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Eating meat has ‘dire’ consequences for the planet, says report

To feed a growing global population and curtail climate change, scientists say we need to radically change our food systems.



THERE’S AN ENTIRE industry built around dieting. Most of its products are intended to help people lose weight, gain muscle, or live longer.

But as the global human population steadily climbs, scientists are scrambling to devise a diet plan that can feed 10 billion people by 2050.

A new report, published in the British medical journal The Lancet, claims to do just that. It recommends a largely plant-based diet, with small, occasional allowances for meat, dairy, and sugar. The report was compiled by a group of 30 scientists from around the world who study nutrition or food policy. For three years, they deliberated with the intent of creating recommendations that could be adopted by governments to meet the challenge of feeding a growing world population.

“Even small increases in the consumption of red meat or dairy foods would make this goal difficult or impossible to achieve,” a summary of the report states.

The report’s authors reached their conclusions by weighing different side-effects of food production. They included greenhouse gases, water and crop use, nitrogen or phosphorus from fertilizers, and the potential for biodiversity to take a hit should a region be converted into farmland. By managing all these factors, the report’s authors say climate change-inducing gases could be reduced and enough land could be reserved to feed the world’s growing population.

Under the report’s conclusions, meat and sugar consumption around the world should drop by 50 percent. Who eats less meat and where will vary, says Jessica Fanzo, a report author and professor of food policy and ethics at Johns Hopkins University. Meat consumption in the U.S., for instance, would have to go down and be replaced by fruits and vegetables. But other countries already facing poor nutrition could incorporate meat into roughly three percent of their diet.

“We’ll be in dire straits,” if no action is taken, says Fanzo.

Following a vegan trend

Recommendations to scale back meat consumption aren’t new. Just this past October, a study published in the journal Nature set similar guidelines for reducing meat and sugar consumption.

What’s different about this new report, says Fanzo, are the steps outlined to put such a change into place.

Branded what the authors call a “Great Food Transformation,” it outlines strategies that range from the least active, simply sharing information, to the most aggressive, eliminating consumer choice.

“I think it’s hard for people on a daily basis because the incentives and political structures that are in place don’t make it so easy,” says Fanzo. Shifting what sort of agricultural practices receive subsidies is one tactic for overhauling the food system, the report outlines. That would change the relative prices of foods, and thus build in consumer incentives.

Whether a plan like this could actually grow legs around the world is a different story, says Fanzo.

“With the current [presidential] administration, I just don’t think anything is going to move,” she notes.

Greg Miller is the chief science officer for the U.S. National Dairy Council. In addition to citing health benefits of milk like calcium and vitamin D, he cautions against transforming America’s food landscape.

“You have a million people whose lives depend on dairy,” Miller says of those who work on farms or are otherwise employed by the dairy industry.

“We could get there with the right incentives and the right policies,” Miller says of making dairy farming more sustainable. “Subsidies are needed for better technology right now. [Small-scale farmers] don’t have additional income to do some of the things that could be done.”

Better breeding has created cows that are capable of producing more milk for instance, and better tracking systems can monitor an animal’s food intake and activity.

Lingering emissions debates

Not all experts are convinced that plant-based diets are a food security panacea. Frank Mitloehner, an animal scientist from the University of California, Davis has been vocal about his view that meat has been disproportionately linked to climate change emissions.

“What concerns me the most is that, while livestock has an impact, the report makes it sound as if it was the leading source of the impacts. By far the use of fossil fuels are the leading source of carbon emissions,” says Mitloehner.

According to the EPA, burning fossil fuels for industry, electricity, and transportation comprises the bulk of greenhouse gas emissions. Agriculture is nine percent of emissions and livestock roughly four percent of that.

Mitloehner also disagrees with the method used by the council to determine the amount of greenhouse gases produced by livestock, saying too much weight was given to methane during calculations. Compared to carbon, methane stays in the atmosphere for a relatively short amount of time. Scientists debate how long exactly, but studies have shown methane plays a large role in warming oceans.

Reducing food waste

Though the report’s dietary guidelines are receiving criticism, its push to reduce food waste is being more widely received. In the U.S. alone, nearly 30 percent of all food is wasted.

Strategies to reduce waste are outlined for both consumers and producers in the report. Better storage technology and contamination spotting could help businesses reduce the amount of food that’s thrown out, but educating consumers is also touted as an effective strategy.

It’s a daunting prospect for many—changing eating habits and reducing food waste. But Kathryn Kellogg, author of the book 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste, says she gets by with just $250 a month.

“There’s so many creative ways to use our food to prevent waste, and I feel like most people just don’t know about them,” she says. She cites knowing how to cook each part of a vegetable and being constantly aware of the food in her fridge as some of her most effective habits. (Learn more about so-called zero-waste families.)

Kellogg, however, lives in California near neighborhoods with accessible farmers markets. For other communities living in so-called food deserts—regions where grocery stores or markets aren’t readily available—accessing fresh fruits and vegetables can be more difficult.

“All the actions we recommend are available now,” says Fanzo. “They’re not ‘pie in the sky’ future technologies. They’re just not done at a large scale.”

The report’s commissioners will hold launch events in more than 30 countries around the world starting Thursday. They plan to appeal to international organizations like the U.N. as potential enforcers of their new guidelines.

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Cookbooks for Healthy Living

Wonderful Cookbooks for healthy living ranging from everyday cooking to Ultra Gourmet. Try your hand at vegan, vegetarian, and wholesome recipes. Make 2019 the year to reinvent yourself! All Books SHIP FREE! SEE MORE

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So You Wanna Become Vegan (Plant-Based Diet)

Vegan and Plant-Based Diets

I use Vegan and Plant-Based Diet interchangeably, but I guess there are some to which Veganism also means, no animal products whatsoever such as leather.  I am referring only to Dietary Vegans in this article.

Most of my life I wanted to become vegan because of my profound love of animals.  I always had a hard time reconciling being a meat eater and an animal lover, but it seemed very daunting, especially since vegetables are not my favorite food.  I don’t hate them but I really had to go out of my way to eat them.

I tried to “sneak” vegetables into the meals I made by chopping them up and putting them in meatloaf, casseroles, etc.  I bought and drank V-8, which I like, especially with gin, tabasco, and a stick of celery, but that’s beside the point. I’ve really never been a huge meat eater, preferring to use it as a condiment, such as in beef stroganoff, rather than sitting down to a steak.  Eating a plant-based diet just seemed bland and undoable for me.

How I got there

I had a heart attack.  I am going to somewhat diverge here for a few moments to share some important information.  One night after eating dinner, I was feeling a little uncomfortable so since we have a long hall in our house, I decided to walk a little bit to maybe help me digest a little better.  When I started walking, I felt a little burning sensation in my chest, just like indigestion. I have felt this before when I have gone walking and I figured it was just because I was out of shape.  It usually went away if I just pushed through it.

I started belching and it went away.  Then it came back, only more intense, again I started belching and it went away.  It kept coming back, a little stronger each time. It was getting pretty uncomfortable and I was starting to feel some aching between by shoulder blades that went up my neck and my head felt like it was swelling.  I decided to lie down, thinking that would make it go away. When I lay down, it got much stronger and didn’t go away. It just so happened I had just read an article on female symptoms of heart attack the day before.  I told my husband I thought we should go to the hospital, even though I wasn’t accepting this was what was happening to me, but the symptoms fit.

My husband drove me to emergency and by the time I got there my systolic blood pressure reading was over 200!  It turns out that the heart starts doing this at the beginning of a heart attack. OK, I’m starting to believe it now.  It turns out I had a 99% blockage of a main artery to the heart and had a stent installed.

Here’s the moral of this little story.  Be sure to read up on heart attack symptoms.  If you have ANY symptoms, go to the hospital, and this applies to men as well.  Some men have the same symptoms as women, and some women have the same symptoms as men!

All the way to the hospital, the belching relieved the symptoms and I told my husband it was probably just a bad case of indigestion.  Many times I just wanted to turn around and go home, but I didn’t. I didn’t want to be embarrassed at the hospital if I just had a bad case of indigestion.  The doctor told me that because I responded to the symptoms and got to the hospital right away, my heart was not damaged at all. Don’t worry about being embarrassed if you are not sure, GO!  It could save your life!

On Becoming Vegan

So back to becoming a vegan.  A couple of months later during my recovery, my cardiologist told me about eating a plant-based diet.  He recommended I watch a documentary called “Forks Over Knives”. Faerie Dust Online also carries the Forks Over Knives Paperback book and Forks Over Knives Cookbook. After having watched it, he decided to go plant-based because of the scientific evidence presented in this documentary that eating meat was damaging.  I watched it with my husband and both of us decided to also eat a plant-based diet.

This documentary not only pointed out the negative way the body responds to meat, but it also showed evidence of how a plant-based diet can reverse some major diseases like diabetes, cancer, and inflammation diseases.  And of course it will help get cholesterol under control and helps with heart diseases as well.

Getting Started

Ok, so where do I start.  I did not realize I would be at such a loss.  One can only eat enough beans and rice. One can only eat so many salads, especially me.  We spent a lot of time looking through plant-based and vegan websites looking for recipes.  None seemed appealing, but we still fumbled through. I was still motivated by having had a heart attack.  When I was really craving something tasty with meat in it, like hamburgers, I had to tell myself I have already eaten enough hamburgers to last two lifetimes, or that in another universe I am enjoying hamburgers.  I know this seems silly but it did take the sting out of the cravings.

What really helped me make the transition was when I took a trip to Las Vegas.  I just needed to get away and I wanted to tour the casinos as they seemed to be updated to some pretty spectacular places.  I found some vegan restaurants even though I really wanted to get in on some buffets (I ended up going to one and it was not good for vegan options).  The first place I went was a restaurant called “VegeNation”.  The reviews were really good and the pictures of their food were even better!  I ordered a “FOOD NOT BOMBS BOWL” which had house spiced tofu, black bean chili, and breakfast potatoes. topped with “cheese”, avocado, and chipotle “cream”. served with corn tortillas.  This honestly was one of the best things I ever ate!

All of a sudden I got it.  I finally could see how to prepare plant-based food that was REALLY good!  The next place I went to was “Chef Kennys Asian Vegan Restaurant”.  I ordered 4 different entrees.  I am sure people thought I was a pig, but I wanted to try lots of stuff.  It was again spectacularly delicious. I took the rest back to the hotel with me for the next day.  I was getting excited. This vegan stuff was actually doable. The last day there I ate at “Vege-Way”, also a Chef Kenny Restaurant, but it was a burger joint.  I had a burger, fries, and milkshake, all to die for!

Now you may not live in Vegas, but my advice to you is to first of all, eat at a really good vegan restaurant.  Most larger towns have them. Try different things. You need to know that it can be done and this is the best orientation.  Read the reviews, look at pictures, and then go eat there.

How to Survive the Transition

Even though I used to be a cook and worked many years in restaurants, I just don’t like to cook much anymore.  Fortunately, for me, my husband does and he is damn good at it! My husband has always gone on diets with me because he figures it is easier to go along than to prepare different types of food for each meal, he is so supportive of my efforts. Love that man!

I have to have food that is handy and fast to cook.  I find I get hungry immediately on a plant-based diet and when I am hungry I need to have stuff that is either ready to go or that cooks quickly.  I am also an ex fast food junkie, so I need to have some of that stuff on hand as well. If I want to do some “chef-ing” I need to get started preparing food early, because as I said, when I get hungry it has to go fast.  I have included some recipes that are great for guests or just as a special dinner for you and your family.

If you are having a craving for meat, there are lots of really good meat substitutes.  The Beyond Meat brand has some really excellent choices.  The Italian Sausage is the best. It is so close to the flavor of Italian Sausage that you may not be able to tell the difference.  I like the HOT ones because they have more depth of flavor. We like the Bratwurst Sausages served with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut made with a touch of brown sugar and caraway seeds.  To die for! Beyond Meat also makes hamburgers that are really good. I add Za’atar (my new favorite herb), garlic and onion powders, salt & pepper, and vegan worcestershire sauce. They also make fake chicken and several flavors of ground “beef” crumbles.  You can find Beyond Meat products at Whole Foods Market, Sprouts, and some grocery stores like Safeway and Kroger.  If you subscribe to their website you can get coupons now and then and be notified of new products and information.  FYI, I prefer the Sprouts brand meatless burgers. I like the flavor better and they are easy to fix. You can actually find Beyond Meat Burgers on menus in many restaurants now as well as Impossible Burgers, also very good but not available in stores yet.

Gardein is also a very good “Meatless” brand.  We use their Meatless Meatballs for Spaghetti and Meatballs or sandwiches.  We also use their Golden Fishless Filets. You can make Fish & Chips or I like to use them if I have a fast food craving by putting them on a bun with “cheese” and tartar sauce for a fake McDonald’s Filet O Fish sandwich.  Pretty darned good, however, the texture is a little light for a fish filet, but the flavor is there.

Amy’s products are pretty good but I usually only buy their Gluten-Free, Dairy Free Beans & Rice Burritos.  I am also Gluten Free because of an inflammatory disease and it helps, but I like the Gluten-Free Burritos the best anyhow.  The non-gluten free is a heavier tortilla and tends to overpower the filling. I usually thaw these in the microwave for 1.5 minutes, then finish them off in a little oil in a frying pan to brown them, otherwise they come out doughy.  It makes them like a lite chimichanga, which I love. The flavor is so good you don’t miss the cheese. I usually put some salsa and Tofutti Sour Cream (excellent!) on top or guacamole or just sliced avocados.  Quite good for a fast meal with fruit.

Another fast-food fix:  Annie’s Mac & Cheese. There are 2 types, one is regular flavor Mac & Cheese and the other is made with pumpkin and sweet potato.  I love them both. Amazing that there is no dairy in it! If you like the boxed Mac & Cheese, it tastes just the same! It is made with Rice Noodles (if you want Gluten-Free) or regular pasta.  The cheese mix is a little salty but I usually put beans (I like Limas) with it to make a complete protein and add some Tofutti Sour Cream.  That cuts the salt a little.  Anyhow, it’s very good.

And now for non-dairy cheeses:  I really like Follow Your Heart “cheeses” for sandwiches and burgers.  My favorites are the Smoked Gouda and American flavors. Follow Your Heart also makes a shredded Parmesan Cheese as well.  It is similar to Parmesan, but is a little lacking. Works if you use sparingly like in pesto. And finally, I use Original Vegenaise from Follow Your Heart. I love mayo and this one is pretty darned good!  Diaya makes a good SHARP cheddar, but it is quite tangy.  If you like really sharp cheddar you would like this.  Their Mozzarella shreds are good when melted on a pizza, but make sure it is really melted or it is very tangy.  Chao has some quite tasty cheeses, my favorite being the Tomato Cayenne Slices.  I can just munch on a slice right out of the package. I also stumbled on a recipe for Queso using a full package of the Creamy Original and a can of Ro-tel.  I haven’t tried it yet but I miss Queso so I will. Tofutti Sour Cream and Cream Cheese are both really good.  Tofutti seems to have upped the sourness of the sour cream so it tastes more authentic.  Non-dairy cheeses do not melt as easily as regular cheeses. You have to give them more time so plan for this when using them.

I haven’t found a good milk substitute to replace good old cow’s milk for drinking without adding some truvia and maybe some vanilla, but you can use non-dairy milks (soy, almond, coconut) in a lot of recipes that call for milk.  So, if you are a big milk drinker, I’m sorry, but one good thing to know is that some non-dairy milks contain a lot of calcium and protein, which you need to add to a vegan diet unless you are really conscientious, which I am not.  I used to like the Coffee Mate creamers but now I use Original Silk Soy Creamer. Just as tasty and the Original is plenty sweet for me, however they also have Vanilla, and I think some other flavors.

Some hard-core vegans think you should not eat the prepared foods I have mentioned that are available now and everything should be whole foods and made from scratch.  I agree, but I won’t do it and I will be worse off for it. I tend to not eat at all if I am hungry and I have to make something from scratch. That’s up to you. The idea is to improve your life and do the best you can.  I have proof that this works. I just had a bone density scan and my bone density has improved since the last one two years ago. My cholesterol is also down to a normal level from being way high. You can be hard-core about this if you can, or you can do what you can do.  Maybe even just cutting down on how much meat you eat and adding more fruits and vegetables is what you can do. It is still an improvement in your nutrition. No guilt. That’s my motto.

Be good to yourself.

I will be adding recipes, suggestions, and information as we go along so be sure to check THIS PAGE now and then.


Cookbooks for Healthy Living

Wonderful Cookbooks for healthy living ranging from everyday cooking to Ultra Gourmet. Try your hand at vegan, vegetarian, and wholesome recipes. Make 2019 the year to reinvent yourself! All Books SHIP FREE! SEE MORE

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Made With Love Gourmet Delectible Edibles

Make Life Simple With Easy Real Whole Food Fast! Made with Love Spice Blends & Magic Meals are made with integrity, care & attention to detail. Cherishing our bodies, hearts & planet, we combine healthy fair-trade small farm & organic spices, herbs, veggies & super food ingredients to create decadently delicious flavours with no work recipes to make gourmet cooking quick & easy. Just add a couple fresh ingredients to make healthy Magic Meals in minutes. All our products are Made with Love using high quality ingredients in their most natural forms and are portioned with hearty appetites in mind! Made with Love products are non-irradiated and contain No-GMOs, additives, preservatives, free-flowing agents or silicon dioxide. SEE MORE
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And It Doesn’t Cost a Thing! Imagine!

Book of joy - finding true joy

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World

The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have survived more than fifty years of exile and the soul-crushing violence of oppression. Despite their hardships—or, as they would say, because of them—they are two of the most joyful people on the planet.


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Animal Hugs: No Words Can Describe

Palmistry Hand Kit

    Palmistry Hand Kit $18.95

Understand the connections between your past, your present and your future. Learn how to interpret the lines on your own hands, and those of people around you.

This Palmistry Hand Kit resembles the tools of old used to help people learn to read palms, Small enough to fit comfortably on your desk and coming with a small guide book.

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Duality Part 2: “As Above, So Below”

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People seem to struggle with the issue of Duality, as do I.  It just doesn’t seem right. Is it something we just have to endure in our physical life?  What is the reason for it?

I think some of the reason is that we know there is a spiritual part of us, but we have not reconciled with the logistics of it.  Churches tell us the only way we can access spirituality is through the dogma of each religion. Scientists tells us it’s not real because it’s not science, but does acknowledge now there are some kinds of psycho/placebo responses sometimes when outcomes are unexplainable.

We all identify ourselves with some kind of relationship to spirituality from no spirituality at all, to all Spirit where this physical life is an illusion.  Maybe there is another approach, another middle ground so to speak.

I was getting ready to do a Tarot reading for myself one day and as I was reaching to the lower level of my end table where I kept my Tarot book and cards, I was stopped in my tracks.  I felt strongly a real presence of myself. It was that one everyone gets from time to time where you get confused as you get older, because despite what your body is doing, you don’t feel any different inside.  My usual number is that I don’t feel a day over 19. Then we dismiss this as wishful thinking. What if it wasn’t?

That day, the feeling was that I was the same person I have always been and it defied time and space, and distance.  I felt the like person I have always been without having aged as well as still being in the same place, even though I have moved a lot in my life.  It was like having watched a movie and gotten so wrapped up in it that you had experienced a lifetime traversing the world in a couple of hours, and when the movie was over, you discovered you were the same person as when you first arrived.  This may not make sense to you but it was like a more vertical time experience than linear.  I will explain this later.

 So I went ahead and started my reading.  I chose a card in my deck that was one of the major Arcana, Key XXI.  The Universe. The Tarot set I use is called Tarot of the Spirit by Pamela Eakins, PhD.  This is one of the most resourceful and spiritual Tarot books I have come across and always stimulates advanced spiritual thought in me.

 In this Arcana, I started reading the Meditation section which I almost never do.  There was a section that said,

“The Universe, one verse, one turn

One song

Hailed on Earth as it is in Heaven

One Will

Done on Earth as it is in Heaven

One Life

Lived on Earth as it is in Heaven.”

I got to thinking, perhaps there is no separation, no duality.  Perhaps we live in a Universe where the physical plane and the spiritual plane co-exist.  We tend to feel so separated from the spiritual realm because we have been told they are different but I am beginning to think they are simultaneous and integrated.

Eakins further says,

“Through this magical window [between the physical and the spiritual], you can see your steps laid out before and behind.  In reviewing these steps, it appears as if you have been traversing the Earth incessantly. But where have you actually gone?  It appears now that you have traveled forever, but you have gone nowhere!”

“You feel, in some ways, just like you did at the beginning.”  

This is exactly how I was perceiving things that day.

“As above, so below”.  

This is a phrase I learned when I was training to be a Reiki Master and was commonly used in different attunements and healing techniques.  I have since heard it used often in a Metaphysical sense but never thought much about it thinking it was defining the difference between a spiritual “heaven” (perfect) and a physical “earth” (imperfect).  Now I think what it is saying is that it’s all the same existence, a shared existence in which we have access to all the divine answers right here and right now. We just have to remove ourselves from the fallacy of perfectionism and experience life as a human with all the flaws and gooey stuff, and trust that our “salvation” lies in acknowledging the lack of duality with a willingness to trust the Spiritual “US” when we need to.

“What is the beginning?  Did you not begin to re-member WHO YOU ARE?  Did you not learn that the illumination you sought without was within you all along?  Did you not see that you ARE the illumination you sought without?  The point never was the distance from whence you came in the world of matter, nor to where you fathomed you were going in that world, but the discovery of WHO YOU ARE.   The purpose of the journey is the discovery of the inner self….Your physical body has been the vehicle of your discovery.”

So back to my experience of my Self being as it has always been and transcending time and space, and even distance.  Perhaps this phenomena of feeling like you have never aged is the real reality. Perhaps this is the eternal YOU that is in the non-eternal body/vehicle that will get you through the physical life.  I told you I would get back to you about a vertical time experience versus a linear one.

We are all used to the linear time experience that runs from past to future, but perhaps when we mentally and emotionally have that sense of time not passing, we are actually tapping into the eternal self, vertical time.  It doesn’t move, it doesn’t travel, but it can experience. It is the only explanation. Instead of thinking it is wishful thinking, I challenge all of us to pay attention to that Self instead of blowing it off, and see if we can see more.  This is new to me, too, so I will be doing this experiment with you.

Here is an even greater challenge.  This one I can attest to. In order to tap into that spiritual side of us, because we have never really known how to do this (except prayer works for some, but then that separates you from spirit again), when a worrisome situation comes up try to set aside worry and just know that the Universe will take care of things in the way they need to be taken care of.  Get out of your own way.  Do what you can, then wait and watch.  Don’t give in to helplessness.  Pay attention to “signs and wonders”.  When we project worry or helplessness to the Universe, it tends to mess things up, Universally.

A psychic one told me there are no coincidences.  Everything happens for a reason and in its own time.  I have come to believe this. You will understand things sometimes later rather than sooner, but most of the time you will “get it” at some point.

I would love to hear your responses and words of enlightenment if you have some to share.  Please leave your comments below.

soapstone soap dish

Brown Laced Leaves Soapstone Soap Dish

This beautiful handmade soapstone soap dish features a pattern of interlaced leaves against an earthy brown background. This hand carved soapstone piece from Kenya makes a beautiful addition to a variety of decor schemes. Origin: Kenya


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Duality Part 1: Conscious Imperfection

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It is said that everyone has a celebrity crush.  Yes, I have one, too; Patrick Dempsy, or better yet the McDreamy Patrick Dempsy (his character on Gray’s Anatomy where he plays a stellar brain surgeon).  McDreamy is not only knee melting gorgeous, but he is also intelligent, incredibly talented, kind, and he could look at you in ways that make your heart stop, in which case Preston Burke (a 1st class cardiologist and also incredibly handsome) would come to the rescue.  Both are excellent examples of perfection in my mind!

Anyhow, I had a steamy McDreamy dream the other night.  He played the role of a kindergarten teacher. I, in this dream, was returning to teaching (I did actually teach elementary school for a while many years ago) and I got put into his classroom.  McDreamy’s perfection only served to make me nervous and self conscious and I kept on making stupid mistakes. I couldn’t do anything right. He kept having to come and help me do the simplest things.  I was mortified.

I watched from a distance as his pretty teacher girlfriend, Ella,  came into the classroom while the kids were outside at recess. She had pretty curly blond hair, beautiful complexion without any makeup, and a perfect body. She obviously was a somewhat athletic mountain girl.  My guess would be from Colorado. They would talk, and laugh, she flirted and he enjoyed it. When the bell rang they briefly kissed and she left the room. Once again I was a bungling, awkward bundle of nerves, wondering how I was ever going to make it through the day.

Later in the day, I ran into Ella in the restroom and she was having a tantrum.  It appeared that McDreamy had broken up with her. She was ranting about how she didn’t understand why he broke up with her.  She was perfect for him and she thought she had the relationship sewn up. Obviously not. He told her he had simply lost interest in the relationship.

Upon returning to the classroom, we lined the kids up and released them to their busses and waiting parents and started straightening the classroom out.  McDreamy walked over to me and asked me if I would like to have dinner with him that night. Being completely caught off guard, I asked him,

“What about Ella?  Don’t you two have a relationship?”, knowing full well he didn’t but was trying to buy time to think.    

He said,  “I broke up with her.”

“Gee, you seemed to be pretty ‘engaged’ with each other earlier today.”

“I got tired of the relationship, so I ended it.”

“Oh, ok.”  I turned back to gathering paper off the desks.

“So will you go out with me tonight?”  he asked again with those heart-stopping smiling eyes.   

“Sure, yes.  So I didn’t even think you noticed me.  When did you start noticing me?” I asked sheepishly.

“I’ve been noticing you all day long.”  he said with a sexy smile, and again with those eyes!

“Did you notice how I was screwing up all day long.  I haven’t taught school for a long time and I kept making mistakes.”

“I don’t care.”  He said dismissively.

“But you had to keep bailing me out, and I couldn’t even….”

“I don’t care.”  He said again, interrupting and looking me squarely in the eye.

It was unimaginable to me how he would notice me over Ella, the perfect Aphrodite to his Adonis, or how this perfect man who could have his pick of women would want to take me out to dinner.   I was pudgy, rusty, feeling entirely inept while Ella said and did all the perfect things and she was a seasoned teacher on the staff, and he dumped her! I couldn’t believe he wanted to take me out to dinner.  How was I ever going to hold up to his perfection, or even to Ella’s? But would I let that get in the way of dating him? Not on your life!

Later that night he picked me up and we were driving to dinner.  I looked a him; so gorgeous, so kind, so confident and me; so imperfect, so self-conscious, and without a clue as to how to act around him.

“Do you mind if I stop for a few minutes on the way to dinner?  I have to deliver some papers to someone.” He asked.

“No, go right ahead.”  

He pulled over into a parking lot next to another car where a man was waiting outside.  He walked over to the man, who was standing close to my door. I saw the papers he was delivering to the other person.  It was lists of people and their illegal drugs orders. I was stunned by what I was seeing. He was part of a drug ring and set up all these people with their drug orders, then handed the information over to the person who was going to deliver them.  He didn’t even try to hide it from me.

He got back in the car and asked, “Ready to go?”

“Absolutely!”  I answered. All my self consciousness and self abnegation went out the window and I was all over the man.  Clothes were flying in between steamy kisses and lusty groping, then………..

I woke up.  DAMN!!

After I got out of bed and started thinking about the dream, I was perplexed as to why I suddenly lost all my inhibitions and went for it when I found out he was part of a drug ring.  My first thought was that when he showed this flaw, he was down to my level. Immediately I realized that wasn’t the case. It was the fact that he WAS flawed, as are we all. It was a classic case of ‘Bad Boy Syndrome.”  

We feel more comfortable around people who are not afraid to show their flaws.  Now don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t be associated with someone who was a drug dealer, no matter how gorgeous they were, but i think the dream had to go to that extent to make me see that we need to own our shortcomings or flaws and not try to hide or change them.  In the dream, McDreamy owned his flaw and he wasn’t even trying to hide it. I needed to see he wasn’t perfect so I didn’t have to be perfect, which is a losing proposition anyhow. It is a battle we will never ever win as long as we are in our human form.

So what was it that McDreamy saw in me that made him attracted to me?  He saw someone who was trying hard and struggling. He saw an intelligent person who was passionate, honest, loving, kind, and flawed, and he didn’t care.  It was all these things that made the person he saw, including being flawed. As much as I didn’t want him to see my flaws, I couldn’t hide it under the circumstances.

Flaws are what make us human as long as we don’t hurt others in any way, and the more we own it, the more it adds to the “color” of who we really are.  It shapes us and gives us form. It gives us humor, it gives us compassion, , it gives us a way to connect to others that makes them feel ok about themselves.  It also gives us a way to seek help from others. We weren’t put here to be perfect, we were put here to experience imperfection and learn from it. In our spirit form, we are already perfect so there is no way to experience imperfection or learn from that experience.  

Artists find the beauty in imperfection.  In an article on the website “Amusing Planet: The Art of Deliberate Imperfection” by Kaushik it states:

“Some people are perfectionists, going great lengths and through punishing routines to achieve the perfect figure, the perfect score, the inimitable performance. But there are cultures around the world that have learned to abandon this rigid and obsessive behavior, and embrace the concept of imperfection. Artists and craftsmen of such cultures would deliberately introduce flaws into their works to remind themselves that flaws are an integral part of being human.

In Navajo culture, rug weavers would leave little imperfections along the borders in the shape of a line called ch’ihónít’i, which is translated into English as “spirit line” or “spirit pathway. The Navajos believe that when weaving a rug, the weaver entwines part of her being into the cloth. The spirit line allows this trapped part of the weaver’s spirit to safely exit the rug.”

People like going to live concerts because the imperfections of the performers give a special dimension to the music over perfectly dubbed and edited recordings.  You hear the intrusion of the yells of joy from the audience or them singing along. Hearing different renditions also offers a new perspective on the music, but hearing music live is never ever perfect.  

One other thing about imperfection;  I had an uncle who was movie star gorgeous.  He was tall and dark and had Rock Hudson good looks.  He was one of those people who could eat anything and everything and never gain weight.  I, on the other hand always struggled with being short and overweight and my uncle never let me forget it.  He made it very clear no one for any reason would want to be around a fat person, or hire them, or marry them.  One of his favorite comments was, “There’s no place in this world for fat people.” “There’s no place in this world for short people.” “There’s no place in this world for (fill in the blank).”

One night my boyfriend (now husband) was flying into California from Ohio to spend Christmas with me.  His flight was a couple of hours late so I went over to my uncle’s house to wait for the flight to come in.  I was so excited about seeing Jim that I couldn’t think about anything else. Many years later, my cousin and I were talking about it and she told me I looked great that night.  I told her I weighed 210 pounds and she said there was no way I could have weighed that much. She said she and her dad both said I looked really good, but what they really saw was Love.  They did not see my imperfections at all.

Funny thing is, after I had that dream I started watching “Gray’s Anatomy” again so I could have another look at McDreamy.  As it turns out, the gorgeousness of that man faded and I got more into the storyline than looking at him. Perfection gets old in our physical world unless you need an arm ornament.  No wonder McDreamy broke up with Ella.

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The Way of the Shaman: Studies in Shamanism

The Traditions of Shamanism in Today’s World

I wanted to share with you this documentary about Shamanism.  It is very interesting from a scientific as well as a spiritual point of view.  Here is a synopsis of the video:

The story of Michael and Sandra Harner in the history and development of core shamanism, the universal, near universal, and common practices of worldwide. This documentary movie takes us through Michael’s early expeditions as a young anthropologist in the jungles of the Ecuadorian and Peruvian Amazon and his life-altering insights into shamanic power. The Harners established the Foundation for Shamanic Studies to preserve, study, and teach this practice for the benefit of all, leading to a worldwide renaissance of shamanic power and shamanic healing through the Foundation’s premiere international training programs. The film is an informative and inspiring look at the people behind the evolution of this groundbreaking spiritual healing methodology that honors and builds upon the ancient knowledge of the world’s shamans. Through these methods, thousands of students have discovered hidden spiritual resources, transformed their lives, and learned how to help others and our precious Earth.

The Way of the Shaman: The Work of Michael and Sandra Harner from Foundation for Shamanic Studies on Vimeo.


The Way of the Shaman: Studies in Shamanism

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Things That Go Bump In The Night

bump in the night oicture

I’ve always been afraid of the dark.  It’s embarrassing to admit, even at 66 years old I still need some light on when I go to bed at night, but I came by it honestly.

First of all, I have what some would call an overactive imagination.  I would say that is an understatement. I have the ability to get so wrapped up in my thoughts that I lose track of time and space.  Writing music does that to me as well (my degree is in music), although I don’t compose anymore. It was mainly an academic exercise while I was in school, but one I thoroughly enjoyed.  My husband swears I get abducted.

Mostly, though, my imagination (if in fact it was my imagination) was cultivated as a result of the setting and scenery of my childhood.  I grew up in a rural valley farming community set on the Sacramento River in California. It was rich with river bottom soil as well as history and lore.  It was a town of generational lineages of wealthy landowners and not so wealthy hispanic laborers. Colusa also had a small chinese immigrant population who frequented the opium dens in a network of tunnels starting from buildings built by wealthy chinese merchants then wormed under the streets and terminated at the water side of the levees.  There were rumors of Tong wars, opium dens, prostitution, and murder.  These buildings were reported to have been built on prehistoric indian burial grounds so the fodder for paranormal mythos was built in to the area.  If you are interested in seeing historical pictures and information about Colusa, here is a good resource.

We lived in a bungalow style house built in 1927.  My mother was a single parent who taught grade school after having divorced my father and she, my brother, sister, and myself lived in the dark, foreboding house for the first 14 years of my life.  

I frequently had nightmares, but one night in particular, my sister who is an artist primed the pump by drawing a picture of the “One Eyed One Horned Flying Purple People Eater” (the name of a popular song at the time) on a chalkboard in my bedroom.  She told me it was hiding under my bed. I didn’t really believe her, but that picture kept staring at me.  I finally got up and erased it.

Later as I was starting to drift off to sleep, I turned over in bed and saw people walking through my bedroom.  They were translucent and dressed in turn of the century attire; women in long dresses wearing stoles and hats, and men wearing dress-up jackets and some were also wearing hats. They didn’t see me, obviously from a different dimension.  I had a sense that they were walking to a party or dance.

I was terrified!  I got up and started to run down the hall to my mom’s room but ran smack into my sister’s  bed. Her room was right between mine and the hallway. She sat straight up in bed and started screaming.  I started screaming. At that point, I was so scared I was paralyzed and I felt like cobwebs were wrapping around me.  My mother was running down the hall in her pajamas, laughing. Then my sister started laughing. I was mortified but my mother rescued me and I slept with her that night.

I do also recall being in the bathroom in that house one morning.  Someone had left a wet wash rag on the hamper that was right across from the toilet and sink.  I was brushing my teeth and the wash rag flew across the room and landed on the back of the toilet.  These kinds of things happened periodically so I didn’t think too much about it. Many years later, as adults, I found out that my sister, who had had a deep, dank, and narrow walk-in closet in her room, had also seen people in that closet, which ran parallel to my bedroom.

I never wanted to be psychic.  I never wanted to see dead people so I just resisted it all my life, mostly successfully.

My husband and I lived in Paradise, California for many years (the town that just burned to the ground, including the house we lived in).  This was a house that we bought and fixed up when I was in the real estate business.

I never felt comfortable on one side of the house.  The people that lived there before us had problems, and in particular one son.  He was an easily angered person and went to prison for trying to murder one of his girlfriends whom he left for dead.  She survived and lived to tell about it. The house itself had been neglected for many years and the vibes were very negative, but after we fixed it up, I thought that would change.  It didn’t. The residual energy was still there. Who knows what other things took place there?

One night my husband was on assignment for several days so I slept in his bed.  I was listening to the radio as I was drifting off, then the clock radio cycled off.  I turned over to turn it back on and I saw, hovering in the air, convicts in black and white striped prisoner’s garb and wearing what appeared to be civil war era type hats, again translucent.  They were chained together and sitting on a hillside facing uphill to the right.

I was freaked out.  I turned away then turned back, thinking if they weren’t still there, I was just dreaming.  They were still there. Terrified, I decided to just ignore them since they didn’t see me and I turned back over, turned the radio back on to distract me, and eventually went to sleep.  I never knew what that was all about but I never slept in that room again. A friend of mine who was somewhat psychic said it might have just been an imprint from another era, but I think it was the result of the bad residual energy.

I don’t know, though, if energy comes in good or bad flavors, but I do think it affects how we experience things.  My husband and I live in Texas now in a fairly new house (2005). I started up my little FaerieDustOnline business and started collecting merchandise.  I have had a ball doing this; buying things that make me happy to be around and hoping it would also make other people happy as well.  

I have a large walk-in closet that I felt would work well for storage as most of the merchandise is small.  We put up shelves and sorted the merchandise. I found myself going in there all the time because I loved looking at all the stuff, and it smelled good, and the energy was very positive.  But as time went on, I started noticing little things at night. At first, if I had to get up at night, I would see little shadow things about 1 foot off the floor, like they were chasing each other around.  I didn’t think much of it. Then I started to feel something bump my bed or touch me. I thought it was one of my cats jumping on the bed. I would reach over and nothing was there. Ok, we recently had a cat we’d had for 19 years put to sleep.  I can buy it’s possible he is still hanging around. But night time events kept getting more intense. I didn’t feel it was malevolent activity but it would startle me as I was sleeping.

I began to wonder if I had opened some kind of supernatural portal with the type of merchandise I have; divination stuff, amulets, crystals, pyramids, etc. I felt like something was messing with me, like mischievous activity.  It reminded me of an episode of “Charmed: House Call”  where residual energy from vanquishing so many demons was wreaking havoc with the Halliwell household.  Finally, I called a psychic and asked him about it. He asked me if I have a lot of crystals and other energy generating merchandise.  I told him I did and he said I had to move them away from the bedroom. He said that can certainly cause events like I was experiencing but assured me my house isn’t haunted.  Energy just does what energy does. It can be quite random. The passed cat, however was probably still around, like I thought, and that’s fine.

It took about a week for things to calm down after moving all the energy generating items out of the closet and now I am sleeping well.  He gave me a lovely reading and I got to connect with both my Grandmother and my Mother. I always thought a ‘’medium” reading would be scary but it wasn’t.  It was very comforting and loving, with lots of validation. I am so grateful I called him. His name is Steve Spur, in case anyone would like to talk to him.  I have linked his website.

So, if any of you have been experiencing odd occurrences at night, or even during the day, check first to see if you have any energy generating items that could influence your environment.  You can also try clearing your house with smudge sticks, or hire someone to do it for you.

I have learned a lot on this journey and look forward to learning more.  All the wonders of this universe are beyond comprehension, but there is a purpose to everything under heaven.

I would love to hear from you about your psychic or energy experiences.  Leave comments here.