Elderberry Syrup

I love Elderberry Syrup. In the fall and winter I take it daily to boost my immune system and ward off the sniffles and flu. It’s an old elixir and as an added bonus, it happens to be delicious. The first time I heard about Elderberry Syrup was several years back when I had a never ending cough. My friend Jenny who owns Zensations by Jen suggested I try it. Although I believe in the power of herbal and traditional medicines Elderberry Syrup caused a “WOW!” moment for me. It made an almost immediate difference and it felt soothing to take it. By the way, Science agrees. Elderberry has been studied. There are resources listed below if you want to read more about it in the medical literature. Recently I started playing with making my own medicinal tinctures and syrups. I now make Elderberry Syrup for myself. It’s a simple recipe and requires minimal effort. Plus, when you are done it is yum. 2 ounces of Dried Elderberry – Sambucus Nigra 1 quart of water 1 cup local honey (LOCAL!) Additional herbs: Whole Cardamom and Cinnamon Sticks Healing Prayer Bring the quart of water to a boil. Add 2 ounces of Dried Elderberry and reduce heat to a simmer. Add additional herbs. Reduce liquid by half. Strain. Return liquid to pan and stir in honey, as you stir, say a healing prayer over the syrup. Store in a sterilized jar. Refrigerate. It should stay good for about 9 months as long as it is stored properly. *I take 2 teaspoons once a day. Its my night time ritual and...

Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease

Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease vs. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome At the age of 25, I was officially diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. When my doctor told me, my first thought was: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) was the stupidest name for what I was experiencing.  To be honest, I never got over that. I still think that the name is dumb. My battle with CFS lasted for several years. For a time I identified with my illness, I wrapped it around myself like a blanket and slept away my days.  I was a year in before I decided to try to figure a way back out. It was almost two years before I chose to identify more with healing than with my illness. Looking back, that shift in my focus from illness to healing was in many ways a miracle. Someone I loved once gave me a box of darkness. It took me years to realize that this too, was a gift. ~ M. Oliver During the time of healing I learned far more than I lost. I recognize now that the process of healing from CFS was a remarkable teacher.  My illness, in many ways, woke me up to my life. Nearly 15 years since my diagnosis and it turns out that I wasn’t the only one that hated the name Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Recently the Institute of Medicine (IOM) has chosen to reclassify CFS as Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease.  It may seem silly, but even now, ten years out from my healing, I am glad for that change.   In my healing practice I specialize in helping others find...

Become a butterfly

When I am in the midst of significant change. I practice a lot. I find that it keeps me aware of my moment so that I catch when the fear is climbing in, and push myself in its way. Fear is consuming, and when it is at the forefront, it keeps us silent and in our place. When I am aware, and I notice the fear begin to fill first my feet and then my knees, I choose to remind myself of what becoming a butterfly really means. As a child I had the notion that the cocoon was peaceful, the gestation was like nap time, the wings just grew, and voila butterfly. But that is not the truth. There is nothing peaceful about becoming a butterfly. Caterpillars are not hibernating in the cocoon, when they become a butterfly, they are disintegrating. Frigging disintegrating! Perhaps all the dragons of our life are princesses, who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. ~Rilke     The Caterpillar let go, willingly became goo and transformed into a butterfly.   When I am aware, I tap into this metaphor  and look at what my fear is paralyzing me with. Funnily enough, most of the times my fear is not real. My fear is about something that only serves to trap me. By facing it I can decide if I need to align with it or let it go. More often that not, I breathe deep and give myself over to the change. After all, it worked out for the caterpillar, which was once inching and can now...

Keep it simple

It use to be that I didn’t mind mess and noise. internal or external, and I would participate in the pettiest of dramas.  Chronic Fatigue changed my tolerance and my life shifted and changed accordingly.  By embracing my practices during my illness I was able to carve out a space of safety within myself.  Where once it was uncomfortable to be silent and still, now I literally long for my  mat. I choose to keep my house simple, uncluttered, and nicely lit. I buy myself cut flowers weekly because to me they are like putting spots of joy in my rooms.  Joy is one of the highest vibrations – sneak it in wherever you can! I drink my water with lemon and when I have time I let it sit and infuse with sunshine. The majority of the food I eat is whole, with a handful of ingredients and freshly prepared. I now shy away from personal drama and have let go of many friends and some family who create it, or co-create it with me (after all I ain’t no victim). I practice my practices every day. I am grateful to them because they keep me calm and my mind clear. If you haven’t been taking care of your precious self, if you haven’t given yourself any time, my rituals may seem over the top. But trust me when you get into the swing of it, with a little practice, they will become easy. Life is stressful and one of the ways I combat it is by allowing myself these simple pleasures, nurturing myself without a lot of...

What choices are you making?

I believe that there is a huge difference between choice and habit. Making a choice, also known as a decision, requires presence, awareness, and discernment. Habit is a default setting. Habit is you on repeat. Habit, is your foot on the gas while you are asleep at the wheel. We become what we repeatedly do. Sean Covey Since most of our daily behaviors are habituated we stay on our track, comfortable with the familiar. Humans dislike discomfort and when I say dislike I mean HATE, humans hate discomfort. It doesn’t matter one lick if the habit is helping or hurting you, I guarantee you that even your baddest, darkest, ickiest habit is comfy like a perfectly worn pair of jeans. So many people desire change. They want it so badly they can taste it. They yearn for it. Yet they run their day exactly as they did the day before. Each habit bolstering the track they are on. They get to the point where even the desire to change becomes habituated. How many friends do you have that are talking about creating the same changes in their lives that they were embarking on a decade ago? Life is a series of choices. Each choice leads to the next, a chain reaction that starts in the past and impacts our future. Minor choices, major choices, and all the choices in between create ripples of impact, ripples of possible change. Repetition is not failure. Ask the waves, ask the leaves, ask the wind. Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening. The simple truth is that when we change it is going to...

Change, Transition, Growth

I teach about change a lot.  I have a workshop (In Transition) dedicated to its power. I push my students to transform themselves and step out of their comfort zones.  And at this moment, I am being schooled on how much change, even when it is positive and kick-ass, is uncomfortable.  Frankly, change is hard. Changing is not for sissies. Currently I am mid move (state-to-state). I am packing 3,000 square feet of living and studio space.  I am shifting my business, letting go of my beautiful studio, and transitioning from brick and mortar to: traveling as a teacher, writing my second book, and working with clients online. I was recently and joyfully engaged to my longtime love. A new member of my family was born . My best friend just had twins. I published my first book and with its printing finished a project I had worked on for eleven years. Things are definitely different and in FLUX to say the least. Change is gonna come, like the weather They say forever, they say ~ M. Gray     It is times like these, even though I would prefer to eat pizza, brush my teeth with coffee, and drink martinis straight and dirty, that I have to be the most diligent about my practice, my diet, and my sleep.  That is because when my stress gets high my nature shifts and I am ready to GO. In times like these I have to rein in my own intensity. I have to actively stop myself from going into overdrive.  Otherwise my ass would be up at 3am jumping like...