely need, and, especially, because the sounds and visible disturbances are turned off.

Mental problems Internet can facilitate our exposure to foreign influences so much that people start suffering from chronic confusion, lack of focus, forgetfulness, anxiety, insomnia, chronic fatigue, fear, dreadful nightmares and misinterpretation of reality. The latter is especially dangerous because we lose touch with reality and blunder into misconceptions. Turning off sounds allows us to think, make conclusions and look into ourselves. Not everybody is the same, but when I have to do a complex work which requires strong focus and maximum concentration, I have silence or just the nature sounds from backyard around me.

Recharge in silence

Noise interference

Lots of people or big part of global population live high above the ground and are surrounded by never-ending noise. If it’s only a distant background noise, the interference won’t be too harsh, but for those who intentionally live in a loud environment or have no other choice for the lack of better living or work conditions, it has a big impact. Yet, we often don’t pay any attention to that and we should.

Life is loud

This life is loud, but we have tools to preserve ourselves. Mind pollution is one of the important aspects which requires solution. It might be something different for different people, but, like all types of pollution, mind pollution accumulates and becomes an issue. Turning off destructive noises is one of ways we help ourselves. In always present noise, we won’t be able to hear the things that matter. Whenever possible, we have to choose natural environment, and that includes the level of noise.

Thanks for reading, take care

We are all interconnected in the universe.

Universe wishes us well, how we go with or against this plan

We, universe, nature and other people

We all create our own reality, and while doing so, we are interconnected with all other parts of the universe: the other people, nature, God and the highest power whichever one believes in. When you look at the brain activity chart, you can see numerous flashes which occur practically simultaneously. That is also how we as a tiny molecule of the universe are creating such flashes. People have tried everything: living mindfully, positively and using the law of attraction, as well as all kinds of significant rules we have invented so far. What works and what is just our illusion about living a full, balanced and abundant, life?

Our personal world we recreate every day

It is our world which we enter as soon as we wake up every morning. We do that as long as we live. We start out anew, fresh and on clean slate if we allow for that. When life is good, everything falls in place easily. We feel grateful, we feel that we are on the right path and we are sure the future is bright. The real problems start when life gives us tests and we have to overcome all kinds of obstacles.

The plan is always good

The purpose of a universal plan for us is always good and probably the best for the current situation. Can we see and understand it? Moreover, are willing to go along with it? Sometimes, one will understand the purpose of a situation only after many years and even decades. Sometimes, we will see what and why needed to happen sooner. This pandemic shows how vulnerable we are, and it really doesn’t matter what social class, financial wealth level, nationality, race or country one belongs to. This pandemic is to prove that as a human one is equal in the eye of the universe. One means no less and no more, but just the same.

Warning signs

We could argue that the current situation has nothing to do with a lesson from the universe, but it is simply the result of human negligence, error and mishandling of facts. As always, we get warnings and signs at first. Everything in the nature has been warning us for many decades. Deterioration of human health which is the result of attempts to achieve higher profits has been really alarming. Pollution and overcrowded cities, famine in some areas and wasting insane amounts of money for useless luxury items in some social groups, wrong values and mass production of cheap entertainment to keep humans in tight control, and so on and so forth. There have been many signs that the human race is on the wrong path.

Kind or harsh lesson, the choice is ours

Universe usually teaches us just like students at a regular school: at first, it is a general warning not to engage in some activity or process, then it is more targeted requirement to change the behavior, after that, we will receive strong corrective event which people, who feel like victims of situation, others or destiny, will call a punishment. In fact, the universe will try to stop you from destroying yourself while it is still possible with all kinds of means from mild warning to strong event that will change the route. Meaning, if you do not get the lesson with kind and mild suggestion, there is a need for strong means of correction.

Victim versus creator

If you see and perceive your personal world as a place where outside impacts every thought and step of yours and you have no say in the chain of events unfolding before your eyes, you are most likely feeling and acting as a victim: I cannot do anything about this. They have decided everything for me and I just have to comply and go with the stream. Now, if you are somebody who does not assume yourself as a victim, but rather somebody, who is in control of your own life and its events and who takes on the responsibility for results of your own actions, spoken words and thoughts, you will see that you can change and influence the chain of events. You can do that since you are the one, who understands that any current situation is created by you with your activity or inactivity, with steps you take or skip, with thoughts you pronounce or discard.

Patience is a virtue

Patience is something we seem not to have any more. When I hear people saying what a sacrifice that is to wear a mask, I’d like to ask them to think again. It is a preventive measure which helps us control the spread of virus and disease. From the first days we were advised no to travel, not to go anywhere, especially, not to fly and go abroad. Including March break, everybody was behaving as if nothing has happened. We heard that it’s not that scary as it sounds and there is no point in cancelling trip if one had paid for it in advance.

We are all connected

Now in the summer, people feel they cannot put off or cancel their parties and vacation travel. It’s vacation time and nothing will stop them from enjoying it. Well, we normally get what we ask for. It’s just so that this time adventure easily turns into trouble. This situation more than ever shows how connected the entire humanity is and how swiftly one person’s neglect and lack of judgement can affect other person’s life and health. You do not even know these people, but they will either work towards a better outcome or make bad outcome hit one harder.

True values

I’m not surprised big luxury brands are going out of business because this global situation reveals how unimportant it actually is for the global health to wear, drive or use a specific luxury item which is meant for show-off. Under mask, make-up becomes pointless. In the situation of social distancing, nobody really cares about one’s shoes, pants or dress. Hence, there are so many things which are of real value.

Blaming as lack of responsible approach

We might see this situation as a punishment for humanity if we feel like a victim. We might start blaming everybody and everything from government to food manufacturers, from lawmakers to neighbours and friends. That’s what a victim does: they blame something because they do not take responsibility for what they do and have done. In fact, your own health is in your own hands. That is very literary because you have to keep them in gloves and disinfect and sanitize frequently which I assume some people will also call a sacrifice. In fact, there is no punishment in the mind of the universe. There is no guilt or fault. That is an invention of the human mind to control victims and their behaviour. It’s easy to keep in control people, who fault themselves or feel guilty.

Universe wishes us well

The universe wishes us well. It will always try to work out the best scenario which meets your personal wishes and desires. I think you know that we have to be cautious about what we wish for. There is also a thing about negative sentences and the universal mind. It cannot hear what we say as a negative sentence. The same goes for small children. If you say: do not, they will only hear “do”. Therefore, sentences such as “I will not get sick” send out only one word “sick”, ‘I do not feel tired” means “feel tired” and so on. We have to use the affirmative form.

We have created every situation in our life

We have arrived at this day because of everything we have done, thought or said. That includes things we didn’t want to do or things we didn’t say out loud, or things we believed were unimportant. That includes signs and warnings we ignored. Blame is big nowadays. That means most people feel like victims, and social media and also TV strongly support that: blaming something or somebody and not being responsible for what we personally do. It is obviously a wrong way to approach any situation. It’s finally only us personally, who choose the fate of the globe. Every single person participates, and we either facilitate good outcome or cause harm for people we love most and eventually for everybody else. It’s in our hands to make things right.

Make good choices to quench thirst and avoid harmful chemicals

Deal or health

While standing in the line at grocery store, it’s impossible not to notice what people are putting in their shopping carts. There is pretty large crowd which walks around the store with flyers in their hand looking for deals and discounts. Well, it’s not that the best products or the freshest ones get into this flyer, but we can sometimes get promotional products at very reasonable prices. At least at my local grocery store, the most deals are offered for unhealthy and processed food and drinks.

Soft drinks are banned in European schools

I would say there’s a reason why soft drinks like Coke, Pepsi and energy drinks are banned from schools and their neighbourhoods in quite a few European countries. My native country Latvia has always been strict with such foods and drinks, the positive side is that we didn’t even see them or knew they existed until the borders were opened in 1991. The Latvian market was flushed with North American type of chemical foods and fast food places appeared then.

Clean food means more health

We had practically no obesity and related issues until the era of imported food begun. Believe or not, real dairy products are still available in Latvia. It’s always up to consumers what choice to make because manufacturers will try to meet the demand. When consumers show their dissatisfaction with chemically enhanced food, manufacturers and food producers have no other way, but to offer food and drinks which are in line with healthy eating guidelines and which are compliant with restrictions in use of chemical ingredients.

Think again

I read an article how people, who told Coke was a total poison and Pepsi was a pure junk, were attacked online. That makes one wonder: are there really too few obesity, type 2 diabetes, digestive, heart and blood vessel associated diseases and cases yet? Isn’t there proof enough that not real food, proteins, carbohydrates and fats make a person sick, but their chemical substitutes and surrogate ingredients?

The choice is ours

Nobody would need to ever diet or fight the unwanted pounds if all of a sudden fast food, processed food and chemically produced food and drinks disappeared. However, that is not going to happen because profits always come first. There is a wide range in standards for chemicals and their maximum contents in food products. Therefore, the choice is ours: we all can exclude chemicals, fast food and processed foods from our menu. At least to some extent, because vegetables, fruit, berries, herbs and organic products are still a subject to standards. These standards allow for plenty of variation. “Organic” on a label does not mean the product is completely free of chemicals, pesticides and fertilizers. “Organic” means the amount of harmful chemicals meets the stated limits.

Hydration for heat

It has been abnormally hot in Canada, Ontario for the last 2 weeks. We are expecting one more heat wave. Everybody will need to quench their thirst, and everybody will have a choice: to use pure water, mineral water or fruit flavored water for hydration, or just grab some soft drink, milkshake or juice.

Water is the best

When we talk about hydration, there is nothing better than pure water. Water is the best for quite a few reasons: for its chemical formula, for the fast absorption rate, for its friendly attitude towards our cell structure and for its lack of chemicals. Be careful with tap water. It can can contain too much chlorine, even antibiotics, metformin which is blood sugar lowering drug, and residues of very harmful chemical elements. Anything which does not degrade naturally and fast can find its way into tap water.

Moderate and balanced amount of water

It’s enough to use moderate amount of water because overdoing anything has bad consequences. Abnormal amount of water can cause kidney failure and hyponatremia or deficit of sodium in the bloodstream. If you do not use water, but other liquids, you must be aware they contain things you might not want to overdo with: juice is high in sugar, soft drinks are high in sugar and chemicals, milkshakes and ice-cream based drinks have lots of calories. The only thing we actually need in heat is to hydrate ourselves and maintain a good functionality, isn’t it? We don’t have to intake as many calories as with meal for this purpose.

Early childhood habits

How about kids? Kids will use whatever their parents are offering them from early childhood. If a family does not use soft drinks, kid will never have cravings for them. When a family is not addicted to sugars and fast foods, kid will never know such disorders as type 2 diabetes. Some parents are very worried that child does not eat enough. Normal kid will not starve himself to the point when some disorders occur. Kid could be reluctant to drink enough water, though. I also told this in my previous post: making fruit flavored water with colorful slices of citrus fruits is a good idea because this type of drink does not raise the content of sugars much, but hydrates well and looks great. Nobody has appetite when the blood glucose level is too high. If your kid has had some sugar-rich food or drink before meal, they will refuse to eat normal meal.

My photos of fruit flavored water and ice

Adding colored ice to such drinks is also fantastic. I didn’t have time, but it’s possible to freeze any juice and make colorful ice cubes. We can place small mint leaves, berries or parts of fruit in water and freeze them, we can freeze tea and any liquid. It looks very attractive.

Fruit flavored water

Colorful, fresh and healthy

Mineral water good choice to quench our thirst

Mineral water is a good choice to quench our thirst

Add fruit and ice to regular bottled water

Add fruit and ice to regular bottled water

Sparkling mineral water

For people, who want to stay away from alcohol, using sparkling water with lime and mint and ice allows to get rid of cravings for alcohol. You can also use simple water, lots of ice cubes and small bit of lemon juice.

Still life with water and fruit

Fresh and delicious: what’s not to like?

I never like when we have to stop on the roadside for some snack while travelling, that the catering places always push one to have a Coke or Pepsi with food. When I ask whether they have sparkling water or mineral water, they quite often don’t. Well, I usually survive by asking for water with slice of lime.

Stay hydrated and use healthy water to quench your thirst!

Self-isolation, make this time count

At least spring is coming

In the Northern hemisphere, we are close to the first day of spring. Although, spring can be cold and windy in some parts of Canada, for instance, Ontario, we are almost there. Temperatures are getting milder and gradually increasing. That means garden and outside work can start soon. Lucky people, who have a greenhouse! What better time to self-isolate and provide oneself with fresh produce as early as possible?

The issues we are facing right now also point out some attitudes and behaviors which we should have gotten rid anyway.

Switching to self-entertaining

Many industries, establishments and businesses were doing just that: entertaining. Based on recent literature and consumer response, we can see how much pressure is put on anybody whether they are a teacher, a social worker, an event organizer or simply a parent to be able to entertain. Some people assume it a normal way of life; to always expect that somebody has to entertain you.  Normal way of life is finding one’s personal entertaining hobbies, activities and passion in what we love doing. When we have an idea what makes us feeling good and whole, we do not need somebody entertaining us every minute of the day or night. Lots of people do not know how to spend time in self-isolation because they have always relayed on somebody else, who makes their life interesting. It’ s time now to switch to entertaining oneself.

How about self-discovery?

Maybe it won’t, unless one wants to spend their entire time in front of a screen. For those, who feel fine, but are required to completely self-isolate, this is good time to engage in self-discovery and to try completely new things which are important, but were neglected because of the busy life of meetings, parties, dinners, travel and shopping. Maybe this time, somebody will learn how to listen to nature. Maybe need will make one dig up their backyard this year and engage in gardening. Somebody might start exploring backyard animals and birds, their funny habits, watch and take photos of them or start journaling, sketching and painting.

Limited choice means a lot of choice still

I heard some people being upset and complaining they couldn’t dine out and attend concerts and theatres. Tough or what? It is actually the same as usual for our family: we never liked dining or eating out and always preferred to cook from scratch. Being a good cook is a talent I inherited from my parents and kept developing with innovation. I am very happy that I can cook anything of just a few products or you could say nothing. I suppose, creative people are creative in any area of life. There are 2 main distinctive approaches: one is consumer’s approach, the other is creator’s approach.

Consumer’s reality

What do we need to buy or get to be safe and happy? If you are a person, whose happiness depends on things and purchases, you will need to buy a lot and also, in conditions of decreased manufacturing and production output, many things will be not available. That will make consumer upset. Stores will be closed for a while, except basic groceries and pharmacies, and restaurants, cafes, clubs and for that matter any catering services except for takeouts and deliveries are already closed in Ontario. Anything ready-made is much more expensive, too. We ordered a few times delivered food and it was of such a poor quality compared to what I cook. I was simply recovering after a recent surgery and couldn’t do much for while. I cannot imagine how bad it would be to always order ready-made food. We also ordered groceries once and it wasn’t really how you buy them at the store. No 2 pieces of meat are the same and things like vegetables or simple potatoes come in very different sorts for different purposes.

Creator’s reality

My mind always works like that: how could I repurpose this particular thing? What can I make of these items? What can I use to fit this function? Something like that. I do cooking, gardening, sewing, crafting, decoration and obviously art. I have done this for about 50 years, and I can literary make anything I need, that would include simple furniture and all items necessary for winter, spring, summer or fall, including hats, purses, gloves, bags and similar items. I always regretted I cannot make shoes and boots. When you feel that you can create anything you need, you start feeling very calm and very relaxed. I don’t think every person will start sewing and cooking or gardening, but it makes one independent and saves huge amounts of money.

Self-isolation activities

Start with outdoors, seeding and planting

Not everybody has a backyard or lives on a farm, but most people have access to some kind of outdoor space where it is possible to place some pots or boxes with soil or planting substrate. I always s wanted to live in a detached house with a backyard. We have been moving a lot, but that didn’t stop me from creating a new garden wherever I went. You might say it is a lot of work. It is heavy work and it means physical work until we get things going. However, doing physical work outdoors in fresh air is the absolutely best thing for a human. It is way better than any gym. The heaviest part and most boring is soil preparation.

Container garden versus permanent garden

My current personal situation is such that I have no suitable area in our large backyard for plant beds. Since there are only rocks beneath the grass coverage, I went containers last spring. I learned a few things. It is better to put only that many seeds as many plants you expect to come up, plus maybe 1 or 2, in a container or pot. It is better not replant cucumbers, zucchinis, lettuce and similar plants, and you cannot successfully replant dill, radish and small arugula or spinach, for that matter any similar small-leaf vegetables which can be consumed right away from the first tiny leaves. In my experience, anything grows well in container, as long as we can provide with efficient depth of soil. Advantage of container gardening is that you can move pots, boxes, bags or other containers around to have more sun or shadow as required.

Start up creative activities

It is a very suitable time to start something new. If you never tried the above mentioned things and only used services, choose one area. You’d be amazed how much pleasure is using creative approach to any restrictive situation with limited choices. It will literary drive your creativity and teach something new about yourself, too.

I have no classes at the moment, I intend to describe these activities in more detail, as well as give practical advice for beginners. One thing I definitely have in abundance is experience. I don’t mind sharing it.

If you only click on “like” from Reader, you will probably never know what I am writing about. I usually do not return 10 likes when somebody hasn’t read any of my posts and doesn’t have an idea about what my 2 blogs are about.

Use natural products

Internet advice, helplessness and pill which cures everything, 2

Part 2

Relying on other’s suggestions

If you are easy to convince and sway towards decisions somebody else has made, you end up doing a lot of Internet shopping, following trends and chasing things which are at the top today, but gone by tomorrow.

Judging by TV adds, everything is cheap, almost for free and you just have to get it and sign up whether it’s an investment offer, health program, slimming and dieting web, you just have to buy a supplement, new type of food, treatment, cosmetics and numerous other services, endless devices and all of it is made for you. For you. Afterwards, you might wonder: what was so good about it? Frequently, there won’t be any benefit of using that product or you have a big chance to run into new problems.

Careful with pills

It is mind-blowing how many pills, supplements, drugs, medicines and health boosting substances people are using. It is so that there is a pill for anything. Some honestly admit that, in order to feel ok and go through the day and get a decent sleep, they need to take something. It can be even unclear what this particular thing does, but they need the feeling that they are doing something to look better, to feel better, to be energetic or to relax. Certainly, the numbers of offered solutions are so huge that nobody can anymore be sure what is exactly they need or what they can live without.

Synthetic supplements versus natural nutrients

Synthetic supplements versus natural nutrients

More is not better when it comes to medicine and supplements

It is concerning that we believe the more substances and health improving supplements we take, the better we are going to be. It is forgotten that the human body has so many mechanisms to regulate and adjust everything, and that literary includes every process from tiniest within a part of a cell to the most systemic processes. The body’s natural regulation and adaption mechanisms work until we step in and start unnecessary improving them. We destroy the balance our body works hard to maintain. It was never about more of one substance or nutrient, it was always about balance! Once we recover from one pill or drug, we quickly rush to another: maybe this is going to be the missing miraculous treatment! So, it just goes until we start suffering from allergies, hypo- or hyper levels of some hormone, enzyme, mineral and nutrient. Nature has it safe and right, but we always want to be smarter

Over-the-counter drugs and supplements

OTC medicinal products are designed so that they should not harm one when following the dosage advice. These products are also not designed to treat clinically significant issues and deficiencies; such treatments will take much higher and differently administered doses. Therefore, it is silly to make a serious health issue go away by using OTC drugs and supplements.

The effects of herbal remedies might appear much slower, but they are also safer. With supplement market so huge, it can be dangerous to buy and use unknown substances online, especially, if it is unclear who manufactures and distributes the product. Many supplements claim doing things which they never could. We cannot believe every claim which is not proven in documented and real clinical trials. Most supplements have not been tested clinically because it is a very long and very expensive process. Phrases: dermatologist, dentist, pharmacist  or doctor recommended mean literally nothing. It is just a phrase to convince you. For clinically tested medicinal products, there are clinical trial references, as well as clearly identified data about safety, doses and precautions. Lists of recalls are available in any country, and one should check them out at least time to time. You’d be surprised what you will find there.

It might be not what it seems

Our body can take a lot. Sometimes, all the stress signals go off and trigger protective mechanisms which are many and various. We don’t give up without fight, and the survival is encoded in every cell of us assuming there are no brain defects or mental barriers whether chemical, hormonal or substance induced. The signal that we are in danger will trigger all kinds of symptoms, and the body will immediately engage everything what’s available. If you take a pill every time to regulate these symptoms, the self-regulation mechanism might simply die off.

Make distinction between vitally important and unnecessary

There are life-threatening conditions which need to be cured, and there are so many symptoms which do not need interference with heavy drugs. Therefore, whatever the reason, you have decided to supplement your diet with anything synthetic or processed which all capsules, pills and powders are, regardless of their organic or herbal origin, you have to evaluate the necessity of this step. Unbelievably, drugs are trendy and supplements are trendy, too. For the matters explained before, you might not experience any improvement whatsoever, not to mention that when profit is behind the health claim, the ingredients of your capsule or pill might be not even be the ones what are listed.

Supplements versus real food

Supplements versus real food

Placebo effect

One might ask: why somebody reports feeling better if they take a pill which contains no active ingredients or nothing which relates to their actual health problem? Placebo effect has been recognized in practically all clinical trials, and, for the reason of comparing whether some particular drug really treats the condition, first phases of clinical trial involve a patient group which takes or is administered a placebo. This substance is neither improving nor harming a person because it does not contain any active ingredients. Yet, the outcomes frequently reveal that quite significant part of trial population on placebo feels better.

Real life placebo effects

We can frequently observe this effect in real life. There are many examples which relate to supplements. While celiac disease according Health Canada statistics is diagnosed only in hardly 1% of population, any grocery store will have large amounts of gluten-free products. Does any person who does not have celiac disease benefit from gluten-free diet? The answer is no. It would be like you are wearing strong glasses when you do not need them. This is treating a disease which one does not have. In fact, they are avoiding very useful and nutrient-dense products, as well as paying more for things they do not need at all. So, why do they feel better? First, that might be becoming more selective when using different products. Secondly, it is for sure the placebo effect. A person feels better because they are convinced that they are doing something for their health.

It’s in your brain, isn’t it?

Body as a whole system can be convinced and affected to a huge extent by being sure about something. There are examples in history how a person can die when they have been told they just took a dose of very strong poison for which there is no antidote. The same goes for miraculous healing. There are numerous examples how a person can recover when taking a pill of pressed mild herbal ingredients and being told that they are given the best drug which currently exists for that condition. We can definitely convince us one way or another. That is why most people want to take something, which is like a dot on “i”. One can talk and discuss their condition endlessly, but if they are given a pill or a capsule, even some powder, they will start feeling better. That certainly won’t be a lasting case with clinically serious or systemic diseases. You can test it for yourself. Give somebody a completely harmless pill of compressed low-dose herbal ingredient or just simple sugar pill (assuming they are not diabetics). You have to tell that person that they will sleep extremely well if they have insomnia, or they will stop experiencing indigestion if they have clinically insignificant digestive disorders, anxiety or depression. There will be results.

Make very careful and individually adjusted decisions

That brings us back to necessity of synthetic supplements. Many of them will be in doses which cannot affect one dramatically. However, buying supplements and vitamins, essential oils, cosmetic products, hair and skin care products from unknown sources can be very dangerous. It is not only because of extra high or low dose, but also there might be ingredients which you did not know about. Many drugs have been recalled since lab testing proved there were harmful substances in an even clinically strictly tested drug. They got there during manufacturing process. Now imagine how supplements which normally do not require strict documented testing could have just about anything! You should also be aware that consuming natural and unmodified food which you cook from scratch will provide you with all necessary nutrients and they will come in naturally suitable doses because you cannot eat 10 kilograms of beets, onions, bread, fish or meat at once. Therefore, whatever the advice, tailor it to your personal needs, condition, preferences and lifestyle, as well as age and gender.

Pill which cures everything

Synthetic isn’t as it occurs in nature, it is easy to overdose or treat non-existing issues

Overdoing with any nutrients and substances, which we call vitamins for simplicity, can have harmful and dangerous sequences, too. More in following posts.

Internet advice, helplessness and pill which cures everything, 1

Part 1

Trendy trends, trendy you and trendy cures

Everything has a chance to become a trend nowadays. Whether a trend is genuinely worthy to engage in or pursue, is always questionable because in a trendy environment some aspects of our life are made more important simply for the sake of a trend. Self-care has become a huge trend. In reality, self-care has been always a number one aspect to address if you love yourself and if you care about yourself. Due to this trend, it feels like people have just woken up and suddenly realized there are things which nobody else can do for them. The one true thing which has never changed is that we have huge resources to help ourselves and we have a great ability to cure and straighten out ourselves, too. In fact, the only person, who can give the best advice and knows everything about you, is you.

The helpless person

If we have a question, we go to the internet. When we are unsure how to do something, we go to the Internet. My personal preference is Google. I do not take it to the level of nonsense. We have to admit that nobody knows everything about anything. However, Internet has developed the helpless person, who is lost if we take away their phone, laptop or other device. At times, it feels like the helplessness has reached such a degree where we have to start assuming this person has no experience in any area of their life, zero decision making ability and no imagination. That in turn leads to loss of brain flexibility and decreases the cognitive function even more. Our brain is no different from other parts of the body: we lose what we do not use. I would love sometimes to simply push somebody so that they start making their own decisions and start trusting their own judgement. We actually have all answers to our questions. We can find any solution to a problem we have. It’s just difficult to admit we have a problem. It takes courage to be honest to yourself.

Maybe don’t leave it up to apps

Devices can do so much for us nowadays; there is hardly any need to think. Every device and app wants to make suggestions. Yet, the base of our well-being is making our own decisions depending on our personal situation and experience. We do try to think instead of people around us, not to mention dictate our own principles as the best way to live. That could be the best way for that particular person, who claims having discovered a miracle diet or a miracle cure, but one size never fits everybody. We have to stop pretending that some expert knows everything about us. They do not; they cannot decide what is best and what isn’t for us if they never knew our background, our habits, our lifestyle, the conditions we have, the therapies we have applied, our work and financial situation, our food preferences or diet, our medical history and our ancestors. In the face of huge distinction from person to person, the ways we thrive can be very distinctive, too.

Globalization of advice and recommendations

The problem with any care, self-care and lifestyle advice is in its global nature. That is an aftereffect of self-improvement books. Some people are assigned the role of an expert or they have taken up this role. Expert nowadays is almost any ambitious person, who has explored something about the matter and feels like they can tackle anybody else’s problems. While any self-improvement book has some good core in it, it’s rarely that the same things will also help you to become and be a better person. Our life is so multifaceted, so is our personal history, medical history, environmental factors and family background which affect our life and its quality. Look at advice, weigh it out, consider what is good about it and fits you, but make your own self-care decision.

Internet advice

More in next post

Happy holidays

Time to shine, time to reflect, time to be better you

Delightful and healing experience

I hope you are also enjoying the peaceful, relaxing and uplifting holiday time. If you are keeping things simple around Christmas as I am, you might also find this time very healing and very delightful. Keep it that way! I think it is damaging to get all stressed out about gifts and food because this time is about having a new outlook on life, new hope and belief. The focus should be on the tree and its symbolism, not on what we eat, what we wear and what gifts we receive. The most important gift was there for everybody, and being obsessed with buying more and more “stuff”, it is possible to miss the true meaning of this time.

Over-consumption and consumerism

Consumerism is not only a bad approach to living life, but also the main cause of overproduction and over-consumption of pointless and useless things. This causes in turn huge pollution of water, soil and air; we call it also climate change. When people say they are buying a plastic tree to save the real tree, they are not actually saving anything. The natural tree is biodegradable and does not cause toxic leftovers while plastic garbage is probably one of the most serious side effects of over-consumption.

Plastic waste

Scientists are actively testing ways of up-cycling plastic and turning it into fuel and similar things; certain types of plastic degrade under sunlight. There have been even discovered microorganisms which can degrade plastic. The problem is, however, that most of plastic waste is hidden in landfills where it might never biodegrade. Big part of plastic waste floats in oceans and other waters and degrades to extent: big plastic objects break down into tiny plastic waste and it is destroying life in water. Some particles are described as very toxic to humans and animals.

Biggest pollutants

Fast fashion and accessories are also among huge pollutants. The same goes about plastic toys. If synthetic materials were degrading at a fast pace, there would be no need to burn them. There are so many once or hardly used items, that nobody can ever recycle, down- or upcycle all of them. Burning these materials causes very toxic smoke and causes harm to everything, including huge damage to soil, air and waterways. That is not to mention all efforts which take manufacturing and transporting such non-essential items. These processes cause more pollution and damage to climate.

Food waste

People, who do not cook from scratch and have no experience in re-using leftover food after parties and festive meals, throw out millions of tonnes of food leftovers. That is a waste which is not even fed to animals or used as a fertilizer for soil. Just imagine the amount of resources which were used to grow, harvest, process, pack and transport this food.

“Stuff”

It is amazing how many useless things we buy, and especially for Christmas and New Year. Could we limit the number of gifts? We sure could. Could we rather turn this holiday time into a time of great experience? We sure could. How about shining with one’s talents at parties?

Gift cannot buy love or respect. We can certainly please somebody, but material things are just material things. We cannot live without them, but we shouldn’t make the gift shopping and gift giving the most important experience of Christmas, because it is not and it never was.

Celebrate in style

We definitely want festive settings, great mood and delicious meals during holidays. It doesn’t take much. However, it could take work, efforts, a lot of imagination and many ideas.

Be gentle to yourself! Be aware that you can wear only one outfit at a time and the amount of food one person can consume is also limited. Not going overboard decreases stresses, and your bank account will love it, too. You don’t have to be the grandmother, who bought 240 gifts for her grandchildren. If they love you, they will love you regardless of number of gifts, and if they don’t, splurging on gifts is not going to help either.

Resist pressure

Social media really facilitate the need to grab, rush, fight and bargain. Every single place wants you to buy something and internet ads create feeling that you are already late, missed the best deals and will never find the hottest items again. Influencers, who are paid for endorsing or advertising one or another item or brand, play big part in over-consumption, especially among younger people. That is such an important aspect of belonging, or rather we have convinced ourselves that we need some particular item because “everybody has it”!

My favorite Christmas things

I hope you are not everybody, but unique you with your unique style and taste which are not affected by the massive pressure of consumer society.

My favorite thing is my tree decorating process. I have always a real tree or at least a real branch of real tree. I do decorating for approximately 3 days, slowly, thoughtfully, listening to sings, watching movies and so on. It is a process. The other thing is getting in touch and connecting with people, who I love.

Happy holidays

Be happy and yourself

I wish you to find yourself in rewarding experiences and pleasurable pastimes! That relaxes, makes fears and anxiety go away and you never feel alone. Such creative experience is a treasure, a true treasure.

Merry Christmas! Happy holiday season and all the best with any other celebration!