I’m inspired to write on this topic, after reading an interesting chain of comments lamenting that life today does not afford women to stay home and raise their children. A number of life circumstances were shared from the hearts of those who truly believed that they had been or were sacrificing in order to just get by in raising their children. I heard the sincerity in their feelings about life’s difficulties. They felt they had little or no support.
Rather coincidentally, a few weeks ago, I listened to a podcast that was geared toward ‘sacrifice’ and what that meant from a philosophical and financial perspective. I feel that this topic is one I was supposed to contemplate, and after doing so, I’d like to share some of my thoughts with you.
In a religious context, sacrifice means to make something sacred through an offering to God. To me, each and every moment of life is given by God’s grace, so to sacrifice to God is a personal commitment that can be seen as a virtue.
Sacrifice - to give something up is the usual meaning (often suggested for the ‘greater good’). Those in the military, who gave by serving their country and lost their lives or limbs in that service is a true sacrifice.
Too often the word is misused. People seem to wear sacrifice, almost as a badge of honor and virtue these days. Whereas, I do not believe some ‘sacrifice’ in the usual sense is really a virtue or quite often, even sacrifice.
Let’s take a couple examples of what we typically call ‘sacrifice’ that I once fell prey to myself.
I was a ‘stay-at-home’ mom, as were my mother and grandmothers before me. I learned from a young age that moms cared for their children and the home and dads worked to support the family, providing shelter, food, clothing and protection. Men were not expected to contribute in the duties of the home and child care and women were not expected to financially provide for the family's needs. I know that sounds old fashioned today. Yet in the chain of comments I read just yesterday, the women were yearning for what I and prior generations have had. The woman posting also did not recognize that staying at home to raise your children is still an option and choice made today by millions of women.
Given this great gift, and while I loved it, I still complained at times to others that I was sacrificing my interests, exotic vacations, more and nicer clothes, etc. for the benefit of my children and family. I envied the stylishness, daily Starbucks and more traveled women who worked. I thought I was making a sacrifice, and it actually was an investment in my family.
Parents can often be heard saying that they sacrificed nice vacations or a bigger house or newer cars to send their children to college or private schools.
While these actions are often interpreted as true sacrifice, I suggest that the parents traded high value items for more, not less - serving their own higher values. The parents valued more highly their children’s success than what they were giving up.
When I give a homeless person money, thereby rendering me with less money, I still have the greater value of feeling that I helped someone in need. It is true with all that is freely given to others, that more abundance will come our way. Creating value through our actions yields joy, fulfillment and quality of life.
I received far greater joy and benefit from having been an at-home-mom than I would have from nail polish or stylish clothes, Starbucks vanilla lates and exotic vacations. In my case, my entire family benefitted from my being home. I enjoyed teaching and spending time with my children, and I liked keeping a nice, clean home. I wanted us to eat well and so grocery shopping and cooking, cleaning were a part of the whole package of life. I certainly didn’t like all aspects of my role in life, but I didn’t sacrifice. I was blessed with the gift of family life for which I am grateful!
I’d also like to mention something about the support that those in the aforementioned chain of comments felt they lacked. Support in the past and still in many places in this country does not necessarily come from the government nor employers. I’ve witnessed first-hand how neighbors that are bound by geography and strong Christian values come to each other’s support. I did not have strong ties in our church when raising our children, but luckily we had family close by to help out. In my son’s neighborhood, whether it was Covid quarantine, newborn babies, car pools for school, support in the way of prepared, delivered dinners, unexpected needs for someone to watch another's children or any other means of general support needed, those neighbors stepped up and covered each others’ backs. They are a community that lives and prays together. They exhibit love in their daily actions. It has been a heart-warming experience to see these 30 and 40 somethings caring for and loving their neighbors - as they say, it takes a village to raise a child. That village has many children and is alive and strong!
While family life looks different for each person, and women fought hard to be able to work if that is what they choose to do, I understand much better now, how our choices truly impact and benefit us more than we often realize.
One of life’s greatest blessings is our family. If parents raise children to be good citizens, kind, compassionate, confident, caring, industrious and happy, then they become adults with those values. I’ve seen those adults in action in my son’s neighborhood. What an important and beautiful gift to give society!
May these thoughts bring you to deeper reflection on your lives, recognizing your many blessings.
Health, Happiness and Love,
“Since currency is a representation of value, the more value you provide for others, the more currency will flow into your life.” Garrett Gunderson (Killing Sacred Cows)
I like this quote and recently discovered Garrett Gunderson’s financial philosophies on living an abundant life. He connects life purpose with a happy and well-lived life, extending to providing for a legacy for future generations. Who knew that finance geeks (as he calls himself and his team) would have deep values and more than solely money on their mind?
Contemplating the quote, I realize how much truth there is that relates to other representations of value. The more happiness you provide for others, the more happiness will flow into your life. The more knowledge you provide for others, the more knowledge will flow into your life. The more healthy options you provide for others, the more health will flow into your life, and so on.
Along these lines I have some knowledge and healthy options to pass on for you to consider.
The joy of a newborn is indescribable in words. Love and perfection are two words that come to mind, but even they are lacking. I’ve been blessed with two of my own children and five grandchildren. Each birth was special, different, and yet similar in some ways. The anticipation and wonder of it all brings renewed faith for me and immeasurable joy!
In the past few days, a sweet baby girl was born in our family. What bliss to hold her! She’s a delicate, tiny bundle that already likes to smile. Her lips curve upward often, making what we know to be a smile. It’s impossible to know if the movement has any meaning to her. Her sweet little face looks so content when she does ‘smile’, and of course we all love it.
Our newborn came into this world with a 3 year-old big brother and a 7 year-old big sister to love her and share life with. They adore her and are so tender and gentle with her. It is a joy to watch them together.
Life’s balancing act insures that with the joy comes some suffering, as my daughter-in-law and son are having to endure. The pain that comes along with birthing and the slow recovery of the woman’s body is a challenging part of the process. Sleepless nights are also normal for the parents, yet really difficult, especially with two other children with lots of energy.
Grandparents, uncles, neighbors - all come to the rescue to alleviate some of the suffering when they can. The old saying, “it takes a village” is true. Many hands lessen all burdens, and the benefits of strong families, caring friends, and neighbors are so evident and priceless.
I feel deep gratitude for our healthy, precious new addition to our family. I am also grateful for being a part of the ‘village’ that welcomed into the world my grand daughter and who's there to help support my son’s family. What a blessing!
May you each remember the joys of new birth as you read this post, and may we all be renewed in our faith by knowing wonders of life abound even in the difficult times we are living.
With Love and Gratitude in My Heart,
The brilliant and humble Ayurveda Physician, Dr Lad, many years ago established the Ayurvedic Institute in New Mexico and the Vasanta Institute of Ayurveda in Pune, India. His teachings have positively impacted hundreds of thousands over the years. I've been blessed to do Panchakarma with him in India and to attend a number of weeklong trainings with him in New York at the Ananda ashram.
This summer Dr. Lad will be presenting a LIVE-streamed webinar directly from Albuquerque, New Mexico, entitled ”An Ayurvedic Approach to Immunity.”
The 2-hour class will be taking place on July 9, 2021 from 10:00am MDT (12:00 noon Eastern Time). Tuition is $59.50 with discount.
Click here to see class details and to sign up. There is a 15% discount available on the Immunity webinar, prerecorded webinars and a home cleanse in August - you can use the code AASUM15 at checkout.
In his teachings, Dr. Lad often focused students on being in awareness, in the present moment.
He has defined awareness with many one word descriptions:
Nothing Can Go Wrong
Prana and mind is still
I resonate most with freedom, love and expansion. What are your words to define this moment’s awareness?
May you and your loved ones be healthy, safe and blessed with loving, expansive moments.
I am grateful for this moment and the freedom to experience awareness in this beautiful life!
Thank you to Kara Aubin founder of the Ayurvedic Wellness Center in Michigan for this easy, delicious recipe and tempting photo.
Easy to digest, and quick cooking, red lentils are an Ayurvedic pantry staple. Their digestibility makes them a great plant protein option for those with Vata-style (gassy) digestion. Red lentils are a good source of iron, and act as a blood builder and liver cleanser.
This one-pot recipe is gently spiced but big on flavor. Eat alone as a meal or serve with dosa or a side of greens if you have strong Agni.
2 TBS organic ghee
½ tsp fenugreek powder
1 tsp coriander powder
¼ tsp hing/asafetida
½ tsp Himalayan mineral salt
1 cup red lentils, rinsed well
2 ½ cups water
3 TBS chopped fresh basil
May you and your loved ones enjoy good health and well being,
Thank you to renowned herbalist and Ayurveda doctor, KP Khalsa for this article and photo, titled Herbal Energizers. I found the article interesting and am happy to share this useful information.
Are you having one of those days? You woke up totally tired and all you want is to go back to sleep. It’s 11:00, and you’re half way through your third cup of coffee.
Maybe you can’t define energy, but you know when you have it. But if energy is the legal tender of life, many of us are overdrawn in our energy bank account. We’ve dipped into our reserve so repeatedly and stressed ourselves so much that we’re plainly energy depleted.
We are a nation of tired people. When surveyed, 24 percent of people complain of fatigue that lasts longer than two weeks. Tiredness is included in the five top reasons for doctor visits.
Fatigue is not a disease, but a symptom with numerous causes. Stinting on sleep is the main cause of fatigue in America. Stress, poor eating habits, over reliance on sweets and too little physical activity all contribute to tiredness. And, of course, there are medical reasons for fatigue. Arthritis, heart disease, obesity, depression and cancer also diminish energy.
Simply defined, energy is the capacity to do work. If your energy is sagging, likely you are suffering from adrenal exhaustion. The adrenal glands produce hormones that help regulate energy levels. One secret to maintaining high energy is to use herbal medicines improve the function of the adrenals and other hormone producing (endocrine) glands.
Get More Energy Now
Guarana seed (Paullinia cupana) is from a climbing evergreen that’s native to the Amazon regions of Brazil and Venezuela. The indigenous people of the Amazon use crushed guarana seed, pulverized and roasted, as a beverage and a medicine. They use guarana to decrease fatigue, treat diarrhea, reduce hunger, and to help arthritis. It has historically used for treating alcohol abuse hangovers and menstrual headaches.
The main active agents in guarana are caffeine and the closely related alkaloids theobromine and theophylline. The effects of caffeine are well known. It stimulates the central nervous system, and increases metabolic rate.
A Brazilian study indicated that guarana is an antioxidant, and has no toxicity.
Kola nut (Kola acuminata) works similarly. Kola nut is the seed kernel of a large African tree that is now grown around the world. The nut is reddish gray in color, about an inch in size, and grows in long pods containing from five to twelve seeds each.
It is widely popular in the tropics as an energizer, and folks in West Africa use the nuts as a social snack, chewing them raw. Raw kola has the consistency of an unripe apple and is very bitter in taste- definitely an acquired taste It is the herb that was originally an ingredient in Coca-Cola when it was an herbal medicine.
Kola has a noted stimulating effect on alertness. It is said to make ideas become clearer, thoughts flow more easily and clearly, and fatigue and drowsiness disappear. It is used to aid in depression and may produce euphoric states in some people.
Historical uses of kola include increasing physical capacity and for enduring fatigue without food, stimulating a weak heart and treating weakness, lack of emotion, nervous diarrhea and anxiety.
As with any herb that contains caffeine, guarana and kola may cause insomnia, trembling, anxiety, palpitations. Don’t take guarana should be avoided during pregnancy and lactation.
The Long Run
The use of “tonic” herbs, or herbs that build stamina and regulate metabolism over the long term- herbs that scientists call “adaptogens”- is the single biggest difference between how we handle our lifetime health plan and how people in every other continent handle theirs. They use ‘em- we don’t.
The herbs in this category, are, by definition:
Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) increases physical working capacity in humans in many ways. Ginseng is an adaptogen, which means it helps the body adapt to stress.
Ginseng may help you feel more energized by doing these things:
In one study, a preparation of Asian ginseng, together with vitamins and minerals, was tested among 232 people who complained of daily fatigue. Those taking the supplement had improved energy, better concentration and less anxiety compared to those who took only the placebo. Ginseng has also been shown to be helpful in reducing feelings of fatigue among diabetics, helping the body utilize sugar and increasing its insulin sensitivity.
In Asia, this herb is taken daily by millions of people, and is widely revered as a superior herbal medicine. Ginseng is used to treat a host of conditions, and, when it is taken daily, to maintain general good health. Because ginseng has such a wide variety of uses in Asia, it has been viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism by scientists in the West. However, in an article in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the authors report that controlled studies of Asian ginsengs found improvements in exercise performance with the use of standardized root extracts, study duration of over 8 weeks, daily dose of over1 gram of dried root and older subjects. Improvements in muscular strength, maximal oxygen uptake, work capacity, fuel homeostasis, serum lactate, heart rate, visual and auditory reaction times, alertness and psychomotor skills have also been repeatedly documented, say the scientists.
According to noted herbalist Christopher Hobbs, “Ginseng and other adaptogens work best after long-term (one-three months) moderate use by regulating hormone levels and other biological functions to protect us against the damaging effects of chronic stress.”
In the spirit of this wide- ranging action, ginseng has been shown in human studies to have a long-term anti-stress effect, improve physical and mental performance, memory, and reaction time, enhance mood and treat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Ginseng is generally indicated for daily, consistent use in moderate doses by men over 40 years of age. It is not used in Asia by young people, unless there is a clear stamina deficiency. Do not use ginseng as a short-term stimulant. A dose that will feel temporarily energizing can cause uneasiness, irritability, headache, and heart palpitations.
Ginseng is not generally used by premenopausal women in Asia. This is not an absolute prohibition, but there are better tonics for a woman’s body. Ginseng is a “hot” herb, in the Chinese herbal system, and considered less suitable for the woman’s metabolism. Women in our culture sometimes receive benefit at menopause, but ginseng will cause breast tenderness in some, a hint about the wisdom of the Chinese herbalists.
Remember that the effects are slow and gradual, and extend over a period of years.
He-shou-wu root (Polygonum multiflorum), also often called fo-ti, is native to China, where it continues to be widely grown. Once it has been boiled in a special black bean liquid, it is considered a superior medicine according to traditional Chinese medicine.
The Chinese common name, he-shou-wu, is from the name of a famous herbalist whose infertility was supposedly cured by the herb. In addition, his long life was credited to the tonic properties of this herb. Traditional Chinese medicine uses fo-ti to treat premature aging, weakness, vaginal discharges, numerous infectious diseases, angina pectoris, premature hair loss and graying and impotence.
An animal study demonstrated that he-shou-wu is a potent protector of oxidation damage to the heart.
The active constituents of he-shou-wu have yet to be determined. The whole root has been shown to lower cholesterol levels, according to animal and human research, as well as to decrease atherosclerosis. Other research has investigated this herb’s role in strong immune function, red blood cell formation and antibacterial action.The roots have a mild laxative action.
Ready to get energized? Herbs can give you the zip you’ve been missing.
May you and your loved ones be healthy and filled with positive energy!
Thank you to George Gilder and John Schroeter of Gilder's Daily Prophecy. Below is John Schroeter's interesting and timely writing. Notably, the story is from Greek Philosopher, Plato's work, The Republic. The photo was included with the article.
"A group of prisoners has been confined in a cave their entire lives. They have no knowledge of the outside world. They are chained and shackled, facing a wall, unable to turn their heads in any other direction. Behind them, a fire burns, its glow casting a flickering light. Sometimes people pass in front of the fire carrying various objects, casting shadows on the wall as they go. And when they speak, the sound of their voice’s echoes off the wall, giving the prisoners the impression that the voices are emanating from the shadows themselves. Over the long term of their imprisonment, they come to name and classify these manifestations, which, to their senses, are real entities.
Suddenly, one of the prisoners is freed from his confinement and forcibly brought outside the cave for the first time. The sunlight momentarily blinds him, and he struggles to find his balance. He is disoriented. He is then told that what he sees all around him is real and substantive, and that the shadows are mere images, immaterial. In time, his eyes adjust, and he is able to take in this new and phenomenal world.
But then the prisoner is returned to the cave, where he shares the news of his startling epiphany. The other prisoners think he’s gone mad. And because his eyes are now having trouble adjusting to the darkness of the cave, they also believe he’s gone blind. But when he attempts to set the other prisoners free so that they can experience this wonder for themselves, they resist violently. They would, in fact, kill him if they could.
Now, before you’re tempted to condemn our captive cave dwellers, ask yourself, are there any illusions to which you hold yourself captive? Are there any areas of your life and thinking that, hidden from the light of day, remain unexamined? Are there certain personal and professional challenges that are more comfortably and conveniently left in the dark? If so, then you are in good company: 98% of the population proceeds in life upon one false basis or another — and actually believe they are served by them.
Plato’s classic allegory of the cave not only exposes this state of affairs, but also tells us what happens when we dare to step outside the confines of our programming. Humans are remarkably adaptable when it comes to accommodating and enforcing illusions and limitations of every kind — especially when they are threatened. But we’re addressing the outliers here, the 2% who will actually dare to unlock the chained doors of freedom and possibility — the few who realize that no one keeps us from the light of common day but ourselves. It really is just a matter of mindset.
The sum of your knowledge, beliefs, dispositions, openness, experience, and attitudes about the world and your place in it comprises this most powerful entity. Mindset can enable you to reach for the stars or condemn you to a cycle of poverty and despair. Mindset is the stuff of your being and becoming, the measure of your grit, the limit of your aspirations. As a mental construct, it is both as abstract and as real as possibility. And the freedom it presents is either a liberating or a terrifying prospect. Most people, as we see in our day, shy from such freedom, because freedom also requires courage."
May we each have the courage and will to seek freedom for ourselves and our families. There is no real happiness without freedom.
Yoga Nidra is a beautiful way to calm and soothe your nervous system. Join Mary (Padmavati) Roberts in this 15 minute practice on Heal & Awaken podcast.
Could you use some deep rest? If you have trouble sleeping, if fatigue has crept up on you, if your nervous system is overwhelmed, treat yourself to this beautiful practice. It comes from yoga and is used by the US military to soothe PTSD and welcome people back to the peace of who they really are. Do yourself and your immune system a favor and enjoy this 15 minute practice!
As Spring buds turn to beautiful flowers and dormant grass again displays vibrant hues of green, life feels more promising and hopeful.
I recently had the good fortune to join my son and daughter in law's family for a weeklong trip to Florida's white sand beaches in the panhandle. The atmosphere of the seaside towns was glorious! Families were building sand castles, burying each other in the sand, gathering seashells, chilling on beach chairs, taking walks on the beach, running and playing in the chilly but swimmable waters and taking in the beautiful landscape.
There was a feeling of freedom, mixed with joy and gratitude. The easily flowing laughter and smiles on people's faces were plentiful wherever we went during our trip and wonderful to see. The worry lines of the past year, so prevalent on many people's foreheads seemed subdued and almost gone. People's faces radiated joy!
There, at the seaside, the beauty of life in all its forms was resplendent and our spirits were renewed! May Spring bring you hope and the joy of renewal.
May you and your loved ones be healthy and safe
Join Mary (Padmavati) in conversation with Aparna Khanolkar on Heal & Awaken Podcast. They talk about her Ayurvedic odyssey into health and healing. Mary talks about how her journey helped her to shed the layers around her heart and become happier and more compassionate. Please listen in wherever you get your podcasts.