Archive for April, 2010

Macrobiotics and the Raw Food Diet

On the surface, Macrobiotics and a Raw Food Diet seem either very close on the continuum or very far apart. Both can be viewed by the mainstream as “radical,” “extreme,” often “vegan,” and “quasi-religious in their fanatism.” Both focus on the energy of food, albeit in different ways. On the other hand, Macrobiotics cooks nearly everything, including fruit, eschews things like chocolate, coconuts and bananas as far too yin for the Northern Hemisphere, and views beer as superior to wine. Most raw foodies steer clear of grains, whereas Macrobiotics puts grains, especially brown rice, into the highest category of nutrition. Despite these apparent contradictions, in my raw food coaching and dietary transition coaching, I have found that Macrobiotics and Raw Food can synergize into quite a valuable combination.

Here’s how you, too, can combine “big life” with “the best day ever”:

Eat with the Seasons

Primarily a Macrobiotic principle, this one offers some strong benefits to raw foodies, most obviously in terms of produce freshness. It also ensures a variety of nutrients instead of the green smoothie ruts many raw foodists can slip into.

You know what I mean, right? Throw some bananas and spinach in the blender and you’re good to go … every single day … for weeks on end! Uh-uh. Green smoothies are great, but every diet needs variety, especially ones that exclude a wide range of “normal” foods. Eating seasonly helps bring trace nutrients and different vitamins into the mix. You can still drink a green smoothie every single day, but mix it up a bit with whatever fruit and greens are in season where you live.

Eat Locally

A Macrobiotic corollary to the last principle, this one seems both obvious and challenging to raw foodies. On the one hand, of course! Support your local Farmer’s Market or CSA. It’s cheaper, fresher, seasonal and usually organic. And did I mention cheaper??

On the other hand, most superfoods come from all over the globe. It is a common feat for that Vitamix to contain items from perhaps 5 of the 7 continents on any given morning. Hey, I love my cacao, hemp, goji berries, and acai just as much as the next superfoodist. OK, maybe more in the case of cacao. 😉 I personally find superfoods a valuable and sustainable addition to the raw food diet, and I would find life without blue green algae, well, a little less fulfilling.

But … and this is a big but … there is something to eating locally. According to Macrobiotics, tropical fruits (especially bananas and coconuts), coffee, nightshades and chocolate are extremely expansive and “yin.” Macrobiotics looks at the energy of food in terms of yin (up, opening, feminine, expansive) and yang (down, contracting, masculine, focusing). I am drastically oversimplifying here, but please bear with me.

Sometimes raw foodists have a difficult time staying “grounded.” They enjoy the clarity and high of 100% raw food but after awhile start feeling spacey, out of body or generally disconnected from “the real world.” If this describes you, then eating locally can help in two ways. First, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you will drastically reduce the amount of airy fairy yin foods in your diet because bananas, coconuts and cacao don’t grow in Pennsylvania or New Hampshire. Or England. Second, eating food grown within 1-50 miles of where you live anchors you to that locale. Raw foodies like to say, “You are what you eat.” Indeed, you are also “Where you eat.” If you have trouble with “Be here now,” try working in some local goodies. It really does help!

You will also feel warmer if you eat more local foods, especially in winter. Tropical foods help to cool the body because it’s HOT in the tropics. If you find yourself shivering on a raw food diet during a Chicago January, cut back on the bananas in your morning smoothie and see if it doesn’t curb those goosebumps.

Chew Your Food

Macrobiotics advocates chewing each mouthful 50-100 times. Indeed, with all the whipping, blending, chopping and juicing of a raw food diet, we sometimes forget the necessity of truly chewing our food. Raw foodists emphasize “enzymes” as one of the greatest advantages of raw food over cooked food. Please remember that digestive enzymes begin in the mouth. “Chew your smoothies” even if you blend them thoroughly. You will digest them better. When you eat crunchy things, especially dehydrated crackers or “breads,” make sure you chomp them into a liquid slurry. You’ll find your body handles them much easier.

Eat Sea Veggies

Yep, nori, wakame, kelp … they provide rich nutrients in both Macrobiotics and many Raw Food Diets. If you want to stay strictly raw, watch your sourcing of sea vegetables. Most supermarket ones are cooked. As an added treat, you can use Irish Moss to congeal or thicken raw pies. Holy wow, does that make a tasty difference! Actually, you won’t usually taste the Irish Moss, but you’ll appreciate the texture of Raw Lemon Meringue pie and Chocolate (gasp!) Mousse that much more with this wonderful sea veggie in the mix. Because both Macrobiotics and Raw Food Diets tend to eliminate or minimize most meats, sea veggies provide important minerals that might otherwise be lacking in these diets. Eat up!

Whole Foods

No, I’m not talking about the grocery store that drops your jaw every time you reach the cash register. I’m talking about the principle that whole, unprocessed foods tend to offer more bang for your caloric buck than crazy mixtures of ingredients ground into “flour” or mixed together in strange ways to resemble “traditional” foods. Yep, I’m talking about Gourmet Raw Food and processed raw snacks.

Confession: I adore both and I love supporting places like Cafe Gratitude and One Lucky Duck. Truly. I hope they take over the world like Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonald’s, Hostess and Little Debbie. But … do consider what you’re eating on the most regular basis, especially if you find yourself locked into the “it must be 100% raw” mindset. Do you honestly believe that an entire bag of coconut macaroons is “more nutritious” than an occasional cup of brown rice for dinner? Or that a side of lightly steamed broccoli pales in comparison to say, a jar of raw nut butter? If so, that’s fine. Trust your own body’s response at ALL times over anything I say. If, however, you gradually begin to feel less energetic, more sluggish or generally less than “the best ever” on a 100% raw food diet, examine two things:

1) How much fat are you eating?

2) What ratio of whole foods versus processed items do you eat per day? The body does like simple things, so some brown rice or quinoa with steamed veggies might actually feel more balancing and energizing after awhile than multiple raw fats combined into a tasty “sandwich” or pate.

Watch Your Sugars and Salts

Macrobiotics likes to focus on foods that rest comfortably in the middle range of yin and yang. Sugar, sweet fruits, alcohol, chocolate, coffee and recreational drugs are the most expansive or yin. Meat, eggs, and salt, including miso, Nama Shoyu and sea veggies, are the most contractive or yang. If you find yourself bouncing between extremes of energy and lethargy, between euphoria and irritability, or between spot on intuition and brain fog, you might want to explore your sugar-salt patterns.

The body likes balance. That’s why Coconut Bliss tastes so yummy after a seaweed salad. Oh, alright, Coconut Bliss tastes good anytime! But seriously, even on a “conscious” diet like Raw Foods, we can quickly become a slave to the yin-yang tyranny of foods. If you feel less than optimal on any diet, consider how you’d like to feel and utilize foods to bring you there. If you feel too spacy, think roots. If you feel like you want to bite someone’s head off, back off on the salted sauerkraut and flax crackers for awhile. And if you want to live on cacao, don’t forget your celery-cucumber juice to bring you back into orbit.

For more on the Raw Food Diet, mood and food and Macrobiotics, please check out The Lazy Raw Foodist’s Guide, which takes out most of the work and leaves the fun. 😉

Raw Food and Traumatic Brain Injury: Interview with Chef Mia Dalene

Today I have the pleasure of featuring Raw Food Chef Mia Dalene! This is part one of a longer interview, and I’m excited to share Mia’s story with you as she combines two strong interests of mine: raw foods and traumatic brain injury. For more on Mia, please see: SmartRawFood.com and http://www.meetup.com/Seasonal-Raw-Vegan-Cuisine

I hope you find her story both interesting and enlightening:

For those readers who don’t know, please share a little background on how you discovered the healing powers of raw and living foods. In July 2001 I was struck by a car while riding my bicycle to work. Although I went to the emergency room to get checked out, no major injuries were detected, although I was plagued with persistent pain and inability to pay attention to tasks. Co-workers began to find me irritating as I asked them the same questions over and over (not remembering I had already done so) and my personality switched from the corporate world survivor the Driven Type A to the more quiet, needing calm and peace Type B.

I was trying to cope with living in physical pain 24/7 and thought my new memory issues were related to being in so much pain, then thinking it was pre-menopausal, then that I was just no good at my job anymore, when before I excelled in the driven corporate world and getting ready for a promotion. Then, reviews began to point away from the shiney reviews and promise of my place in the company to tarnishes of not completing simple tasks and concerns of off the wall comment that began to tumble out of my mouth.

One year and one week after the life changing accident/injury I was properly tested and the diagnosis of mild Traumatic Brain Injury and my rehabilitation process began. Four days before my appointment, the testing and the diagnosis, I was terminated from my beloved job for “unsatisfactory progress”. By this time I had lost my job as I was suddenly no longer able to do the tasks which required troubleshooting, multi-tasking and busy office skills and the company that loved me could suddenly not utilize me anywhere as the skills I needed to perform the job I had held were needed in every position throughout the company. My new inability to initiate, prioritize, follow through and follow up coupled with my short term memory problem was observed by everyone but me. And when I did notice I wasn’t doing so well anymore, I would become easily distracted and simply “forget” it was happening only to meet this reality head on again a short time later in conversation and comments from managers and coworkers.

When I received confirmation of the diagnosis I wasn’t sure what to do… Should I invest in drool buckets? I didn’t know what having a traumatic brain injury meant and even 2 years later found myself asking my vocational counselor if “this [was] a lifetime injury?”

Cut to 2006

I’m 50 pounds heavier, heavily depressed and being told that this is part of TBI. But I thought it was supposed to be “Mild”, as the diagnosed name implied. Come to find out, Mild refers to the amount of time unconscious and since I could not remember being unconscious at the scene (until a year later when realizing I had no memory from time of first head hit on the hood of the car to what I deduced was the second hit on the pavement when I “woke up” hearing the sound of someone getting the wind knocked out of them… then realizing that “someone” was me.

I was 50 pounds heavier and miserable for a myriad of reasons. I was looking for a way to lose weight. A friend told me about something called the Master Cleanse; a combination of water, lemon juice, Cheyenne pepper and maple syrup. I was supposed to bring only this for several days.

I lasted about 6 hours! I was really tied to eating and so went to the Master Cleanse website to see how I was going to succeed, when I came across the book, The Raw Family, by Victoria Boutenko. Upon reading it, a spark ignited, 4 people of the same family each with their own illness, turning to raw food and all of them healing those ailments.

I then read every other personal case study on how raw foods healed a variety of ailments, some of them I was experiencing as symptoms of my brain injury; chronic fatigue, depression, obesity, hypertension, etc. The spark exploded into questions and I wondered, if I could simply change what I ate… could I get my brain back? That started my 3 year experiment to see what, if any, brain function I could get back. I welcomed the pleasant side effect of losing the excess 50 pounds and I believed that at the very least, I would lose the weight.

I watched my body closely for signs of a shift. The whites of my eyes got whiter and healthfully glossy. At about 4 days I was in my kitchen eating an orange bell pepper when I noticed a vibration – like increasing frequency vibrating faster and faster until- Pop! All the sudden I was filled with Joy/bliss and the depression was gone. The clinical depression I was told 99.9 % of people with TBI have (and for their entire lives).*As long as I eat raw vegan cuisine I am 99.9% joy-filled. Within 7 days I had no more headaches. Until that point pain has been a “normal” part of my life with TBI and injuries to my neck, back and left shoulder. Now having a headache or bodily pain became a non-common occurrence again. At 5 months, a tremendous pain occurred in my brain at one of the injury sites. So much so it brought tears to my eyes and I thought “this is it, I am going to die.” I was at a holiday party and found myself whispering to my companions – about my head pain. I laid down on the floor, then sat up with nausea. Then, Ping! The pain released and I had access to more memory, more verbal communication. It was estimated that before the injury my IQ was about 140 and after the accident I was about 101; slightly above normal but at this level I was not able to function! (I have not been retested yet to see what my IQ is now.) Since this first episode, I have had three others – separated by a few months in which after the release I have more and more brain function. At 7 months my body weighed 64 pounds less; normalizing my weight.

Mia Before

Mia After

We’ll be hearing more from Mia in other posts, so please stay tuned. This was a detailed interview. Mia is also in process of releasing some recipe books and ebooks. For more information, please see:

http://SmartRawFood.com and http://www.meetup.com/Seasonal-Raw-Vegan-Cuisine

or email her at miadalene at yahoo.com

Thanks, Mia! If you, or someone you know is suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury, you might also want to read If I Only Had a Brain Injury, a resource guide I created to support people on this often difficult to navigate journey.

Door Number 7: The Lovers

I finished The Lovers Door last night but needed to wait for daylight to get reasonable photo quality. Inspired by the Rider-Waite Tarot deck, this Lovers door also features a strong sense of Alchemical Union with the Divine. Thus, Archangel Raphael has healing coming out of his palms, and the Runes I used to code this painting evoke not just earthly soul-mate or twin soul union, but also the union of divine masculine and divine feminine energies into a trinity of one. I show two trees in this painting, but without implication of a “Fall from Grace.” This is meant to be a redemptive door, a return to the Garden after many years of exile.

** Please see the note and images below this original post. As of January 2015, the symbolic redemption has occurred even in/on/through the portal door itself, which got a major facelift. On a personal note, I had felt led for years to replace the center writing between the panels with “Gaia,” the name of the Mother Earth Goddess, originator of all fecundity and physical abundance. Humans are natural bridges between heaven and earth, and the star-shaped HAGAL Rune that runs through the lovers as light is itself a union of a deeply rooted feminine YR Rune and the masculine spiritual MAN Rune. (It also combines other Runes, as well, but I painted the portal with the intention of integration to create something new.)

You can see the original version immediately below, followed by close-ups and then the most current iteration as of January 2015.

The Lovers Door by Laura Bruno

Having written my honors thesis on Paradise Lost and having Plato’s Symposium as one of my very favorite books, I’ve long had a fascination with sacred union as a rejoining with the Divine.

Detail of The Lovers Door by Laura Bruno

For the bottom panel, I chose to include a red lotus, which symbolizes hridaya, the heart chakra. Those of you who read Schizandra and the Gates of Mu may recall that the word hridaya is also the same as the Sanskrit word for the “gateway to the highest reality.” The bottom quote emphasizes that the gateway happens without barriers: “Between God and the soul, there is no between.” –Julian of Norwich

Lotus Panel of the Lovers Door by Laura Bruno

The back of the Lovers Door features two quotes. The top panel is a chant called, “Om Radha Krishnaya Namaha,” which, again, honors the union of divine masculine and divine feminine. Deva Premal features this chant 108 times on her new CD, “Mantras for Precarious Times.” I awoke to it playing nonstop in my head last week during my final day of painting the Freya and Frigga door, which I had originally planned as the Lovers.

The bottom back panel has written in Runes a sentence from the Song of Solomon: “I am my Beloved’s [and] my Beloved is mine.” The middle of the door says “Reunion” and the other Runic inscriptions also emphasize this sacred union of divine feminine and divine masculine.

Back of the Lovers Door by Laura Bruno

I hope you enjoy this door. It’s huge! After moving it into my bedroom, I discovered that I may only have room left for one additional door in this apartment. I’ve been “told” that I’m painting 78 doors, so that tells me something’s in process of shifting. I don’t know exactly what, but I’m sure curious to see. 🙂

Close-up of the Lovers by Laura Bruno

JANUARY 2015 UPDATE:

As part of the redemption and reclaiming of humanity’s deep connection to both God and Goddess , to heaven and Earth, I finally received the intuitive instructions that now was the time to replace the original “Elohim” with “Gaia” (written in Greek), thereby grounding the lovers back to Mother Earth instead of leaving them as separate creations. On the left, you’ll see a Wheel of Being and on the right a Destiny Knot. Both Celtic designs come from necklaces David bought me on his 2012 trip to Ireland. The message of the Destiny Knot felt especially appropriate to this portal reclamation:

“Carried as a symbol of Hope and Faith, it is believed that once a person comes to a certain time in their lives, it is said that the knot will then unwind, showing you the true path your life must take.”

Close-up of "Gaia" revision of Laura Bruno's The Lovers Door

Close-up of “Gaia” revision of Laura Bruno’s The Lovers Door

Please click images if you’d like to enlarge them. Below, you can see the full door as it now stands, although I feel I will at some point add a lightning bolt into the center of the red lotus — symbolizing a shamanic union of male and female. As of January 28, 2015, the time is not yet ripe for that one. 🙂

The Lovers Door with "Gaia reclamation" by Laura Bruno

The Lovers Door with “Gaia reclamation” by Laura Bruno

Many Blessings!

Accelerated Reiki Level 1 and 2 Class in Chicago

Learn Reiki levels 1 and 2 in a special accelerated workshop for practitioners of the healing arts or anyone already on a spiritual path who would like to amplify their own energy and ability to send distant healing. Students will learn the history of Reiki, all required hand positions for treating self and others, plus symbols for mental/emotional balance, intensifying energy, and healing through space and time.

Upon completion, students will receive certification in Reiki Levels 1 and 2, certificates and will have covered all required materials. Students will also be allowed to audit (for free, space permitting) any other Reiki level 1 and 2 classes taught by Laura Bruno.

Taught by Reiki Master Teacher, Laura Bruno, MA, RMT in Hyde Park. Private setting, personalized attention, class will be tailored to the needs and goals of the day’s participants. Saturday, May 1, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. with a break for lunch. Directions given upon registration.

$300 if prepaid by April 27; $350 afterwards. http://www.internationalrenaissancecoaching.com. Class size is limited. For more information or to register, please call Laura at 775-750-9140 (cell) or 773-891-2359 (home office).

Laura Bruno on Women Go Raw

Dr. Ariel Policano just featured me on her popular site, Women Go Raw. You can read the full feature here. Thanks, Dr. Ariel!

Mercury Retrograde

It’s that TIME again! If your electronics, communication and travel plans have gone a little wonky, here’s what may be influencing things:

Mercury Retrograde is an astrological term describing something that occurs three or four times per year (four in 2009 and 2010). For approximately three weeks at a time, the planet Mercury appears to move backwards relative to Earth. Mercury Retrograde is perhaps the best known astrological phenomenon –even by people who don’t normally “follow” astrology.

Why? Because Mercury rules communication, and when communication moves backwards all sorts of things become chaotic. I didn’t really believe in this phenomenon until I started coaching people. I noticed that during certain three week periods, all or most of my clients experienced major misunderstandings with spouses, friends, family and/or co-workers, and that emails had a tendency to bounce back for no known reason. Checks would get lost in the mail, and oftentimes intensities would arise that no one truly cared about, but somehow everyone felt s/he needed to do battle over them anyway. In my own life, I found that PayPal transfers often went haywire, and my husband’s computer would crash like clockwork three times per year.

I finally started paying attention to Mercury Retrograde and found that I could prepare myself and my clients for these time periods. We do create our own realities, but the more in tune we are, oftentimes the more we feel the effects of various planets. Astrologers suggest some general guidelines:

1) If at all possible avoid signing contracts or negotiating details during a Mercury Retrograde.

2) Back up your computer before Mercury goes Retrograde, and avoid downloading new software until Mercury goes Direct.

3) Allow extra time for financial transactions as they may get delayed. The check that always arrives “just in time,” might arrive late during a Mercury Retrograde. Have a Plan B or C, just in case.

4) Try to avoid discussions about heated issues, unless you don’t mind risking a full-on fight. Mercury rules communication, and oftentimes Mercury Retrograde results in people hearing false accusations even though none were intended.

5) Have patience with your electronics. They’re trying their best. If your phones, computer, email, cell phone or internet act up, take a deep breath and ask yourself if you really need to push things right now. Pushing usually makes things worse, especially during a Mercury Retrograde. Having a sense of humor about how much we’ve come to rely on our communication tools can help shift your energy from total frustration bordering on insanity to an appreciation of the natural ebb and flow of life.

6) Don’t get upset if someone doesn’t respond to your emails or phone calls during this time. It may not be personal at all. Cyberspace has a way of gobbling up undelivered messages during Mercury Retrograde. See if you can wait until it goes Direct.

7) Try to avoid travel or anything related to travel during these times. Flights have a tendency to get delayed, reservations lost, and baggage misplaced. If you must fly, pack an extra set of clothes in your carryon and make sure you have what you’d need if you spent more time in the airport than initially planned. If you must drive somewhere, bring a good book on tape in case you spend extra hours in traffic. Preparation does not mean you will cause yourself delays; it just means you’ll enjoy your time should an unavoidable delay occur.

Ways to thrive in Mercury Retrograde. The last list focused on survival, but Mercury Retrograde does support some special actions:

1) Finish up any old, lingering projects. You might not want to submit, release, or publish them during this time, but old projects can benefit from a fresh look. Mercury also helps with creativity, making Mercury Retrograde an ideal time to edit or revise.

2) Clean out your closet, file drawer or office. Again, that Retrograde energy amplifies your ability to process through old things.

3) Evaluate how well you’ve achieved your goals and what things you’d still love to bring into your life. Mercury is also the messenger to the gods, similar to an angel. Mercury Retrograde marks a period of Mercury “slowing down,” which means our requests and longings can find more potent expression into the universe. This is a terrific time to ponder intentions.

4) Enjoy some solitude or time away. Read a book, take a walk in nature, or practice mindfulness with a sense of humor.

5) I’ll say it again: have a sense of humor. Mercury, or quicksilver, in alchemy is also known as a trickster god. Mercury changes forms fast and especially influences those born under the sign of Gemini. In fact, people with lots of Mercury in their astrological charts tend to feel Mercury Retrograde more strongly than others. If you can get in touch with that laughing trickster side, you’ll find that Mercury Retrograde stirs the pot in mischievous yet potentially healing ways. A little giggle goes a long way.

6) If you’d like to try something but want to make sure you have some kind of loophole, Mercury Retrograde offers the perfect chance for that. Things almost always go awry with commitments made during this time, so if you feel commitment-shy, you can ensure yourself some wiggle-room during these times. It doesn’t mean a contract or agreement will end; it just means things may happen that would render it null and void if one or both parties decided they wanted out.

7) Realize that you do have influence. You are not a slave to astrology, and you can maximize any events that come your way. Attitude makes a huge difference. If you can practice acceptance with curiosity, you will find Mercury Retrogrades can offer potent transformations in your life. As a Gemini who feels these shifts both in my own life and in the lives of those I coach, I have come to love Mercury Retrogrades! They feel like cosmically sanctioned vacations and I take them as such. I ease up on communication and turn inside, enjoying the still point within swirling chaos. It provides excellent practice for the rest of life, too, because life has a funny way of surprising us sometimes. With Mercury Retrograde as training ground, we can learn to meet anything and everything with Grace.

http://www.internationalrenaissancecoaching.com

Door Number 6: Freya and Frigga

The Norse goddesses Freya and Frigga literally highjacked this door.

Freya and Frigga Door by Laura Bruno

I had completely planned out Door Number 6 as a variation of the Lovers from the Tarot since that is card number 6, but I had a slight delay in picking up that door. In the time between plan and pickup, these two jumped in with a newer plan and continued to run the show for the entire painting. I had anticipated an Aurora Borrealis and Full Moon below, but then the Queen of Cups announced herself as a mermaid. The result is a bright, playful portal with three aspects of the Divine Feminine.

Freya corresponds to Aphrodite: love, sensuality and sexuality. Frigga embodies ideals of Motherhood and Marriage. The Queen of Cups respresents deep, feminine intuitive wisdom, a spiritual type of Mother Love, and that watery, boundary-less Feminine Principle.

Freya and Frigga Detail by Laura Bruno

For more information on Freya and Frigga, please click here. Just to orient you, Freya dances on the left here and wears her traditional falcon feather cape, famous ruby, gold and amber necklace, and has two blue cats at her feet. Frigga, who spins the threads that the Norns of Fate weave, dances with a thread in her hand. She also wears a belt of keys, representing the fact that she knows everyone’s destiny, even though she will not reveal it. This painting has a lot of gold in it, which did not show much in the photos. In “real life,” it sparkles as they dance, and the golden teardrops falling from the sun, also associated with Freya, actually have gold outlines.

Freya’s Blue Cats by Laura Bruno

The Runes in the middle spell out Return, and the bottom quote says, “There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.” –Graham Greene. I liked the idea of the triple goddess awakening the inner child.

Queen of Cups by Laura Bruno

The back of this door features Odin’s Rune Song on top and a transliterated portion of Krishna Das’s Devi Puja from Doors of Faith.

Back of Frigga and Freya Door by Laura Bruno

So many people have asked what I’m doing with all these doors, that I’ve included a couple photos of my hallway, where three of them stand like sentinals. I believe I can make room for three more before things get crowded. Right now, my place has taken on a distinctively Renaissance flavor, and it really feels like enterring the collective unconscious with all the Runes, Sacred Geometry and mythological figures dancing around my walls, or should I say doors?

Enjoy!

Divine Doorways by Laura Bruno

Hall of Doors by Laura Bruno

Peace to you.

Core Issues

It seems that a huge number of people have reached a crisis place this Spring, and particularly this week, in which core issues can no longer remain safely tucked away or hidden beneath the rug. If your life has suddenly spun out of control, please know that you are not alone. You are never alone! And right now, those people going through massive shifts have a lot of extra support around in the form of guides, angels, animals and unusual energy forces.

I decided to post on this topic because so many clients, friends and family members have been forced to face not only the skeletons in their closets, but the boogie men under the bed, and the creepy crawlies in the corner. Why is this happening and why so much right now?

From an astrological standpoint, Pluto went retrograde on April 7 and will remain so until September 13. You don’t need to believe in astrology in order to feel its influence. Pluto rules Scorpio, the death and renewal sign, and when it goes retrograde that death and renewal impulse grows even more intense. So yes, lots of old patterns, ways of thinking, relationships, plans and dreams are dying right now. I have clients from all over the world, and I can attest to some kind of global trend here, especially among people who have asked for spiritual growth. Ask and you shall receive, and Pluto retrograde provides some terrific opportunities for growth.

We are also living in interesting times as a planet, when lots of old modes of living have revealed themselves to be unsustainable long term. Some of the new solutions have yet to reveal themselves, so as a collective, humanity feels the pull of the precipice without knowing what lies below or beyond. Mass reality has lost some of its stability, and that perception can make even the most secure lightworker feel a bit off kilter.

How do we handle all this craziness? I’ve compiled a few tips here. Please feel free to share your own in the comments section.

1 ) Maintain your sense of humor. The Rune of Flow is also the Rune for Humor and with good reason! Laughter rolls out into the universe in the same way that our intentions, hopes and dreams do, but laughter keeps the vibe light and rolling towards the positive. Laugh well. Laugh often.

2 ) Know that there is SOME kind of plan at work. You don’t need to know all the details. Some of them are not even close to manifesting yet, but the level of synchronicity and healing that has characterized 2010, in particular this past week, leads me to feel fully confident that EVERYTHING is in Divine Order on a grand scale. There are some very cool things happening in a lot of people’s lives right now — dreams becoming reality in a big way. Yes, that involves cleaning out a lot of sludge, but the dreams themselves are shiny and brilliant.

3 ) Ask for and accept support. Through prayer, from trusted friends, a counselor or life coach, books, meditation, synchronous meetings. This is not a time to go it alone.

4 ) Fill yourself up with positive thoughts and positive feelings. As things in our lives die and decay, we need to sweep them away, but we also need to fill ourselves with something new. Nature abhors a vacuum. Having gone through the grief, anger and processing of core issues, do remember to reward yourself with elements of the “you” you want to be, the “you” you are becoming.

5 ) Know that “this too shall pass.” Limbo cannot last forever. Look for the blessings in the firestorm. Realize that life provides us exactly what we need at any given time, so if you’re feeling fire right now, then life is burning through things that need to burn. But after the fire, comes the mythical phoenix, rising from the ashes. The phoenix needs ashes in order to rise again.

Blessings and Encouragement on your Journey!

Gratitude!

It’s 80 degrees in Chicago and a beautiful, sunny Spring day. Walking around Hyde Park today I felt so overwhelmed with gratitude that I decided to post about it. Tomorrow marks two months in my new apartment, and I cannot believe how blessed I’ve been during this time!

Friends, an organic juice bar within walking distance, actually EVERYTHING I need within walking distance or a quick train ride, an attic full of vintage doors to paint, wonderful apartment management and maintenance. I even had fun getting interviewed for the 2010 Census when they lost my form!

On Monday night I fulfilled a long held dream to see Krishna Das and Deva Premal in concert. Together, no less! The concert was fun, blissful, energizing and felt like a shower for the soul. I loved it, and as I’m typing this entry listening to Krishna Das belt out Jaya Jagatambe I feel even more grateful for the synchronicities that led me back to Chicago, back to Hyde Park and to the concert.

I’m hard at work on sessions and door number 6. I painted the back of this one first, so when I finish the images on the front, I’ll actually be … done. I also found a way to paint with the doors upright, thereby saving my living room from the previous disaster that was “Laura painting doors.” Much nicer!

A few things I’ve been especially enjoying lately:

Elixer of the Lake — I’m not sure what the difference is between this and other Klamath Lake blue green algaes, but I feel super alkaline since starting it a week ago.

Hemp seed-spirulina-cacao nib-maple syrup desserts — OMG are these good! I use just enough syrup to wet the ingredients, but not enough to make it soupy. The perfect late night painting companion. 😉

Brown rice — I don’t know what to say. Maybe I’m channeling my inner macrobiotic lover, but a little brown rice gives me a sound night sleep and happy thoughts.

Gotu Kola — Herb of the yogi’s, I use this off and on. Right now I’m on. It balances the left and right sides of your brain and increases the ability to meditate. I live in pretty much a permanently meditative state, but I like the extra juice.

Speaking of juice — Bonne Sante Health Food Store’s Juice Bar has the nicest employees and some of the best juice I’ve ever had … anywhere. Always with a smile, too!

Superfood green smoothies for breakfast with cucumbers and one Schizandra berry — More than one berry makes it too tart, but one berry gives an amazing depth of flavor to any and all crazy ingredients I add.

Lake Michigan — Oh, I love the Lake! Always have. It’s so big it looks like the ocean, and so windy here we usually have waves.

MSM face cream — Love it and then I don’t have to megadose QUITE so much with the MSM to control my allergies. If you have hay fever and haven’t tried MSM powder, it’s miraculous. For the second year in a row, I have zero hay fever, and I used to be the kind of person who carried an entire roll of toilet paper or an entire box of tissues with her every single day from March through June and then again in August when rag weed season hit. Nothing, not prescription meds, not herbs, not a 100% raw diet, NOTHING made a dent in my allergies until I tried MSM in doses of 8-10 grams per day. This is not medical advice. Please do your own research and if you decide to use it beware you’ll need to ramp up slowly … but for me … nothing short of a miracle.

Instant Manifestation — I was at Starbucks yesterday waiting for an appointment. While in line to buy my tea, I thought, “I WISH Starbucks carried some kind of vegan raw food treat.” I didn’t even look because I have never, not even in Northern California, seen a raw food anything besides a banana at Starbucks. I happened to glance down while paying, though, and what to my wandering eyes should appear … but a Two Mom’s in the Raw Goji Berry Granola Bar. And it was good!

Have a great day today!!! Many blessings to you … Laura

Diabetes Health Tips

As a Medical Intuitive, I have spoken and written before on Diabetes and the importance of allowing ourselves to receive the natural sweetness of life. The following article by guest blogger Kristina Ridley offers a more practical, physical level approach. When treating any disease, especially chronic conditions, I find that multi-layered strategies work well. Our energy bodies interconnect on all levels; emotions and thoughts affect the physical, while body chemistry changes our perceptions and the ways we experience life. With Diabetes in epidemic proportions, I welcomed Kristina’s offer to provide this preventative information. Hope you enjoy!

See How Easily You Can Prevent Diabetes Through Blood Glucose Test

By Guest Blogger Kristina Ridley

The pancreas is a body part which Type 2 diabetes affects. When we take in food, the sugar in it turns into glucose then goes into the blood stream. When it gets in blood cells, the pancreas lets loose insulin that allows our body to use up the glucose like fuel. People who have a Type 2 diabetes condition will find it difficult to make as well as use insulin. Your body contains plenty of glucose; however your cells are unable to find it.

The American Diabetes Association has the duty of looking for information regarding this important medical condition. 23.6 million individuals living in America currently have diabetes, and because of this the country is seen as very unhealthy. Ninety percent of this figure has been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes and the tendency to be overweight usually run in the family. If there is too much glucose in your body, it could result in serious internal organ damage and affect one’s nervous system.

Living with Diabetes

The easiest and the most efficient way to treat your Type 2 diabetes is through healthy living practices on a daily basis. Among these practices include eating healthy and engaging in exercise. The healthy practices that you regularly do will have an enormous lasting and positive effect on you.

To avoid health complications, many doctors have recommended that you ensure that the glucose levels in your body are within the appropriate range. The blood glucose level in your body can easily be monitored simply by using the finger prick test. Such a test is as good as an HbA1c test when it comes to checking and tracking your glucose fluctuations.
This HbA1c test is able to determine the levels of glycated hemoglobin in your body, as well as know if the glucose levels are on the high side. The average level which diabetics maintain, as per the A1c test results, are at seven percent. One can experience a 40% reduction in the possibility of developing risks if people simply ensure that their A1c levels are kept at seven percent.

Over-Controlled Levels

A lot of studies nowadays indicate that keeping one’s A1c levels lower than seven percent could actually be a bad thing. There was one study which was done in Seattle’s Lancet and Swedish Medical Center that found out that there is a higher death risk for people whose levels are median at best and people who take insulin. On the other hand, other tests show that a seven percent A1c level is still quite healthy. While physicians take into account their patient’s medical history before the planned treatment, a 7% level of A1c is still good according to endocrinologist Matt Davies.

About the Author – Kristina V. Ridley writes on glucose meter , her personal hobby blog focused on helping people get free information to prevent diabetes and test blood glucose at home.

For a multi-layered look at Diabetes or other chronic health issues, please feel free to schedule a Medical Intuitive Session with Laura Bruno.