Leslie Kenton's Into The Bliss Blog http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss A new look at traditional health. Leslie Kenton's Into The Bliss Blog Mon, 18 May 2015 23:57:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Eat Your Way To Menopausal Freedom – Part 3 http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/eat-way-menopausal-freedom/ http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/eat-way-menopausal-freedom/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 23:54:54 +0000 http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/?p=2386 This is part three of natural menopause – if you have not done so yet, I suggest you read part one here “Beware Of HRT” and part two here “5 steps to an ideal menopause

The decisions you make about what you eat from 35 onwards not only determine the kind of menstrual, peri-menopausal and menopausal issues you will have—or not have. They also determine how slowly or rapidly your body ages, how good you look and feel as the years pass, and how much vitality you can count on. You see, life feeds upon life. Your body makes use of foods radiant with life force to increase your mental and physical energy and restore hormonal order. Choosing the right kind of foods will protect you from all those female agonies that the rest of the world wrongly thinks can only be handled by swallowing dangerous drugs.

HOW TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE

get-rid-of-junk-foodGo through your kitchen cupboards. Throw out (I mean literally!) every packaged convenience food you find there. This stuff is not worthy of being called “food.” It’s chock full of artificial chemicals, destructive trans-fatty acids, masses of sugar, poisonous pesticides and herbicides which were sprayed on crops, and dangerous GMO rubbish. Nothing can screw up your hormonal system faster than this kind of junk can. If you want to protect your body from early aging, degenerative diseases, osteoporosis, cancer and female miseries, it’s time to get savvy and opt for a life-generating way of eating based on organic foods grown on healthy soils. This is no joke! Once your body gets used to clean, healthy, natural foods, you’ll be surprised to discover that you literally hate all the junk that most people eat. Of course will take a while to make the transition from junk to real foods, so start now. Point your goals in the right direction and keep learning how to eat so you stay looking and feeling young at every age. This way of eating also reverses all sorts of so-called illness—from something as simple as reflux, to sleeplessness, depression, heart disease and cancer. All you need is the persistence to see the change through.

RICH IN VITALITY

spirilinaBegin by eating foods rich in phyto-hormones—natural hormones that perfectly fit your own cell receptor sites to protect you from damage by estrogen mimics in our poisonous environment. Fresh, raw, organic vegetables, concentrated green foods like spirulina, chlorella, and naturally fermented foods are ideal.

We have long been told that carbohydrates—breads and pasta, rice and cereals—are your body’s main source of energy. This just ain’t so. Of course vegetable carbohydrates are great: sea plants, broccoli, spinach, kale—the works. So are legumes, but only in small quantities, since they can help provide steady lasting energy throughout the day.

GRAINS TURN INTO SUGAR

carbs-to-sugarThe other piece of nonsense which our corporate-controlled media and government keep pushing is the notion that low-fat, processed foods are healthy. Don’t believe it. In packaged, processed convenience foods, good-quality fat—such as extra-virgin olive oil, organic coconut oil and butter from cows that, at least part of their lives, have been fed on green grass—has long been replaced with sugars (oftentimes with high-fructose corn syrup), flavors and colors. If you eat sugar and grain-based carbs, this leads to more calories and weight gain, and fatigue. Read labels. If you see “non-fat” or “low-fat”, what this means is high sugar—and getting fat from eating them. Stay away from them. One of the major energy problems caused by eating processed foods full of grain-based carbs and/or sugars such as pasta, bread, cereals and sweets is that this brings about a progressive decline in your body’s ability to process sugar. Unlike vegetables and fruits, which are full of beneficial fiber, manufactured processed foods are highly concentrated. Fiber is no longer present to dilute their concentration and slow down the rate at which the simple starches and sugars they contain are absorbed into your bloodstream.

Grain and sugar based foods are far more calorie-dense. When you eat them year after year, they begin to overwhelm the body—especially the pancreas—causing blood sugar problems, and mood and energy swings that wreak havoc with your health. Eating this way predisposes you to insulin resistance, food cravings and obesity. Don’t get misled by the nonsense that is written on the packaging of foods you buy, either. Read the ingredients carefully and watch for hidden sugars—glucose, sorbitol, invert sugar, corn syrup, maltodextrin, dextrose, barley syrup, malt sugar. Even many products that claim to be sugar-free contain one or more of these, all of which are just another name for sugar.

CUT THE CAFFEINE

stop-caffineCaffeine—an ingredient in coffee, tea and many soft drinks—gives you a quick lift and the illusion of energy, only to let you crash a couple of hours later when you find yourself craving more coffee or wanting to reach for a sticky bun or chocolate, just to keep going. Tea contains a surprising 14-61 mg of caffeine per cup, to coffee’s 95-200 mg. Coffee makes your blood more acid, which in turn draws calcium from your bones to try to re-establish a healthy acid/alkaline balance. Drinking coffee is one of the worst things you can do if you want to prevent osteoporosis. Colas, squashes and soft drinks also contain caffeine—and are also riddled with sugar. A 12 ounce tin of cola contains 7 teaspoons—about 40 grams. As for the “diet” varieties, they are full of excess phosphorous and poisonous artificial sweeteners like aspartame, which under no circumstances do you want to put into your body.

POWER FOODS

raw-food-vegEvery molecule of muscle in your body is made from the proteins you eat. Muscle is the engine which turns food calories into energy, and burns fat. Improve the quality of your muscle and you automatically raise the vitality of your whole body. You also enhance your sex hormones, create better skin quality, and gain in strength and power. Only protein foods help do this. They also help ground you. Thanks to this characteristic, protein can even play an important role in helping you fulfill your dreams, influence your goals and discover your unique life.

No protein structures in your body are fixed. Each strand is constantly being broken down and reshaped. In fact, the whole structure of your body is being rebuilt day by day, thanks to the proteins you take in through your foods. 98% of your body’s molecules, including your teeth and bones, your organs and your muscles, are replaced each year. Within the last month, your skin has completely rebuilt itself. Within the last 3 months, you have received a whole new blood supply. Within the last 6 months, just about every molecule of muscle protein has been renewed. What is exciting about all this is that, when you shift for the better both the quantity and the quality of proteins you eat, you can completely transform, regenerate, and rejuvenate not only the way your body functions, but also the way you look and feel.

GREAT CHOICE PROTEIN FOODS

  • Raw foods: Including non-roasted nuts and minimally processed cheeses—especially sheep, goat and buffalo cheeses, since so many women these days don’t get on well with cow’s milk products, including cheese, yoghurt and cow’s milk itself.
  • Eat meats from grass-fed, free-range, and cage-free animals without added hormones.
  • Never eat farmed fish of any kind. Their feeds are not only full of cheap carbohydrates, but dead animal. You don’t want these things in your body.
  • Choose cold-water fish rich in Omega-3 fats such as wild salmon, sardines, mahi-mahi, mackerel, etc.
  • Organic eggs from free-range chickens.
  • Buy only meat from grass-fed animals and grass-fed, free-range organic poultry.
  • Wild game birds (pheasant, duck, goose, grouse).
  • Venison.
  • Wild game (kangaroo, goat, etc).
  • Good quality vegan or whey protein, provided your body can handle cow’s milk products
  • .

THE 50% WILD SECRET

50-percent-rawRaw foods do wonderful things for women. For hundreds of generations, our ancestors lived on wild foods gathered and eaten raw. Our genes are specially adapted to handling raw foods. Incorporating a good percentage of live foods—fresh vegetables, raw seeds and nuts, and fresh sprouted seeds—in your diet helps restore good hormone function, stabilize moods, clear and rejuvenate skin, shed excess fat and even transform your outlook on life.

Eat 50% of your foods raw and choose the rest from wholesome natural products like sea plants, cooked vegetables, and fresh locally-grown fruits, and you will notice a dramatic improvement in how you look, feel and function, even in the first couple of weeks. But it will be several weeks before the burden of toxicity which you have been carrying has fully cleared, and it may well be a few months before even deeper benefits begin to show themselves. Be patient. Your body has a magnificent ability to heal itself, but it won’t happen overnight.

DEEP CLEANSE FOREVER

skin-replqcedTo help you reap the rewards of a natural menopause, go for foods high in phyto-hormones—compounds in plants whose molecular structure is akin to the body’s own hormones. Unlike dangerous xenoestrogens, plant hormones are weak in their actions. They “fit” into a woman’s metabolism. Your body recognizes them and knows how to use them. When weak estrogens from plants bind with estrogen receptor sites in the body, they help protect your body from the negative effects of xenoestrogens. They allow your body to readjust its hormonal balance naturally. This is why a diet high in phyto-hormones plays such an important part in protecting Japanese women from hormone-related diseases. The vitamins, minerals, and phyto-hormones in fresh foods, eaten as close as possible to the state in which they come out of the ground—or carefully and naturally fermented as the Japanese do—can bring to your life a supply of phyto-hormones sufficient to help mitigate most of the female symptoms that plague us in industrialized countries—from fibrocystic breast disease, PMS and hot flushes, to osteoporosis.

GIFTS FROM THE SEA

gift-from-the-sea If you have never used sea vegetables, now is an ideal time to begin. Not only are they delicious—imparting a wonderful, spicy flavor to soups and salads—they are the richest source of organic mineral salts in nature, particularly of iodine. Iodine is the mineral needed by the thyroid gland. As your thyroid gland is largely responsible for your body’s metabolic rate, iodine is very important to your energy. So try some of the sea vegetables. Before long, your nails and hair will become strong and beautiful thanks to the minerals and trace elements like selenium, calcium, iodine, boron, potassium, magnesium, and iron which are no longer found in good quantities in our garden vegetables. So will the rest of your body. I like to use powdered kelp as a seasoning. It adds both flavor and minerals to salad dressings, salads and soups. I am also fond of nori seaweed, which comes in long thin sheets or tiny flakes. It makes a delicious snack food which you can eat along with a salad or at the beginning of the meal. I often toast it very, very quickly by putting it under a grill for no more than 10 or 15 seconds. It is also delicious raw. You can use nori to wrap around everything from a sprout salad to cooked grains in order to make little pieces of vegetarian sushi. It’s often a good idea to soak some of the other sea vegetables such as dulse, arame and hiziki for a few minutes in enough tepid water to cover. This softens them so you can chop them and put them into salads or added to your soups. Here are my favorites: Arame, dulse, hiziki, kelp, kombu, laver bread, nori, wakami, mixed sea salad. Change the foods you have log been eating and will change the whole of your life for the better. Try it for a month and find out for yourself.

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http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/eat-way-menopausal-freedom/feed/ 1 get-rid-of-junk-food spirilina carbs-to-sugar stop-caffine raw-food-veg 50-percent-raw skin-replqced gift-from-the-sea
5 Steps To An Ideal Menopause – Part 2 http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/5-steps-ideal-menopause-part-2/ http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/5-steps-ideal-menopause-part-2/#comments Sun, 03 May 2015 07:32:56 +0000 http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/?p=2369 This is part two of natural menopause – if you have not done so yet, I suggest you read part one here “Beware Of HRT

Power, energy and freedom are the rewards of natural menopause. You can sidestep all those tears, misery, hot flashes and mood swings that are supposed to lie ahead—which we’re told can only be treated with HRT, using synthetic drugs. For more than 20 years, I’ve studied every aspect of menopause. I’ve even written two bestselling books about it. Let me be quite clear where I stand on the use of hormones issue. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) is far and away your best choice as a means of preventing and clearing agonising female symptoms, whether connected with menstruation, perimenopause or menopause.

STEP ONE—GET SAVVY

suringe-hrtFirst learn the difference between synthetic hormone replacement therapy, using drug-based HRT, and Bioidentical—natural—hormone treatments. Then act on what you learn. When the media, medical doctors and so-called “experts” tell you must take HRT, they are referring to synthetic hormones—drugs. This can be anything and everything from conjugated estrogens to estradiol, synthetic progesterone known as Progestin and all the rest. These pharmaceutical drugs can come in the form of tablets, injections, capsules, implants. or creams.

When I write about bioidentical hormone replacement (BHRT)—also known as “hormone balance therapy”, I am talking about exact copies of the natural endogenous human hormones that exist in your body. These are duplicates of the natural biochemicals your body makes. BHRT comes as a single natural hormone—such as natural progesterone—or in a combination formula which includes naturally compounded biochemicals such as pregnenolone, DHEA, testosterone, progesterone, estriol or estradiol. It comes in any form from oral, cream, or pellet to injection. Synthetic hormones used in conventional HRT like progestin and ethinyl/setradiol cannot help protect your body from cancers, stroke, and heart disease as well as other diseases related to inflammation and early aging. Bioidentical hormones can.

Bioidentical hormone therapy is a whole new paradigm in healing—as different as day and night from HRT synthetic hormones. Chronic inflammation in your body is both an effect and a cause of diseases associated with aging, including many other illnesses. Balancing and optimising your hormones naturally helps quell dangerous inflammation, especially if you are also getting good nutrition, taking the best nutritional supplements and getting regular exercise. This can bring you amazing improvements in your overall health and wellbeing physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. As world expert on bioidentical hormone replacement says, “We age because our hormones decline… our hormones don’t decline because we age.” Treating even minor hormone deficiencies can improve the quality of your life dramatically using bioidentical hormones most needed by your unique body—be they testosterone, DHEA, estrogens, pregnenolone, progesterone, vitamin D3, or melatonin.

STEP TWO—FACE YOUR CHALLENGES

natural-menopauseBHRT can vastly improve the quality of a woman’s life so she has more vitality, better relationships and connections with people. A hormone deficiency in a woman’s body is no joke. Identified, addressed and treated, this can increase your focus and confidence, and bring you a more positive drive and outlook, as well as greater ability to discover and fulfill your life’s purposes.

When your body is deficient in optimal hormone levels, here are some of the symptoms you can suffer as a result of hormone deficiency.

  • Tender, swollen breasts
  • sleep problems
  • fibrocystic breasts
  • mood swings
  • hair loss
  • frustration and anger
  • depression
  • brain fog
  • anxiety
  • excessive and/or breakthrough bleeding

By treating or preventing these symptoms through the intelligent use of BHRT this can transform suffering into some great life benefits:

  • healthy sleep
  • better fat metabolism
  • good muscle strength
  • smoother younger looking skin
  • improved metabolic rate
  • becoming calm and confident
  • enhanced fertility
  • breast cancer protection, enhanced libido
  • reduction in depression
  • neuroprotection
  • cardioprotection
  • better energy levels

STEP THREE—SHUN SYNTHETIC HRT

shun-the-syntheticsIf you are between the ages of 35 and 55, here are important truths you need to know. First, female suffering can often start long before you enter menopause—sometimes as long as 10 years before. Second, conventional guidance from your doctor in regard to helping you accomplish this is likely to be useless. Why? You see, most doctors know little or nothing about the benefits of bioidentical hormone therapy. This is often not their fault. They were never taught about BHRT in medical school. What they have been taught consists primarily of information from pharmaceutics companies whose purpose is to sell synthetic hormones in the form of drugs—HRT. Doctors are continually lobbied by Big Pharma, whose representatives visit them in their offices to tell them all about the “latest breakthrough” in new synthetic products designed to alleviate symptoms of everything from reflux to endometriosis. Try asking your doctor about bioidentical treatment. He is more than likely to reply with something like this: “It has never been proven that natural hormones work better than conventional drug-based HRT.” Doctors are busy people. Few have the time or take the trouble to research the latest studies which show that there can be serious consequences in putting women on longterm conventional HRT, such as increased risk of breast cancer. For example, when 80,377 postmenopausal women were put onto synthetic HRT then followed for 8 years, researchers discovered they had a 69% increased risk of getting breast cancer. Nor does the average doctor know that using natural progesterone plus estrogen eliminates this increased risk. It can also lead to a significant reduction in breast cancer.

STEP FOUR—CHECK YOUR HORMONES

check-your-hormonesIt’s important to be clear that there are always risks using any hormones. Howewver the risks of not using the safe, natural hormones or trying to live with a hormone deficiency can be much greater. And, because of the power that multinational corporations now exert in an attempt to suppress use of natural medicines, so many bioidentical hormones—that even ten years ago were widely available—are no longer in many countries. This is a pity, especially when it comes to the use of the simplest, and in many ways most effective natural hormone of all—progesterone cream. In some countries, including the Unites States, it is still available without prescription. This is not the case in Britain, Australia, or New Zealand. Yet so useful is this particular bioidentical hormone that it is a great place to start if you are looking for help and want to explore for yourself what it can do for you.

The good news is that, in most countries, there are some excellent women’s organizations that can help you find it. A typical 2 oz jar of natural progesterone cream, which contains between 900-1000 milligrams of this bioidentical progesterone, is available as a “cosmetic” and can be imported from another country as such. Good women’s organizations can also be useful if you want to locate a doctor who is savvy about bioidentical hormone therapy or if you want to have your hormone levels checked so you will know what, if any, specific natural hormones may be most appropriate for your body’s needs. Below, you will find connections you can make with responsible organizations that can help in various countries. Make use of them.

STEP FIVE—YOUR NEXT MOVE

natural-hormonesA word of warning: In case you think that you can use hormones to solve every problem in your life, it’s time to think again. BHRT can indeed be enormously helpful in managing stress, weight gain, brain fog, and a hundred other female troubles, but it is by no means the total answer to high-level health and freedom from suffering. What else matters? Your deciding to eat only organic foods. Learn also how to make use of the incredible power that natural herbs and plants can bring for increasing energy, self-esteem, banishing hot flushes and overcoming menstrual, perimenopausal and menopausal issues. In two weeks I will be publishing a third newsletter to cover how you can benefit greatly in other natural ways. Look for it. Make use of the information you’ll find there. This will be your third step towards experiencing an ideal menopause, protecting yourself from early aging and learning how to look and feel your best no matter what your age. Don’t miss it!

Meanwhile, check out these places for help and advice:

*** WOMEN’S INTERNATIONAL PHARMACY

www.womensinternational.com/
This is the organization I respect most. They can connect you with doctors trained in bioidentical hormone treatment, bring you access to effective hormone testing procedures, and about anything else you might want to know about the many forms of natural hormones and how to use them.

NaturalMenopauseAdviceService

www.nmas.org.uk/about.htm

Natural Progesterone Advisory Service

www.npis.info
in the UK

Natural Progesterone Advisory Network

www.natural-progesterone-advisory-network.com
in Australia

Finally, if you want to make use of a natural progesterone cream on your own, in most countries in the world you can order one at very low cost from iHerb in the United States. These creams tend to be treated by customs as a “cosmetic” in most countries, so there is seldom any problem importing them to your country. This is an inexpensive and potentially powerful option for you to experiment with.

Here’s the one I recommend:

Source Naturals, Natural Progesterone Cream, 4 oz

Source Naturals Natural Progesterone Cream features natural progesterone USP from soy. Our Progesterone Cream is guaranteed to contain 500 mg of progesterone per ounce and 22 mg per 1/4 teaspoon.

Order Source Naturals, Natural Progesterone Cream from iherb

How to use it:

Massage 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of cream twice daily into smooth skin areas such as the wrists, inner arms or thighs, throat, abdomen or chest. Premenopausal women use for 14 days prior to the first day of menstruation, discontinue and repeat. Menopausal and postmenopausal women use for 21 days, discontinue for 7 days and repeat. These are general recommendations only and may need to be modified for individual needs. Please consult your health care professional for specific situations.

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http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/5-steps-ideal-menopause-part-2/feed/ 0 suringe-hrt natural-menopause shun-the-synthetics check-your-hormones natural-hormones progesterone-cream
Beware Of HRT http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/beware-hrt/ http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/beware-hrt/#comments Sun, 19 Apr 2015 21:27:36 +0000 http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/?p=2358 In the grip of insane materialism, and controlled by the intense power of pharmaceutical companies, doctors who once practiced from a genuine passion to help heal are being forced to surrender their autonomy to a brutal overuse of dangerous chemical agents. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the “treatment” of menstrual and menopausal symptoms through the prescribing of HRT. In many ways, conventional medicine has disintegrated into a high-tech nightmare since the turn of the century. It has become controlled by the unbridled greed of corporations and government bodies who have only one goal in mind: Profit. The selling of drugs capable of producing massive side effects fails to deliver genuine healing. They do not address fundamental causes of illness. They only mask symptoms and in the process can poison your body long-term.

Meanwhile, conventional health care has become so expensive that none but the top 0.1% of the population can afford it. Hundreds of thousands of people die each year as a result of using patented medicine. It is time for a radical overhaul in how we choose to treat health and healing. Nowhere is this more urgently needed than in addressing the way women’s issues are treated before, during and after menopause. Drug-based synthetic estrogens, progestins and progestogens prescribed in the form of HRT are dangerous and, used long-term, may even be life-threatening.

RADICAL REVISION IS DUE

hrt-revolutionOnce dazzled by high-tech medical intervention at birth, we women willingly surrendered our bodies to epidurals, episiotomies and fetal monitoring equipment, which promised pain-free, trouble-free childbirth, but too often delivered problems for mother and baby. Then, inspired by the work of visionary doctors such as Michele Odent, Pierre Vellay and Frederic Leboyer, more and more women began to insist on natural childbirth, breastfeeding and good mother-child bonding. We demanded the right to drug-free childbirth and control over our own bodies. Gradually—not without resistance—doctors, hospitals and government agencies became more willing to provide this in response to the demands of us ordinary women, who kept insisting there is a better way. It’s we women ourselves who brought to fruition the natural childbirth revolution. Now it’s time for another revolution—that women’s reproductive and post-reproductive health be naturalized. It’s time we refused to swallow the nonsensical propaganda about the glories of drug-based HRT that continues to be forced upon us by the powers-that-be, and the media.

LET TRUTH BE TOLD

hrt-deathIt’s time for us to begin challenging the “wisdom” of established medical practices. Time for us to dismiss the widespread propaganda which accompanies the sale of HRT. The indiscriminate doling out of potent drug-based hormones can undermine a woman’s fertility as well as trigger the development of her menstrual agonies from PMS and endometriosis to cancer of the breast and womb. The current attempt to make every woman a “patient” for most of her life by subjecting her to drug treatment through HRT is a way of diminishing her personal power and taking away control over one’s own body. I believe these practices to be biologically, politically and morally reprehensible.

As Dr Jonathan Wright, Medical Director of Tahoma Clinic in Washington—and long-time advocate of bio-identical, natural hormones—says, “Replacing estrogen that your body is no longer producing with the versions found in conventional HRT is like replacing parts designed for a Chevy with those made for a Mercedes. They may be roughly the same, but with both engine parts and biology, very precise measurements matter.”

NEW FACTS

In 2002, researchers called a halt to a huge government- run study of HRT therapy used by millions of women under the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) when researchers discovered that long-term use of synthetic estrogen and progestin significantly increased women’s danger of stroke, blood clots, heart disease and invasive breast cancer in these women.

Soon after, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published another study, showing that women who take a combination of synthetic estrogen and progestin are at high risk of getting a highly aggressive form of breast cancer. Meanwhile, other studies showed that HRT increases the risk of Alzheimer’s dementia and asthma. Then in 2010 more new research discovered that combined estrogen-progestin HRT increases the risk for more severe forms of breast cancer as well as increasing women’s chances of dying, from the disease and from other causes.

This is but a tiny sampling of the research that continues to appear since the turn of the millennium, strongly exposing serious consequences from believing the hype for HRT and choosing to allow such synthetic chemicals into your body.

CALL TO ACTION

hrt-depressionThere is mounting dissatisfaction among women themselves. Many women write to me about this. They continue to be told that HRT is the only answer to mid-life depression, hot flushes, loss of sexual appetite and early aging. Women are by no means stupid, provided they have not been brainwashed by a media who these days toe the corporate party line in our chaotic world on the verge of unnecessary wars waged by insane governments. Women are smart. We know in our gut that such advice goes against our deepest intuition. Now is the time for us to stand up, band together, and make sure our voices are heard.

For a long time, menstruation was talked about as a disease. Now it’s menopause which is treated as the biggest “crisis” demanding extreme medical treatment. Why? And because HRT is a billion dollar business, magazines and the internet are full of “reassuring” information about how “beneficial” and “necessary” are the synthetic hormones in the form of HRT given to women. You’ll find all sorts of soft-sounding names of organisations eager to give you such advice. They too are not to be trusted. Why? Because many conveniently toe the party line, like much of the media—choosing to minimize the dangers of HRT, under the guidance of strong control and direction from profit-seeking corporations.

In the USA now, half of menopausal women are still using synthetic hormones, having been told that HRT is the only possible answer for alleviating their suffering during a time of profound change in their lives. Pharmaceutical companies forecast that, within the next decade, 75% of menopausal and post-menopausal women will be on HRT for the rest of their lives. A few loud voices still insist that HRT is “the most important advance in this half of the century”, proselytizing that taking hormone drugs can safeguard a woman’s bones and heart as well as keep her eternally young. None of these claims have been adequately proven, while many—including the notion that HRT can be used as a youth treatment—are blatantly false.

SOME GOOD NEWS

alternative-natural-hrtDespite our being asked to believe that HRT is both a miracle of modern science and an essential treatment for menopausal women, there is much evidence that, once the immediate flush of excitement of a new treatment is over, most women’s experience of using HRT does not back up these assertions. Many who start HRT initially experience a kind of euphoria, primarily because the one thing that estrogen replacement gets rid of almost immediately is the hot flushes that can disturb your sleep and contribute to exhaustion. But the hot flushes return as soon as they come off it. And significant numbers of women report that, a few months later, their experience of HRT has worsened dramatically, because of side-effects it can engender including mood swings, decreased control over the bladder, fatigue, headaches, and many other miserie that have developed since they began taking it.

Some of the most common complaints I hear from women who have used prolonged HRT include migraines, bleeding, depression, water retention, increased blood pressure, weight gain, thrush, breast problems, varicose veins and chest pains. A Swedish survey in the university town of Linkoping showed that 48% of women who go on HRT stop taking the drug within a year. A British study examined the reasons most commonly given by women who give up HRT after starting the treatment: Half of these women stopped taking it because of side-effects, about one-fifth because they were advised to do so by their doctors, and about one-third either because they are afraid of long-term consequences such as cancer, or because HRT has shown itself to be ineffective in significantly helping them.

THE ROAD AHEAD

So where do we go from here? A woman’s hormonal system, with all its ebbs and flows, which parallel those of the earth’s tides and the moon itself, acts as an interface between her emotional life and her body. Mess with her hormones and you may even undermine her ability to grow spiritually. There are better, natural ways of handling them.

In the next six weeks I will be sharing them with you. I will be writing another three articles—every other week—at www.lesliekenton.com. They will address the most important issues in relation to handling menopause naturally. Here are some of the issues I’ll be writing about:

  • What is natural Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) all about?
  • How does it work?
  • How is it different from pharmaceutical HRT?
  • What causes hot flushes and how can you clear them naturally?
  • Can BHRT be useful in managing stress?
  • How is your hormone balance related to diet, lifestyle and attaining optimal health?
  • Are there specific herbal remedies that work to counter premenopausal, menopausal and post menopausal issues ?

Be sure to join me—every other week—at www.lesliekenton.com. I look forward to connecting with you and hearing back from you about your own experiences, as well as receiving your comments and questions while you are reading this important series, which I am passionate about sharing with you.

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How Foods Change Your Consciousness http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/foods-change-consciousness/ http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/foods-change-consciousness/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 22:50:05 +0000 http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/?p=2348 Did you know that biochemical changes brought about by the things you eat can affect your brain and alter consciousness dramatically? So much is this true that foods can produce imaginary fears and even hallucinations. But, as a result of several generations of psychologically-oriented doctors influenced by Freudian theories, only recently have we begun to chart the exact mechanisms of how the foods you eat can have such a powerful effect—both positive and negative—on your brain. You need to know about this. It matters enormously.

YOUR CONTROL CENTER

controll-centerYour brain is the center of thought, emotion, mood, perception, drive and memory. Few people are aware that your brain is also the control center for an abundance of important hormones and other neurochemicals responsible for changing the way you think and feel. Joy, paranoia, even despair are thanks to the delicate balance or imbalance of these important chemical substances that come from our foods. If, as many researchers now know, we can influence this without causing adverse side effects—such as those which result from the use of tranquilizers, antidepressants, drugs or sleeping pills—we are able to exercise enormous control over destructive moods and feelings, and to increase our enjoyment of life tremendously.

Here’s the biggest surprise: Nothing is more powerful in influencing all of this than making very careful choices about the foods that you eat. Because each one of us is unique, this is highly individual. Some foods work beautifully for us, other foods are absolutely destructive.

CHOOSE YOUR FOODS CAREFULLY

food-sensitiveFood sensitivities were once uncommon. Now they’ve become so widespread that nutritionally-trained doctors estimate between 70 and 90% of us experience symptoms associated with food reactions, although few of us realize what is taking place. There are major reasons for this exponential rise in food reactions: First, our immune systems are increasingly challenged by the presence of chemical and energetic pollution in the environment. Next, our massive consumption of convenience foods has rendered large segments of the population deficient in minerals and vitamins, which would once have helped protect us from sensitivity reactions. And the packaged foods on which most of us live these days are chock-full of the foods highest on the list of reactive substances, such as cow’s milk products including cow’s cheese, milk, and yoghurt; wheat, grains and cereals; junk fats and chemical additives. As a result, your body’s enzymes, whose job it is to digest milk products and grains—and protect you from chemical pollution—have become gravely overtaxed. So you can become addicted to a food to which your body reacts negatively, without realizing it’s the very act of eating that has caused your addiction.

HOW IT WORKS

alcoholicLet me explain. When you are sensitive to a food or chemical you react negatively on first contact, although it sometimes takes a day or two to experience the negative reaction. But if you eat or drink this food again and again, so that you are continually exposed to it, this negative reaction—together with the symptoms it produces—becomes “masked”. It’s very much like the alcoholic who feels OK so long as he has a drink in his hand. Then, when alcohol is withdrawn from him, he goes “cold turkey” and feels terrible. If you stop eating a food (or drinking the alcohol) to which your body reacts negatively, WHAM—you get withdrawal symptoms, just as the alcoholic does when he or she is deprived the “fix.”

I’ve seen a lot of this happen to people at the start of the Cura Romana program, especially those who’ve been drinking a lot of coffee or diet sodas, or eating a lot of grains, cereals and sugar-based convenience carbohydrates. Symptoms often include no energy, a bad headache, depression and cravings. Fortunately—thanks to the power of the changes that take place in the brain on Cura Romana—such experiences usually clear within a few days.

ADDICTIONS DESTROY

Experts in clinical ecology have discovered that alcoholism and food reactions share a common cause, common triggers, and a common biochemistry. When you eliminate the foods to which your body is sensitive—those your body literally hates, in fact—false hunger, cravings and addictions completely disappear.

When you’re tired, upset, depressed or anxious without apparent cause, the problem most often results from the kind of foods you’ve been eating. I know this is hard to believe. It is something that most people would never dream of. But this is how potent the effect is that foods can exert upon us. You can not only suffer from food sensitivities and allergies to specific—sometimes even highly nutritious—foods which set your mind and emotions whirling, or make you lose confidence in yourself and blame yourself in negative ways; you can also experience an upset in mineral balance in your body, or low blood sugar.

On the positive side, some foods can be used to alter states of consciousness, improving mood and inducing relaxation. Understanding how the foods you choose to eat can affect your own moods and mental states, and discovering the foods that work for you in a positive way, can be life-changing. But you also need to learn the foods that are destructive to you. This is a highly individual thing, which you learn only by testing your foods.

UNTOLD TRUTHS

depression-girlWhat is hard to believe is that the question of food sensitivities is still met with hostility, even scorn, by most doctors—who, ever since Freud, have been taught that problems such as chronic anxiety, depression, hysteria, psychosomatic illness and other functional disorders arise entirely from psychological factors. It just ain’t true. The work of some brilliant biochemists and psychiatrists such as Dr. Abram Hoffer in Canada, and allergists Dr Ted Randolph and Albert Rowe, as well as British psychiatrist the late Dr. Richard Mackarness, has shown quite clearly that factors in our physical environment—such as chemicals in our foods and water, as well as certain foods themselves—cause mental and emotional symptoms, as well as weight gain and the development of degenerative conditions and rapid aging. They do this by inducing sensitivity or allergic reactions that involve the central nervous system. The study of this phenomenon is called clinical ecology.

SHOCKING SECRETS

For many years, clinical ecologists have tested patients with psychiatric problems, from simple depression and anxiety to schizophrenia and even psychosis, to see if the cause of these things comes from reaction to specific foods. In general, all of us react to certain groups of foods in a negative way, such as manufactured foods; sugar; carbohydrates; packaged and convenience foods. But the more serious food sensitivities and allergies tend to be highly specific to the person experiencing them. The way all of this is tested is quite fascinating. They do this either through a complicated procedure called cytotoxic testing—checking how your blood reacts to specific substances—or by putting you on a fast for five days, then introducing a few drops of water containing the suspected food under your tongue, and charting your reactions. These may include changes in your pulse rate and other physical symptoms, as well as natural shifts of mood or emotional outbursts, indicating that this particular food is the troublemaker.

Reactions vary from person to person. They can be something as simple as a feeling of mental confusion, grief, or fatigue, to as dramatic as a psychopathic outburst in which someone tries to slash his wrists or attack those testing him. Once the offending foods are known—they could be milk, grain, cheese, vodka, sugar, or almost anything—the patient is told to eliminate them from his diet. Provided he does so, his aberrant emotional or mental state does not reoccur. If the allergies are mild, they can sometimes be controlled by a “rotation diet”, in which food intake is carefully planned so that you only eat a particular food once in any four-day period.

Food sensitivities and food allergies are far more common than people realize. Some of the worst offenders are grains, cereals, wheat, milk products, and all convenience and packaged foods. People find that when they exclude these foods completely from their diet, their energy levels increase and their disposition transforms. What is also interesting is the sense that people have of themselves. Whether they trust themselves, and whether they feel good about being who they are, depends tremendously on the foods that they are eating.

HEAVY METALS

heavy-metalHeavy metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium, or too high a concentration of copper—one of the trace minerals necessary for good health—can create interference with the brain and nervous system, as well as the endocrine system, resulting in aberrant emotions. An excess of copper, for instance, can produce hyper-emotionalism, hallucinations, and even psychic experiences for some people. A high level of lead in the body is linked to mental retardation in children and is often a significant factor in over-aggressive behavior. It’s also indicated as a cause of hyperactivity and learning problems in kids. Excess cadmium, from a lifestyle that includes taking several cups of coffee a day, often leads to a low blood-sugar problem, so you feel you need more coffee or something sweet just to keep going. So does eating too many carbohydrates, which themselves turn into sugar. Low blood sugar is common amongst people living on a typical British or American diet.

There are some simple tests to determine mineral balance and the levels of heavy metals in the body. These tests are not foolproof by any means, but they are still valuable. They are often done by burning a small sample of hair cut from the head, and then analyzing its mineral content. If any imbalances are found, they can be corrected by giving chelated minerals and/or by drying out excessive heavy metals from the tissues using natural substances such as pectin, high doses of vitamin C, garlic and kelp.

HOW TO TEST YOUR FOODS

Learn to test your own foods—it’s not hard to do. It’s all about becoming conscious of what your body thrives on and loves, and what it dislikes. In fact, it’s all about honoring yourself and your life. Say, for instance, the first food that you decide to test is cow’s yoghurt. You eat a nice big helping of yoghurt at one meal, then you don’t eat any more yoghurt for 48 hours, and you don’t introduce any other new foods. If, during this period, you find your energy levels have dropped for no apparent reason; you’re ravenously hungry or craving something; your bowels are upset; you feel emotionally unsettled or low; or you develop aches or pains in your body, then you can be pretty sure that your body has reacted badly to the food you have been testing. If, on the other hand, after 48 hours you experience none of these reactions, you can safely assume that the food you have tested can be incorporated into your meals as a food that your body is happy with.

If you do have a negative reaction to the food, it’s important to realize that you haven’t done anything wrong. This is the way you learn about the foods that your body can handle and which you need to stay away from. Of course, it’s important to learn by your body’s unique rules, and test each food one by one. Give thanks to your body if it says “no” to a food. Meanwhile, get plenty of top quality proteins and fresh, green, non-starchy vegetables, no matter what else you’re eating. It’s important to remember that your digestive system is, in truth, your second brain. (See “Secrets of the Second Brain” ) It boasts as many nerve endings as the brain itself. When you eat foods that antagonize these nerve endings, you experience all sorts of physical and emotional states that hold you back. Discovering the foods that work for you is sheer joy. These are foods that you can eat with impunity, without gaining weight or worrying about undermining your health—provided you avoid the foods that you discover your body does not work well with.

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Let’s Break Free Together http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/lets-break-free-together/ http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/lets-break-free-together/#comments Sun, 15 Mar 2015 23:40:49 +0000 http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/?p=2339 It’s easy to get trapped in a prison of your own making and not even realize it. We all do. The bars have been forged out of the worldview we have grown up with. A worldview is not something you sit down and figure out. It is a collection of ideas inherited from your culture, your educational background and what is known as consensus reality—notions about what’s real. A worldview is a package of beliefs learned in childhood that make the world seem coherent. These notions become so deeply ingrained in your thinking that you are usually not even aware of them, yet they define the breadth of your life. They limit your ability to see whatever truly exists around you. A worldview remains unconscious in a culture, yet it governs the judgements we all make as part of that culture.

WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE?

the-mazeHere are just a few of the basic assumptions on which the worldview we have inherited rests. Every statement below is false. Yet we all go on living as if they were true. And we remain imprisoned by them.

  • There is a clear distinction between the objective world around us and our own subjective experience.
  • Mind is a function of the physical brain. It has no existence apart from the body.
  • Our consciousness cannot affect the material world.
  • The only way we can gain knowledge is through our five senses.
  • Psychic gifts such as ESP, out-of-body experiences and near-death experiences are figments of your imagination. They don’t stand up to scientific scrutiny.
  • The universe can be reduced to nothing but a random collection of material particles without meaning.

Whether or not you have read the philosophy or understand the mathematics out of which today’s materialistic worldview has evolved, it nonetheless affects you. And it blinds you completely to your own experience of truth from within. As a result, it blocks freedom, entraps creativity and limits joy.

BEWARE FALSE SCIENCE

enter-new-worldsThroughout history, we humans have constructed hundreds of different methods for describing what is real. These include a wide variety of political systems, moral philosophies and religions which have shaped our worldviews and our history. In the last three centuries, we have relied for our information about what is real not on religion, philosophy, or cosmology as we once did, but rather on the system we call “science”. Since the 17th century, science has pushed aside political and philosophical thinking, religions and mythology to take center stage as the global authority in shaping our worldview.

Since we give such authority to science, it becomes absolutely essential that the science on which we are relying to define consensus reality be up to the task. Today’s so-called science is by no means up to the task. And basing the functioning of a culture on a system of knowledge which is either incomplete or which contains some fundamental flaw in its assumptions means the society based on it will not function properly. As a result, we find ourselves rushing headlong towards a massive dissolution of the political, moral and social structures on which we once relied to orientate our lives and give meaning to our activities. We are now faced with disintegration of the biosphere and degradation of life. Both are happening so dramatically that the ecological destruction around us has become virtually irreversible.

WEEDING OUT THE LIES

There are two basic flaws in the science out of which the 20th century worldview has developed. They form the crossbars of a prison we have unwittingly constructed to limit our freedom by shaping a consensus reality that is too small to serve us. The first is the assumption that we live in a mechanical universe made up of bits and pieces—atoms, protons, neutrons, and what-have-you—which can be taken apart, studied and manipulated to our own advantage, then used to build whatever we want without concern for the effect that it might have. “Science” has almost entirely concerned itself with the parts. It has neglected the whole. It has remained blind to the complex interactions and feedback loops on living systems and the planet as a whole. It has become mechanistic and reductionist.

The more you examine the major problems of our time, the more obvious it becomes that they will never be solved at this level. They are far too interrelated in complex ways for any of them ever to be understood in isolation. World population growth will never be stabilized until poverty is reduced. The devastation to the rainforest and the destruction to thousands of species of plants and animals will continue just as long as developing countries are being crushed under massive debts. Meanwhile, a dearth of natural resources and the degradation of living environments in a world of expanding population are destroying cohesion of local communities, creating ethnic cleansing and absurd religious wars. For us to address such challenges, we need to move beyond the mechanistic, reductionist worldview, reject the bogus science out of which it has developed, and replace it with a more holistic, organic and ecological perspective—one that takes into account these complex interactions.

THE NEW SCIENCE

interconnectedA worldview that fosters human freedom looks at living systems as integrated wholes. It takes into account the interconnectedness of all things. Such an expanded sense of reality has long been held by mystics from every religious tradition in history. They have always insisted that the universe is one. Traditional mystic teachings are reinforced by recent scientific findings in quantum mechanics, systems thinking in biology and leading-edge consciousness research. But all this has by no means filtered down to consensus reality yet.

This expanded worldview is known as the holographic or systemic paradigm, after the work of independent scientists who demonstrate that living organisms are indeed integrated energetic systems within an integrated universe. The tension between mechanism—which developed out of a sense of separation between spirit and matter, form and substance—and holism in contemporary science must be resolved if you are to break out of any self-imposed prison that may be limiting your life. You must be willing for a time to let go of all your preconceived notions about what is real in order for you to explore the wider universe and discover what you have been missing. This is how to begin taking a quantum leap towards freedom.

THE POWER OF CONSCIOUSNESS

explore-realityThe second flaw in the science out of which our current worldview has come is equally huge. Mechanistic science has completely ignored—left out altogether—one critical factor in its description of reality: The power of consciousness. By consciousness I mean both our everyday sense of awareness as well as the vast uncharted realms of expanded awareness, which hold our creative powers, our intuition, our dreams, our spiritual experiences, and our sense of ultimate meaning and values.

Although consciousness is not something you can hold in your hand or draw a picture of, it has enormous power to affect material reality. This is not just an empty statement. Hundreds of researchers throughout the world have carried out multidisciplinary, multicultural research. Their intention has been to map the whole spectrum of the various states of human awareness, including those generally categorized as unconscious and super-conscious. The efforts of researchers involved in consciousness research have converged to form a surprisingly coherent picture of the various states available to men and women and the remarkably different experiences that can come out of each one. They are discovering that the quantum realms—source of creativity, mythology and spiritual experience—can be mapped. This is some mind blowing stuff.

BREAKING THE MOULD

Yet despite all this most of us continue to adhere to the conventions of our society, we keep learning in school, buying the things we are told to buy and trying to make sense of a world while somewhere deep inside we feel that we are imprisoned. We experience very little sense of freedom. When things get really bad it can even seem we are living in a wasteland, a mechanical world without meaning or purpose. In short we have become separated from our own authentic power. We keep buying the goods they tell us to buy, we keep playing the games they tell us to play.

WE ARE NOT SHEEP

human-sheepOur longing for freedom demands that each of us reconnects with our instincts, for instinct is the voice of expanded awareness. In short, it asks that we come home to ourselves. You can do this without drugs, without gurus, without becoming a disciple or having to belong to any privileged group. You can do it regardless of your age, your physical condition or your religious beliefs. Freedom becomes part of your day to day experience as soon as you are willing to:

  • Become an explorer of the multi-dimensional universe in which you live.
  • Recognize, honor and respect the beauty of your soul and give it authentic expression in your life.
  • Allow your worldview to expand until it gets large enough to encompass the whole of reality.
  • Recognize and be willing to let go of the restrictions imposed on you from childhood, religion and education.
  • Develop an abiding friendship with the inhabitants of the multi-dimensional universe in which we make our homes—from the moles and the stars, the grass and the trees, the rocks and the quasars, to the helping spirits who guide, bless and inform us, the muses who inspire us, the angels who shine for us and the maggots who eat away decaying matter so that new life may come forth from old.
  • Begin to build powerful bridges between the rich inner world of consciousness and your day to day existence.
  • Commit yourself to bringing your own unique creations into being.

In its essence, your own path to freedom can bring you home to that sense of bliss and wholeness which we all know should be in our lives but which we often experience only fleetingly. It is an awakening that depends on turning away from all false “science” and rigid convention, and gaining access to the wisdom that lies within you by coming to trust your own unique perceptions and putting it into practice what you discover there.

The world is rapidly changing. We are living in the midst of a revolution in knowledge and vision so vast that nothing like it has ever been experienced by mankind. At last, the scientific view of reality is moving ever closer to the mystics’ cosmology. It is a cosmology often referred to as the perennial philosophy. And it crosses all cultural barriers. These are very challenging but exciting times that we are living in. The bottom line is simple: Are you ready to discover and live your truth no matter what it takes? If so, I’m with you 100%. Let me know then let’s move together towards an experience of freedom we humans have never before known.

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How To Create A Magic Kitchen http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/create-magic-kitchen/ http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/create-magic-kitchen/#comments Sun, 01 Mar 2015 21:07:01 +0000 http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/?p=2326 Your kitchen—big or small—should be treated like an artist’s atelier. It needs to be a place where you can lose yourself in creative play. The kitchen has always been the center of a home. In the past it was the place of fire, of inspiration, warmth and imagination. I remember as a child sitting in front of an old Stanley stove gazing into the flames—filled with delightful visions—while my grandmother canned pears, peaches and green beans for winter. My own kitchen, out of which my High Raw food style developed, is more like a sculptor’s studio than a food preparation station. It is a place where Aaron and I can get together with friends, workmates and family to laugh and talk about serious and trivial stuff while we prepare meals together.

GREAT FUN

kitchen-funYour kitchen should have the atmosphere of freedom in it. Hang quirky things from the ceiling if that inspires you. Put a potted plant where you wouldn’t expect one. Paint cupboard doors in wild colors. Your kitchen should reflect things that delight and amuse you. Ten years ago I bought a gigantic soup ladle, which has hung above my gas hob ever since. It is so big that it would be ideal for a Salvation Army soup kitchen. But it makes me laugh. I like its beautiful shape and am continually amused by the absurdity of its size.

With a well-organized, well equipped kitchen, high raw meals are a pleasure to prepare. But there is nothing more annoying than setting out to make a meal in someone else’s kitchen and spending ages looking for a brush to scrub vegetables only to find that the one you used was the floor brush! Let’s look at some of the tools which are most useful for a raw food gourmet.

MANDOLIN MAGIC

mandolinThe one piece of equipment I would never be without is a mandolin. I prefer the simple plastic ones that sell for a fifth of the price of the expensive stainless steel variety. They have a v-shaped blade into which plastic inserts fit, each of which has different size knives so you can julienne, make chip-size chunks, slice thin or thick. Unlike the conventional grater, which mashes vegetables and fruits when you use it, a mandolin slices them clean and sharp. Be sure to use the hand-protecting device that comes with either model. If you don’t, and I know from experience, what you will end up with is shredded fingers—yours—instead of shredded cabbage.

POWER TOOLS

kitchen-blenderAlthough it is nice to return to nature wherever possible, you have to draw the line somewhere. Using electric equipment takes the tediousness out of chopping vegetables, gives you a greater choice of textures, allows you to make splendid desserts, nut loaves, sauces, soups and whips, and cuts down enormously on preparation time. I find a few simple machines give full rein to my imagination. These are the raw chef’s equivalent of the oven or the microwave. For those who like an “all manual” kitchen I suggest alternatives, but they really are second best.

Apart from a mandolin, the three machines I consider useful are a food processor, a juicer and a blender—in that order. You can get by without a blender because a food processor does many of the same things, but it is useful nonetheless. You can buy appliances which combine the functions of all three, but keeping them separate lets you work on several recipes at the same time and encourages helpers. Choose good strong machines that will stand up to heavy use. If you have a large family, it can be worth investing in catering or industrial models which are sturdier and can cope with larger quantities.

SMOOTH PROCESSING

A good food processor is a blessing to the raw food chef. There are so many remarkable attachments to choose from—a blade, several coarse to fine graters, various slicers and shredders. The blade attachment is excellent for grinding nuts and seeds, wheat and other sprouts, homogenizing vegetables for soups and loaves, and making dressings, dips and desserts such as ice cream. You can do most of these things with a blender, but if your ingredients are gooey they tend to stick around the blade and you spend ages scraping with very little to show for it. The blade in a food processor is removable and easy to scrape, so you lose very little. The grater, slicer and shredder attachments are terrific for making salads. With their help, you can prepare a splendid Whole Meal Salad for four people and have it on the table in ten minutes. Do experiment with all these attachments because, believe it or not, vegetables actually taste different depending on how they are cut up.

YOUR JUICE EXTRACTOR

kitchen-juicerThe most important considerations when buying a juicer are power, capacity and ease of cleaning. The fewer fiddly parts to wash up, the better. Some have a removable strip of plastic gauze in the pulp basket which is helpful in cleaning.

There are basically three types of juicer: the hydraulic press type, the rotating blade type, and the centrifugal type. Some hydraulic presses are hand-operated and therefore less convenient than the electric kind, but some doctors who prescribe raw juices prefer them on the grounds that they reduce the amount of oxidation that takes place when juices are exposed to air. I have all three myself. Centrifugal juicers are best to start with and come in two types: either they are separators, which operate without needing to be constantly cleaned out, or they are batch operators, which have to be cleaned out after every 2lb (roughly a kilo) of material has been juiced. That gives the separator kind the edge when it comes to convenience; they expel leftover pulp rather than fill up with it. But they tend not to extract juice as efficiently as the batch operator kind. If you decide on a batch juicer, look for a large capacity model which does not require emptying too often. It can be infuriating working with a machine that insists on being cleaned out after juicing only two glasses when you are juicing for six people. One other thing to check before buying a juicer is the size of the hole through which you feed your vegetables and fruits. Some are really too small and it can be a real drag to have to cut carrots and beetroots lengthwise.

A POWER BLENDER

There is not much to choose between blenders except their power. You will need one of at least 400 watts (anything less will be unable to cope). My favorite has attachments for grating, chopping, kneading etc. which are very useful. Glass models are preferable to plastic, as plastic tends to stain and look tatty very quickly. Look for one that has a removable blade (the base unscrews) for ease of cleaning. I own three and they are all Vita Mix because they go on and on, and will do just about everything with ease.

OTHER GADGETS

Two other devices I find useful are an electric citrus fruit juicer and a lettuce spin-drier. The citrus juicer has a central rotating cone onto which you press your halved grapefruits, oranges and lemons. Very quick and easy. There is nothing to stop you juicing citrus fruits in a centrifuge juicer, but you need to peel them first. The lettuce spin-drier is a great invention. There are several types, but my favorite is a basket which fits into a container with holes in the bottom and has a lid with a spinning cord. You put the whole contraption in the sink, put your lettuce or greens into the basket, put the lid on, run water slowly through the hole in the lid and pull the spinning cord. This spins the basket and expels the water, in theory cleaning and drying the greens. In practice they need to be rinsed before you put them in the basket, but by spinning you get beautifully crisp non-watery leaves very quickly.

BACK TO BASICS

lemon-squeezerA few other gadgets can be helpful if you cannot afford or have basic objections to electrical equipment. But you will be more limited in the number of textures and recipes you can prepare.

  • A sturdy grater—the box type with a fine, medium and coarse face, and a face for grating nutmeg and ginger.
  • Hand coffee grinder—for rendering down nuts, seeds and spices.
  • Meat mincer—the sort you screw to the table, with coarse and fine cutters; good for grinding grains, seeds, nuts and sprouts.
  • A strong stainless steel sieve—for rubbing soft fruits through or extracting the juice from finely grated vegetables.
  • Hand hydraulic juicer
  • A stainless steel “mouli” rotary grinder—with coarse and fine grater inserts; quite effective for juicing finely grated fruit or vegetables.
  • Pestle and mortar—for grinding herbs, spices, flowers, etc.
  • A lemon squeezer
  • Wire salad basket—the sort you swing maniacally round your head in the garden.

RAZOR SHARP

kitchen-knifeOf primary importance to raw food preparation are good knives and a good chopping board. At least two knives are essential, a large one for tackling spinach leaves, onions, carrot sticks and so on, and a smaller one for more delicate jobs. The best knives are made from carbon steel. Some enthusiasts disapprove of carbon steel because, unlike stainless steel, it encourages oxidation of cut surfaces, but I prefer them, for although stainless steel knives look nice they do not keep their edges as well and a sharp edge is important for creating beautiful salads. If none of your knives will cut a tomato without squashing it, then they need sharpening! A good sharpener is worth investing in.

CHOPPING BLOCK

Good chopping boards are hard to find. Either they lose their pretty patterns with repeated chopping, or they warp when they get wet, or they are not large enough to slice an orange on without most of the juice running over the edge. Find a decent sized wooden chopping board if you can, with runnels around the edge. Look in a professional chef’s shop for the biggest you can find. Here is my solution to the problem. When I had a new kitchen installed I kept some big leftover pieces of Formica covered board. You can prepare a salad—or leave the chopped vegetables—on one end, and the peelings on the other. If it’s big enough, it can fit over the sink so you can drop the peelings into a waste bowl underneath.

EARTHY VESSELS

All told, the high-raw chef uses very few utensils—there are no enormous pots and pans to go in and out of the oven or to wash up. Choose dishes and platters made of inert or natural substances—glass, earthenware and wood rather than plastic and metal. Avoid all things made of aluminum. Aluminum is highly active. When it comes into contact with the acids in some raw foods, such as tomatoes, it can be bleached out and end up in the food producing heavy metal poisoning over time.

Here are some of the other things you find in my own kitchen.

  • A special “vegetables only” scrubbing brush
  • A large colander, with feet so that it can stand in the sink to drain
  • Bread pans (preferably glass) for making vegetable loaves
  • Flat boards or trays for making sweet treats
  • Ice cube trays
  • A garlic chopper—achieves much better and quicker results than a pestle and mortar or a garlic press
  • Scissors for cutting up fresh herbs such as chives, parsley, mint and so on
  • Salad bowls of different shapes and sizes
  • Soup plates, fairly wide and deep, for individual “dish salads”
  • Salad platters—you can create attractive banquet-like effects by serving crudités arranged on a large platter, perhaps one with several compartments for dips
  • Several pairs of salad servers
  • A large pitcher for drinks, and a strainer

PRESERVING LIFE

kitchen-jarsIt is important to store living foods carefully so they stay alive. I keep my seeds, pulses and grains in sealed polythene bags or airtight glass jars. Empty sweet jars make useful storage containers, as do the plastic tubs. But glass is always best. Always cover salads as soon as you have prepared them, even if it is only for ten minutes while you prepare the rest of the meal, to protect from wilting.

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The Beauty Of Being Who You Are http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/the-beauty-of-being-who-you-are/ http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/the-beauty-of-being-who-you-are/#comments Mon, 16 Feb 2015 19:37:48 +0000 http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/?p=2314 To be beautiful, you must be who you are. Because who you are is far more creative, vital, and powerful than anything or anyone you might try to be. It’s a fundamental truth too often forgotten. Still we live in a world that teaches us, however unwittingly, that whatever we are is not as good as what we should or could be. It tells us that we need someone or something outside ourselves to give our lives meaning. All of which is utter hogwash. You’ll never fulfill the magnificence and uniqueness of who you are by following convention, bowing down to some guru or following somebody else’s rules. The truth about YOU lies within your own body—your own being. And there has never been a better time to uncover it than right now.

SEDUCTION BY ILLUSION

seduction-by-illusionThe media is full of programs, articles, advertisements, and imperatives that urge you to “be a better lover”, “wear this fashion,” “make more money”. It is an amazing game. It keeps selling dresses, books, and automobiles because it keeps people wanting. But, in the process, it creates enormous misery and dissatisfaction as we look outside ourselves for yardsticks to measure ourselves by. This is because, no matter how well it works, the “want-need-get” game obscures one really important truth: What you need to experience wholeness, meaning and joy is not “out there,” “one day,” or “if I only had…” It does not need to be bought, sought, seduced, or copied. It already exists right here, right now, inside of you. It simply needs to be discovered within you and then lived out.

CONQUERING CONFLICT

the-female-mysteryA woman is, in reality, two women. The first, the outer woman, is a collection of physical characteristics, habits of speech and movement, and ways of thinking and of expressing her essential being. This outer part is the result of past experience, conditioning, and values—either your own or, more often, those given you by your family, educational background, and society, plus a great many preconceived ideas you have about who you are and what you can and can’t do. The outer woman comes in many different forms. She may be conventionally attractive, plain, sexy, dynamic, withdrawn, aggressive, apparently assured, or terribly uncertain about herself.

And for each outer woman, there is also an inner counterpart, an individual self that is utterly unique. This stable center of strength and growth, your inner core, sees the world in its own way, has its own needs, desires, and its own brand of creativity, and is a law unto itself. Your core holds the power to create, change, build, and nurture. The outer woman is little more than the vehicle for what your essential being creates.

THE OUTER AND THE INNER

outer-innerWhen your essential being is allowed free expression, a woman can be truly beautiful without the need for artificiality or imitation, concealment, or excessive adornment. Her body will be strong and well, her skin clear and healthy, and her movements, speech, and actions will radiate a kind of vitality that is unmistakably charismatic, because it is real—an outward expression of who she truly is. Often, though, the inner and the outer woman have diverged so that there is conflict. The inner truth of a woman can be particularly clear and direct while her outer expression is a mass of confusion in how she dresses, speaks, acts, and looks. Usually this is because she is stifled by false ideas of how she is supposed to be, think, act, dress, and look. Where there is no free channel for expression of your essence, there is much disharmony. Eventually both your health and beauty will suffer. Perhaps even more importantly, you will probably feel you lack identity—have no firm idea of who you are or what you want.

TRUTH FROM YOUR ESSENCE

Discovering the power of your essential being and learning to live from it involves transformation. This process can be tremendously exciting. Sometimes this can also be challenging, for it means peeling away the superfluous mechanical façades we all collect—the ways of appearing and acting that have little to do with who we really are, but that have come to seem safe and secure. But this transformative process can be thrilling, too. You needn’t look for a specific end result to justify it. In short, being beautiful is being authentic. It is all about becoming who you really are.

  • Begin by letting yourself become aware that you are someone quite different from everyone else in the world. To some women who have never experienced this awareness before, this can seem scary at first. Others will find it is something they have known all along without ever putting it into words. Still others will accept the notion as self-evident.
  • When you are relaxed yet alert, nonproductive thought patterns and habits loosen their hold, as do common interfering emotions such as anxiety and fear, so you are better able to hear your inner voice. Listen to it. Let it be your guide in matters of taste and in decisions you have to make. Most of us have been programmed to listen not to ourselves but to Mommy’s interjected voice, or Daddy’s voice, or the voice of the Establishment, of the Elders, of authority or of tradition. Instead, begin to explore how you feel about something or what you really want.
  • Take a look at the ideas, behavior patterns, or assumptions about yourself and your life that might be blocking your free expression. These mechanical patterns of thinking and behaving are usually unconscious. They come in many forms. They can be ideas you hold about yourself such as “I am physically weak,” or “I can’t wear my hair back because my nose is too big,” or “I will never be slender,” or “I am too old to change”; or they can be even more deeply embedded notions such as “I can never do anything right,” or “I am only a woman.” When you become aware of these notions and the power they hold over you, you will see that many of them are little more than habitual assumptions with no basis in fact, and you will gradually find them falling away so that you are more free to be whatever you want to be.
  • Whatever you happen to be doing, try letting yourself experience it fully. Get involved in an event, action, or project in the way a child would—wholeheartedly. Whether you are peeling potatoes, enjoying music, scrubbing floors, planning work, making love, or eating, let yourself be absorbed, forgetting everything else for the moment. When you are wholly and fully human—your essential being is being set free. These are times which all of us experience, and there is a real delight in this kind of involvement. It silences the usually worried thoughts and concerns that tend to sap your energy and make every event less interesting than it should be. This ability of complete involvement is a key to enormous vitality. At such times, little of you is wasted on anxiety about the past or future, or meaningless and unproductive worry about yourself and others.
  • Explore new ways of doing things instead of mechanically following the same old patterns. Risk being different from the rest—your own natural way of living, thinking, dressing, working may be unique from the way you have been trained to do these things. Your opinions may differ greatly from those of people around you. Be courageous about seeing things your own way and dare to be different in what you say and do when you feel different.
  • Be as honest as you can. Telling the truth has great power. Most of us lean far too much in the direction of being diplomatic and discreet. Many women tend too often to adjust their opinions and answers to fit in with the opinions of others. This leads to a sense of confusion where one is not really sure what one thinks. When you answer something honestly, when you do and say what you want instead of what you think is asked of you, it makes you aware that you are responsible for yourself. This in turn leads towards further freedom, creativity and truth.
  • Take a look at any roles you find yourself playing. There are dozens—the “intelligent woman,” the “woman to be reckoned with,” the “shy violet,” the “sexy lady”‘ and so forth. Some of them may be appropriate to what you want from other people; others are not only irrelevant but also sap energy that could otherwise be used effectively. The more you are aware of them, the freer you will become from the hold they have over you, and the more you will be able to discover who you are and what you are about. The other thing about roles in relation to beauty is that no role that any woman plays (no matter how delightful) comes anywhere near being as exciting, vital, and fulfilling as the truth of what she is at her core. And gradually beginning to peel away the roles by becoming aware of them is one way of discovering this.
  • Pay attention to any peak experiences in which you perceive the world as a whole and everything as being right. Everyone has these occurrences, but many of us do not articulate them and so they happen and then are forgotten or ignored. The occurrence of these small moments of joy can be tremendously enriching. They temporarily set you free from habitual ways of thinking and behaving that tend to stifle your creativity. Look for peak experiences and enjoy them when they come. They can be useful as guidelines to decision making from day to day.
  • Finally, work out what you want and then go get it. Whatever you work for, work hard and wholeheartedly. This brings a sense of self-reliance and frees a lot of otherwise frustrated energy for constructive use.

These things have always been very important to living my own life. They still are. I would love to hear from you about your experience with all of this, if you would like to share it with me.

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The Sound Of Silence http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/sound-silence/ http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/sound-silence/#comments Sun, 08 Feb 2015 03:06:36 +0000 http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/?p=2306 Silence. Solitude. These words strike fear into the post-modern heart. We forget the power of escaping for a time into sanctuary, of listening to our breath, the sound of the wind in the trees, or the heartbeat of the earth. There are too many phone calls to be made, meetings to attend, children’s noses to wipe, newspapers to read. Yet solitude has much to teach us.

NEW WORLDS AWAIT

waterfall-new-worldsIt takes courage to become a learner again. It asks that you trust enough in life to drop for a time all you know (or think you know) and retreat for a day, a week, even only half an hour just to be—quietly receptive to whatever arises from within or around you: the intense blue of a tiny flower which sears your senses burning away every concern for daily life; a wild thought—and where did that come from? The fragrance of cinnamon sprinkled on a bowl of homemade yogurt. Such things go unnoticed unless we spend enough time alone to experience them.

The word “alone” was once treated as two words: all one. To be all one meant to be wholly oneself—all of one piece. This is the great gift of sanctuary. Practiced daily, silence and solitude heal confusion and mend the frazzled nerves that riddle modern life. Getting away from it all to sit on a rock or at a window and gaze at the sky, or look into the dance of our own mind, helps you come home to yourself. It allows the magnificent wildness of your intrinsic being to converse with your rational side.

HEAR THE CALL FROM WITHIN

call-from-withinTake a dozen steps into the solemn silence of a rainforest or simply of your own body. As you enter this mysterious twilight, you are immersed in past and future. You become part of a primeval world where all life feeds upon itself in a perfect balance of dark accord. You can watch as the whole history of creation is being played out before you, around you, beneath you and you feel part of it. Here, the profusion of plants, insects, fungi, and the bacteria they contain is wild power in its most concentrated form. Our rainforests are the main repository of the earth’s gene pool. They are a source of almost infinitely rich morphic fields which have evolved over billions of years. They are also the most important natural resource we have. Wild virgin land carries a spiritual power which makes not only the human soul but the soul of plants and animals, rocks and mountains sing. Rainforests offer the living organisms of our planet a high degree of primordial life energy necessary for the perpetuation of their life. So it is within your own body. You not only live in the universe. You are the universe—the rainforest, the stars and the moon, the seas and the rocks and the sky. They are not only outside of you; they are within each one of us. This is a secret which few have as yet discovered. For we humans have, literally for eons, been trained to think of ourselves as less than what in truth we are—holders of immense creativity and compassion—able to do whatever we long to do at the deepest levels of our being.

DISCOVERY BEGINS HERE

I am asking you to put aside ten minutes of every day in which you enter the sanctuary of your own being to sit or walk in silence. Let yourself to become aware of how silence acts upon you. Is this something you are comfortable with, or something you try to avoid? Can you sense that there is a richness here that you have not yet tapped?

The magnificence and the wonder of the rainforest lies not only in its beauty, but in the ordered splendor of its wildness. It is a wildness which you can palpably feel as you walk beneath its dark canopy of life. Making my way amidst the tangled vines which drip with moisture in this living sea of a thousand shades of green has always filled me with wonder, and made me realize just how far we have moved away from experiencing our own wildness in our urbanized, self-centered, mechanistic 21st century world. It makes me conscious of how desperately we need to reconnect with the creativity, power and wildness in ourselves, learn to trust it and live our lives from our own unique individual truths.

INTENTION AND REALIZATION

silence-anywhereEnergy always follows your intention. In shamanic practices most often we use a drum or a rattle to expand consciousness. I love the sound of the drum and the rattle yet I often journey into expanded realms by way of silence alone. I love simply focusing my intention, on whatever purpose I have chosen to follow, then allowing it to unfold, without having to rely on anything external. I believe it’s important that each of us develops this skill—otherwise we can end up like Dumbo when his friend the mouse gave him a feather to hold in his trunk as a talisman to make him believe that he could fly. The little floppy-eared elephant was under the mistaken belief that it was the feather that held the power to fly, when truly it lay within himself. The feather was only a reminder of this. And it was only when he accidentally dropped it that he discovered the truth. This is what you too will be discovering as you journey into the sacred silence. It takes a little practice, but the practice itself is fascinating, and there is no right or wrong way to go about it. It is all a question of living in the moment and allowing yourself to become aware of what is happening within and around you.

HERE’S HOW

  • Sit or lie comfortably, watching your breath go in and out of your body. Become aware of the way your breath moves. Is it cooler as you feel it come in through your nose? Warmer when it is exhaled?
  • Now become conscious of your body. Allow any muscle tension simply to sink into the floor beneath you so that you feel deeply connected with the earth.
  • Whenever you are ready, state your intention for your journey into expanded awareness. It might be to restore your energy, to discover more about the nature of reality, to awaken your creative power, connect with the world of nature, or any other desire you have just now.
  • · You do all this silently.
  • Now gently repeat your intention again and again, until you begin to sense a shift away from your thinking mind into your feeling heart.
  • This can take you to a place of absolute stillness.
  • Let yourself to go deep, deep, deeper within. Allow yourself to follow all the way back through time.
  • Let yourself experience your connectedness with the wild evolutionary power that burst forth at the birth of the universe, if you will.
  • This power is your power. You are the universe, just as the universe is you.
  • What does it feel like? Exciting? Wonderful? Crazy? Wild?
  • It is all these things as you are.
  • Then, when you are ready, let yourself come back into ordinary reality, and record what you have experienced.

When recording your journey into the sound of silence, put pen to paper and simply write about your experience, whatever it has been, for at least 15 minutes. Let the words flow without ever picking up the pen from the paper. This practice creates a flow that allows you not to edit what has arisen from the deepest layers of your being. When you are ready, give thanks to the universe for what it is, and to yourself for being everything you are. The more you practice this little exercise, the more you can come to know the truth of your own being and the richer your life can become.

Do share with me your own experience entering the sound of silence practice if you’d like. I’d love to hear from you about it.

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What Every Women Wants http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/every-women-wants/ http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/every-women-wants/#comments Sun, 25 Jan 2015 23:01:42 +0000 http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/?p=2297 Great stories carry hidden secrets that can transform a life. They bring us face-to-face with hidden truths that help free us from false beliefs and attitudes, self-criticism and negativity that crush us. Cultural conditioning has taught us to undervalue the wild creativity that lies within—that part of us which is instinctual, irrational, and full of passion. Conventional society is so frightened of these things that we have been taught to fear ourselves and to judge ourselves harshly. We swallow our anger even when it is righteous. We crush our wild nature and we see ourselves as ugly. Yet locked within what we most hate and fear lies the greatest power for true freedom. Today I’d like to share with you one of my favorite mythologies of self-discovery—as delightful and important for men as it is for women. Here’s how it goes:

THE LOATHLY LADY

the-dark-knightOne Christmastide Arthur rode out with his knights to hunt. By chance he became separated from his companions and found himself at the edge of a great brackish pond. There, a knight in black armour emerged from the shadows and challenged him to a fight. Arthur reached to draw his sword Excalibur and call on its power to protect him from all harm. Alas, he had come away from court without it. He could feel every ounce of strength drain away from his body in the presence of the dark and evil stranger who raised his sword and threatened to kill him. Being a responsible king, of course, Arthur told the dark knight he didn’t think that killing him was such a great idea—he had a country to rule, after all, and knights to look after. Where would they be without him? The stranger, bored at the thought of such an easy kill, relented and replied, “OK, I won’t kill you so long as you return to this place in three days with the answer to a riddle I shall give you. If you fail I shall remove your head in one fwll swoop.”

WHAT DOES SHE WANT

Arthur agreed. He figured that given half a chance and a mug or two of fancy mead, his pals back at the castle would be sure to come up with something. The riddle the stranger posed was this: “What does every woman want?” So Arthur headed home to ask all of his knights and wise men to give him the answer. Everyone from Merlin to a goose girl he met along the road had a go. Each gave him a different answer: “A woman wants beauty,” said one. “A woman wants power,” said another, or fame, or jewels, or sanctity. None could agree.

Time was running out. Finally, although he had done his best to hide from his beloved Guinevere the seriousness of the situation, the third morning arrived. Bound by his word of honor to the Black Knight, Arthur had to face the music. Along the road to the meeting at the brackish waters, Arthur came upon an old woman. She sat on a tree stump by the side of the road calling his name. Arthur dismounted and approached her with all the courtesy he could muster. For the closer he came, the more ghastly this old hag appeared. Although she was dressed in fine silk and wore magnificent jewels on her gnarled and twisted hands, she was unquestionably the most hideous thing he had ever seen—or dreamed of, for that matter. Her nose was like a pig’s, her mouth was huge, toothless and dribbling. What hair remained on her head was greasy, and the skin all over her misshapen and bloated body was covered in oozing sores.

COURTESY CHALLENGED

loathly-ladyArthur swallowed hard, forcing himself not to have to look away. “My Lord,” she said in a surprisingly gentle voice, “Why look you so dismayed?” Summoning up all his chivalrous training, Arthur apologized for his manner, trying to explain it away by telling her he was most unsettled at the prospect of returning to meet his death at the hand of an evil knight because he could not tell him the answer to the riddle, “What does every woman want?” “Ah,” said the hag. “I can tell you that. But such knowledge cannot be given without payment.” Arthur, hoping once again for a reprieve from death, replied, “Of course Madam, anything you desire shall be yours for the answer—even half my kingdom.”

IMPOSSIBLE REQUEST

The Loathly Lady made Arthur bend down while she whispered a few words in his ear.” The moment Arthur heard them, he knew his life and his kingdom had been saved. He was about to leap on his horse again and ride off to meet the stranger when she tugged on his cloak and said, “Now I want my reward.” “Of course Madam, what is it that you want?” he asked. “I want to be the wife of your bravest knight and live at your court.” Arthur, who only a moment before had felt his spirits soar, was plunged into the deepest despair. How could he possibly expect any knight to consent to marry such a hideous hag? And what would it be like to have to endure such ugliness every day at court? “But Madam, that is impossible!” he said. The words slipped through his lips before he could catch them. Aghast at his own lack of courtesy and agonized by having to ask any of his knights, Arthur said, “I beg your pardon, Madam. You are quite right. Come to court tomorrow. There waiting for you will be your future husband.” So saying, he mounted his horse and rode off to meet the Black Knight to convey to him the answer to the riddle.

When he got back to the castle, Arthur was distraught. The knights questioned him. He confessed that he had won his life from the Black Knight but then told them at what cost and reported his promise to the Loathly Lady. “My very honor is at stake,” said Arthur, wringing his hands, “unless one of you will agree to wed her.” His knights were horrified at the prospect and tried to avoid his gaze. But one—the youngest knight of all—Sir Gawain, the most courageous and purest of heart stood up. “Worry, not my liege,” Gawain said, “I shall save you, I will marry the woman no matter what her mien.”

SELF-PROFESSED HERO

loathy-weddingGawain did not have long before he rued his offer. The marriage was planned for the following morning and the hag arrived at court. When he looked upon her, even Gawain with all his chivalry did not know how he could go through with the ceremony. It demanded every ounce of his courage. Somehow he managed it. But things got worse. When the festivities were over, the couple were obliged to retire to their chamber for the night. Gawain, unable to face the hideousness of his wife, sat for long hours in their bedchamber with his back to the lady, writing at his desk and praying she would go to sleep without him. Was he to spend the rest of his life shackled to such a hideous monster?

ENCHANTED WOMAN

Long past midnight, as the candle burnt low, he felt a hand come to rest upon his shoulder. “Will you not come to bed now, my Lord?” a voice whispered from behind him. Shuddering with horror, Gawain mustered his courage to look at her. To his astonishment there stood not the ugly hag he had married but the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. She had golden hair and ivory skin. “Why do you seem so surprised, My Lord?” she said to him. “I am indeed your wife. I was enchanted by a wicked magician. But now the enchantment is half broken by your having consented to marry me and so you see I stand before you now in my true form.” Gawain could not believe his luck.

“Half broken?” he asked. “Yes, my lord” was the reply. “Sadly I am only allowed to spend half the time in my true form. For the rest I must return to the shape of the same hag which this afternoon you married. And now you must choose, my Lord. Would you have me be my true self at night when we are alone together and the hag during daylight hours?” Gawain, whose mind was flooded with passion at the thought of her beauty filling his bed each night replied eagerly, “Yes, that is certainly how it must be.”

TEARS FOR FREEDOM

what-women-wantIn the eye of his beautiful lady appeared a tear. “But sir,” she said, “Would you then have me suffer the humiliation of the court who cannot conceal their horror at my ugliness?” Now Gawain, if he was nothing else, was compassionate. He could not bear to bring this beautiful woman a tear of sorrow. “No, of course not,” he replied. “It shall be the other way round, of course. You shall be my beautiful wife for the court during daylight hours and the hag at night.” But this only made the lady weep the more. “Oh sir, would you then deny me forever the joy and pleasure of your embrace?” She asked.

Poor Gawain, who after all was but a man (and man has never found it easy to deal with woman’s grief) did not know what to do. After much thought he replied, “My lady, whatever choice I make will be the wrong one. It is therefore for you to choose which you prefer.” At the sound of his words the Lady threw herself into his arms in glorious laughter. “In so saying, my Lord, you have given the right answer. You have bestowed upon me what every woman wants—her own way. The spell at last is broken. You will never have to look upon the hideous hag again. I am my true self and it belongs to you forever.”

Such is the power of accepting that which to ourselves is most loathsome. And such is the power of myth in reminding us of it.

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The Power Of Myth http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/power-myth/ http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/power-myth/#comments Wed, 07 Jan 2015 23:19:25 +0000 http://lesliekenton.com/health/into-the-bliss/?p=2287 While giving a Shamanic Workshop I was reminded of a charming story about a guy who questioned a shaman about the aliveness of trees and plants. “That sounds like a pretty weird idea,” he said to the shaman, “How can you say these things are alive? If rocks and trees are alive then tell me what do the rocks think of the trees?” The shaman paused and looked out across the cliffs at the sea for a few moments, letting the question sink in. Then he turned back and began to speak. “To tell you the truth, I don’t think they worry much about them. After all the rock people know that the tree people are just passing through.”

EXPAND YOUR CONSCIOUSNESS

green-eye-shamanIt was—and still is —the shamans who worked magic, the shamans who journey into numinous realms and bring back descriptions of reality that the rest of us miss. It was the shamans who returned from their travels to weave a mythology that inspired the tribe, one that made it possible for its members to make sense of their lives and their dreams, their aspirations and their suffering. Later the ‘shamans’ became ‘prophets’, and ‘seers’ but the sacred technology used to work their magic remained the same. As Joseph Campbell says in volume I of his Historical Atlas of World Mythologies, “It has always been the business of the great seer, known in India as ‘rishis,’ in biblical terms as ‘prophets,’ to primitive folk as ‘shamans,’ and in our own day as ‘poets’ and ‘artists’, to perform the work of the first and second functions of a mythology by recognising through the veil of nature, as viewed in the science of their times, the radiance, terrible yet gentle, of the dark, unspeakable light beyond, and through their words and images to reveal the sense of the vast silence that is the ground of us all and of all beings.”

WHAT IS MYTHOLOGY

fire-myth-shamanIn our own time the word ‘myth’ has been corrupted. You read the word in tabloid newspapers or hear it on television used in a totally different way to its real meaning. We hear a spokesman from some government when asked if he can confirm the story that his country will soon be testing a nuclear device respond by insisting, “Nonsense. That is nothing more than a myth perpetrated by our enemies.” The word myth in its true meaning does not mean something false. A myth is a story which has emerged out of encounters in numinous realms of expanded consciousness and which carries the unmistakable fragrance of what is true in the widest sense. It is a tale that resonates at the level of our soul, one which cannot be reduced to meaning by analytical probing, and one which, in the hearing, transports us to a place of knowing within ourselves that is undeniable. A culture’s cohesiveness is constructed around its myths. Our myths form the very foundations of our world views, values and sense of meaning – or the lack of it. If a culture’s mythology does not nourish its people, bring them joy and meaning, then it becomes destructive.

Campbell, who was the greatest mythologist of the 20th century – probably of all time – describes the first two functions of mythology: The first is to awaken and maintain in an individual a sense of wonder and participation in the great mystery—mysterium tremendum et fascinans—which sits at the very ground of our being. The second is to create a cosmology for a people replete with mystical import that is directly related to the environment within which a people live so that a people’s lives have a sense of purpose and meaning. From the earliest of times the shaman has been the instrument by which mythologies, cosmologies and religions have been brought into being. This is because he knows how to travel beyond the limited realms of time and space and move at will between ordinary reality and quantum realms.

AWAKEN YOUR GIANT

myth-shamanThe consciousness matrix embedded within us – the means by which such wisdom and healing and power has been accessed since the beginnings of human history remains intact. A gift once given human kind, it has never been revoked. In most of us it sleeps like a great giant beneath the earth just waiting to be called. In some it has already stirred as we explore the powers of healing and self-help through active imagination, meditation, yoga or prayer in our search for truth and beauty, joy and freedom.

Now of course we no longer live in tribal cultures. The borders between peoples, between countries and between ritual practices have become blurred, and broken down. In some cases they have been obliterated altogether. Where our ancestors gathered around the fire of an evening to be dazzled by the mythic tales of the shaman and sink into the safety of a shared cosmology that brought meaning, television has become the ‘hearth’ around which we now sit. Our children are raised on the mythology of advertisers. They tell their tales with great skill and persuasion. Yet their stories, instead of nourishing us from numinous realms and empowering our lives, undermine our power and encourage us instead to place it in the hands of the commercial world that would have us believe that the only way we can be free is to consume what they are selling us.

RECOVER YOUR POWER

shaman-blue-eyesYes we live in different times. Yes we have different challenges. Our concerns are no longer those of locating an animal on the hunt or performing rituals that honour the gods and goddesses asking them to protect our people through winter. Today’s challenges are far greater. How for instance do we move forward as a global community faced with progressive extinction of animals and plant species on a massive scale. How do we live in a world burdened by massive debts? How do we recover our own power and experience our own freedom when the very political and economic systems we have created are structured in a way that makes us feel powerless? And finally how do we come face to face with earthshaking discoveries and dramatic shifts in worldview taking place as a result of findings filtering down from physics, astronomy, biology and consciousness research? These discoveries are not only wiping out our trust in every religious, moral and political philosophy we once clung to, they are quite literally turning our sense of reality upside down while providing us with nothing new in which to trust.

LEAP TO AUTONOMY

For me the answer is simple. Yet it has only come from over 25 years spent searching, experimenting, learning, yearning, suffering and discovering: It is no longer appropriate for us to rely on outside ‘experts’ whether they be doctors, priests or politicians. We can listen to their words of course. But we can no longer follow them blindly as human beings have so often done in the past, fearful that if we did not behave like good children some misfortune might befall us. It is time we embraced our journey into individual maturity by learning to activate our own consciousness matrix. Doing so enables us to expand our limited three dimensional, five sensory minds into those of the multi-dimensional beings that we are meant to be. It is time we made the leap – each one of us – into our own power and our own freedom, to learn to build powerful bridges between the truth of our own soul and the expression of our personality. It is time we expanded our vision, helped to heal the wounds in ourselves, in others and our planet, that each of us explored the simple yet profound practices once known only by the great artists, scientists, and shamans and use them to become everything that each of us is destined to be. In the process, I believe, we will recover our power, experience our freedom and gain access to healing wisdom and vision of the highest order. Then, and only then will we be prepared together to meet the challenges that face us and take part in the communal process of reshaping our global future.

FIND YOUR TRUTH

It’s just that so far not many of us have discovered this. Ancient shamanic skills are surfacing in new forms. They are no longer the province of a few gifted people. They belong to us all. So let us pay respects to tribal cultures from the Inuit of the Arctic and Tamang of Nepal to the Sumatran Kubu and Native Americans giving thanks to them for having preserved living shamanic skills. Then let us then turn these skills – which belong not just to tribal groups but to all people – into power for life. We stand poised at a moment of death and rebirth. These are challenging times worldwide, of terrible suffering, corruption and pain. These are also times of personal transformation of the highest level during which we can choose, if we will, to expand our consciousness exponentially, discard self-recrimination and false notions and discover who each of us really is at the deepest level of our being. It is high time we restored the power of mythology in our lives, demystified the realm of shamanism and made use of its marvellous techniques to help us move forward into a new way of living and being.

BEGIN HERE

How do you start? Try this: Get yourself a notebook and write these questions then record whatever comes to you without stopping to think much. Just let whatever comes flow onto the page:

  • By what mythology have I been living my life?
  • Has it been my own myth or something I’ve learned from others about how I’m supposed to live?
  • If so, what is my own mythology?

Do get back to me about what you discover. I am keen to hear from you.

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