Friday, December 15, 2017

Shower Power and Affirmations

I’ve discovered a fun way to increase my sense of well-being. I combine self-care hygiene of showering and the energetic shift that occurs when I recite affirmations, to improve health and happiness.
This post has been updated 12/21/2020

When you try out this wellness practice, you’ll see how quickly it both cleanses your body and converts negative thinking into more positive attitudes and actions. Why does this pair improve our outlook? Read on.

Bathing in warm or hot water helps wash off more than dirt and grime. The steam from the shower reduces nasal congestion and soothes a sore or hoarse throat. 

When we shower shortly after awakening, the rushing water helps us start the day with a fresh outlook. 

If we choose to take our shower in the evening, it relaxes muscles after a long, tiring day and prepares us for a good night's sleep.

As water from the shower shoots down, the water pressure helps improve blood circulation, opens and unclogs pores, and can even reduce the sensations associated with a headache. This is an easy, natural way to cure headache pain with no side effects.
Observing water's clear, fresh color stills our mind and soothes our spirit. The sound and feel relaxes us.  Use all your senses. Tap into the healing power of running water, and connect with your body’s heat. Open your eyes and mind to cleansing and take the first simple step to refresh yourself.
Now, on to the second part of my equation. The affirmation definition I like best is, “An affirmation is a declaration that confirms something is already true and bountiful in life.” 
When you declare affirmations aloud in the shower, the sound reverberates, and makes two healing modalities more powerful than just one. 

Use shampoo and soap to lather your body. Then as you wash, make brushing motions an inch or two above your torso or on your skin from head to toe.

Imagine brushing off aches and pains, negative thoughts, and heaviness in your heart. Make the motion of removing things from other places, where you sense you need cleansing. Brushing can be done with an actual (touch) or symbolic brush and is a physical way to release stale energy. 

Keep in mind, this process can help you shed fear, anger, grief, or other troubling feeling trapped in your body. So make the motion of brushing off all things that no longer serve you well.

Repeat the following affirmations, as the water washes over you. Speak aloud, with as much conviction as you can muster. 

1. “As the water rushes over my body, I notice my muscles are free of tension, my mind is free of worry, and my thoughts are free of uneasiness about those things that are left undone or I have no control over.”

2. “Shower water and soap cleanses all negative energy from my body, mind, and spirit. I let go of dissatisfaction, judgments, and comparisons with others as cares wash down the drain.”

3. “I move forward and prosper.”

4. "I keep life simple by lovingly focusing on my own business, and gently release thoughts of others and fully appreciate the results of my own actions."

“5. I recognize that self-discovery and healing are day-at-a-time processes. 

6. "I am kind and caring with myself and others."

7. "I learn from my experiences, and understand I have the option of starting over any time I have the need for a do-over."

8. “I live each day with positive intentions, take things in stride, and enjoy challenges."

9. “I visualize myself immersed in a pool of love, peace, and compassion.”

10. “I relish quiet time spent in the shower, and my inner peace is a power of example to others.”

Please comment below in the space provided. 

What self-care activities do you think help you the most and why? 

Do you use affirmations as a self-care helper? Explain.

Are you consistent with your pre or post work self-care routines? Please explain why or why not.

Before I sign off, I encourage you to reserve time to nurture yourself during the holiday season and into the New Year. Warm wishes for vital color energy always, to help you Live Each Day Happy and Free! 

Further reading:

Expressing affirmations aloud is an effective way to reduce tension, and this scientific study from Carnegie Mellon backs it up. 

For more about affirmations see: Encourage Optimal Health.

For details about the color of water read this.

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Friday, December 1, 2017

Hanukkah a Mini Guide to the Jewish Holiday

Hanukkah is a joyous, festive Jewish holiday. This year as you wish a Happy Hanukkah to others, you'll have read this blog and understand a few of the customs and symbols associated with the holiday better. 

Post updated 11/14/2020

Hanukkah spans eight nights and eight days and begins this year on the night of Thursday Dec. 10, 2020.

It commemorates the Israelites/Maccabees' victories over the Greco-Syrians in regaining the ancient Temple in Jerusalem (approx. 164 BCE-142 BCE). This enabled Jews to practice our religion freely. 

Legend goes that when the ancient Jerusalem Temple was reclaimed, there was only enough oil to burn in the eternal light for one night. A miracle occurred, and the oil burned for eight days and eight nights. The custom of lighting eight candles (one a night) on the menorah is a celebration and tribute to the miracle of light and religious freedom. Perhaps that's why this holiday came to be called The Festival of Lights. 

What are traditional Hanukkah colors? Accessories, from table linens to toys and serving dishes are customarily blue and white or blue and silver colors. The most obvious explanation for this color scheme is the Israeli flag, designed by the Zionist movement in 1891 and officially adopted in 1948, is blue and white.

Hanukkah is observed differently around the world. In America, a child may receive presents, attend a Hanukkah Party, sing songs, and play a game with a dreidel ( a spinning top). In Sephardi/Spanish Jewish homes, you might see the menorah, hanging suspended at the doorpost of each house.

Eating is a big part of any Jewish holiday. One traditional food served in the U.S. is a fried potato pancake called a latke (a symbol of the oil). 

When I can entertain during this holiday at my house, I prepare Vegan Potato Latkes and offer the recipe to you. You don't have to be Jewish to like them, so give it a try.

Potato Latkes (pancakes) Vegan and Gluten Free (Makes approx. 15 pancakes)

Potato Latkes and Berry Apple Sauce with Beans, Squash, and Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients: I use Organic Ingredients Whenever Available

4 large all-purpose potatoes, peeled

1 medium yellow onion chopped fine
1 flaxseed egg: mix 1 Tablespoon whole ground flaxseed meal with 3 Tablespoons of water and let sit for at least 20 minutes before using
2 Tablespoons gluten free Matzo Meal or gluten free old fashioned ground oats
a pinch of salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil or olive oil spray

What to Do:

1. Mix up ground flaxseed meal as described above.

2. Grate potatoes with the grating blade of a food processor.

Note: If the potato mixture is left too long in the air, it will turn an unattractive gray color. Work quickly or add 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice to the mix, before you portion it out.

 3. Place the grated potato in a colander and press down in order to remove as much liquid as possible.

4. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together, except for the oil.

5. Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet, until a drop of water sizzles when dropped into the oil. Drop about two tablespoons of the mixture into the pan for each pancake. I use a large serving spoon to make latkes look uniform in size. Flatten pancakes with the back of the spoon so they cook evenly and are about 2-3 inches in diameter.

6. Fry pancakes at medium heat four or five minutes. Turn carefully and cook on the other side for about the same amount of time.

7. After each pancake is cooked, drain on a paper towel.

8. Top with apple sauce, fruit compote, cinnamon, or other sweet spice.


Another custom of the holiday is to give small gifts such as golden or silver metallic paper covered chocolate coins (gelt) to each child after the blessing for the candle is chanted and the Hanukkah candle is lit each night. That means children are getting at least eight presents in all.

Susan from Organized 31 was kind enough to give me permission to use her photo and let me supply a link to her post, which illustrates blue and silver gift bags to hold these small treasures. The crochet directions come from Sara Rivka from Creative Jewish Mom. What a crafty idea and follow through.

A handmade Hanukkah gift is a special way to celebrate. #hanukkah
source, Susan at Organized 31

What's the correct spelling for Hanukkah? Hanukkah is not easily transliterated into English, and accounts for why there are so many ways to spell it. Hanukkah and Chanukah are the two versions that are most widely used and accepted. 

When we gaze at or meditate about light from the Hanukkah candles, it may help us look inside ourselves more deeply. Recently, I've been reflecting on a quotation from Rabbi Naomi Levy, author of Einstein and the Rabbi: Searching for the Soul.

"We are carrying God's light within us. It burns like a pilot light, always available to help us and guide us. It's our responsibility to honor and tend that light, to keep sharing it and spreading it." 

That's an important reason why I blog.

How do you shine your light in the world? Do you feel by sharing your gifts, you make the world a better place to be? 

Please comment. You're welcome to share your favorite holiday practice or tradition with my readers and me. Let the light of brotherhood and sisterhood shine.

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