Archive for the ‘Cats’ Category

The Oracle Report ~ June 5, 2014

Laura Walker’s Oracle Report for today goes right along with the recent themes I’ve noted. I especially like her analogy of the cat arguing with a mouse — when, clearly, the cat could just overpower the mouse. That is so right on for situations I’ve observed in the microcosm. As within, so without. Methinks that certain mice have taunted the cat for far too long, ala Tom & Jerry — or, perhaps the cat has toyed with the mouse, while arguing with it instead of eating it. As Laura notes, the mouse is not being devoured by the cat, which seems to indicate some kind of opportunity for balance.

Photo of pelican by wise owl Lawrence

Photo of pelican by wise owl Lawrence

Thursday, June 5, 2014

First Quarter Moon Phase: take action, break away, step out

Moon in Virgo

Ruling Mahavidya: Bagalamukhi (The Paralyzer, The Storm-Calmer)

Skill: look at the details but also the bigger picture of things

Negative Imprint: settling for less, taking scraps; aggression, arguments

Positive Imprint: independence, creativity, speaking one’s mind peacefully

The First Quarter Moon phase begins today, bringing the energy to link things together with the intricacy of a fine lace handkerchief. We see how things from our past, present, and future are threaded together. Details are important today, and taking care of small details is encouraged, but seeing the big picture of all the details is more important. We want to make sure we are looking at the totality of things, not just one aspect.

The Sun is now in the middle of Gemini. Gemini energy always involves others in various ways; it is the sign of The Twins. The concept of “the other” is fused with Gemini. It is concerned with “me vs others” and can have difficulty standing on its own. You could also say it is about our inner world and what we show the outer world. Today’s energy highlights the Gemini theme of others through strong support of activities, projects, and ideas undertaken with others.

Further, the notion of “self and others” comes into play today in other ways. In keeping with this month’s theme of “aroused strikers around a factory,” we are inclined to stand up and lay out our position in support of something important. To minimize resistance, make sure you are coming from the highest level of intention and do not become aggressive or pushy. Stand in your center and radiate your power. Communicate your emotions, but don’t get carried away or overdramatic. Be clear and don’t waver. And if you don’t get the support or outcome that you want, don’t despair. Enormous inner strength will be built and clarity about what is not in line with your highest, best, happiest life will be revealed. Wisdom is gained.

The “intricate lacework” today includes potential for being misunderstood or disadvantaged. This manifests if you are focusing too much of your energy on others at the expense of taking care of yourself. What need is this satisfying in you? Do you need to become more independent, self-contained, or creative? Remember that inner strength is the aim this month. Don’t lose sight of alternatives or other possibilities.

Finally, a word about the impending Mercury retrograde. Mercury will station retrograde on Saturday, but today it has moved to the degree in the sky where it will appear to stop and move backwards. Simply stated, the retrograde energy is foreshadowed today. Here’s the thing: the degree of Mercury’s retrograde is “a cat arguing with a mouse.” Take a breath and let’s begin to reframe this. Yes, this means the Mercury retrograde will be intense. Things will come to somewhat of a standstill and communications will have conflicts. People will argue about things. But the fact that the cat is arguing with the mouse, when it could easily overpower and devour it, tells us that some sort of balance will come to situations – possibly for the first time. Old values, ideas, and systems are reconsidered. You could say the underdog (or “undermouse”) takes a stand and gains power. What was once overpowering is now open for discourse. While Mercury is retrograde, the balance of power is transformed in all things. Let’s work the Mercury retrograde from this angle, starting today.

Since the day is like intricate lacework, I could go on and on about the energetic signatures, but this is the big picture. Dive in to look at details, but come back to see things as a whole. Keep building your inner strength.

(P.S. Good job making it through double Crescent energy, wise owls! – For more information about the double Crescent energy, refer to the audio recording for this month, the Gemini Moon, here at the top of the Homepage at OracleReport.com)

Additional note from Laura Walker: Thank you for supporting the Oracle Report! Your donations keep the reports free and available for everyone. [You can find a donation button on her site.]

Doreen Virtue ~ Weekly Angel Oracle Card Reading, March 11-17

Finally, some relief from all the intense energies these past few weeks! I wanted to post this one because it mirrors what I’ve felt myself — a relaxation of some of the deeper, denser slog through old “stuff,” whether my own or helping others trudge through or transcend theirs. This week brings results from all that hard work. Enjoy!

“Health, happiness, and high energy are the themes for this great-looking week, as you take charge of your life with your newfound healthy lifestyle. You teach others about peace, health, and happiness by being a role model of applying spiritual principles. Although issues may swirl around you, you live in the eye of the hurricane this week with centered peace, which is the best way to help your loved ones. Special guest appearance by Pumpkin ‘The Mayor’ who demonstrates peace during the reading.”

Doreen Virtue ~ Weekly Oracle Card Reading: March 4-10

Good news for those of you undergoing intense healing journeys on various (or all!) levels right now. This week’s energies lighten up a bit. As Doreen says:

“It’s a gentler week ahead, with a lot of inner healing work to help you keep the faith and keep going. There may be challenges this week, but you have the strength and tools to deal with them, and grow and learn from these situations.

“NOTE: Because we added some licensed music to the end of the video, youtube put a little ad in the video (they call it 3rd party matching). To get rid of the ad, just click the X in the upper righthand corner of the ad box and it will go away. Next time, we’ll know!”

From Laura again:

Blessings and Love, and a special acknowledgement to all the feline friends out there having struggles right now. Many people have contacted me in the past two weeks about not just their own health and spiritual issues, but also with deep concerns about their kitties. Cats are particularly energy sensitive, so when big energy changes happen on the planet and we need to integrate new frequencies, cats (as well as sensitive dogs and humans) often show imbalances. Let’s all send them some extra love and surround them with healing light. Thank you to all the cats and empaths out there buffering some of the intensest waves for other, less tuned-in folks. We need to use this week to nurture and heal ourselves, and that includes any and all healers, regardless of species.

Past Lives, Health and Relationships

When people start opening their minds to the possibility of past lives influencing current preferences, compulsions, and patterns, they tend to ask a lot of questions! Suddenly, they want to know details about all the major relationships in their current life, as well as any “failed” romances they’ve tucked away for later processing. I’ve decided to answer some of the most commonly asked questions in this post. For those of you unfamiliar with how or why I started offering past life readings, please click here.

1. How can I tell if I’ve had a past life relationship with someone?

Very rarely can you actually prove to the rational mind that you have known someone before. More often, synchronicities, dreams and nudges just keep adding up until the rational mind cries, “Arggh, OK, I surrender! The simplest explanation really does involve multiple lifetimes with this same soul.” Intuitive Life Path Assessments can confirm these suspicions with greater details. When a non-involved party explains the exact and complex dynamics about a relationship you’ve only mentioned in passing, that tends to click things into place.

On your own, though, here’s the biggest tip-off: if you meet someone and you have an extreme, practically irresistable attraction or aversion to them, which defies logic, then odds are very high that you’ve encountered them before. Those whirlwind romances where you feel like you’ve “known each other forever” only to question your own sanity a few months later? Usually past life related. That parent or step-parent you just could not get along with? Often past life related.

We can feel strong emotions in any lifetime. The high-probability-past-life-indicator should flash when a feeling of compulsion or inevitability enters a relationship. Releasing that compulsion may require additional insights into the history of that soul connection, but knowing one exists can help begin the necessary shifts.

2. Have I had past lives with my pet(s)?

If you feel a deeper bond with your animal friend than you’ve ever felt with a human, chances are very high you’ve spent time together before. I notice this most often with cats and dogs of people involved in the healing arts; frequently the animal friend served as a familiar during a shamanic or witch lifetime.

I have also, on occasion, picked up that the animal souls were human spouses or lovers of a now-human client. People have an assumption that we move up some kind of hierarchy with humans on top and animals somewhere down below, but I have found this hierarchy is not so one-way. I prefer not even to call it a hierarchy because the idea creates so much judgment over which form’s superior. The animals I’ve contacted have made it clear that at times they prefer animal form, as if affords freedoms or flexibility not always available to humans.

No, not every loved pet is some evolved being or long lost love come back to enlighten you on your path. Sometimes animals just want to provide love without a lot of thought or analysis. If you have this kind of pet, count your blessings, too! Which one of us couldn’t use some unconditional love?

3. How can I tell if my dreams are past life memories or just symbols about my current life?

I always encourage people to approach dream interpretation with a “both and” attitude, rather than an “either or” perspective, at least in the beginning. Dreams come from the grab bag of your subconscious, which literally retains everything you’ve ever seen, known, tasted, touched, smelled, felt or otherwise experienced. In any lifetime.

If you find yourself dreaming repeatedly of costumes from a certain era, or you keep seeing the same scene again and again with you feeling distinctly embodied inside someone else’s body, then past lives are more likely involved in the dream. Still, your subconscious has chosen this moment in this life to explore those moments, memories or symbols, so I always suggest an interpretation from this life first. What questions are currently nagging at you? What if everyone in the dream was a part of you? How do you feel about the particular time period revealed — what might it symbolize for you as some kind of shorthand?

Once you’ve explored these avenues, then see if you still have a burning past life suspicion. If so, great, you might have more to explore and learn. If the past life questions have simmered down, though, it probably means you have received the message(s) you needed at this time.

4. How can I tell if I’m just projecting my own fears, hopes or other issues and calling it a past life?

Great question! In general, if you’ve thought to ask the question, then you’re probably not projecting that much. If, on the other hand, you have never once, even for a second doubted your “history” as a glamorous, totally virtuous and powerful ruler/princess/shaman/sorcerer, then chances are strong that you might be projecting at least a little bit. I’ve written more extensively on the topics of rejection, projection and reflection here.

5. Does my health issue have a past life cause?

Very often, yes, but that does not eliminate a “this life” cause. We are complex beings! Make sure you do check physical symptoms because past life causes don’t mean you have simply imagined this life’s pain. “Both and” frequently applies!

(That said, I have seen a lot of people release physical and emotional symptoms quite fast once they recognized the past life origin.)

If a subconscious past life memory has been influencing your health, you have likely tried (unsuccessfully) to resolve it many times before. Our bodies stake their claim on our attention in ways that few things besides money do. I get more calls about money and health than all other topics combined. Over the years I’ve found that so many of these health or financial problems relate to soul issues and patterns strewn across centuries or millenia rather than decades.

As a species, we tend to overcompensate. If something goes wrong, we will go to the far opposite extreme in our attempts not to repeat the same mistake. Imagine yourself doing this not just in reaction to events you can consciously remember, but as entire lifetimes lived in reaction to past life arcs:

Incarnating as an abused wife in Ancient Greece didn’t work for you last time? OK, this time try being a male warrior who kills anyone who threatens him. Eww, killed too many people in that lifetime? OK, this time, stay male, but become a monk, and renounce all violence. Hang out as a monk for three hundred years’ worth of lifetimes until you find God. What? You didn’t find God in all that time? Bullocks! Come back as a nature loving woman who talks to faeries. Oops! Bad time for that, you just got burned at the stake as a witch. Spend the next four hundred years hiding your gifts from society so no one will mistake you as a witch again. Tired of hiding? OK, let it all out this time. Wait!!! Oh, no, every time you try to embrace your healing gifts you get really sick or something stomps on your power and light. How can this be?

… and on and on …

Eventually, some people come here to integrate. Tired of all the yo-yo-ing, their souls realize that they can’t keep bouncing around in reaction to everything around them. They want freedom. They ask for freedom. But embracing the freedom means releasing all those attachments to old wounds and ideas.

The body serves the soul like a chivalrous knight of Middle Ages. It is utterly devoted to this damsel in distress (the soul), which cries out for rescue and a happily ever after. Like the legendary knights, the body will risk dragons, demons, swords and any kind of physical or emotional torment in order to free the soul. Thus, the body will “conveniently” develop major health issues, which “free” the soul to deal with repressed issues. Financial pinches will sometimes function in the exact same way.

As a general rule, if you suffer from what I call a “Medical Mystery” — bizarre, shifting symptoms that either morph to evade treatment or completely baffle your doctors, therapists or priest, then you’re probably here on an integration path. Examples include: people who have had multiple head injuries, suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Lyme Disease, MS, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, Kundalini Syndrome, EMF Sensitivity or other debilitating and seemingly psychsomatic issues.

An integration lifetime does not manifest the same way as a learning or reacting lifetime! In a learning or reacting lifetime, you can ignore some unresolved parts of your past. You can just tuck them into a closet or outhouse that you never intend to use this time around.

But in an integration lifetime, guess what? You will not allow yourself to be rewarded until you integrate. Integration is a primary reason you incarnated. Your soul wants to use its gifts without hinderance or hiding. Therefore any time you shove an issue underground it will flare up like a giant boil demanding your attention. It will ruin relationships, ruin your finances and/or ruin your health — whatever it takes to get the attention you intended to give it this time around.

If you’re in an integration lifetime, or suspect you might be, take heart, there are a lot of us on Earth at this time. In fact, Earth itself is going through an integrative phase. It helps to remember that even in poor health or stripped of your usual resources, you are a tremendously powerful and influential being. I would encourage you to ponder the possibility of a bigger picture … and to take hope that a better lifetime than you have ever known wants to reveal itself to you this time around.

In an integration lifetime, you have already acquired all the ingredients you need. Rather than searching for ingredients or grabbing the nearest processed food, you’re in a recipe development phase. You’re an elite chef. What will you create with all these wild, precious ingredients? When you take a bite out of life, how would you love it to taste? This time you really can have your cake and eat it, too!

http://www.internationalrenaissancecoaching.com

Interview with Sarma Melngailis

I have long wanted to interview Sarma for this blog, because she’s a woman of fascinating contradictions, multi-talents and beauty. Plus, she makes some seriously awesome raw food! Really, those Rosemary Quackers are unbelievable. 🙂 Sarma has received quite a bit of press for her restaurant, online shop and books, but I wanted this interview to show a side of her that not everyone gets to see. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as we did!

Sarma Photo

1. You’ve got a new book that just came out. For those of us who loved Raw Food, Real World, please share a bit about how your new one’s similar and how it differs.

It’s called Living Raw Food and like the first book it’s full of recipes from my restaurant Pure Food and Wine, but this time they’re divided in two sections: easier recipes that don’t require much soaking time or dehydration, and more ambitious recipes that require a bit more planning. The text around the recipes in Raw Food Real World was from a beginner’s perspective. My co-author and I described how we felt after our overnight transition from eating absolutely everything to eating only (or, mostly only) raw plant foods. Now this book is written just by me, and it’s more about what it’s been like for me after five years on mostly raw. I also really wanted to address some of the more common questions I’ve been asked over the years, which includes issues related to emotional detox and people’s struggle to “stick with it”. There are also lots of short essays about various ingredients and an essay on feeding your pets raw.

2. Your restaurant gets rave reviews from around the world. Please share some of your favorite moments of recognition.

Hmmm. It’s not that often that I get asked to gloat but this is fun! Domestically, I’ve always been really proud of our listing as a three-star restaurant in Forbes magazine’s list of All Star New York Eateries, every year since we’ve opened. It always makes me really happy when we’re recognized for our food and not just in a vegetarian category.

Internationally, we’ve always gotten tons of coverage from Japan more than anywhere else. I think they are very in tune with what’s new and perceived as “cutting edge” over here, and also experiencing a big movement towards organic and healthy living. Also, Japanese food has similarities with our food in that it’s very much about aesthetics, natural flavors, and respect for the ingredients. Japanese food (like raw food) is very restrained in comparison to often heavy or sloppy American or other foods.

What other favorite moments… OKAY, since my father is from Latvia, I was totally excited when the magazine with the biggest circulation in Latvia, Sestdiena (which translates as “Saturday”) put me on their cover. That was pretty cool. International press is great because so many people from all over the world are always traveling through New York, and we also ship One Lucky Duck orders internationally now.

3. So many people know you as the author of Raw Food, Real World and the owner of Pure Food and Wine, but you also have an online store called One Lucky Duck. I haven’t made it out to NYC yet, but I sure love the Duck. For those readers not aware of your company, please share some of the vision behind this little gem.

One Lucky Duck is a brand I created for our packaged snack line and ingredients and also for our online store (http://oneluckyduck.com). Launched in 2005, it’s a source for the best of everything raw and organic. I felt like there was a need for a fun, colorful, reliable source that didn’t carry an overwhelming selection of products, only the very best that we find in every category. We carry a whole line of our own packaged cookies and snacks, ingredients and supplements in a section called “eat”.

Then we also have “glow” for skincare and cosmetics, “read” for books and magazines, “wear” for apparel, and “nest” for kitchen tools, home products, exercise tools, and pet products. The website is a lot of fun—we just updated it to add more informational sections and my blog.

4. You have an unusual tattoo. Is there an interesting story behind that?

Thanks. It’s the One Lucky Duck logo (registered and trademarked, by the way!) I got it just before the online business launched in the summer of 2005. As soon as the logo was completed and confirmed, I realized it was the tattoo I’d been waiting for. For years and years I’d wanted to get a tattoo but really didn’t want to get just anything. So I was waiting for the right image and this was it. I like the idea of branding myself with the brand of the company.

5. Tell me about your famous sneaker collection.

Oh dear. This is a bit embarrassing. Over the years I’ve collected a lot of sneakers. I purposely avoid going into or looking in windows of sneaker shops, but sometimes I can’t avoid it and see something new or a color I don’t have. Right now, I have 39 pairs of Pumas. I don’t know how they all fit in my apartment b/c it’s not very big but they’re stashed in the backs of closets and up on shelves. I also have 3 pairs of Pro-Keds, 2 Adidas, 3 pairs of Vans, a few Converse, and a few boring old running sneakers. I just have a thing for old-school style sneakers (and all of these collected over many years! I haven’t bought any new sneakers in at least a year… I think.) I only have a few pairs of high heeled shoes and I wear high heels maybe two or three times a year.

6. You’re widely recognized as one of the most gorgeous raw foodists. What are your favorite beauty products?

Oh… thanks! Well, I love coconut butter. That’s one of my all time favorites because it has so many uses – body oil, face oil, make-up remover, shaving, lip balm, and then you can put some in shakes too because it’s so yummy. Speaking of yummy, Bee Yummy Skin Food is another favorite product. It’s amazing for everyone and really healing for burns and any irritated condition. I think it’s also great to keep skin clear—it’s not a heavy cream. And for cosmetics, RMS Beauty is made by my good friend and is outstanding. The concealer is the best, and I love the luminizer too—it’s shimmery and makes you glowy. Those are my all time favorites. And lately I’ve been using Dr. Alkaitis products (cleanser, eye cream, etc)—they’re amazing.

7. You once sported a blue Mohawk. Care to share anything about those days? What has inspired your various style shifts?

Oh yes. Well, when I was 12 years old I started cutting my hair shorter and shorter. Then coloring it orange, then it got brighter—like Ronald McDonald bright—then it went to blue, then green, and back to mostly blue and so it went until I was 15 when I finally grew it out and dyed it brown (which then shifted to my current blonde over the years). I think I just liked being different, and at that age I could get away with it. During that time I worked at a quirky frame store and art gallery, where I could also get away with it.

8. You receive a lot of emails from young women with eating disorders. What tips can you share here for anyone struggling with body image issues?

I always say to them, go easy on yourself! Better yet, forgive yourself! It’s okay. It’s funny? Okay, it’s not always funny, not at all. But I think if you can try to see it that way, then at least some of the pressure is lifted, and it’s the pressure that’s causing all the trouble. The saddest thing is to feel terrible, guilty, and alone over those sorts of issues. And I think feeling really bad about these sorts of struggles only exacerbates the whole thing.

Breathing in and out and focusing on being compassionate with your self no matter what’s going on is helpful. Also, trying to shift thinking towards being optimally healthy (vs. optimally skinny, etc.) can provide the right kind of inspiration, and that’s how raw food can help because it shifts your focus onto food as nourishment and fuel and eating optimally healthy foods (which are also optimally healthy for the planet).

I read an excerpt from Frank Bruni’s upcoming book—he’s been the New York Times restaurant critic for over five years, and turns out he was bulimic throughout high school and college. You don’t often hear about men having these sorts of struggles. So, it’s not as unusual as people think. Overall the issue of body image is a tough one. Everyone’s their own worst critic, and feeling crappy about that stuff doesn’t do anything to help at all.

9. In addition to being One Lucky Duck, you’re also “One Smart Cookie” with a surprising history in … investment banking? How did you know it was time to take a leap of faith into something different?

After college I came to New York and worked for Bear, Stearns. After two years of many 100-hour plus weeks of working, I moved to private equity. I still worked my ass off there, but it was more interesting. Finally, I wanted more of a life and more control and figured at a hedge fund I could have that—where the work is not deal-oriented but rather market-oriented and so didn’t require late nights and weekends. I thought I’d be happy then.

Instead, having more time only made it really obvious to me that I simply didn’t love what I was doing and very often felt out of place in that environment. I didn’t get excited about reading The Wall Street Journal and talking about deals. But I loved reading Gourmet and Food and Wine and loved talking about restaurants and food. When I was leaving private equity to go look for work at a hedge fund, one of my colleagues pointed out to me that I didn’t seem to love what I do, since I always talked about food and restaurants. I think that’s when I realized inside that I needed to leave finance, though it didn’t happen until almost a year into my next job.

10. You run a busy restaurant and online store with over 70 employees in total, have written two books, you represent your own brand to the press and public, you’re in a relationship, and you’re doing all of this under some challenging circumstances. I also know you’ve got a huge heart. How do you manage to keep it all together?

I don’t always keep it all together! Or, I just haven’t figured it out yet. The restaurant and oneluckyduck.com stay together and running because so many amazing people work there and I’m lucky that they’re so dedicated. I’m usually able to keep myself together because I’m inspired by them and inspired by all the people who come to the restaurant and juice bar, and visit the website and read the books.

Still, sometimes I let myself fall apart. Or, I hit some kind of burnout threshold and then just really don’t want to get out from under the covers. I used to beat myself up over this, or try to avoid it. Now it’s much better if I can accept that it doesn’t mean I’m a total failure if I feel that way now and then, and just go with it!

11. What’s your very favorite “New York Moment”?

I think it was actually the very first day I lived in New York in the summer of 1994. I’ll never forget the feeling standing on the street on Second Avenue and 10th street holding the keys to the little studio apartment I was renting. I was out of college and my father just rode off after having helped move me in. I felt this incredibly exhilarated feeling, all on my own, in New York City, where I’d barely spent any time before, living alone in my own place for the first time—completely independent. So I’m in this euphoric mood, and I turn to walk down the block and there’s Robert DeNiro, just standing there talking to someone. And he looks right at me and I look right back. Of all the people to see in New York City on your first day there… !

12) Please tell us a bit about your furry friends, Dallas and Sydney.

Sarma's Feline Friends

Sarma's Feline Friends

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I have two cats, Sydney and her brother Dallas. They’re from the same litter even though they look very different. I got them from someone’s house near where my mother lives in New Hampshire, so I met their mom and other siblings. They’re over eleven years old now.

After I switched to raw food six years ago I started thinking more about what I was feeding them and what their ideal and natural diet should be. After looking into it I started feeding them raw food and they’re amazing on it. I haven’t brought them to the vet since and they’re beautiful, energetic companions. The food I get them is raw organic chicken and vegetables and it comes frozen. I also give them dehydrated wild salmon treats which they go totally bonkers over. We carry them at oneluckyduck.com. They come for dogs too but they’re the same thing, just a bigger size. I’m working on spinning off the pets section of oneluckyduck into its own site, shinyhappypets.com, so that’s one of the projects in the works.

Too Cute!

13. I’m so excited by your work! If Sarma had Sarma’s way, what else would we see from you in the near future?

A LOT! There’s a lot I want to do. Feeling held back from being able to charge forward to make it happen has been really challenging. I’m looking for the right partnerships and funding, which takes time. It’s like finding the right person to father your children… you don’t want to do that with just anyone. It’s been a long and very interesting road, but I really want to do it all the right way. Bringing raw food (and natural living) into the mainstream in a very big (and fun) way is the goal, and there are a lot of really great and different ways I want to do that, and in different parts of the world. And one of these days, I want to take a real vacation!

Thanks so much, Sarma! Wishing you the grandest of blessings and synchronicities and that all-elusive vacation.

You can visit Sarma at http://oneluckyduck.com or Pure Food & Wine.

Interviewed by Laura Bruno of www.internationalrenaissancecoaching.com. If you liked this interview, you might also enjoy ones with Cassie Margraf and Tania Marie.

Natural Beauty: An Interview with Lovely Raw Fooder and Animal Lover, Cassie Margraf

Today’s interview features Cassie Margraf, a Sonoma, California resident and one of the most natural beauties I know. Cassie has a knack for looking ultra-feminine even without makeup or fancy adornments. She not only looks natural; she truly lives this lifestyle.  Since so many people want to look healthy and radiant without turning to toxic face and body products, I asked Cassie if she’d mind sharing some of her secrets. Most of my clients also have furry friends and want the same healthy goodness for them as well. She shares tips for animals and for men, too. Cassie has her 27th birthday coming up on May 20, 2009 so please join me in wishing her a happy one!

 

Cassie Margraf

Cassie Margraf

You’ve had quite a journey into raw foods! How and when did you first discover this diet and lifestyle and what convinced you to make the switch?

Yes, it really has been a journey, difficult at times, but also magical and amazingly rewarding! I first discovered this lifestyle about a year and a half ago. I was in the process of awakening to the power of the body to self heal, the majesty of the mind in facilitating that process, and the truths about what we, as a society, consider food. I had been suffering debilitating symptoms for about two years prior to that. Frequent tension headaches accompanied by severe facial flushing, skin rashes and blisters on a daily basis, insomnia, severe food sensitivities, mild depression, anxiety and instability with my emotions in general were just a handful of the symptoms that plagued me. I found some relief with alternative methods, such as acupuncture, herbs and chiropractic care, but I was still suffering a great deal.

In the world of alternative health, medical mysteries often go hand in hand with the diagnosis of “toxicity.” This was the only footing I had at understanding a root cause to my symptoms, so I was vigilantly trying to undertake cleansing. At this point in my journey I was trying my best to eat an organic, whole foods diet, so a cleanse to me was eating fruits, salads, steamed veggies, etc. for a week. At the time eating that way felt incredibly difficult to me, but I would have done anything to feel better.

I went to Copperfield’s Books one night in search of a cleanse and happened upon The Miracle Detox Diet, by Robert Norse, N.D. When I got the book home I devoured the information. I couldn’t believe what I was reading and all the research and facts to support why a raw lifestyle is the healthiest diet for any living animal.

More than all the scientific data though, it just really resonated with me as such an obvious truth. It felt like information I had always known deep down, but had long forgotten. I thought, “Animals in nature don’t cook their food? Why do we cook, pasteurize, steam and heat everything?”

When I read about domesticated animals getting the same degenerative diseases as humans, yet wild animals not encountering these illnesses, a light bulb went off for me. I remember reading an article about animals at the zoo and how if they are fed cooked food, they die. That was shocking to me and I really began to educate myself, study and read scientific literature regarding our bodies and raw foods. The funny thing about my introduction to raw foods, is it was the day before Thanksgiving!

At this point in my journey I was very familiar with the Law of Attraction and manifestation, so the information I was absorbing coupled with the fact that I had “stumbled” upon this book, was enough to empower me to try this lifestyle starting the very next day, Thanksgiving! All the research I was doing really kept me going with raw foods because, although some experience major benefits right away, I didn’t feel better right off the bat.

What I did experience very quickly, though, was an unfolding and opening of my spirituality. I always considered myself a spiritual person, but the first week of going raw my third eye just burst open :). I was lying in bed and could feel this incredible energy in what felt like tingly, pleasant, pressure between my eyebrows/forehead area. I was laying there in utter amazement because I had never felt anything like that before. I soon began to feel energy movement in my body very easily and would put myself to sleep meditating, breathing deep and feeling energy flow within me. It was so peaceful and made me feel so connected to myself, all beings and the planet. I never wanted to lose that. My spirituality really began to flourish and deepen.

Raw foods are an amazing tool that allowed me to access parts of myself I was not in touch with before. As my journey progressed I became much more intuitive and that allowed me to be in “the flow” so I could make connections I needed to, get help and answers when needed and really dig deep and face myself exactly where I was and am at, with all my complexity and gifts :).

These tools, coupled with my diet have really facilitated a metamorphosis in my life on all levels; physical, emotional, and spiritual. 

What are your favorite beauty tips for face care? Body care?

Personally, it doesn’t matter what I do or put on my skin if I am putting foods that cause inflammation into my body. The appearance of your skin can be affected by various factors, but one main contributor to skin appearance is the state of your gut. When I eat foods my body regards as toxic or irritating, I see it!

That being said, there are many tools I use to really take care of and nourish my skin, from the inside as well as out. I’ll start with the inside. Green juice is the best beauty drink of all time! I try to drink about 16 oz. of green juice a day. I’m not fanatical about it and there are days where I don’t get it in, but it’s difficult not to drink it when the results are so astounding. My skin takes on a glow it just doesn’t get when I have gone periods without it. Drinking green juice gives the body mineral rich vegetation in a completely absorbable form. My favorite green juice is apple, celery, cucumber, kale, sun choke.

Cassie with Green Juice Web

MSM is my favorite beauty supplement. It works wonders on itching, rashes and other skin blemishes. Lately I have been taking a heaping teaspoon full a day. I mix it into my green smoothies after blending, as it is very heat sensitive and can easily be compromised by churning blades of a blender.

For my outer body and skin, my main beauty secret is exfoliation. As we age, our skin cell renewal slows down. Exfoliation helps skin to shed old, dying cells and reveals new skin cells to the surface. Exfoliation also increases blood flow, and therefore oxygen, to the skin. The skin is our largest organ, but it is on the periphery of the body. Our bodies are extremely intelligent and when we have imbalance, blood flow and oxygen are sent to the most vital inner organs and tissues. Our skin, hair and nails are last on the list.

This is why you see patients in chemotherapy lose their hair. The body is working so hard at keeping that person’s system functioning that it stops sending nutrients, blood and oxygen to the hair. It’s not needed for survival. By exfoliating, we increase blood flow to the skin, enabling this organ to get extra care and nourishment. The best way to exfoliate is to brush your body when the skin is dry. I use a natural bristle body brush from Whole Foods called Yerba Prima. I brush my entire body every morning before I shower.

Many people who do body brush forget their face! The face loves exfoliation too. You just need to use a bit of a softer bristle and work up to a comfortable pressure. I was using a synthetic brush for some time, then I read a great tip from raw author Tanya Zavasta. She recommends a 100% horse hair shoe brush. This works amazingly well for me and my skin is very soft. You will notice a pretty pink warm your cheeks as blood flows to the skin after face brushing. My particular brush brand is Kiwi.

I also brush my face every morning and often at night if I am not wearing any makeup. You don’t want to brush skin that has makeup on because you will be pushing makeup and other debris that has accumulated on your face throughout the day into your pores.

I love exfoliation so much I also often use a face scrub by Sumbody in the shower. I love the Russet Polishing Grains scrub. It’s mineral rich and has soy milk for soothing and softening the skin. Some other great options for gentle exfoliation are hemp or bamboo wash cloths and I also really like Tanya Zavasta’s face mask. She includes a face brush to help remove the mask, which provides some exfoliation as well. Nothing tops the dry brushing though.

I will say, I have been exfoliating for a long time and people should work up to facial exfoliation slowly and use very gentle pressure to start. Maybe start out 2-3 times a week and see how your skin feels. If you know you have very sensitive skin, opt for a very gentle scrub, like Go JoJo Facial Cleanser from Sumbody and start out slowly to see how you feel with the stimulation.

If you have inflamed acne, never use scrub! You will only irritate and inflame your skin more. Acne can be complicated and I would first focus on what you put in your body, as well as your spiritual development before looking to the external for a cure. When things mellow with your skin, proceed with incorporating a scrub slowly. A great tip for those with acne, as well as everyone else, is to use a gentle toner. I’m not a fan of astringent toners, especially with any amount of alcohol as I feel they strip the skin of vital oils and harm the Ph balance, but Sumbody has some great flower water toners that are alcohol free and Raw Gaia has a great toner as well with essential oils. Toners are great for bringing skin Ph back into balance, removing residue from cleansers, cleaning the skin in general (I often just cleanse with toner if I’m not wearing makeup) and removing dead skin cells that are ready to be sloughed off once you’ve loosened them with brushing :).

Of all the products I use, I don’t use anything on my skin that I would be afraid to eat! Your skin absorbs 60% of what goes on it: that’s how patch medications work, like the birth control patch. 

Do you have any favorite beauty products?

The ones I mentioned above are favorites, as well as coconut butter for a body moisturizer and shea butter for lip balm and face cream. I really like Tanya Zavasta’s products and her skin cream smells like marshmallows, yummy! Pure aloe is also a great moisturizer and skin soother. Just make sure it doesn’t have other questionable ingredients. You can add a few drops of jojoba oil for added moisture as well.

Sumbody Products

Another favorite product is my ionic toothbrush. I alternate between the ionic toothbrush and my Sonicare, but the ionic one is the best in my opinion at getting plaque completely off teeth so they feel silky smooth even in hard to reach places. I spend a good 3 minutes every time I brush too, really running over my teeth with my tongue to make sure I don’t feel any “fuzzyness”.

I just saw my family this weekend and I got compliments on how white my teeth are. They asked if I whiten my teeth and I had to tell them the truth, I don’t use whitening products! 🙂

You and your husband are such a beautiful couple. Do you have him on any special program or products?

SteveNCassie

My husband Steven is so cute; he uses whatever I get him! Besides a couple years in his teens, Steven has always had really easy skin. Before going raw he would get the once in a blue moon blemish, but I don’t even remember the last time I saw him with the smallest spot! He did ask me recently though about how often he should be exfoliating, because even guys want to prevent aging! He uses a face scrub from Sumbody in the shower and For Her Sons Living Moisturizer from Raw Gaia. He also just started to body brush on occasion…. so we’ll see how that goes! He uses coconut oil as a hair gel. We both also use Toothsoap and Oralive from Ascended Health for brushing our teeth and keeping them nice and white!

What services do you offer?

I’m certified in Reiki 1 and 2 and offer this healing technique in person as well as at a distance. I have a deep connection to crystals and their energies and offer intuitive crystal healing as well. I also offer wellness coaching, including incorporating and transitioning more raw foods into one’s diet.

I have my B.A. in psychology and I always knew I wanted to help people on an emotional and spiritual level. My experience in holistic health has allowed me to merge the emotional, physical, and spiritual in terms of looking at holistic ways of helping people to heal. All spheres of our lives are connected. One part cannot be altered or changed without affecting all the other facets of our lives.

For this reason I like to look at health and wellness as a web and incorporate different aspects depending on a particular person’s needs and desires. Our home environment and the energy we surround ourselves with is another sphere that I enjoy exploring with others. Feng Shui is a beautiful technique for creating balance in one’s external world.

You have two adorable dogs and one cat. Please share a bit about them. Do they follow a raw diet, too?

My husband and I have two Alaskan Klee Kais (AKK) named Malachi and Maikoda and an adopted cat named Milo. AKKs are a rare breed and are basically a miniature Alaskan Husky, although they often look more like little Siberian Huskies. They are similar to other breeds of northern decent and have double coats, LOTS of energy (so they need lots of exercise), and love to run! They differ in that they are extremely pack oriented and remind me often of a wild pack. They are very cautious with strangers, yet very loving and attached to their human companions. They are usually docile in nature and do well with owners who have the time to give these little dogs the exercise, attention and love they need. They would not do well being at home all day without their human companion.

Maikoda and Malachi

Milo is a sweet natured cuddlebug we adopted from a local shelter. He was labeled as semi feral when we chose him and he often hides when we have visitors :). He loves basking in the sun and bird watching from windows. He gets along great with the dogs and is king of our home. He often plays with the puppy, Maikoda, and he is totally in charge! Sometimes I catch him in the sweetest moment grooming Malachi.

They are a playful bunch and I often refer to them as our little gremlins. All our pets do follow a raw diet. I recently wrote a blog post with details on what we feed them, as well as supplements they take and other pet musings 🙂 You can check it out here.

How do you keep a balance between inner and outer beauty?

I keep a balance by remembering to give gratitude for all the beautiful gifts in my life. I am so grateful for all that I have learned about health and well-being, for all the love and support that surrounds me in my husband, family and friends. For awakening to my true self and having the courage to work on my spirit. Being grateful puts us in a high vibration.

Inner and outer beauty, although seemingly polarities, are actually one and the same. It is now scientifically proven that we are primarily energetic beings. Our thoughts, and more importantly, our feelings become our realities. It is said within every seven years every cell in our body has been replaced with new cells. In essence, we have a completely new body every seven years. These new cells that are constantly being created are directly influenced by our thoughts and feelings.

Do you wish to see beauty in the mirror? Then DO a beautiful act of kindness, think beautiful thoughts of love and compassion, feel gratitude for the things you actually like about yourself. The world you create within influences and eventually mirrors your external world. I feel a key strategy to shifting your feelings in this regard is understanding the power of the media and to not fully immerse yourself in television and magazines.

My husband and I stopped getting cable about a year ago and it was the best decision we ever made! You have no idea how much power these sources have until you go on a media diet! Without all the plastic, airbrushed, artificially enhanced, brainwashing in your face day after day, you may start to appreciate the things about yourself that are unique to only you.

I know it sounds cliché, but we are all truly beautiful in our own ways. Finding aspects about ourselves we can celebrate for their natural beauty is an amazing gift to give yourself and others. When we accept and can see the beauty we posses, we give permission to others to see their unique beauty as well.

As someone who once would not leave the house without makeup on, I understand the guilt and shame our society projects onto women and men alike in regards to natural, authentic beauty. Despite my past history, I can honestly say I now feel more comfortable in my own skin then I ever have in my life. I actually like my skin, and most days don’t want to cover up what I have worked so hard to reflect health of body and mind.

Treat your body with love and care; it is your vehicle for conscious expansion. By loving our bodies, feeding ourselves fresh, organic, whole foods, getting enough sleep, getting sunshine, experiencing joy and laughter, we increase the beauty factor in our lives, and our cells literally illuminate this truth for all to see.

Cassie Margraf Web

What do crystals and moon cycles have to do with beauty?

The lunar cycles are a powerful, magical force that affect all living beings, plants and our planet. Just as lunar energy affects the oceans and plants in cycles, it too affects our bodies, even if we are unaware of this force. Hair is affected by the lunar cycles similarly to plants. Farmers and cultivators of our earth from times of old knew of these cycles, revered and respected them, and therefore cultivated their crops in accordance with nature to yield the best food and healthiest plants. This ancient knowledge has been passed on, and although in our society it has been long forgotten, it is remembered in some older farming methods and the newer traditions of biodynamic gardening.

You can even find the moon cycles in farmer’s almanacs with tips of when to grow, plant, and prune plants. With certain phases of lunar cycles, energy is pulled into the root, or out of the root. Cutting one’s hair at certain times actually can send a signal to the hair shaft to stop growing, just as with plants! For this reason, it is beneficial to know about the moon cycles and to cut one’s hair only on auspicious days for hair growth.

If you actually want to hinder hair growth, such as with shaving, plucking or waxing, it would be beneficial to do this on days that correlate with stunting growth.

I have read beautiful, insightful works regarding our hair as our spiritual antenna. It is said that areas on the body where hair thickens, is to further facilitate spiritual energy to these chakras. For instance, the two major sites of hair growth on the body are at the groin, or root chakra, and on the head, crown chakra. The eyebrows are also of a thick, concentrated hair growth pattern, which would facilitate the third eye chakra and intuition.

This personally resonates with me and has allowed me to really honor my hair in a way I never did before. I always thought of hair as dead, not really considering dying, blow drying on high heat, and frying with curling irons to be something to give a second though to. Now I regard my hair with care and don’t artificially process it.

Henna is a natural plant that can be used if one wants to naturally color or give shine to the hair. Henna has been used safely for centuries to enhance beauty and was a favorite in ancient Egypt. Cleopatra was known to color her hair and adorn herself with henna. I sometimes still blow dry my hair, but I never use high heat, only cool or warm air, and I always keep the blow dryer several inches from the hair shaft. My hair is naturally wavy, but if I want a bit more uniform curl, steam curlers are not damaging to the hair and are a great option for a more styled look.

Crystals and beauty, like the lunar cycles, are as ancient as myths and legends passed on through the ages. Crystals have been used throughout the ages to adorn oneself with beauty. Cultivated by the energies of mother earth, crystals can be thought of as precious jewels that are concentrated energetic stones, gifts from mother earth to remind us of our own unique variety and beauty.

Symbolically, crystals are very much like people, each with unique gifts to share with the world, each possessing a unique beauty that cannot be replicated by another. They remind us our connection to the earth, and our own inherent value, with gifts and treasures to share. The infinite diversity of crystals lends beautiful variety to their uses.

Crystals often take on the surrounding vibrations of the environment in which they were cultivated, naturally synchronizing with the patters of the earth and this can help one in choosing the right stone to wear. Crystals can be embedded with energy and thought patters of their wearer and can even purposely be embedded to enhance beauty. This can be used to help enhance one’s beauty if one is embedding kind and loving thoughts about themselves.

Just as crystals naturally synchronize with earth patterns, they do so with their wearer. There are many stones that help to balance and uplift one’s thoughts and emotions and this can be helpful if one is experiencing low self esteem. 

Amethyst and citrine are wonderful crystals for dissipating negative energy and balancing the emotional and physical body. Amethyst’s properties lie in the realm of spirituality, contentment and healing. Citrine helps to activate and increase personal power. This in turn can affect one’s self confidence.

Moss Agate is another stone that can be used for beauty. Of many of its properties, it helps to strengthen positive personal traits, brings emotional balance and allows you to see the beauty in all things, including yourself :).

Turquoise is a holy stone to American Indians, which symbolizes beauty. They believe it is a magical stone that aids in protection and is said to make women content and men powerful and successful. Some properties of turquoise linked to beauty are giving confidence and lifting depression.

What are some of your favorite raw treats?

I try to be pretty simple with my eating because that’s the way my body likes it! But, I have to admit, I love to eat! I grew up in an Italian family and eating for pleasure was ingrained in me since I was very young. I know most people can relate. It’s easy for me to be tempted and I allow myself to eat for pleasure, not just health. I just need to keep it balanced because I have a history of VERY severe food sensitivities.

I love “Orange Julius”’ that I make with orange juice, banana and raw vanilla powder. They taste just like those drinks I used to get at the mall as a kid! I also love raw olives, figs and almond butter fudge made with carob powder.  

If I really want a special treat, or it’s a special occasion, Seed is my favorite raw restaurant here in the North San Francisco Bay Area. The owner, Jerri Hastey, is so kind and if given a day’s notice, will make foods for anyone with special needs, like sensitivities. I am sensitive to tomatoes and peppers and they are very common in raw recipes at restaurants, so it’s wonderful to be able to have someone make my favorite foods without these items. Her broccoli quiche is amazing!

Thanks so much, Cassie! You can find Cassie at http://www.luminouslivingraw.blogspot.com/.

 

www.lazyrawfoodist.com

www.internationalrenaissancecoaching.com  For more information on crystals and the moon, please stay tuned for Schizandra and the Gates of Mu.

Cats and Their Nine Lives: What it Might Mean to You

According to a book titled “Beware the Cat,” written by English author William Baldwin during the Dark Ages: “It is permitted for a witch to take her cat’s body nine times.” Thus began the tradition that cats have nine lives. A black cat and pointy hat still symbolize witchcraft and Halloween, but do cats really have nine lives? And if they do, what might that mean for cat lovers?

I do a lot of animal communication sessions with cats, and they always amuse and inspire me with their kooky antics and deep commitment to healing their human friends. Often people contact me due to “bad behavior.” Their cat has become unfriendly, aggressive, territorial, or perhaps quite ill. When the veterinarian says, “I don’t know,” kitty lovers still want to help their feline friends. Typically, they ask me to ask if the cat wants a different kind of food. Given the quality of pet food these days, that answer usually comes back a resounding, “Yes!”

But opening the portals of communication frees other messages as well. Whether they present themselves as total divas or the household clown, most cats have a deeper soul purpose for selecting their human companions. As it turns out, associations with witchcraft and cats are not so far off: in many cases, cats have come to help their humans heal from past life issues of persecution.

One such cat hissed and prepared to attack anyone who got too close to her human–a most unfriendly feline! When the cat’s behavior became too difficult to ignore, her human asked me to tune in. Lo and behold, this kitty had acted as her familiar back in William Baldwin’s Dark Ages. The kitty felt guilty for failing to protect her unlucky witch from being burned at the stake. She overcompensated in this lifetime by attacking anyone and everyone who came too close–never knowing who was friend or foe. Since this former witch had been betrayed by a relative in the Dark Ages, the cat’s suspicion allowed us all to explore discernment, callings, protection and how the times have changed.

As her human family began to recognize this fiery kitty as a healer, her “bad behavior” began to change. She now cuddles, purrs and welcomes opportunities to help others embrace their gifts. Her homo sapien has likewise reclaimed more of her own intuition and ability to teach and support others on a spiritual path. They now view themselves on a mutual journey, but instead of tragedy or aggression, they can focus on love and soul-mate-like understanding.

In another instance, a writer’s cats kept eating her plants, nibbling her manuscript, swallowing and spitting up tape, and batting the papers off her desk. The writer initially viewed such actions as a major nuisance. When, “no!” obviously did not mean no, she consulted me to find out about possible dietary supplements or additional messages. These cats eat the highest quality food imagineable–far better than most humans–but they did offer a few supplement and treat requests. More than that, they shared that they wanted the writer to know how supported she really was. One of the cats shared multiple past lives with her in Egypt and encouraged the writer to tune into the spiritual process of regeneration. The cat then offered specific suggestions on how to invoke more power and creativity in the writer’s life. He also helped her to see how with his help, she had already moved past some old issues and could safely move forward into more joyful territory. The other cat did not share a past life with the writer, but indicated that the writer should pay attention to the numbers on chewed manuscript pages. It turns out the page numbers and chewed words spelled out messages. Both cats explained why they kept eating and spitting up tape: they found it fun, but more importantly, this behavior illustrated a key factor in their human’s personal growth.

Many people assume that the nine lives rumor comes from cats’ uncanny ability to land on their feet–surviving falls that would kill most other species. Indeed, cats do offer us a model of resilience! But they usually want to offer more than that. Through play, diva-action, illness, attacks and falls, they deeply desire recognition. They select their humans carefully and create their behaviors deliberately. Take a moment to close your eyes and ask your cat what they really want to say to you. They may not speak English, but most will nudge you in some direction. They’re very, very smart, curious, and committed. Most of them would leap off a building, climb a tree, develop feline leukemia, or even stand down a dog for you–if they thought that would help you find your way.

Laura Bruno is a Life Coach, Animal Communicator, Medical Intuitive and Reiki Master Teacher. In addition to private coaching and intuitive sessions, she teaches Conscious Eating 101 classes, Intuition workshops and Reiki Certification classes around the US. For more information on classes, animal communication, raw food coaching, transitional coaching, and letting your gifts shine through your career, please see: http://www.internationalrenaissancecoaching.com or call 775-750-9140.

Laura has also written two books, available at http://www.lazyrawfoodist.com and http://www.ifionlyhadabraininjury.com.