Simplicity

Imagine simplifying your life at this very moment.

What would it take? What would you have to do? What needs to go? What needs to be brought in?

Simplification is a term that seems to be thrown out there quite often. Yet when we are faced with the task to simplify things for ourselves, it does not seem to be so simple.

The truth is, simplifying takes time, and some periods will indeed take longer than others depending on the circumstances of course.

For a moment, imagine the term “simplify” turning into the word “purify”. With that transition alone, it seems to give more of a clue as to what we need to do in order to face the task of simplification in our lives.

When we think of purifying, we think of taking out all that is bad, unnecessary, toxic, and wasteful in a certain person, place, or thing.

As in purifying metals, water, bodies, etc., we must understand that it takes heat to burn things out. A true fire that is consistent will raise the temperature to the certain point that allows the chemical compounds to break down and release any of the unwanted materials.

In humans, notice how the body will naturally purify itself in the form of heat. When we become ill, the bodies natural response will be to raise the core temperature to a feverish state. The body knows best how to defend itself, so by raising the body temperature, it in turn burns out and sweats out all the bad bacteria and mucus in the body.

When it comes to humans mentally purifying, we must seek to find ways that naturally applaud us for our efforts. This can also be known as following your intuition.

With the daily hustle and struggle of living in society, we have naturally forgotten how to pick up on signals our bodies give us. We have too much artificial light on once it is dark outside which will keep us up for too long, we have over sized portions of meals, so we begin to stretch our bellies out and lose perception of a natural full sensation from our stomach, and we energize our self with too much caffeine and processed sugar throughout the day just to keep ourselves at par.

We wish to simplify things in our lives, but we must first come in tune with the rhythms of the Earth to begin to recuperate our natural vitality. We must educate ourselves, refresh ourselves with new tasks, practice self love, and have patience for the journey.

After all, life is a journey.

When we expect too much, when we ask too much, when we care too much, we leave ourselves room to feel pain too much, and too often.

We must strive to find a balance, and that balance will be learned through the pain of our downfalls and failures. Failure is a blessing in disguise, pointing you to your task of how you will tackle the next issue.

Namaste,

Gunner Geron

 

 

 

 

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Humanity, Peace and Tradition

by Isaac Gunner Geron

Food for Thought:

How does pressure effect our well being?

Let’s use carbon for an example.

Carbon is an element that is “essential” for life on Planet Earth.

As a matter in fact, Carbon is the derivative of what every living organism is made up from. Carbon is so diverse, it can create over a million compounds. Carbon is also responsible for one of the hardest objects on Earth, the diamond, as well as the one of the softest, graphite. That being said, the human body itself is composed of eighteen percent carbon. This natural occurrence, or presence of carbon in the body, has a similar effect on our trans personal facets of life, (the mind, body, spirit, and soul) just as the moon has it’s effect on the tides; creating a natural pull to our circadian rhythms. Pressure in extreme conditions can be marvelous, yet it can also be very detrimental.

For some, the energy of pressure can be utilized and transformed into a beautiful, resilient diamond.

On the contrary, the energy of pressure can be perceived and metabolized as grinding and disheartening, creating a different product out of the same element; graphite. A product which is brittle and soft in reality.

 

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How does pressure have anything to do with the vibration felt in Israel?

Israel is a country filled full of culture, tradition, and ancient ruins, also serving as the setting of biblical stories. Israel is also a country that is moving swiftly along with the technological advances of modernization. Yet if you think about Israel’s location, it serves as the primary hot spot for religious and spiritual seekers around the world. The journey to Jerusalem, to arrive at the Western Wall, has been a tradition for 1000’s of years. Prayers are folded up in tiny papers and placed in the cracks of the wall, in turn sending their wishes, prayers, and energy out into the universe. My belief is that these traditions of spreading peace, acknowledging your wrongdoings, and helping those around you, is in itself what keeps the strength of the people alive. Humanity, peace, and tradition have arrived out of an awareness and acknowledgement to fix and cope with what brings pain and suffering. Before diving into the the topic, it is very important to recognize and distinguish the countries surrounding Israel. gunnerblog2

Most countries that surround Israel are represented by leaders of terrorist organizations. There are innocent civilians within each country that want peace, and have nothing to do with the fighting and animosity that persists.

The civil war going on amongst the people in Syria is a tragedy. So not only do Israelis feel this tension, or this pressure in extreme conditions, but those who are caught in the middle of destruction and battle, held hostage, and coerced to live within the danger are effected just as much. So the question being proposed is how can humanity, tradition, and peace be maintained in such a challenging environment? From my personal experience of visiting Israel, hearing the bombs, and seeing the explosions across the border, speaking with soldiers of the IDF, and getting to eat and speak with family members about life as an Israeli, all helped me put things into a perspective, where the love people have for Israel is so passionate and true, that nothing will scare them away from living there.

Whatever it is that we as humans seek, at the stitch of it all, there lies love. Within love, there are many facets such as: manipulation and generosity, jealousy and compassion, unity and separation. Love is generally portrayed as something positive, yet in reality, love has two sides as just expressed. We all want and wish the best for for those close to us whom we love, as well as ourselves. We all have the right to live vibrantly and free. Yet depending on our own personal perception, as well as the environment we grow up in, we generally can wish the best for those we don’t know as well. I say “generally” because what happens to our human nature when competition is involved, the well being of your own life, or even
the life of your family and friends?

To begin to understand the pressures and vibrations felt in and among Israel, we can look into the fight and flight response of the parasympathetic nervous system. We shall start here to see how a human being naturally responds to a perceived threat. When a human being is threatened, there is but two reactions: to stay and fight what is trying to harm you, or to flee in fear in order to protect your well being. So when we consider what naturally happens to our state of being in times of felt pressure and constant threats, we can build compassion and tolerance towards others choices who are under pressure. After all, the point is not to judge or compare, the point is to build up the proper knowledge and wisdom, in order to take action in a proper manner to neutralize any negatively charged energy.

At this point, it is important to acknowledge that the Israeli-Arab conflict is a complete and total tragedy for both sides. The problems that arise are very complex, and undeniably for the right reasons. There happen to be Muslim and Christian Arabs with Israeli citizenship, as well as the Palestinians that live in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that cause friction amongst neighboring people. Supposed enemies live amongst each other. This easily leads to mistrust and anxiety. With Jerusalem being a spiritual center of the world, you can begin to imagine the sensitive issues that arise amongst the traditional Orthodox Jews and Arabs in neighborhoods. The traditional religious people, coexisting among the modern day secular people, tends to stir up a bit of animosity as well.

Amidst this swirling energy of passion for God, for life, for love, and land, there seems to be a common understanding underlying everyone who lives in Israel. From my personal perception, this common understanding is a dire need for peace. The only way humanity has been sustained, is through the people living out there lives keeping tradition alive. In traditions, there is a common ground of consistency, artistic integrity, gatherings,
food, laughter, crying, conversations, and most of all a connection amongst people. Without tradition, our modern day lives would go astray with technology getting in the way of people staying connected to the earth and our true nature. Without tradition, us as a humanity would forget where we have come from. We would lose sight of the importance to interact, share, and trade amongst each other in order for the human species to prosper, thrive, and evolve.

When we ground ourselves back down to the earth through traditions, we purify ourselves with conscious thought, and amplify the energy when done in groups of people. We in turn feel loved, and we also feel peace. Just like how waves go up and down, the ebb and flow, the dark gives to the light, the left gives to right, we too shall find our balance in the center among the common daily struggles. Israel is a prime example that we can still find peace amongst the chaos. Israel proves that regardless of whatever happens in your life, when you have faith, and connect to something greater than yourself, when you give your life to the earth instead of trying to conquer it, and when you live a life of charity and selflessness, you shall always be protected by grace, love, and peace.

 

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Wonder, Courage and Gratitude ~ all parts of making you whole

Wonder, Courage, and Gratitude
by Isaac Gunner Geron, Jr
Have you ever wondered, just how much of you needs to be given up in this life? How much of ourselves must we sacrifice to keep life moving smoothly? To what length do we stretch our arms open, and embrace our life? How much courage does it actually take to live your dream?

It turns out, again and again, that we must give up every ounce of ourselves in order to continue down the cobble stoned current. If, and when, we choose to not cooperate with the current, we cause a major struggle, an interference. As the storms of our life weather, causing more water to rush down at a faster pace, we are challenged even more to surrender. This current which builds stronger and stronger, will aid us back into the now, the current moment, until we give in, smoothing out the kinks. This is equivalent to the once rigid rocks that stood the test of time, and over time, smoothed out into the cobble stones we know of, by letting the current takes it’s course.

Give in. Let out. Permeate. Embrace. Shed. Burst!

It is said we must be flexible, physically, mentally, and emotionally, for if not, we shall bend to a certain degree and break.

What is your breaking point? Do we really have to be broken down?

In reality, yes we do. This is where our humility, our wonder, our courage, and our gratitude comes into play. This is where we have the opportunity to see the foundation we have built under ourselves. To see if everything is truly in place, and also to see if there is anything in which we can shift or transform, to create something that aids us spiritually.

The moments in life that cause us the most pain, the most agony, the most heart ache, indeed turn out to be the most purifying, centering, and life-altering experiences. Without pain, there is no joy. I am grateful for pain. Without courage, I could not be here where I am, in the luminous energy field. I am grateful for my courage. Without gratitude, I could not stand here and smile. For each infliction would have wounded and crippled the spirit. I am grateful for my gratitude. Without wonder, I would not have been graced by the global consciousness. I am grateful to wonder. To see, think, feel, hear, and taste with a resiliently compassionate heart.

My wonder, helps me wander, even in the darkest of days. It has helped me churn the stagnant water of my life. Why do we call things wonderful?

Today, ask yourself how a bit more of your imaginative, wondering mind, can aid you in your journey.

Today, ask yourself how much strength is in your reservoir, to find the courage to do what needs to be done, and speak what needs to be spoke.

Lastly, today, ask yourself how you would feel, if you were to find all the areas in your life that need that extra love, and give gratitude to them for upholding their space and sharing their light with you.

Wonder + Courage + Gratitude = Your wonderful life!

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Homemade organic cat or dog food recipe

Okay here it is.  Everyone has been asking for the recipe we use for our precious fur babies.  Let me back up for a moment.  We were feeding our cats a combination of wet and dry food.  Both were organic and they seemed to enjoy.  We then discovered a couple of them were having urinary tract issues and after a few trips to the vet he said they needed to be on a low magnesium diet.
Here’s the thing, organic wet cat food including the low-magnesium food can be pricey and then we have to recycle the cans.  We thought there must be a better choice.  After searching we found recipes that included chicken, turkey and beef.  Our cats are not big fans of fish, tuna now and then they like. We had a recipe for boiling chicken but when you are a vegetarian chicken boiling in the kitchen just doesn’t work. Aha, we then found a recipe created by a veterinarian that can be cooked in a crock pot.  Dusted off the crockpot, and started making cat food.  Over time we have customized the original recipe and our cats love love love it.
So here’s the ingredient list:
Whole Chicken Legs with thighs ~ I get fresh from Whole Foods, (no antibiotics)
Organic brown rice,
Fresh garlic, sea salt (important – non iodine), Organic frozen peas and corn, filtered water
For the vitamins: Taurine, Vitamin B, Vitamin E, Fish Oil.
Making Chicken Pate with either 5 or 10 legs.
In the crock pot place 5 whole chicken legs with thighs, fill with water.
Add 5 cloves of fresh chopped garlic. (Garlic is to help with fleas), then add 1 ½ teaspoons of salt.
Cook for 6 hours.  On the stove cook 1 cup of organic brown rice at the same time.
Once chicken is cooked, let it cool off until it’s just warm first before adding the vitamins. For 5 chicken legs with thighs, put in;
400 IU’s of vitamin E.
5000 IU fish oil.
1 “vitamin B-50 complex”, and
2500 mg Taurin.
(I drop the E and fish oil in whole in capsules(they will melt if chicken is still warm), Taurin and Vit B I open up and put the powder in) stir in the vitamins.
You would double this recipe for 10 whole legs/thighs, including vitamins and rice. (10 may not fit in your crockpot).
The fun part, de-boning the chicken, but really simple and easy when it’s warm.  There will be 3 bones per whole leg/thigh. The reason we use whole legs is that there is a good amount of meat and only 3 bones. Count the bones and make sure you get the very thin one. Chicken bones for cats-not good, they can splinter & cause big problems.
#1. Pate. Once chicken is de-boned, pour the broth into a separate container.  Now comes the fun part. In a blender or Vitamix, pour in 2 cups of chicken broth, 1 cup of frozen peas, 1 cup of frozen corn, 2 cups of chicken and 1 cup of rice. Blend, leave it a bit chunky.  I then put in individual containers and pop in the fridge. It’s going to be tinted light green when you’re done.
#2. Stew. If chicken is cold we put the rice in with the chicken after deboning, and then put the chicken and rice in the fridge. For feeding, we put the portion needed in a saucepan with the peas and corn and chicken broth or water and warm up.  Their little faces light up when they see the chicken, rice and veggie stew coming their way.
Tip:  We just discovered organic frozen veggies at Costco.  Peas, Corn, Carrots and Green Beans in one 4 pound bag. Good buy and our cats like it.
When you are feeding many cats, this is the most economical way to go.  And even though we are vegetarian, each time we make the chicken we do it with love because we know how nourishing it is for the cats.  Okay, I also apologize and say thank you to the chicken as it is going in the pot.
This recipe may sound challenging, and the first couple of times we did this it seemed like a big deal,
but after you make it a few times it’s really, really simple and easy to make and takes no time at all. You can also freeze this for a couple of weeks in an airtight container.
So far no further problems with our cat’s health. Cats weren’t sure in the beginning because it was new, but now and they go crazy for it.

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Approaching your practice

Approaching your yoga practice.

I have been thinking of ways to express to my students how important the 3 parts of yoga are to the practice. Then I associated it to a good book or a well written paper. As a professor, I teach my students how to write a paper with an introduction, body and a conclusion. As you approach your practice, thinking of it as a 3 part adventure brings the practice together.  The beginning of a yoga practice includes breathing, focusing, turning and tuning inward, connecting to the heart and becoming centered.  As in a paper, or a book, this is the introduction. Then the practice begins, the asanas start, the body and breath begin to work together to brings you (the student) into the place of bliss and the magic happens, going to the edge of what the body will do with the breath. Finally, Savasana, ah sweet release. The final chapter, the conclusion, it brings everything that was done on the mat into completion.

All three parts of a yoga practice are important. One would probably not read a book by starting in the middle, nor would a person write a paper without a conclusion.

Now as a teacher, it is easy for me to teach psychology students the proper way to format a paper. There is APA and MLA. There is a thesis statement, there are references and there is writing in first or third person. (I was challenged by writing this blog in first and second person)

So how do I get across to every yogi on their mat why Savasana is so important to their practice? The very wise Yogi Shalom, (AKA Charles Scholen) said to me one day recently that he told all of his students not to show up for class if they were not going to stay for Savasana. If you know Charles and his tapes, his Savasana’s are truly wonderful! Who would ever want to leave?

This has been bothering me and on my mind for a long time. Respect the practice from start to finish. Yoga is so much more than the physical and if you allow yourself to do the one thing that may make you the most uncomfortable (sitting or lying quietly) that is the thing you need to do more of ASAP!  If you are late, please be as quiet as a church mouse. If you must leave early then do it BEFORE Savasana, like entering late, be extremely quiet and it should not be a regular thing.

Here’s the deal, and yes I am being passionate about this because it is important. Yoga is a personal journey, but when we are in a class we must all be considerate to others around us, as our actions may disturb them.  We are all humans rushing through life, being busy, doing, doing, doing. I am the same, my days are filled with work, family, cat feeding, litter box dumping, paperwork, yoga, teaching school, grading papers, running errands, running a business……

I have learned that I need time for me, time for my friends, my family, my cats…..So letting go and relaxing and giving yourself permission to check out, tune in, disconnect, whatever you need to do, JUST DO IT!!!

Become a human being (I stole this from Deepak Chopra) Stop being a human doing. If you don’t understand what Savasana is all about, ASK! We are here to guide your yoga experience what it needs to be for you.   And remember, you wouldn’t read a book and stop at the last 2 chapters, or go see a movie and leave 10 minutes before the end, why would you miss out on the best and final part of your yoga?

That’s all! Thank you for listening, reading and hopefully getting my point.

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2014 ~ Healthy Change is good!

Here’s a suggestion to start your year with a healthy change for your yoga practice.
Start with a yoga pose that is not your favorite, we all have them, maybe it’s hips, shoulders or a balancing posture. Pick one pose and practice it daily before class. See what happens by the end of 30 days and how you’re feeling.  You may be surprised and filled with gratitude for making that effort.
     Also, make your intentions attainable and realistic.  Consider what it will take to accomplish your goals and embrace them, don’t make too many…map it out and then work it. It’s better to accomplish a few things well, then none at all. The beauty is in the effort, not the perfect yoga pose.
     Celebrate your accomplishments, journal your progress and enjoy the discoveries! Let us know how this changes your practice.

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Jo’s corner of delightful information for the holiday season

It’s getting to be that time of year again.  The holidays are sneaking up on us and before we know it, 2014.  This year start early, and I don’t mean with shopping or baking. The most important thing to begin now is your stress reduction plan.  

            How do you start? 

Ignore all the fliers, catalogs, commercials and most importantly getting up at 3 am on the day after Thanksgiving to go shopping. If you are spending your Thanksgiving with friends and family, take it into the next day and relax, eat leftovers and enjoy just being together.  Plan a hike, a bike ride, a drive to the beach, or a trip to a museum, all day movie marathon, something appealing that doesn’t include trying to find parking, waiting in line, and buying things people end up not liking anyway just for the bargain. And speaking of bargains, they don’t go away after Black Friday, as we have all witnessed by the influx of TV, radio, newspaper ads, they just keep coming.  

When you do get a chance to bake and create cool gifts, is it fun?  Or are you trying to get it done and get the packages in the mail before a certain date?  Last year a friend and I got together for a Sunday baking day. It was wonderful and so entertaining.  We were not stressed, we enjoyed ourselves, our conversation, we enjoyed spending one on one time together, she was making her Grandmother’s recipe and I was improvising and customizing a recipe I had found.  Lots of love went into the cookies we were making.  I then packaged them and shipped them off to loved ones who live out of town.  Of course I had cookies with tea, but did not over indulge.

Speaking of food, this is a good segue about the endless conversation regarding holiday eating. 

We just make the excuse we will start our diet after the holidays.  What about just this one time keeping your fingers out of the See’s candy box and not giving in to the holiday indulgences.  Pretend it is bikini season instead of winter where we can cover everything up so nicely. (And it is bikini season in New Zealand)  Have fun, don’t miss out on the good stuff, but do it in moderation. How many times have you wondered who ate all the cookies?  It was you!

 Back to the stress release…….schedule in time to have fun, time for a massage, a mani/pedi, a cup of tea with friends.  If you are not crafty and suck at baking, try going to a holiday boutique.  This time of year you can find them every weekend.  Giving a gift that is handmade and useful will be remembered more than the packaged gift you got because it was such a great deal.  Take a moment to write down gifts you received last year and the ones you are still using.  That hot item of the moment may be sitting in a box waiting to go to Goodwill.  That will give you an idea of how to shop wisely. 

 I am hoping I don’t sound down on shopping, because trust me, it is one of my favorite pastimes. And to quote (watch out cheesy alert coming) Carrie Bradshaw from “Sex And The City”, “Shopping is my Cardio.” I love shopping, I love finding cool things for people that they will love.  What I don’t love is being rushed, stressed and irritated because I couldn’t find parking, it’s raining and there are too many people in line and this stopped being fun an hour ago.

A couple of ideas to help your stress level during the holidays.  Plan time for you to have fun. Make sure your kids are well rested if you are going to take them with you to the mall.  A cranky kid can ruin the already high stress situation.  Plan a break during shopping, meet a friend for coffee. Go with the intention of having fun, even if you are buying socks and underwear for stocking stuffers. You all know you have received those in your stockings.  Do something different with your family. If you don’t mind crowds, take the train or drive to San Francisco and take in the lights of Union Square, the people walking around and the adorable kittens and puppies in Macy’s window display.  Give experiences as gifts, they take up a lot less space and the memories live on long past the holidays. 

One of the best gifts you can give is you.  Take your family and do a day of volunteering.  Whether it be at a local animal shelter, women’s shelter or other community organization that needs extra hands during this time of year.  When I was a Big Sister with Big Brothers, Big Sisters, my “little” and I would go and volunteer in the kitchen at Poverello House at different times during the year, not just for holidays.  We have some of the best memories peeling potatoes and setting tables, and whatever else they needed done. Then instead of gifts, my little and her siblings would pick out a charity they wanted to donate to and for Christmas I would donate money in their name.  They learned the significance of giving and giving them the responsibility to pick the charity and explain why was a wonderful learning tool for them.

So this year, turn off the TV, in fact DVR the shows you want to watch, plan time in your day for you and honor that time. Take a good look at the person you are buying for, remember it is not about quantity, it’s about quality, about the thought, about the love.  Then find a DVD of “It’s A Wonderful Life” pop it in, make a cup of tea and get some cookies and settle in to get in the holiday spirit!! 

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