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mindfulness

126 articles in mindfulness

Make Stress A Friend

Make Stress A Friend

‘What goes up must come down’. These words should be engraved on everyone’s brains, particularly those of us who live full and busy lives. We worry about stress, wonder why we don’t do anything about it, and wish it would go away. Seldom do we even stop to ask what it is. If stress gets out of hand it can wear you down, ruin your looks and destroy your peace of mind. Yet stress is the spice of life, the exhilaration of challenge and excitement, the ‘high’ of living with heavy demands. The big secret about stress is that it is not what appears to be causing it that does the damage. It’s how you respond to it that does that. Change your attitude to stress, and you can make it work for you rather than against you. In short, chill out. What is Stress? Stress is hard to pin down: fatigue, overwork, loss of blood, physical injury, grief and joy can all produce stress, but none of them accurately describes what it is. The word stress comes from the language of engineering, meaning ‘any force which causes an object to change’. Austrian-Canadian scientist Hans Selye first coined the word stress in relation to humans back in the 1930s. In human terms, it refers to your body’s response to physical, chemical, emotional or spiritual forces that ask you to adapt to them. Selye discovered a typical physical reaction to stress which he called the General Adaptation Syndrome. Its function is to keep your body in a steady state, known as homeostasis. Every stressor you come into contact with threatens to destroy this steady state. The General Adaptation Syndrome has three states: alarm, where the body becomes alert; resistance, where all systems go in order to meet the challenge and protect you from harm; and exhaustion, which happens if stress lasts for too long and the body’s weakest systems begin to break down, causing illness, chronic fatigue, even death. You are Unique Everyone responds differently to stress. This depends to some degree on your conditioning and on the amount of adaptive energy you were born with. This is why some people seem to breeze through stressful situations while others quickly reach exhaustion. Selye believed that once adaptive energy is used up, nothing can be done to restore it. We now know that this is not altogether true, but adaptive energy is certainly precious. This makes it imperative to examine carefully how yours is being used and if it is being burnt up unnecessarily. It also makes it important to remember that what goes up must come down. For making stress work for you means being able to switch off at will. This is something that most of us have to learn to do. Learn to move easily between stress and relaxation, and you will begin to experience your life as a satisfying and enriching challenge, like the ebb and flow of the tides. Then you will never again have to worry about getting stuck in a high-stress condition which saps your energy, distorts your view of the world, and can lead to premature ageing and chronic illness. Humans are natural seekers of challenge. Primitive man faced the daily challenge of survival—when in danger, the body reacts instantaneously to provide the energy needed to fight or flee, then relax again when the danger has passed. We may no longer need to worry about meeting a sabre-toothed tiger, but we still react to stress with the same physical responses—raised blood pressure and breathing, and a rush of adrenalin throughout the body. The trouble is that modern life, with its noise, quick pace, social pressures, environmental poisons, and our tendency to sedentary, mental work presents many of us with almost constant threat situations. This is particularly true in the business world, where someone, instead of moving rhythmically in and out stressful situations, remains in the danger state for long periods, with all the internal physical conditions that accompany it. Getting the Balance Right The automatic, or involuntary, functions of your body are governed by the autonomic nervous system. It looks after the changes in the rate at which your heart beats. It regulates your blood pressure by altering the size of veins and arteries. It stimulates the flow of digestive juices, and brings on muscular contractions in the digestive system to deal with the foods you take in. It makes you sweat when you are hot, and is responsible for the physical changes in your body that come with sexual arousal. This autonomic system has two opposing branches: the sympathetic and the parasympathetic. The sympathetic branch is concerned with energy expenditure—particularly the energy involved with stress and meeting challenges. It spurs the heart to beat faster, makes you breathe hard, encourages you to sweat, raises your blood pressure, and sends blood to the muscles to get you ready for action. The other branch of the autonomic nervous system—the parasympathetic—is concerned with rest and regeneration rather than action. The parasympathetic branch slows your heartbeat, reduces the flow of air to your lungs, stimulates the digestive system, and helps relax your muscles. When you are in a state of stress, the sympathetic nervous system comes into play. The parasympathetic branch is dominant when you are relaxed. A good balance between the two is the key to making stress work for you. Balance makes it possible for you to go out into the world to do, to make, to create, to fight, and to express yourself as well as to retire into yourself for regeneration, rest, recuperation, enjoyment, and the space to discover new ideas and plant the seeds of future actions. Unfortunately, few of us get it right by accident—we have to learn. Chill Out The secret of getting the right balance between stress and relaxation, between the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches, is three-fold. First, take a look at the kind of stress you think you are under, eliminate unnecessary stressors and discover new ways of working with the others. Second, begin to support your body physically with food, exercise and natural stress relievers (see below for an excellent one) to enable you to face stress with ease. Finally, learn to relax fully so that you can find the right balance between stress and relaxation and keep it. Not only will this help your body stay in balance and increase your level of overall vitality, it can bring you a sense of control over your life that is hard to come by any other way. HELP WITH STRESS IF YOU NEED IT 200mg of Zen To help you chill out: This unique combination of L-theanine and GABA has been formulated to support the production of alpha-wave activity in the brain. And it keeps its promises. Two capsules offer a unique and natural path to relaxation without sedation. I use it often to great effect. 200 mg of Zen is the brainchild of one of my favorite manufacturers of dietary supplements in the world, Allergy Research Group, who since 1979 have used only the purest raw materials available and are known for the strictest quality control procedures available. They are even licensed by The California Department of Health Services—Food and Drug Branch. Order 200mg of Zen from iherb 200 mg of Zen is a real find, so long as you are not taking drugs of any kind. IT IS CONTRAINDICATED WITH DRUGS OR MUST BE USED ONLY UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF A HEALTHCARE PRACTITIONER

How Foods Change Your Consciousness

How Foods Change Your Consciousness

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 Your 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 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 Let 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 What 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 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.

The Health Process

The Health Process

Within each one of us lies an essence, a core of self, with one and only one intention—that it may be fully expressed while we live on this earth. With each passing year I become more and more aware that illness, lack of energy, a sense of confusion or lack of meaning in someone’s life stems from a basic frustration of the expression of their unique essential being. So often these experiences are calls from the soul. They ask us to become more aware of who we are at the deepest level of our being. They try to awaken us to our unique soul nature. All real healing is a transformation. Energy, power and authentic freedom grow as we engage in the process of connecting with our essence and begin to discover our values and our soul’s purposes and to express them in our lives. To do this we can call on all sorts of tools and techniques, from detoxifying body and mind to herbs and natural treatments to exercises for expanding awareness. Take energy. Being able to live out your energy potential depends on how well you nourish yourself—physically, emotionally and spiritually—day by day. It helps to develop a lifestyle that incorporates pleasurable exercise, good food, restorative sleep and other helpful practices—from hydrotherapy to taking super nutrients—that support vitality. But more than anything else, energy depends on living from your core, not by other people’s rules. It depends on living what you love most in some way, what feeds you most at the deepest levels. Live your soul’s passion and you call on virtually endless energy. For health not only depends on how you eat and what exercise you get and how you deal with stress. All of these things are important. Each of us needs to develop a way of living unique to our needs. But real health doesn’t stop here. For ultimately health is nothing less than the process of unfolding which each one of us goes through to become more fully who we really are. Once you begin to align your life with your own truth, the universe supports you in ways you may never have dreamed possible. Working with people through their own health process, helping them discover whatever is most appropriate to their needs on both a physical and spiritual level and teaching them how to work with these things has always been the most exciting thing in my life. Each of us carries a divine spark of soul which we are here to live out to the full, bringing our own individual brand of spirit into material form as we walk the earth. The beauty of watching this happen those I work with is like walking in a garden and witnessing unique flowers and plants, trees and rocks that I have never seen before. I am forever dazzled by their beauty.

A Benevolent Bath

A Benevolent Bath

Allow an hour for the whole process of taking a delicious treat of a bath from beginning to end. Make sure you have everything you need - towel, loofa or hemp glove, and another towel to use as a headrest. Add essential oils to the water as the bath is filling, using about ten to fifteen drops total of either a single essence or of a mixture for a large bath. Each essence has a different effect on the mind and body (see below).  When you get into the bath, gently scrub yourself all over with a hemp glove or a loofa. Then just relax and soak for a few minutes, letting the heat penetrate your muscles.  Keep a cool cloth nearby to smooth over your face when needed. Let the essential oils work their wonders while you carry out a relaxing and waste-eliminating self-massage.  Water is the perfect medium for self-massage. The heat (remember not to have your bath too hot and stimulating) of the water works silent wonders, and it supports your body so that you have easy access to feet, legs, arms and torso while still remaining relaxed. When your bath is finished, lie down for ten minutes with an eye mask or a piece of dark fabric across your eyes and keep warm. the massage message Self-massage is nothing more than stroking, kneading, pushing and pressing your skin and muscles. Start with your feet. Grasp one foot between thumb and fingers and press in between the tendons, gently at first, then harder and harder, moving from the toes up towards the ankle. Then, using your fingertips and knuckles, go over the soles of your feet. Wherever you find a sore spot, work harder until you feel the discomfort melt beneath your hand. Now do your heel, grasping it between thumb and fingers and working around the area of the Achilles tendon. This is also a good time to make circles with your foot to loosen the ankle joint. Repeat this with the other foot, and then go on to your legs. Lift each leg in turn and deeply stroke the flesh on the back, from the ankle up to the knee. Then go back to the ankle again and repeat the same motions on the side and front of the calf. Keep working and, as you massage a little deeper with each stroke, you will gradually find that any tautness softens. Now go over your thighs with the same movement, and afterwards knead and squeeze around the knee area wherever there are trouble spots, just as you did on the feet. Now knead each thigh and hip. Then go on to your arms. Knead and squeeze every spot you can reach on your shoulders and neck, looking for sore spots and focusing on the areas between joints and muscles. Pay particular attention to the tops of shoulders, where most of us lock away our tension. Grasp this area in your thumb and fingers and insistently ease away any hardness you find there. Finally, go over your ribs, doing each side with its opposite hand. essence alchemy As part of the benevolent bath, choose essential oils not so much for what they can do for your skin as what they can do to expand your consciousness and lift your spirit. Whatever your mental state may be, it has an enchanting antidote from the world of flowers: Negative State Essential Oil Remedy anger: ylang ylang, rose, chamomile resentment: rose sadness: hyssop, marjoram, sandalwood mental fatigue: basil, peppermint, cypress, patchouli worry: lavender feeling jaded: neroli, melissa, camphor feelings of weakness: chamomile, jasmine, melissa irritability: frankincense, marjoram, lavender, chamomile physical exhaustion: jasmine, rosemary, juniper, patchouli anxiety: sage, juniper, basil, jasmine

What The Daily Mail Didn't Publish

What The Daily Mail Didn't Publish

London’s Daily Mail approached me a few weeks ago asking me to write a piece on what it’s like to have 4 children by 4 different men. The idea intrigued me so I did. The piece wasn’t published since, they said, “It’s not written in the Mail style.” So here it is as a personal gift from me to you. I hope you enjoy it. Struggling to hold back the tears, my daughter’s voice on the crackly phone line was barely a whisper. “Mama, Dan died this morning,” she said. Dan Smith, biological father to my third child, Jesse, was much loved by all of my children. He had been seriously ill with a rare form of leukaemia. We knew he could die any moment. Still, the news that reached me at my Primrose Hill home that cold February morning in 2010 sent shock waves through me. “We’re already organising the funeral,” Susannah went on. “We want to play jazz music, tell fun stories about Dan and celebrate his life. Don’t worry about being 12,000 miles away, we’ll video all of it for you to watch later.” I would love to have been there to celebrate Dan’s life. It had been a good life. He was an honorable man—one who kept his promises. Dan had long adored each of my four children although only one of them was a child of his own body. Four years earlier, Dan had chosen to move to New Zealand to be near the children. Together they had searched for and found a house for him so that all of us—me included—could spend precious time with Dan and care for him so long as he lived. NOT THE MARRYING KIND I had met Dan 53 years earlier when I was seventeen years old. We became friends. Later, in my mid-twenties, we were briefly married. I was never much in favor of marriage, however. That’s probably why I chose to give birth to four children by four different men. Now I’m being called a trailblazer for what is becoming an increasingly popular brand of mothering, commonly referred to as ‘multi-dadding.’ I am supposed to be what is fashionably termed a ‘4x4.’ Mothering children by more than one man recently hit the headlines with the news that actress Kate Winslet is expecting her third child by her third husband, the rock star Ned Rocknroll. Kate, 37, has a 12-year-old daughter, Mia, with her first husband, Jim Threapleton, and a nine-year-old son, Joe, with her second husband, Sam Mendes. The former weather girl Ulrika Jonsson is a 4x4, and the late TV presenter Paula Yates was a 4x2. While supposedly gaining popularity, this style of mothering is still hugely controversial. I am told that the news that a woman has children by more than one man is still met with a mixture of horror and fascination. Maybe I’ve been lucky, but I have never had to deal with either of these attitudes. To tell the truth, I have never much cared what people think about me, how I chose to live my life or the way I have raised my children. Perhaps that’s a good thing, or maybe I am just naïve. One thing is for sure: I’ve always been one of those women so fertile that that a man could almost look at me and I’d get pregnant. I would never miscarry. I rode horses, went surfing and danced all night while pregnant and suffered no consequences. I am told that women like me are often looked upon as monstrously selfish, bad mothers. They are accused of being feckless for having multiple lovers and just plain wrong for not providing their children with a ‘traditional family setup.’ I’m sure some traditional families are genuinely wise, stable and happy. The parents love each other and care for their children with great devotion and joy. But, in my experience, such families are few and far between. KIDS MATTER MOST What matters most in child rearing is neither convention nor family labels. It is the children. Children brought up by a devoted single mother (or single father) who lovingly trusts their own parental instincts and forms honest relationships with each child in their care, thrive. I believe this is far better than desperately trying to hold on to a marriage that doesn’t work ‘for the children’s sake.’ What I find sad is the way an ordinary single woman—not a movie star or media giant—who has children by more than one man and has to bring them up by herself, earning a living and juggling the needs not only of her children but also increasingly of their fathers, doesn't get the attention, sympathy, or anywhere near the admiration she deserves. It’s a challenging job for any woman. I know, I’ve done it. I’ve raised four children all on my own, earned the money for our family, stayed up all night caring for them when they had measles, chicken pox or mumps, then got up the next morning to make breakfast and iron that school uniform about which I was told, “Mama...my teacher says it has to be perfect.” Many a time I worried where the money was coming from to pay for food that week. LION-HEARTED MOTHERHOOD I champion any woman making a life for the children she loves in this way. It is the child that matters most and his or her relationship to a mother, father, or a caring friend. Every woman has a powerful lion-hearted passion to care for and protect her children. Women should trust themselves, give thanks for such power and use it for the benefit of their children. Kids are notoriously smart. They know when they are being fed a line about what they are “supposed” to think and say. They easily distinguish between what’s real and what’s contrived. As parents, if we want to gain the respect of our children we must always tell them the truth and treat them with respect as well as demand that they respect us in return. As far as the fathers of our children are concerned, they deserve the same respect and honesty from a woman as the child does, whether or not she is married to them. I believe that each child needs to get to know its father in its own way and make its own judgements. MY OWN STORY I grew up in a wildly unconventional family of highly creative, unstable people. Until I was 5, I was raised by my maternal grandmother. Later I was raped by my father and had my brain fried with ECT in an attempt to make me forget all that had happened to me. I was always a tomboy. I hated dolls. I loved to climb trees and play football. Yet from 5 years old I was sure that I wanted to have children. When I told my grandmother my plan she said I would need to get married to have children. “What’s married?” I asked. “It’s when you wear a white dress and have a big beautiful cake and promise to love and obey a man,” she said. “Ugh, I’ll never do that,” I replied. “I hate cake.” In any case, I knew she was lying to me since none of our Siamese cats were married, but they gave birth to masses of kittens. At the age of 17, while in my Freshman year at Stanford University, I got pregnant by a 22 year old man named Peter Dau. I rang my father. “I’m pregnant,” I told him. “What are you going to do?” “Give birth and keep the baby.” “You can’t keep the baby unless you get married,” he said. Had I been a little more gutsy I would have told him to get stuffed. But at the age of 17, still wrestling with all that had happened to me in my own childhood, he wielded a lot of influence over me. So I agreed. Peter was all for the idea. Single-handedly I put together an all-white wedding for 250 people in the garden of our Beverley Hills home. I made the decision to wear black shoes under my white satin dress. I felt I was giving my life away by marrying Peter, but I was willing to make the sacrifice since I so wanted this child. As soon as Dan learned of the wedding, he sent me a beautiful sterling silver bowl as a present which I still have. My first son, Branton, was born six months later. When I held this tiny baby in my arms he taught me the most important lesson I ever learned: Love exists. It is simple, real and has nothing to do with highfalutin notions or flowery words. At the age of 18, I realized my life had found its purpose—to love and be loved. PREGNANT AGAIN A year later, Peter and I left California for New York where he was to attend medical school while I went to work as a model to help support us. At that time, Dan left his job as a journalist in Massachusetts and moved to New York to be near us. My marriage to Peter ended amicably three years later. It should never have happened in the first place. Three days after leaving Peter back in California, I stopped overnight at my father’s house in Beverley Hills on my way back to New York. Barry Comden, a man much older than I whom I had known since I was 14 but never had a sexual relationship with, discovered I was in town and came to see me. I made love to him once and knew immediately that I was pregnant again. Marry Barry? No way. I was determined not to make the same mistake twice. (Years later Barry would marry the actress Doris Day.) Nine months later my only daughter, Susannah, was born. It was then that a large tumor growing off of my right ovary was discovered. It had been hidden behind the baby during my pregnancy. It was dangerous and had to be surgically removed. HELP WHEN IT MATTERS Once again Dan appeared in my life. He had always insisted that he fell in love with me from the first day we met. He had written me letters every single day my first year at Stanford. I never answered any of them. I didn’t share his love and I didn’t want to lead him on. He had also sent me book after book which he thought I should read. I read them all and loved them. Dan had always been kind and generous to me. He was always keen to protect and care for me when I needed it. So, when I ended up penniless and alone with two children and in need of major surgery, he offered me a home. I accepted. For several months the four of us lived together in New York. Dan adored Branton and Susannah and treated them as if they were his own. I was longing to leave the United States. I wanted to live in Paris—a city I loved more than any other. Dan was able to arrange a job for himself there as a foreign correspondent. In early 1964 we went. Dan had repeatedly told me that he was sure we were meant to be together forever. I hoped that he was right and believed that if I tried hard enough to be a good wife I would learn to love him as he deserved. On July 29, 1964, we were married in Paris. Like every other man I have ever been close to, Dan knew long before we were married that my children would always come first. I had sat him down and told him that he would have to treat Susannah and Branton exactly the same as he would treat any child of his who might come along. He agreed. On June 12, 1965, Dan’s son Jesse was born. He was delighted. True to his word, never once did he favor Jesse over Branton and Susannah. This was great for all three children who came to know him well and to adore him. When presents were passed out, each child was equally favored. Dan belonged to all of them and they knew it. FATHERS, FATHERS Because Branton’s father lived in America and we lived in Europe, Branton did not see him again until he was 11. By that age I figured he was old enough to make the trip on his own and spend a week or two with Peter. Susannah was not really interested in her father—also in the United States—until she was about 17. She then went to Los Angeles to meet him. A good friendship developed between them which remained until Barry died. A non-traditional, unconventional family? Absolutely, but it worked because there was honesty and there was love—the two most important things in any family, anytime, anywhere. For five years I had told myself that, if only I could learn to love Dan more, then everything would be all right. But I couldn’t. And it wasn’t. Confused and disappointed, at the age of 27, I faced the fact that our marriage had failed. We moved to England and we separated. It was Easter. I went to a Buddhist monastery in Scotland to clear my head. Of course Dan grieved over the failure. But that never stopped him from being a welcome person in our family right up to his death. Years later he would marry Gerda Boyeson, a psychotherapist who died a few years before he did. BLESSED MEN The men who made my life rich after Dan and I divorced were, each in their own way, as special as he had been. Each accepted that my children came before all else in the world to me. I never compromised. I chose men, be they friends or lovers, who brought wonderful things to my children. No man ever came before my children. If any man didn’t understand and accept this, he had to go. One man whom I loved, Graham, taught my children to climb and sail and mountaineer. All my children forged deep bonds with Graham which have remained to this day. Another man, Garth, gave Branton, Susannah and Jesse his much cherished toy collection from his own childhood. Garth took us all on wonderful picnics, introduced us to hidden beaches, sang songs with us and blessed us with his unique brand of joy. Then there was David, a man with whom I lived with for 5 years in my late twenties. David constructed beautiful rooms for each of my children in the tiny house I had bought with the little money that my grandfather had left me, when Dan and I separated. David wrote and recorded songs for each of my children. That was 40 years ago. Last year, Susannah and her partner visited David and his wife in Barcelona where he now lives. AN UNCONVENTIONAL MOTHER Ironically, the only complaint I ever got from any of my children about my not being conventional enough was from Dan’s son Jesse. “Why aren’t you like other mothers?” Jesse asked one day when he was 7. “I don’t know, Jesse, what are other mothers like?” “Oh you know,” he said, “They’re fat and bake cookies.” Jesse even grumbled if, while I was waiting to pick him up from school, I sat on the playground swings. He was adamant that such behavior was not “proper” for his mother. Sixteen years after Jesse was born, I became pregnant for the last time by yet another special man—Paul. I announced my condition to 17 year old Susannah as we were all setting off for a six week holiday in Canada with Graham and his son Ruan. “I’m going to have a baby,” I told her. “Don’t worry Mama,” she laughed, “We’ll say it is mine!” FAMILY CELEBRATION In March of 1981, I gave birth to my fourth child, Aaron, at our home in Pembrokeshire. All three of my other children helped deliver him. While I was in labor, they prepared the most delicious lunch I have ever tasted from fruits and vegetables from the garden. I had insisted on giving birth naturally at home, not in some clinical, cold hospital. Jesse had been born via natural childbirth, at a clinique d’accouchement in Paris. After the experience of natural childbirth I swore if ever I had another child it would have to be this way. As for Dan, one way or another he was always close by. He knew David, Graham, Garth and every other man who was to play a role in my own life and my children’s lives. For many years he spent Christmases with us and with our other male friends when they were there. Dan loved to play saxophone at family gatherings. One year he dressed up as Santa Claus. Aaron, then 5 years old, was completely taken in by the costume and terrified when this rotund man belted out, “Ho, Ho, Ho, little boy, what do you want for Christmas?” It took a lot of reassurance from Aaron’s big brothers and sister to convince him that Santa was really ‘good old Dan.’ UNIQUE & INDEPENDENT As for my children, each of them is totally unique and highly independent. I have always fought hard to encourage them to trust themselves and listen to their own heart instead of doing or saying what the rest of the world tells kids they are supposed to do and say. After graduating with a first class degree from Lancaster University, Branton, now 53, developed a series of successful businesses. Susannah, 50, with whom I have written 5 books and done two television series, is a sought-after voice artist. Jesse, 48, is a highly skilled plastic surgeon. Jesse and I have also written a book together. Aaron, now 32, is a designer and filmmaker. He and I have worked together for the past four years developing Cura Romana—a spiritually based program for health, lasting weight loss and spiritual transformation. Branton and Jesse have been happily married for many years. Both have three children each. As for me, I am probably the world’s worst grandmother. I don't babysit, or do any of the things grandmothers are ‘supposed’ to do. (Including baking those cookies Jesse once complained about.) Why? I’m not sure. I guess because for forty-five years of my life I was a mother. I loved this more than all the books I’ve written, all the television programs I’ve devised and presented, all the workshops I’ve taught, and all the other things I’ve done and enjoyed. Right now, my life belongs to me alone. I love the freedom this brings me. I am passionate about being a catalyst in people’s lives, helping them realize their own magnificence and live out their potentials both for their own benefit and for the benefit of all. Who knows what exciting challenges lie before me. Bring them on!

Progressive Relaxation

Progressive Relaxation

A technique based on the work of Edmund Jacobson, this is an excellent way to begin if you have never done any sort of relaxation or meditation technique before, because it gives most people some sense of what relaxation feels like even the first time you try it. As you repeat your technique (it is best done for fifteen minutes at least twice a day), you will find you enter a state of relaxation that is progressively deeper and deeper. The first few times you try the technique, you may find you have trouble picturing all the images as they come, or preventing your mind from wandering. It doesn't matter if you don't `see' anything - some people are more visual in their imagery, others more feeling; both work superbly well - just approach the exercise from your own point of view. become aware When you find your mind wandering (this is a common occurrence because your concentration is not used to focusing so intensely, or because you are experiencing something new to you, which naturally enough causes a little anxiety) ask yourself, `Why is my mind wandering?' Pursue that thought for a couple of minutes, then go back to the exercise and continue to go through it as best you can. All difficulties will iron themselves out automatically after you have practiced the technique long enough - so persevere to overcome any initial difficulties. Find a quiet room, preferably one without too much light, and sit in a comfortable chair that gives support to your back. Place both feet flat on the floor and close your eyes. Become aware of your breathing and just let the air come in and out of your body without doing anything. Take a few deep breaths. Each time you breathe out, slowly repeat the word `relax' silently to yourself. focus Focus on your face, and let yourself feel any tension in your face or eyes, your jaw or tongue. Make a mental picture of tension - you could picture a clenched fist, a knotted rope, or a hard ball of steel - then mentally picture the tension going and everything becoming relaxed, like a limp rubber band. Feel your face and your eyes, your jaw and your tongue becoming relaxed, and as they relax, experience a wave of relaxation spreading through your whole body. (Each step takes about ten seconds.) Tighten up all the muscles in your face and eyes, squeezing them as hard as you can. Then let go and feel the relaxation spread throughout your body again. Now apply the same instruction to other parts of your body, moving slowly downwards from your head to your neck, shoulders, and upper back, arms, hands, chest, mid- and lower back, your abdomen, thighs and calves, ankles, feet and toes, going through each area until every part of your body is relaxed. With each part, picture the tension in it mentally and then picture it going away; each time, tense the muscles in that area and then let them go and feel the relaxation spreading. When you've relaxed every part of your body, sit quietly in this comfortable state for up to five minutes. Now let the muscles in your eyelids become lighter; get ready to open your eyes and come back to an awareness of the room. Open your eyes. Now you are ready to go about whatever you want to do.

To Hell With Convention

To Hell With Convention

Whether you’re aware of it or not, you are ceaselessly involved in the act of creating the quality of your own life—your looks, values, attitudes, actions, and the nature of your relationships. You do this through image-making—a universal characteristic of the human mind which appears even to precede thinking in the brain. We see, worry, put together ideas, dream, speak, wonder, all through the use of images. We experience a continuous flow of mental pictures, both conscious and unconscious, every moment of our waking lives. In fact, the capacity to visualize—to "image"—is one of the miracles of the human organism, for through it we are able to organize reality, communicate with others, and make sense of the restrictions of time and space around which our lives are organized. And images have tremendous potency. Your own images can be used for your good or they can be used against you. WHAT WE’VE BEEN TAUGHT Each of us comes into the world with a particular set of genes that determine our skin colour, sex, body type and, to a certain extent, our personality and intelligence. But by the time we are four or five, the form of what we were at birth has been altered physically and mentally so that we have become more complex and quite different in the way we respond and function, think and express ourselves. Some of these changes, such as physical growth, come from the same genetic inheritance that gave us our original form. Others, probably by far the largest number, come from what is commonly referred to as behavioural programming—the things we learn spontaneously through day-to-day living, such as motor control and speech, as well as the things we are taught, such as how to communicate with people, dress ourselves, use a pencil, and so forth. In all that we have learned from experience (things like if you touch a hot stove it hurts) and all we have been taught by our parents and other people, there are an enormous number of mental images that greatly affect our ideas and our lives ever after. For instance, from our programming we get a notion of what in our behaviour is considered good and what is called bad. We form innumerable impressions of what we are like and what others are like. And, finally, we come to have "sets" of knowledge about the world. All these things form our belief systems—conglomerates of images, ideas, and assumptions that make it possible for us to function from day to day. Some of these belief systems are individual—they pertain to our inner world alone and are entirely personal. Others we share with the rest of humanity—for instance, together we "agree" that the brown-and-white, rather square-shaped animals with horns that graze in fields and give milk are "cows." We also agree in common with others that if you step in front of a moving bus you will be hurt. Such belief systems are important, for without them we would not be able to live or share our experiences with others. WHAT WE ASSUME IS TRUE Our own individual belief systems are somewhat different in character. They consist of the many unconscious notions and assumptions we hold about what we are and are not and can and cannot do. They influence whether we see life as exiting and challenging or rather as painful and hopeless. And although most people are not aware of it, these belief systems, formed gradually as we grow up, wield enormous power over us. GROWING UP IS NEVER EASY A child who grows up in a family where he or she is treated with respect tends to grow up believing that she is worthy of this respect. When her needs are frequently met, she comes to believe that they are likely to be met in a similar way in the future and, although he is probably completely unaware of this, she actually comes to expect it. Similarly, if someone is brought up in an environment where she is treated with disdain or carelessness or as if she were stupid, then she gradually forms more negative assumptions about herself and they become the "systems" by which she lives her life. The whole creation and formation of our belief systems is a very complex process. It is largely an unconscious one, too, because the amount of sensory information fed into a human brain even in one day is immeasurably rich. We are continually responding to one perception, feeling, word, or sensory experience after another. Our belief systems, formed from these events, are therefore many-layered and extraordinarily elaborate. But they all have one thing in common: power. The images we hold, consciously or unconsciously, about ourselves and our lives are real in the sense that they tend to reaffirm themselves over and over again in our experience. Studies have been done in which a child's IQ, tested at school, is measured against her expectation of herself and her performance in the classroom. Almost invariably, the child whose belief systems include the idea or image of herself as not really very bright does badly in schoolwork regardless of what her IQ shows, and vice versa. In fact, there is also considerable evidence in older children that even IQ measurements soon come to reflect a child's basic intellectual self-esteem—or lack of it. All because of the belief systems she holds about herself. SELF-FULFILLING NOTIONS When it comes to health, relationships with other people, and creative functions, belief systems are particularly important in determining our success or lack of it. If you take the time to sit down and look at a particular area in your life that you consider reasonably successful—say your work, or your relationship with a particular person—you will find that your ideas, feelings, and attitudes about it are generally of a positive nature: pleasing, charming, fun, interesting, and so forth. Similarly, if you look at an area of your life that doesn't work so well or with which you are not satisfied, you will find it is accompanied by negative images or visualizations. Most important of all, these negative images and the belief systems they create will tend, when put to the test in real situations, to bring about exactly the effects you expect. If you feel you are uncreative when you paint a picture, it will turn out to be uninteresting. If you feel like a failure when you try to reach a goal, you will fail. Under even mildly stressful situations you become ill, and so on. And, of course, failures only further strengthen the negative belief systems you already hold. It is a vicious circle—that is, until you are able to become aware of these negative belief systems you are unconsciously carrying around with you, examine them objectively, and then make a decision to change them. So long as they are unconscious, you are in their power and no real act of will is going to change them much. When they become conscious, you can begin working with them, looking at them, examining where they come from and their validity or lack of it, and decide on whether or not they are useful. Then gradually you can become free of them. In a fortnight, we’ll exploring simple practices that make use of the power of creative imagery—the deliberate repeated use of specific mental images— to bring about dazzling positive changes to your health, your life and your core beliefs about who you are and what you love most. See you then...

Leslie Kenton's Interview For 50 Loving It

Leslie Kenton's Interview For 50 Loving It

This was an interview I did for 50 Loving it on Move up to power and freedom. I speak about natural menopause and the powerful journey that a women takes towards her own power and freedom. I also speak about Cura Romana's fast and effective weight loss program and how it has helped participants to move more fully into their body transforming all aspect of their life, helping to discover their true power and personal freedom. Hope you enjoy it... [audio id=http://d1vg7rm5xhtxe9.cloudfront.net/audio/lesliekenton66781-edited.mp3] Move up to power and freedom. Transform your weight, your health, your life. The best is yet to come. Award-winning writer, television broadcaster, and teacher, Leslie Kenton is well known in the English-speaking world for her no-nonsense, in-depth reporting. According to London’s Time Out, “If there is one health expert who can genuinely be described as pioneering and visionary, it is Leslie Kenton.” Leslie conceived and created the worldwide Origins range for Estee Lauder. A former consultant to European Parliament for the Green Party and course developer for Britain’s Open University, Leslie is trained in Chinese medicine, nutrition, and bioenergetics. She was first Chairperson of the Natural Medicine Society in the UK and her contribution to natural health was honored by her being asked to deliver the McCarrison Lecture at the Royal Society of Medicine. Leslie now divides her time between her homes in Primrose Hill, London and South Island New Zealand.

The Joy Of Freedom

The Joy Of Freedom

The way you look and feel, how satisfying your life is, and how all of these things will be in your future depends primarily on you. Unless you are aware of this, unless you have an active sense of participating in and being responsible for your own well-being, you are unlikely to develop the motivation you need to make the best of your potentials in every aspect of your life. Self-responsibility holds the key. SHEEP ARE EVERYWHERE For most of us, the idea of taking full responsibility for ourselves is not easy to embrace, no matter how attractive it may seem in the abstract. This is especially true today. Our 21st century culture rewards conformity, not autonomy. The man or woman who spends half an hour a day exercising, goes away for a weekend retreat of meditation, or insists on eating a genuinely good diet is too often treated like some kind of nut—joked about, teased, or simply undermined by other so-called "normal" people. The status quo—THE SHEEP—live their lives accepting all illness as inevitable and all misfortune as something beyond our control, to which we fall prey as “innocent victims.” Such beliefs are powerfully self-perpetuating. And, the values of wellness and self-responsibility are a direct challenge to conventional values. As a result, each of us has to go to special lengths to assert a healthier and more rewarding way of life. For instance, at times we not only have to put up with contempt voiced by the media. We may have to go out of our way to pursue the simple goal of optimum health—choosing to buy real food instead of opting for over-processed supermarket fare. We may also have to excuse ourselves from irrelevant social commitments in order to do what we love most and believe is best for our own lives and the lives of those we love. THE GOOD NEWS At this point in history, a current of awareness of the power and importance of self determination, wholeness and health is beginning to challenge dumbed-down conformism. This makes it easier than it would have been twenty years ago for us to discover our own truths and live them. A steadily growing number of men and women have become determined to live life their own way and fulfil their full potentials. I believe that there is more support around us than ever before to help us do this. There are some good books (and a great many not-so-good ones alas) which give useful information about real nutrition, meditation, exercise, and self reliance. There are a number of interesting programs and techniques that encourage personal growth. A few of the best-known include bioenergetics, Transactional Analysis, transpersonal psychology, Reiki and Alexander Technique. None give any final answers, but all offer modalities that can be helpful in breaking up old, inappropriate belief systems, habits, and behavior patterns pointing the way toward greater autonomy. I personally steer clear of organizations and “gurus.” I mistrust personality cults that surround leaders who claim to show you step-by-step the path to enlightenment or whatever else they happen to be selling. The truth is never to be found outside of ourselves. FORGE NEW HABITS Just as regressive choices and negative behavior patterns tend to reinforce themselves, so growth choices and choices for individual freedom, authenticity, and self-reliance make it progressively easier and easier for us to grow, discover our values, and learn to live our truth from the core of our unique essential being. What in the beginning may seem a bit difficult—say, turning aside from eating something that looks delicious but does nothing to contribute to your wellbeing—gets progressively easier each time you do it. The rewards that honoring yourself and making growth choices bring—wellbeing, and a steadily increasing sense of personal strength and self-respect become more satisfying. YOU CONTROL YOUR LIFE Building self-responsibility begins with acting on the conviction that you trust yourself, not the media, the “experts”, or other people’s opinions. Behaving as if you are in control, and accepting personal accountability for your health and your life, is a simple but powerful way to make it all happen. It steadily brings the control you seek. There are some other things which I believe can be helpful in building self trust and self reliance too. 1. DECIDE THAT YOU MATTER. Accept yourself as you are right now. People who are chronically ill or dependent on drugs, alcohol or non-productive behavior patterns have very little self-esteem. Self-esteem is not something that comes only after you have made the changes in your life which you decide to make. Making positive changes is far easier once you accept yourself and treat yourself with the respect you deserve right now. OK, so you’re not perfect. Who is? But you are just fine as you are. Then you are well on your way to becoming who you will be. 2. TAKE BACK YOUR LIFE. Although you may be influenced by other people's ideas, by what you read, hear, or see—as we all are—ultimately only you can make the choices that are going to work for you. Where you are right now is the result of past choices you have made. Where you will be in the future depends on the choices you make now. Once you accept this responsibility both emotionally and intellectually, you discover you are no longer blaming other people or fate for your situation. Scapegoats get cleared away. You no longer see yourself as a victim, nor do you consider yourself impotent or inadequate. 3. YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO BE HAPPY. It is a good thing to fulfil this right. It is not selfish, nor need it lead to disregarding other people's happiness. For when you are happy and healthy, you become free to share yourself, your abilities, your beauty—both external and of your spirit—with those around you. And the better you feel about yourself and your life, the easier you will find it to make choices that are good for you and ultimately good for others. 4. SET SOME GOALS. Goals matter, both little goals and large ones. Not only are they helpful in accomplishing things you would like to achieve, they can protect you from falling into old habit patterns that no longer serve you. No matter what goals you choose, they should be your goals—things you genuinely want to achieve. Goals someone else has created for you or goals you believe you should want to accomplish are worthless. Goals not only carry a sense of purpose. They help you remain well-grounded. It is good to know where you are going. 5. CHECK OUT YOUR BELIEF SYSTEMS. What has formed the habits and assumptions behind different decisions you make? Are the things you have always assumed to be true appropriate to you now? To the goals you have set? To your new sense of self? Or are they outdated? When you choose something, is it a choice you make because you believe it will bring you greater happiness, independence, better health and creativity? If so, go for it. If not let go of them. The more aware you become of why you make choices, the more free you become to make positive choices and trust them. Sympathy from others, or the temporary gratification of smoking, excess eating, and other negative habits is of little value compared to the joy and happiness which follow growth choices. Sometimes it is uncomfortable to face old habits of thinking and behaving and then discard them. With practice, though, it becomes easier and easier. 6. DECIDE TO BE ALL YOU CAN BE. Then imagine yourself being everything you desire to be when you are relaxing of meditating. Enjoy the vision—the more clearly you imagine it, the more easily do your visions become reality. Periodically ask yourself questions about your life, such as "Does the way I am living, do the people I spend time with, and the activities I take part in contribute to my goal of becoming who in essence I have always been but never realised it? Or do some of these things need to be left behind?" "Am I choosing consciously to do this particular thing, or is it the result of unconscious fears or old belief systems?" 7. DON’T FORGET TO LAUGH. Keep a sense of fun and humor about everything you do. The only reason to become healthier, more radiant, and vital is so you can enjoy life more. Pursued as a narcissistic end, self-determination leads nowhere. Pursued with a child-like sense of wonder and curiosity, the process can carry you to creativity, satisfaction and authentic freedom. It’s a road worth travelling...it’s your road.

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana®

Fast, Healthy Weight Loss

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana® has proudly supported 18,000+ weight loss journeys over the past 13 years. With an overall average daily weight loss of 0.5 - 0.6 lb for women and 0.8 - 1.0 lb for men.

Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

on the 18th of September 2021 (updated every 12 hours)

-0.71 lb
for women
-1.05 lb
for men
-0.71 lb
for women
-1.05 lb
for men

Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

on the 18th of September 2021 (updated every 12 hours)

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