Respecting Our ‘Mammal’ Self And Allowing Spirit To Rise And Lead

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By Denee Jordan

mansmileRecognizing that we are Already Well

‘Already Well’ is a simple, yet profound perspective on wellness that says that by developing respect and compassion for ourselves, exactly as we are, our Spirit will naturally emerge to manage our lives and make contentment, healing, and prosperity possible. Our self-acceptance is the precursor to our success.

It is natural and normal to want to improve ourselves; to become more successful, healthier, happier, richer, smarter, more attractive, and so forth. Though different people and different cultures define ‘success’ differently, what lies behind the desire to be successful is the same for all of us; our drive to survive and thrive. As Human Beings we all desire three things: to feel safe, valuable and connected. This concept may sound simple enough, but it is actually the key to humanity’s evolution or destruction. Depending upon how we choose to feel safe, valuable and connected, this underlying desire can be at the root of the most heinous war, or the root of the noblest human activity.

In our present society, many of us try to achieve ‘safe’ using defensiveness, worry and fear. We try to feel ‘valuable’ using relentless self-scrutiny. We try to feel ‘connected’ with constant striving, comparing, and competing …..and we fight for all of it….creating a society prevalent with depression, anxiety and disease. Today it is estimated that there are over 15 million Americans diagnosed with depression. That is heartbreaking considering our spirits’ natural capacity to love.

‘Already Well’ says that there are three false belief systems that we are operating on that are preventing us from finding the healing and happiness were deserve. They are as follows:

1.) We don’t have enough, need to get more, and when we do, we will be successful and content.

2.) We need to fight for what we want, or we will never get it.

3.) We need to fight for what we have, or we will lose it.

‘Already Well’ challenges the validity of these beliefs. Such beliefs are based in fear and perpetuate our problems. When we never have enough and need to fight to acquire and maintain more, it creates a vicious cycle that cannot be broken without a new perspective. It is the fighting that actually prevents us from feeling safe, valuable and connected.

Some people say that humans are born to fight. This is true in part, but we are also born to love and consciously evolve. We are a magnificent blend of mammal and Spirit. One survives; the other thrives. Survival involves contracted energy, or negativity. Thriving involves expanded energy, or positivity. They are both necessary to live here on the planet Earth. ‘Already Well’ says we need to balance our need to ‘survive’ and ‘thrive’ by making peace with ourselves, as we are, before we are able to make any other ‘improvements’ to our lives. It is essentially learning to lovingly tame our mammal self to allow our Spirit self to lead.

How do we do this? How do we find the ‘enoughness’ in our lives as they are? How do we find self-acceptance when we have been unsuccessful or made mistakes? How can we get in touch with our Spirit and accept our lives, in their entirety, with compassion?

‘Already Well’ utilizes 4 steps:

1.) REFLECTION

Start by giving yourself the credit you deserve just for living. Look back on your life and identify all of the time and energy you have spent struggling, loving, hurting, healing, suffering, discovering, working, succeeding, failing, feeling frustration, joy and disappointment in order to be alive in the present moment. It is no small feat to be a surviving Human Being in our present society! In fact, it is amazing!

seniorwoman22.) RECOGNITION

Recognize all of the effort you have put into living your life and what you have learned along the way. Nobody but you knows what your experience has been! Notice that there is no mention of just learning from the ‘good’ parts of your life. All of your life has had value! Let’s use obesity as an example. ‘Already Well’ encourages the overweight client to add up the pounds she has lost and gained, the money she has spent on weight-loss treatments, the time she has spent worrying and feeling isolated and depressed and turn that focus on praising herself by saying, “Wow! You are amazing! It is wonderful that you can invest all of that emotion, energy, and time into trying to feel better! You actually have demonstrated tremendous ability!” The only thing missing for this woman is self-respect and acceptance. She has already demonstrated the ability to do the work! Remember, self-respect precedes success!

3.) RECONCILIATION

Already Well’ says that we must look at our lives in the present moment and know we have done the best that we have learned how to do and give ourselves credit for our efforts, without exception. People might say, “Yes, but I know better.” ‘Already Well’ says, knowing is not enough, we only do what we have learned. If we had learned better, we would have done better. We need to be honest about who we are and accept ourselves as completely as possible, including the things we think are ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’. It is more than self-forgiveness. It is a compassionate acknowledgement of the value of your life. People might say, “That’s crazy! If I accept myself, nothing will change.” Though it may seem counterintuitive, self-acceptance paves the way for positive change. Self-acceptance is not a judgment that everything is the way you want it; it is a decision to accept and honor yourself as you are, so that you can move forward positively!

4.) EMBRACING SPIRIT

When we make peace with ourselves as we are, we naturally, progressively become aware of our Spirit. Our Spirit is our core, the ‘thriving’ part of us; the part of us that is central to our really feeling safe, valuable and connected. There are many different names for our Spirit, but however we choose to address it, essentially our Spirit comes alive when we stop fighting with ourselves. We don’t have to go looking for it, because it is always with us. We often just can’t hear it with all the battle sounds ringing in our ears. The question is…how can we hear it better? Practice. Practice makes progress; Practice mindfully watching ourselves, consciously understanding and honoring ourselves as we are. Our behavior, thoughts and feelings are all part of our Human Nature and they will actually improve as we watch ourselves respectfully. A specific ‘Practice Plan’ includes focusing time on and engaging in personal activities that encourage self-acceptance and self-compassion (i.e. listening for negative self-talk and gently correcting it, holding our boundaries with other people, risking feeling uncomfortable, recognizing our limitations without shame, trying new things, etc.) Our Spirit knows how to take good care of us. Trust in that.

‘Already Well’ says that finding ’success’ doesn’t involve changing anything in your life right this minute. It teaches us to understand that all of our actions, feelings, thoughts and behaviors are rooted in our human instinct to survive and thrive, regardless of what we have or haven’t done. When we can accept this with self-respect and compassion, our Spirit naturally emerges to take care of our lives. When we recognize our total magnificence in the present moment without changing a thing, we liberate ourselves to heal, learn, prosper and succeed in all of the ways we dream possible.

Denee Jordan, PSY.D is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and Marriage and Family Therapist and the founder of Already Well.

Brain Aging & Alzheimer’s Disease – Preventing Loss Of Self – Part 2

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By Dr. Michael Wald

Continued from part 1 of this article…..

brainthinkingCarnitine is a vitamin-like substance that is responsible for the transport of fatty acids into and out of the mitochondria. Evidence suggests that carnitine may protect neurologic tissue due to its antioxidant and energy producing activity, and its role in neurotransmitter function.
While there are many forms of carnitine, acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) appears to have better activity in the central nervous system, including brain tissue. ALC administration in patients with primary degenerative dementia showed therapeutic efficacy in clinical, behavioral, and neuropsychological evaluations. A series of controlled studies suggests that ALC may slow the natural course of Alzheimer’s disease. In particular, persons with dementia given 1.5 to 3 grams ALC daily for 3 or 6 months have shown improvement in numerous clinical measures of cognitive function. In addition, “safety and tolerability of ALC [are] remarkably good,” further demonstrating the potential use of ALC in a number of progressive neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Go to: www.blooddetective.com for L-Carnitine.

B vitamins, homocysteine, and neurological function in the elderly

Folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 are critical to many bodily processes, including the health of the nervous system, blood, and cells. In addition, these B-group vitamins have been shown to protect against depression, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, peripheral neuropathy, and seizures. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “the status of these vitamins is frequently inadequate in the elderly and recent studies have shown associations between loss of cognitive function or Alzheimer’s disease and inadequate B vitamin status.”

Research has shown that an inadequate B vitamin status may result in neurocognitive dysfunction through elevated homocysteine concentrations in the blood, or hyperhomocysteinemia. Homocysteine is an amino acid that is produced in the human body. Prevalent in the elderly population, hyperhomocysteinemia is largely attributed to insufficient levels of folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12.

seniors2The association between cognitive dysfunction and hyperhomocysteinemia has been demonstrated in numerous studies. For instance, Dr. Selhub and colleagues reported “patients with Alzheimer’s disease had higher total plasma homocysteine concentrations than did age-matched healthy controls,” while “elderly patients with depression who had lower cognitive screening test scores had significantly higher homocysteine concentrations than did patients with normal cognitive screening tests.” Because folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 are often deficient among many elderly patients, the importance of these vitamins in the prevention of hyperhomocysteinemia and neurocognitive dysfunction cannot be overlooked. Be sure and use the active forms of folic acid (L-5-methyltetrahydrofolic acid), B12 (methylcobalamine and pyridoxyl-5-phosphate.

Prevention is the key! Be proactive as most regular physicians have no nutritional training and are not up on the latest scientific nutritional literature and advances.

– Dr. Michael Wald, aka The Blood Detective, is the director of nutritional services at Integrated Medicine of Mount Kisco, located in Westchester New York. He has appeared on ABC World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer, Channel 11 PIX, Channel 12 News, CNN, The Food Network and other media outlets. Dr. Wald earned the name Blood Detective for his reputation to find problems that are often missed by other doctors. He earned an MD degree, is a doctor of chiropractic and a certified dietician-nutritionist. He is also double-board certified in nutrition. He has published over a dozen books with three additional titles due for release late 2013 including: Frankenfoods – Genetically Modified Foods: Controversies, Lies & Your Health and Gluten-A-Holic: How to Live Gluten Free and the Blood Detective’s Longevity Secrets. Dr. Wald can be reached at: www.intmedny.com or www.blooddetective.com or by calling: 914-242-8844.

Brain Aging & Alzheimer’s Disease – Preventing Loss Of Self – Part 1

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By Dr. Michael Wald

seniormanIf you are part of the baby boomer generation, then you face a unique problem; namely, the very real potential exists that you will loose your memory slowly over the later part of your life. Here are a few facts that you need to know:

• As you age your risk of memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease rises

• Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of the aging process. The incidence of the disease doubles every five years beyond the age of 65.

• As the number of people over age 65 doubles between 2010 and 2056 to approximately 88.5 million (or to about 20% of the population), those over the age of 85 will increase three-fold, and the incidence of memory issues, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease increases as well.

• A half of a million Americans younger than the age of 65 suffer from some form of dementia (memory loss) including Alzheimer’s disease.

Nutritional science offers some important options for the treatment and prevention of all stages of memory loss. If you think that you are suffering from memory loss first visit your doctor. Then seek out a trained clinical nutritionist to perform a detailed nutritional-health consultation and appropriate nutritional lab work. Here are a few things you might consider in the meantime:

Fatty acid levels analyzed in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive impairment

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid found in salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, and shellfish and is essential for proper brain functioning. A lack of sufficient DHA may be associated with impaired visual functioning, depression, as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children.

brainAccording to Dr. Julie Conquer and colleagues in Lipids, low levels of omega-3 fatty acids, including DHA, may be a risk factor for cognitive impairment and/or dementia. A recent study sought to determine the concentration of DHA in a group of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias compared to a group of elderly control subjects with normal cognitive functioning. For each participant, blood was collected and tested for DHA concentration. Results demonstrated that the concentration of DHA was 48% less in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and 21% less in patients with other forms of dementia, compared to the elderly control subjects with normal cognitive function.

Dr. Conquer and colleagues stated, “A decreased level of plasma DHA was not limited to the [Alzheimer’s disease] patients but appears to be common in cognitive impairment with aging.” More studies are needed to investigate whether DHA supplementation can reduce the occurrence or symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. (Lipids 2000; 35(12): 1305-12.).

I have observed DHA deficiency in my clinical practice over the last 22 years. It’s my judgment that it is safe and worth adding as a nutritional supplement to a balanced diet. See: www.blooddetective.com for Krill Oil and Vegetarian Omega 3 Fatty Acid.

Acetyl-L-carnitine may prevent Alzheimer’s disease

Stay tuned for part 2 of this article shortly…..

– Dr. Michael Wald, aka The Blood Detective, is the director of nutritional services at Integrated Medicine of Mount Kisco, located in Westchester New York. He has appeared on ABC World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer, Channel 11 PIX, Channel 12 News, CNN, The Food Network and other media outlets. Dr. Wald earned the name Blood Detective for his reputation to find problems that are often missed by other doctors. He earned an MD degree, is a doctor of chiropractic and a certified dietician-nutritionist. He is also double-board certified in nutrition. He has published over a dozen books with three additional titles due for release late 2013 including: Frankenfoods – Genetically Modified Foods: Controversies, Lies & Your Health and Gluten-A-Holic: How to Live Gluten Free and the Blood Detective’s Longevity Secrets. Dr. Wald can be reached at: www.intmedny.com or www.blooddetective.com or by calling: 914-242-8844.

How Exercise Can Change The World: Discovering Your Hidden Self – Part 2

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By Bob Livingstone

Continued from part 1 of the article…..

ontopI remember my father turning away from me with a blank look that told me what an utter disappointment I was to him. I remember him dying shortly after that.
I could relate to my client’s feeling that nothing was ever going to change and despite how hard they worked to improve their situation; they were still feeling bad about who they were and lost faith that their lives would get better.

This was how I was feeling when I began my run and now that I had a clear sense of what was troubling me, in spite of the seemingly many obstacles blocking my path, I was ready to face it and see what I could do to make myself feel better.

Then the Promised Land came through the headphones. This is a song about believing in the power of redemption, faith and no matter how distraught your life seems; you will find a way to the light.

As the sweat poured down my face and fogged up my sun glasses, I knew I was onto something and could feel the intensity of the music as I pounded my legs up and down hills. I marveled that at age 62 I was running faster than most Americans of any age could ever hope for.

I thought about those people who have inflicted emotional and often physical pain upon others. I was reflecting on the new found knowledge that one out of every three women suffers from domestic violence mostly at the hands of her male partner.

I know I have helped transform many of these victims into warriors who learned to hold their ground and stand up for themselves. They learned to stay out of abusive relationships and to take control of their lives. I feel very proud of my work here.

runnerAs I continue to run and notice that my muscles are loose and thoughts are coming out fast and furious. I seem to be able to face the most difficult of emotional pain while I am exercising and at this moment I am seized by the moment.

Most people my age are thinking about closing shop and heading to retirement: not me-I am focusing on my dreams and how I can make them come true.

I have images of men and women who have really hurt others. They come across as predators, but deep inside they are terrified children. This is a part of them that is hidden. I hope to help the woman who pushes everyone away with her rage. I hope to help heal the man who batters and belittles those physically weaker than him.

I imagine teaching these people how to do what I am doing today; to face and work through their emotional pain while exercising. Many will say that these folks cannot and will not change. I say that we should discard these beliefs and build a new model for discovering and working through hidden pain.

If you would like to learn more about how to heal your emotional pain through exercise while listening to music, please check out my book The Body Mind Soul Solution: Healing Emotional Pain through Exercise.

Bob Livingstone is the author the critically acclaimed Unchain the Pain: How to be Your Own Therapist, Norlights Press 2011, The Body Mind Soul Solution: Healing Emotional Pain through Exercise, Pegasus Books, 2007 and Redemption of the Shattered: A Teenager’s Healing Journey through Sandtray Therapy, Booklocker 2002. He is a psychotherapist, licensed clinical social worker in private practice in The San Francisco Bay Area and has nearly twenty five years experience working with adults, adolescents and children.

How Exercise Can Change The World: Discovering Your Hidden Self – Part 1

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By Bob Livingstone

sunI awoke to a sunny San Francisco morning and miraculously fog was nowhere to be seen. The day looked bright, but I was not feeling it. Pessimism and self-doubt ruled my world today.

I was feeling tired, uninspired and fed up. I wasn’t sure what was troubling me and I knew damn well I wouldn’t figure out what is wrong by staring at a computer screen, playing with my phone or some other mindless activity.

I knew from experience that moving my body while listening to music would bring me relief and quite possibly I could understand what was bothering me and be on the toad to resolving it.

I put on my running clothes, tied my shoes and turned the music on. I was listening to Bruce Springsteen’s Darkness on the Edge of Town album. This record is filled with anger, bitterness, regret and after all that; hope.

I opened the apartment door and started slowly running down the street moving to the rhythm of the drums and guitars.

I asked myself “what do I feel and why do I feel this way?” I was patient (which was unusual for me) and I waited until the answer revealed itself.

My pace was quickening and I could hear the sound of my feet hitting the concrete along with Bruce singing Something in the Night. He sang about losing all that he had and how people will take advantage if they perceive you as weak.

joggingI was feeling numb, sad and frustrated. I am a psychotherapist in private practice and I work with clients who have been traumatized. They may have lost a loved one through death. They may have experienced horrific abuse at the hands of another. They may be victims of domestic violence. They may be children in the middle of a protracted hostile divorce.

I hear stories of utter anguish nearly every day and sometimes my client’s pain really overwhelms me.

As therapists, we are trained to be aware of what issues from our childhood are being stirred up while working with those who have been traumatized. We are supposed to use this awareness as a tool for helping our clients. Sometimes the issue that is being brought to the surface is utter powerlessness and helplessness. I sense this state of being in my clients and I have memories of feeling like I have no influence in improving anything.

I remember several of my grade school teachers criticizing my handwriting and telling me that I was stupid and my guidance counselor in high school saying that I was not bright enough to attend college.

Stay tuned for part 2 of the article shortly…..

If you would like to learn more about how to heal your emotional pain through exercise while listening to music, please check out my book The Body Mind Soul Solution: Healing Emotional Pain through Exercise.

Bob Livingstone is the author the critically acclaimed Unchain the Pain: How to be Your Own Therapist, Norlights Press 2011, The Body Mind Soul Solution: Healing Emotional Pain through Exercise, Pegasus Books, 2007 and Redemption of the Shattered: A Teenager’s Healing Journey through Sandtray Therapy, Booklocker 2002. He is a psychotherapist, licensed clinical social worker in private practice in The San Francisco Bay Area and has nearly twenty five years experience working with adults, adolescents and children.