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What works for me

Any day can be a fairly good day

What works for me, might work for you, as well. It just depends on what type of person you are. The global media invents some days when one supposedly has to feel really bad, and then, which days are going to be better. Really? What a nonsense. Lots of people do not like winter, the unpleasant winter – with strong, chilling winds, snow piling up to the window sills, sleet, ice, freezing rain and bitter cold. No, there’s nothing adorable about all of that. I am in Southern Ontario which is sort of across the lake from New York.

Winter snow shoveling

The Ontario Lake is what can cause all kinds of troubles or bring relief. Thankfully, we didn’t have any snow all January. That’s up to the last days. I’ve been shoveling for about 4 hours a day in average this week. And snow keeps coming, and I keep shoveling. One might see that as a disaster. I agree, there are better ways to spend our time. But then again – all the exercise I get and all the fresh air which enriches the blood stream with oxygen? The rejuvenating effect of movement, clean air and great mood?

For mood and soul

That’s what we get from doing something useful not only for ourselves, but everything and everybody else. Plants will thank me in the spring for care I took preventing them from freezing out. Everybody who arrives in the huge backyard, is happy they don’t have to get wet feet walking through high snow drifts. I am happy because of all the great views which, no, I won’t paint.

Immersing oneself in colors

Painting works for me in many different ways. During cold and snowy months, I paint spring, flowers, rivers, creeks and forest where the spring flowers come up. I think I was born as an artist and gardener. Everything else sort of lines up around these two main passions of me. I love green color. I adore blue color, and there’s nothing better than bright pink flowers. I create this uplifting reality in my art.

Reading for pure pleasure

The other things to take mind off, are books. I only read at night something thrilling, absolutely consuming. I do research and learning during the day, therefore, the relaxing reading involves authors which can do that: write something realistic enough, but with feeling of mystery, thrilling and suspenseful. The range of writers is huge; however, I do prefer male writers. Their perception of events and the ways they resolve crime stories and display personalities resonates with me better. I do read female authors, as well, but frequently some books leave me disappointed. I feel like, I was promised so much, but didn’t receive it.

The green air purifiers

Room plants are next in line of life improving things. I do not have enough space, and my potted plants simply cannot do gorgeously without enough light, but they still grow and make me happy. I stuffed some in the basement at two tiny windows, the rest is in the art room. As you know, some plants can live well enough with hardly any light. They purify and moisten air. They also require little attention, just some watering. Green onions are doing nicely in a small cup. Many Canadian houses are like that: no place for doing something and no place for plants. I should know since I’ve been moving so many times and living in so many houses. Small windows, low ceiling, a place to eat, sleep, watch TV and shower. A place for people who prefer doing nothing.

Cooking from scratch

Finally, I’m a very good cook, but I don’t usually make complex meals. I go Latvian style: few ingredients, preparation requires little time and effort. I see sometimes recipes which need like twenty or more ingredients. Definitely not for me. We also do not use ready-made, half-cooked, etc. stuff. It makes more sense to do everything from scratch. We love soups and vegetable salads in all kinds of combinations. Not the common things, but specifically ours, like beet, carrot, leak, bean, etc. We love layered herring salad with potatoes, carrots, onions, beets and egg.

Simple is good

I am Latvian, and I stick to my own recipes. Therefore, we do not have heartburn, stomach issues or digestion problems. We are pension age, but slim and energetic. The fewer and more natural ingredients, the better for digestion. We do not snack. We have 3 meals a day and don’t eat anything in between. I suppose, any adult can do that. I believe that lots of people gain excess weight due to snacking, consuming fancy drinks, adding all kinds of things to tea and coffee. There’s nothing wrong with black and strong coffee. To be honest, our digestive system needs longer breaks, like 12 hours and then 3-4 hours between the 3 meals. And nothing more.

It’s doable

Winter will end. Spring will come with its own chores. I’ve suffered so much from seasonal affective disorder all my life that I decided to just put an end to it. I changed my view at it. I made myself not feel sad and upset. I literally push myself outdoors and once I have the shovel in hands, I won’t stop until everything is clean. I sometimes have to make myself want to paint or teach an art class. However, after the reluctant start it all happens. The resistance is huge, but I am able to overcome it. At the end of the day, I list in my mind all the good things I have done. They can be small things, but I have managed to stay on top of them. Big achievement.

Many years ago, I wrote numerous good articles which make a lot of sense today.

Wishing you pleasant winter experience and thanks for reading!

Featured

Opening the door to the new year

The door to a better future is not that far away. We just have to find it and courageously step in. Do we dare refuse from unnecessary buying things that get thrown out after a few days or weeks? Consumption is killing our planet, our health and is decreasing the odds for survival with just every passing year.

In our very materialistic world, there’s little space left for art and creativity, imagination and dreaming. Due to degradation of values, we are pretty much a society which has returned to bread and entertainment. Capitalism is most likely the wrong way to be. The more we produce and consume, the more we damage and destroy the nature and climate gets worse and less predictable. The nature fights back, and it’s about time we review what we do and don’t. However, is it possible to convince the consumer society that we don’t need lots of that we’ve put in our shopping cart?

The local Walmart and grocery chains have implemented practice of not giving customers any plastic shopping bags. Canada is discontinuing import and manufacture of plastic straws, utensils, plates and similar items. But look at the shelves. Everything is packed in plastic. Every smallest pack contains some or a lot of plastic. Look around in Walmart. There are so many plastic items, that discontinuing shopping bags isn’t even a drop in the ocean of plastic products and contamination of nature.

Here in Ontario, the Christmas season was very messy, numerous flights cancelled, even train couldn’t take, fallen trees stopped rail traffic. People stayed at the airport for days, not hours. We feel very happy we didn’t intend to travel this year. Well, we haven’t travelled for quite many years now. Nothing bad has happened because of that. Stay at home, enjoy cozy lights and tasty meals, silence at night, sparse winter light during the day. And it’s really fine.

We are lucky to live in a detached house surrounded by old majestic trees, lots of wild plants and grasses and there’s so much space outdoors that I can take a walk not even leaving my house. At the same time, it’s a town with everything close by. It’s great to live in a huge city, but then again living high up from the ground causes health problems. Add the air pollution and traffic jams, and it becomes quite tough way of living.

The landscape of my surroundings is quite eternal. Majestic trees disappearing in the distance by moonlight, by sunlight.  By late evening, the sunset colors them pink and orange. Summer dresses everything up in fantastic greens and flowers have all colors of the rainbow. Nothing to complain about if you like I do, feel trees breathing and grasses whispering. Flowers just sing in soft voices. The fall comes, and every leaf burns with bright orange and red flames.

While we have more or fewer choices, it sometimes doesn’t work out in our favor. Well, I quite like this place, although, it has numerous shortages, and great things as well. Every year when we have to move is not a good year. Packing, moving and unpacking takes not only a few days. For me, it usually takes rather months. I am better organized now than I was in spring, but there are still unpacked boxes, naturally so.

The door to a better future and life is not that far away. It’s still within our reach, or so we believe. We’ve got to stop admiring those with thousand pairs of shoes, but start rather figuring out how everything can be recycled, refurbished, repurposed and reused. It’s also so that one can sleep only in one bed at a time, eat one meal and wear one outfit at one particular moment. The essence of our existence has been so far – grab more, get more, stack up more, have more of anything. Will it be possible to turn the reality around and make people try living with what’s necessary? That might take decades if at all.

I hope you have nature around you or at least, access to it. It’s a great cure for all kinds of illnesses. Fresh air, home-grown produce, trees for shade, path for walking. I see this world as an endless painting. I choose not to notice what doesn’t fit in it. Just for now, for a few days, let it be a flawless world with picturesque views and beauty which lives in every smallest detail of natural surroundings.

I wish everybody a saturated, successful and pleasant year! Thanks very much to all of you who commented, liked and re-blogged. All the best to each of you and everybody who reads!

Featured

Blooms of life

The early spring, blooming spring, rainy days and sunny days: they all have passed by so swiftly that it’s almost the first day of June. I stretched the non-publishing time for so long, I’m practically annoyed how I couldn’t find any free hour to quickly post something. Well, I’m somebody who needs to think everything over, and then I just type.

Wildflower fields in my park
And garden flowers

Every season carries something admirable and worth experiencing, but the blooms of spring, they are like a fresh breath from another world: quiet and peaceful world where nothing makes us think of wars and storms, approaching troubles and old age. Blooms of spring and blooms of life, they are the mysterious messengers of the view behind the bend and life beyond the visible and perceptible world. Colors? Absolutely breathtaking, pure, clean, bright.

A bit earlier in May
This view was from just a few days ago

When we moved over to this old house, we didn’t even suspect how big is the parkland which surrounds it and how many old trees are growing here. I have wildflower fields on my own for the time I will spend at this place, and even quite a few wild strawberry patches. Moving isn’t the best part of life, but then again –  every single day I’m discovering here something.

I also violets, all over the place

While park, plants, blooms and trees belong rather to a fairyland, life hasn’t been that easy. One task rushes the other, and the evening comes up with a total exhaustion. Getting fresh air isn’t bad and working in the garden or rather, digging soil daily to create a garden, assures I have lots of physical exercise. Too much at times. However, the seeds I not that long ago have put in the soil have started result in neat tiny seedlings and some have become almost teen plants.

Wild strawberries in front yard and deeper in the park

I couldn’t help myself again, it’s that Latvian urge to always have a garden, always plant and harvest something. I was well aware how tough it will be to dig a forest practically. Yet, the visible results are very promising and encouraging. I have also many private classes this season, therefore it happens so that I’m too tired to write down a line. I am adding a few pictures, but most are left out because the post would become too huge. These are the blooms of my current life. Nothing extreme, but certainly endlessly beautiful.

Pansies in fantastic blue
Pansies in fantastic blue color
And purple irises which I found under leaves when raking

I hope you are looking forward to a good summer. I know I am.

It’s not my regular posting time, but I know that I won’t have time during the day.

All the best and thanks for reading if you did!

Featured

Late November

The rusty gold of leaves and rushing winds

Majestic clouds race in the brilliant blue.

Late November. Still sparkling, but

The winter will erase the colors.

The human nature –

It wants to hold, to keep, stick tight,

To grab, to hug and have it safe

And never say good-bye or part.

Yet, by design it all is

Loosing, letting go, releasing,

Forgetting, giving up and separating,

And making space.

Late November. I’m picking up one leaf.

All glory of the fading colors in just one maple leaf.

I place it in a book. I am so human.

I know I can’t, but I am trying to preserve the beauty.

Maple leaves

My Life School blog was never only about gardening, green living and growing our own food. I actually started it to publish my writing, life philosophy and stories about surviving aging in a great way, for instance, never gaining extra weight, maintaining bright and good memory and doing things in spite of some health conditions which crawl upon us after 60.

I paint beautiful and light-filled art because my life has been very difficult and painful at some stages back in Europe. That’s to keep everything in balance.

I write thought-provoking and visually-perceivable poems and reminiscent stories since I’ve spent almost 50 years in Europe and the recent 17 years in Canada. Life was very different back in Europe from what it is here in Canada. My articles frequently compare many sensitive areas of both lifestyles.

Red leaves

I dealt with medical research for 4 decades, and these discoveries, too, find their way into this blog. Finally, my strength is visual art and I’m trying to always publish great photos. You can find all of these specific areas if you look at the menu and choose one particular item.

Thanks for reading and I hope you’re having a good transition into late fall and winter.

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!

Beauty of backyard flowers in late fall

Take this moment and blossom in it

The intelligence of plants and trees never stops surprising me. When we are saying: we have time we are cheating ourselves. Time allows us to be and use the moments we are in.

It’s a wonderfully warm and sunny fall morning. Quite rare pleasant warmth and undisturbed sunshine. It’s not interrupted by offensive noises, like loud music or silly human talk. This morning is filled only with birds’ chatter and soft whispers of leaves as they walk down the tree. The garden responds to the gift of the nature: everything that can is in bloom.

We as humans waste our time and do not use it in our favor. Look at the garden plants: they know what time is and they know when to push themselves to the full potential. This morning is magic with all the plants putting out their last blooms before the frost takes them away.

This post is short because words are limiting when it comes to describing beauty. The immense range of great emotions this beauty evokes is to tell us we do not have to go anywhere, but stay in the middle of this breathtaking landscape.

So, take this moment and blossom in it!

Nobody described the fall and our travels in the Universe better than Rainer Maria Rilke:

Herbst

Die Blätter fallen, fallen wie von weit,

als welkten in den Himmeln ferne Gärten;

sie fallen mit verneinender Gebärde.

Und in den Nächten fällt die schwere Erde

aus allen Sternen in die Einsamkeit.

Wir alle fallen. Diese Hand da fällt.

Und sieh dir andre an: es ist in allen.

Und doch ist Einer, welcher dieses Fallen

unendlich sanft in seinen Händen hält.

I encourage you to study German language. Nothing ever replaces the original. I translated this poem into Latvian many years ago, approximately in 1985. Since most people have no idea what Latvian language is like, I won’t insert it here. However, I’m attaching a quick rendering of Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem “Herbst” into English by me:

The leaves are falling as if from the distance,

As if in heavens gardens far-away are wilting.

These leaves are falling with denying motion.

And during nights, the heavy earth is falling

From all the stars into the loneliness.

We all are falling. This hand here is in fall.

And look at other one: it’s all around us.

But yet, there is One, who is holding

This falling never-ending-gently in his hands.

For illustration, I’m adding my garden gallery.

Enjoy the weather if it’s as good in your place!

Water and fruit

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

Add fruit and ice to regular bottled water, new
Add fruit and ice to regular bottled 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, new

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!

Patch up life, live nice during pandemic

Patched up with hope: life during pandemic

If we are lucky enough to live in some country like Canada where we have social security, fairly affordable health care and chances to get a job, some job, not always what we wish for, we stop believing in our own mortality. We know we cannot avoid passing away and it will happen sometimes, but that is a far-away event. We first enjoy, savor and are happy. After some very long time or possibly eternity, that might happen. That might happen after a great life which we have filled up with all kinds of achievements. We have fulfilled our dreams and everything is sunny in our peaceful valley of joy and pleasure-rich entertaining space. Slightly utopic, but internet says we all can do that. This doesn’t apply to time of COVID-19 pandemic, unfortunately, with everything being turned upside down and inside out.

The generations before cancer treatments, diabetes cures, artificial joints, artery stenting and transplanted organs, as well as efficient antibiotics, chemotherapy, fast and slow acting insulin, NSAIDs and steroids, blood pressure and cholesterol adjusting medications and antidepressants had to be more down to the Earth. Any health issue could have resulted in bad sequences and premature passing away. Therefore, people relied more on afterlife. If we didn’t have enough time to enjoy this life, we were quite sure that the best possible life awaits in a space which we had been told about depending on religion and personal belief. The shift nowadays is that we all want to experience the best possible life right now and here. We are not going to put up with anything less than paradise. This isn’t possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put extra pressure on most people. We hear often they cannot afford to wait; they cannot afford to buy one essential thing or another, they definitely cannot live as they used to. We also find out that virus has destroyed many lives, caused family conflicts, domestic violence and many people have succumbed to it. This might be the first time for somebody to realize that they are not bulletproof, I mean, that they, too, can become infected and have to undergo harsh treatment or even worse. The reality which threatens practically everybody, who slightly slips and stops observing the strict protocols of hygiene and physical distancing, has caused a gigantic wave of mental disorders.

While TV, social media and numerous internet sites remind us that we are not alone, that help is within easy reach, it can quite frequently remain only nice and cheering call without any follow-up action. We have to take into account that person, who is completely depressed (I am talking about clinically severe depression episode, not upset mood for a few days in a row), will take no steps to improve their condition. That is the nature of this condition: a complete ignorance of oneself, surroundings, situation and advice. They cannot do anything because they are unable to and they need some major break to become alive again.

The worst thing in pre-depressive state is analyzing everything: every word one hears, every glance, every message, every move and every reaction to what somebody else does or says. This leads to overwhelmingly negative self-assessment. The second worse thing is scrolling through social media and seeing how well everybody else is which leads to comparing one’s condition, situation and overall wellbeing to somebody else. If you do this for half a day or even longer, it is going to cause some reaction. There are usually only two types of social media messages which rise to the top: extremely attractive, extremely inspiring, extremely positive or plain bad and tragic. People will always look at a disastrous outcome. By numbers of statistics, that will be even more often than at something great and good. Have you seen how all traffic stops when there is a car accident on the road side? That’s exactly the same reason: it’s good to know that’s not our car and not us in it.

The best thing to do in a pre-depressive state is make oneself tired with physical work. Physical work with readily visible results beats physical exercise. Physical work which shows that we have achieved something immediately brings pleasant tiredness. We can look at spotless floor, bright and fresh laundry, planted flower bed, weeded garden, organized and clean room or house, sparklingly shiny windows. It’s good to split wood, dig soil and submerge hands in it. The only problem is to make that happen and start doing, overcome resistance and sometimes simple laziness.

Living in never-ending rush people forget about the energy which everything has, gives or takes. Let’s look at TV, computer, laptop or similar devices. While we believe we have got good energy watching something inspiring, uplifting and calling to activity, the radiation and energetic waves of devices actually deplete energy. The contemporary English version of ancient religious text says: “We are made from earth, and we return to earth.” I do interpret it so that also during our presence on the Earth we can draw all energy we need from the Earth. That is literary making our hands dirty with soil, walking barefoot on the grass and along the garden path, hugging tree which speaks to us and planting seeds in order to enjoy the harvest.

Patch up live, live nice during pandemic

Hug a tree, kiss a flower

The tiredness which comes from working at computer is completely different from tiredness which originates in working outdoors or indoors. More than ever, we need to clean our mind, decrease pollution in our head and let our brain enjoy fresh air. That decreases chance of shifting from upset mood days into severe and clinically treatable depression. Acting on it early, might help a lot, tremendously, in fact. Instead of scrolling through daily data and death reports, instead of spending hours reviewing progress of medical treatments and vaccines (it is a slow process anyway), one has to turn their mind to completely unrelated things.

While we might not be living the best life, we deserve, we cannot start feeling like a victim of circumstances, global or local events, pandemic and virus. Victim’s mind uses destructive energy and suffering since they believe it is inevitable and unavoidable. The reverse chain sets in, and we literally start causing what we would prefer to never happen to us. Whatever path we apply to our current situation, it will help, although, not permanently. That is fine, too.

We do have a choice: to work or refuse to work with all sequences that this decision causes, stay alone or go out, use caution or show off how brave we are, take unnecessary risks or avoid being childish. It is good to be recognized as a hero, and some people will embrace it. Most of us for different reasons will not because we are not willing to pay the price. One choice is not worse than the other. The outcome is different, and we might or might not like it. Choice always stays with us. We can call it whatever we want but it’s in our hands to manage our only life.

Patch up life, live nice during pandemic

This is a path which takes to better times

Stay well, be firm in your decisions and do not follow any doubtful trends which threaten your safety or safety of people around you!

Life lessons during COVID-19 pandemic

The lesson we are not ready to take

What drives today’s society

We all hope for some miracle to happen, although, not all of us even believe in miracles. We hope, there is some better life awaiting just around the corner, and when it’s all over: the silly crisis, the terrible virus struggles and suffering, the real life will restart. People, who can only feel comfortable with all the happiness components present, are definitely not well off. Hence, the protests, premature reopening of businesses and economy and extreme dissatisfaction resulting in depression, anxiety and loss of interest in personal life. It’s by far not about economy only, it’s a lot about human psychology and fears of unrests due to harsh living conditions, loss of income and tight restrictions.

Social show-offs

Our society lives in social media and thrives on showing off what they have, where they have been, how they look and how gorgeous they are. It’s like never ending competition of greatness which you, too, can achieve, if you just buy one thing or another, get one job or another or simply change your attitude. According to principles of full, meaningful, rich and happy life, we have to wake up every morning looking forward to our tasks and duties with a happy smile on our lips and be ready to tackle anything which is thrown at us. At the end of the day, we review it and fall asleep knowing that we did something great, useful, meaningful and important. This pandemic and crisis time puts it all to test.

Can you stand the test?

Do what you love and love what you do, right? Get rid of anything which makes you unhappy and dissatisfied. The problem with this attitude is situation like COVID-19 crisis. It is a time when you have to do what is necessary and required as opposed to what you prefer or like. Our attitude is such that we must have everything which is deemed necessary for a great life: comfort, help, support, hired hands to perform things we hate doing, lots of choices and plenty of money to cover it all. This situation tests a person on individual level and society as a whole. Can you honestly say you are fine with the results of this test?

Acceptance issues

Whether we want to admit or not, we live better than anybody before us ever had. We do not have that many time-and effort-consuming household chores, we can choose very many aspects of our life, including where to live, where to work, who to love, what to eat and what to wear and so on. While it is absolutely necessary to be in complete charge of our life, the emphasis on life’s sunny side only has created a distorted perception of life. According to happiness philosophy, there are no bad issues, and you choose only the best options for you. The current life situation doesn’t support that. The huge numbers of depressed, upset, annoyed and frustrated people show that they cannot accept the life as it is at this moment. Moreover, there is no coping mechanism in place.

It’s still the same and only life

The real life involves situations when we need to cope with accidents, disasters, losses, difficulties and struggles, as well as our readiness to accept a bad outcome, too. The global crisis shows that not only individual people, but also governments and entire countries cannot accept the reality and are short of coping mechanisms. The worst part of this is it’s not ending as soon as most of us would like it to. It’s a long-lasting disaster with many people losing their relatives, friends, grandparents and parents. This takes a lot of strength and a lot of willpower. While most of us were ready to accept the short-term inconveniences, the extended period of problems takes a huge toll. However, it is still our only life, we have to live through it. We can get back many things, but never time.

Celebrating Mother's Day

Although, nothing is as usual, we still honor and celebrate our mothers. Happy Mother’s Day!

Restricted Mother’s Day

This day is usually such a fantastic moment when we honor the people, who gave us life. While we have our mother, we are protected, guided and guarded from life’s most terrible issues. When the entire world turns against us, the mother is there with her support, smile and heart. She doesn’t care what everybody else says, she is your mother, she is always there for you. Mine at least was. I lost her last year, and it might be better for her not to go through these times of pandemic and our inability to cure old age people. You should feel very privileged if you still have your mother.

Long-lasting inconvenience

This will be a long-lasting inconvenience at the best and prolonged struggle with tragic issues in other cases. It is kind of sad that we need special laws and rules to make people see this situation for as serious as it is. While almost every site and ad say now to wear a mask, there are many problems with that. Simple fabric mask is like really nothing much. Masks should be single use only and disposable. In addition to mask, gloves and glasses are necessary, as well as a personal protocol for putting them on and taking off.

Have a good Sunday and enjoy Mother’s Day even if it’s over the phone or laptop, and don’t be short of kind words.

P.S. I just was outdoors and said to myself: it’s at least not snowing today. It’s May with winter weather this year.

Find remedies in the backyard

Backyard pharmacy and grocery store: spring

Stay safe during virus outbreak and take good care about your health!

To boost our immune system and overall health, weeds and plants from our backyard and nearby forest or park come at no cost and with extreme benefits.

I hope you are self-isolating and you can do so without worries, since due to nature of their work, many people still need to be out and working.

You have time now, so, use it in a meaningful way!

The COVID-19 outbreak reached Canada in late winter and early spring. It is quite sensitive time for many Canadians because our internal resources get somewhat depleted during the long winter months when there is lack of sunshine and we stay indoors a lot. Now with the outbreak, we must stay away from other people in order to be safe and to prevent virus from spreading. Since we stay home, we can do many things which improve our immune system and provide ourselves with healthy extras.

Nature has taken good care that we always have a wide range of vitamins and minerals available to us. The best part is: everything that we require to sustain good health can be often found in our backyard, nearby forest or park. All we have to do is use our imagination, experience and knowledge and utilize the natural resources to our benefit.

Early spring is the best time for taking advantage of natural resources and also seeding and planting. Nature has everything, and that includes all health boosting substances, all minerals and vitamins in the most suitable and most balanced form with high bioavailability.

This year, I’m suggesting you keep nettles and dandelions in some garden corner. Especially, while their leaves are young and soft, they are a fantastic addition to either meals or preventive measures and therapy.

To survive without watering, many weeds have developed extremely widespread and long roots. Thanks to such roots, weeds can absorb a lot more nutrients than our cultivated plants. Weeds are also stronger and more resistant to plant diseases. They grow without fertilizers and greenhouse conditions. Biologically active substances which we can obtain from wild plants and weeds are also in greater concentration, in a ready-to-use form. Weeds are survivors among plants and they can withstand any harsh conditions. This is a very good reason to use wild plants and weeds for our benefit and for our nutrition.

Strong immune system means a lot for our health at any time, but especially during virus outbreaks. Weeds boost our immune system like nothing else. Weeds are also the first ones which come up as soon as the soil thaws. We collect different parts of wild plants and weeds: leaves, roots, flowers or the entire plant. The best time for collection is early morning or late afternoon before dusk. That is the time period when plants have absorbed nutrients and their content is high.

My family was living in the countryside, not far from a small Latvian town during 60-s of the last century. We didn’t have any pharmacies or drug stores in the area, and, therefore, we didn’t use any synthetic medicines. How did we manage any health issues? There were not many, and we used lots and lots of herbal remedies which were available in extremely wide variety and in abundance. At a very young age, I learned how to recognize each grass, plant, flower and herb and memorized what it does, how much and what way to apply it. Therefore, I am not sharing that much clinical trial findings, but my personal findings and Latvian traditional herbal recipes.

We collect wild plants and weeds only in safe, clean places, definitely not along roads or highways with lots of traffic. Parks, where people walk pets, are also not a good idea. For immediate use, we collect healthy looking, undamaged parts of plants and we definitely blanch most of them. Blanching will also prevent from consuming any undesirable insects or germs.

Each plant comes with its own complex or set of useful biologically active substances. These substances are available in a well-balanced way. You can use wild plants and weeds in salads, soups, green smoothies, stews, pesto, on bread together with other vegetables or specifically for health purposes as herbal tea, extract, tincture, infusion or mixture.

Nettles are definitely a champion among natural treatments and health boosters: stinging nettle Urtica dioica, small nettle Urtica urens L., white nettle or white dead-nettle Lamium album. They grow in almost every backyard. The same goes about dandelions. Quite soon in our area, it will be time to start collecting birch buds and pine-tree buds. I planted specifically a few healthy nettles in a small area where they will be controlled from taking over other plants, hence my backyard does not have rich soil and nettles do not grow there naturally.

Nettle has everything for health

Some properties of nettle

Dried and fresh common nettle and small nettle leaves and roots, as well as white nettle flowers and leaves (they are not as rich as common nettle) can be used for numerous conditions and overall improvement of health. Common nettle is high in iron, contains vitamin C, vitamin K, group B vitamins and practically any vitamin which is useful for humans. Nettle contains numerous minerals, carotenoids and fatty acids, as well as various essential amino acids, chlorophyll, tannins, carbohydrates, sterols, polysaccharides, isolectins. Nettle roots contain oleanolic acid, sterols and steryl glycosides. Nettle seeds have also high content of these nutrients. The amount of useful compounds in plant depends on location, season, daytime of collection and how young and healthy the plant is.

Using nettle benefits any body system, but especially the immune system, nervous, respiratory system, hematopoiesis (blood formation at cellular level), cardiovascular system, muscles and bones, improves also gastrointestinal health, treats kidney, liver and gallbladder problems. We traditionally used them for joint pains, as well.

Nettle can help with blood sugar stabilization in diabetics. It has been observed that nettle tea lowers blood sugar. Using nettle makes person stronger after exhaustion or treatment of disease. Nettle is an important herb for treatment of anemia caused by iron deficiency.

Nettle juice and tea has been used orally as an additive for treatment of tuberculosis, bronchitis, cough, whooping cough and other respiratory symptoms. Latvian traditional herbal treatments use nettle to stop bleeding in lungs, abdomen and uterus, to treat upper respiratory problems, and especially for cleaning blood and for removal of toxic substances from the body. Nettle stops also wound bleeding, and not only that: nettle also possesses highly efficient antibacterial properties.

Nettle boosts metabolism within the body, increases hemoglobin and red blood cell levels, constricts blood vessels (thus, you cannot use nettle in hypertension), facilitates blood clotting, development of epithelial cells and tissue granulation (wound treatment, bleeding), normalizes menstrual cycle. Nettle has antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, calming, anti-allergic and diuretic properties. Nettle can be used with many chronic conditions when immune system cannot fight and protect us from harmful impacts.

Who cannot use nettle products and supplements or must be otherwise cautious?

People, who have hypercoagulation, e. g., excessive blood clotting disorder, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, bleeding caused by uterine tumors, cysts and polyps, people with kidney failure and those, who suffer from blood clot formation in veins (thrombophlebitis), as well as during last months of pregnancy.

Some medical literature suggests that nettle hardly affects blood coagulation (content and form of vitamin K), and other literature warns to observe caution. I would always go with moderate use which applies to absolutely everything we introduce into our diet or health routine. Always proceed with caution when it comes to health.

In April, and if it is warm, also at the end of March, we can usually collect new and bright green nettle leaves. We pick common or stinging nettle and small nettle leaves with gloves, and they also require blanching before we use them in salad, soup, omelet, stew or simply as tea or compress. Some sources advice to keep nettle leaves in boiling water for 3-5 minutes. We watch that leaves do not lose their bright green color. Then, we use a strainer and quickly submerge the strained leaves into ice-cold water. We dry them in paper towel and use as we please. Stinging or common nettle goes well with anything that uses spinach as an ingredient. Therefore, similar recipes can be used. We prefer them with green onions or chives and yoghurt, kefir or citrus dressing, plus our favorite herbs.

Find remedies in the backyard

There have been clinical trials about herbal treatments. Review of some clinical trials about properties of nettle Exploration of nettle properties

Recipes and more suggestions will follow if there is any interest. Please, comment if you think you could make use of such addition. Since most people do not read anything, I’d just like to see whether it makes sense to post an article about nettle juice, nettle tea or some simple salad recipes and also dose suggestions.

Any herbal supplement can cause sensitivity or other reactions. I’d advice always try tiny amount (as with food) first or discuss it with your doctor in case of a chronic condition. Using herbal tea or tincture, as well as infusion requires to follow instruction about daily dose.