Weeping Willow Tree’s Strength and Flexibility Inspiration for Meditation – Amy Ivy
A weeping willow empowers personal strength and awareness in a nature-based guided meditation.
Weeping willow trees are common sights by lakes. Their pendulous branches float effortlessly in the wind, and their roots run deep seeking sustenance. For someone experiencing stress, grief, conflict, or other difficulties that prevent the self from enjoying life, imitating the willow’s flexibility and persistence may increase self-empowerment.
Preparing for the Weeping Willow Guided Meditation
Set aside ten to twenty minutes. Minimize distractions by turning off the cell phone and putting other obligations on hold. Take off your shoes, so that your feet are either bare on in socks. Drink some water to prevent dehydration. The meditation may be performed sitting or standing, depending upon what’s more comfortable for you.
Close your eyes and settle comfortably into a position where your body won’t disturb you for the following meditation:
Be careful not to get up too soon, as your body may not move as quickly as desired. Instead, spend several more minutes reflecting on the experience and any personal insights gained from it.
Variations of the Weeping Willow Guided Meditation for Self-Empowerment
For additional reflection, try the following variations and activities after meditating with the willow:
With a simple guided meditation exercise, the natural beauty and strength of a weeping willow tree can inspire and empower for relaxation and increased self-awareness.…
There is nothing like new sheets made with certified organic cotton. The fabric is a new innovation for consumers interested in buying into the Global Oganic Textile Standard (GOTS). This cotton is grown without chemicals and pesticides and needs to pass a certification process by the recognized and independent organization known as GOTS. It is supplied by communities that use traditional farming methods based on whole earth practices.
Sleeping on natural sheets that are produced through a clean and environmentally safe process can help consumers buy locally while thinking globally; one of the small steps towards making a transition to a cleaner, safer home environment.
Cost of Organic Cotton and the Environmentally Conscious Home
Plan on spending anywhere from $90 for a set of organic sheets to upwards of $100 per sheet depending on the quality. Putting into practice an eco-friendly lifestyle often requires some interaction between the product design, its components and the human dimension.
Buying into the concept and product line is the first step. Next are influential sources such as books on managing an eco-friendly home that could help the consumer to transform their surroundings and the time, cost management needed.
Creating an Eco-Friendly Home Environment
The challenge of creating a healthy home environment and lifestyle requires some committment, but it can translate into a lifelong practice. Buying items like environmentally friendly packaging and water-friendly washing detergent over a lifetime can be a personal lifestyle choice that can achieve the kind of small impacts that begin as a trickle and eventually grow to a flood.
There are lots of books and consumer products to help consumers make wise choices. Implementing the plan and living the lifestyle requires more than just a good price and good product; it requires commitment. There are so many choices available, and deciding what works for everyone is never easy.
Implementing Greener Lifestyle Choices
Browse the stores and websites to find the right product at the right price and then see what happens. Saving money by shopping for a sale price can have a big impact on the decision to redesign a home with organic products. Living an environmentally conscious lifestyle usually requires simplification and streamlining. Decide which areas of the home environment can be restyled with organic products to implement a lifestyle decision.
Evaluating an Environmentally Conscious Lifestyle
Make the purchases needed to create a lifestyle based on sound eco-friendly practices can have other benefits as well. An individual’s lifestyle change can eventually bring about larger changes and help bring about a truly eco-friendly textile industry.…
The Ferber Method is a sleep technique for infants developed by pediatrician Dr. Richard Ferber that encourages infants to use "self-soothing" techniques to achieve a better night’s sleep. Ferberization is suggested for infants at least 6 months old and has been cited as a highly successful sleep training method for babies that have difficulty sleeping through the night.
Step 1: PROVIDE BABY WITH DAYTIME ACTIVITIES
Ensure that baby's day is full of fun and exploration so that the infant will indeed be tired at nighttime. Excessive napping during the day can sabotage your efforts for getting baby to bed as they will already be rested. One tactic is to not allow your infant to sleep past 5pm, but the exact time will depend on baby's wake time, nap schedule, and ideal bedtime.
Step 2: DEVELOP A BEDTIME RITUAL
It's important that baby can distinguish between daytime (play) and bedtime (sleep). To do this you will need to develop a bedtime ritual that helps the infant calm down and prepare for a good nights sleep. One example of this would be a relaxing bath, story time, and a lullaby followed by goodnight kisses from Mom and Dad. Other popular bedtime rituals include infant massage, lavender scented bubble bath, the playing of a Heartbeat CD, or even listening to a song on a crib mobile. It doesn't matter which bedtime activities you decide to include, but ensure that the room is dark enough to signal its nighttime, that baby is warm but not too hot, and that the crib is free from any toys that may be distracting.
Step 3: LEAVE BABY IN BED AND LEAVE THE ROOM
At this point you will have completed your planned bedtime rituals and baby is dressed, diaper changed, and ready for bed. Let baby know it is time to sleep and quietly leave the room without hesitation. Your infant may start to cry and become upset, but it is important to leave the room without emotionally reacting to him or her.
Step 4: FOLLOW A "PROGRESSIVE WAITING" SCHEDULE
This final step is critical to success with the Ferber Method and the cornerstone of Dr. Ferber's sleep training technique. "Progressive waiting" is the practice of progressively waiting longer and longer between comforting the baby at bedtime to encourage the infant to learn how to soothe itself to sleep. For example, on the first night you may wait three minutes before returning to baby's crib and reassuring him/her and that it is time for sleep. Do not lift the infant out of its crib, but simply comfort the child with pats on the back, stroking of their hair, or giving the baby his pacifier. After briefly comforting the baby, once again leave the room as before. However, instead of waiting only three minutes before re-entering the room, wait five minutes instead. Keep practicing the "progressive waiting" at intervals such as 7 minutes, 9 minutes, and so on until baby falls asleep. The first night will most likely be the hardest, but with time baby will learn to soothe itself to sleep without your intervention.…
Bring the baby into the room where she will sleep.
Keep the stimulus level low. Turn on a dim light, talk in soft voices if at all, and cut out any possible distractions that may exist, no mobile, music, toys, or playing with the baby.
Make sure that the baby has a clean diaper and then swaddle him.
Feed the baby then burp her on your shoulder. If you breastfeed pump some milk in the morning to give to your baby at night because breast milk is much richer in the morning and will satisfy your baby more.
Once you are done burping, keep the baby on your shoulder, do not hold in your arms. This eliminates the feeling of being held tight. If you hold the baby in your arms, she gets accustomed to the warmth and closeness this provides and expects to feel so snug, however, once you lay the baby down she soon realizes that she is missing that security and wakes up.
Once the baby is asleep, directly lay him down. Do not rock, sway, or create any extra movement because the baby will expect to feel it while sleeping. If the baby begins to wake up or get fussy, place your hand on his stomach until he drifts off again.
Hop into bed and enjoy your two to four hours of sleep until the next round starts. When the day begins, now you can hold your baby in your arms, rock, sway, dance, sing and play!…
Bad breath, also known as halitosis, affects everyone at some point, but for many people is a long-term problem. There are endless factors that can cause bad breath, such as bad oral hygiene, smoking, dry mouth, diet factors and dental problems such as tooth decay and gum disease.
The most important step in treating bad breath is treating the cause. Oftentimes this takes time, such as dental work or diet changes. It's also important to make sure to follow proper oral hygiene. However, there are also some simple methods can be used to help with bad breath. This includes homeopathy, which is a form of alternative medicine. Homeopathy works to help treat bad breath that is caused by specific factors, making it more effective than most general treatments for bad breath.
Mercurius Solubilis and Pulsatilla for Bad Breath
The homeopathic medicine known as mercurius solubilis should be taken by those with offensive bad breath that is caused by tooth decay. This homeopathic treatment works especially well if the tongue is coated in yellow and the person has excess salivation. Ideally around 30C potency of mercurius solubilis should be taken twice daily.
The homeopathic medicine known as pulsatilla should be taken by those with bad breath that is sour. Oftentimes this bad breath is caused be eating lots of foods that are high in fat, so this treatment works best for those with a high fat diet. This treatment works especially well for those that eat a lot of meat, especially meat that is high in fat such as red meats. Ideally around 30C potency of pulsatilla should be taken twice per day.
Nux Vomica for Bad Breath
The homeopathic remedy known as nux vomica should be taken by those with bad breath that is accompanied with either heartburn or constipation. This treatment works best for those with bad breath that drink a lot of alcohol, or have bad breath that is caused or worsened by drinking alcohol. Ideally around 30C potency of nux vomica should be taken twice per day.
Although homeopathy can be very helpful with the treatment of bad breath, it should always be used along with proper oral hygiene. Homeopathic remedies are readily available at many grocery stores, especially large chains and natural based grocery stores. Although homeopathic medicines require no professional diagnosis, it is easy to find a licensed homeopath that can assist in finding the best homeopathic remedies for an individual.…
The history of life on earth is littered with evolutionary mistakes, natural disasters and mass extinctions.
It is thought by some that human beings are the pinnacle of creation, an example of evolutionary perfection that was an inevitable consequence of the development of life. In reality, this view couldn’t be further from the truth.
Human beings are no more and no less evolved than any other species on earth. Homo sapiens have evolved to cope with certain environments and perform particular tasks. A bat, for example, is just as evolved, but has developed to live in a very different environment.
Accidental Development of Species
If all life on Earth became extinct tomorrow and the whole evolutionary process began again, Homo sapiens would not eventually re-evolve in several billion years time. There have been literally trillions of accidental events that led to the existence of all current life on the planet.
Take, for example, the mass extinction of the dinosaurs, 65 million years ago. It is now accepted by scientists that this event was caused by the impact of a meteor, in what is today the Gulf of Mexico.
Up until this point, the ancient ancestor of Homo sapiens was a small, shrew-like mammal that generally kept a low profile in the shadow of its larger reptilian cousins. It was not until the dinosaur population was decimated, that the mammals could evolve into new areas and start on the path to humanity.
Other mass extinctions are also known to science. These too shaped the future state of all life on Earth.
The Role of Chance Extinction
Beyond natural catastrophes such as meteor impacts and ice ages, many other chance factors have shaped life on Earth. One mechanism of evolution is mutation. This is where mistakes appear in the genetic code of an organism, and this alteration leads to some form of physical difference.
The vast majority of mutations are either harmful or have no effect at all. Some, however, are beneficial. This benefit leads the organism to have a better chance of survival, and consequently reproduce more. This beneficial mutation is then passed on to the next generation, which also have an increased chance of survival.
The key point here is that mutation is random. Human beings have well developed eyes thanks to a series of chance mutations, but those mutations were haphazard. Evolution does not plan for the future, and so if an immediate advantage is less than a perfect design, so be it. This has led to Homo sapiens having a blind spot, the area on the retina where the optic nerve enters the eye. Other animals, for example some squid, do not have a blind spot. This is purely down to chance mutation.
The fact that through hundreds of millions of years of extinction, mutation, suffering and pain, Homo sapiens exist is something amazing that shouldn’t be underestimated. For billions of years, life on earth had no need for the level of intelligence that leads to civilisation, and if humanity disappeared tomorrow, it may never happen again.
This underscores the importance of protecting the planet and life on earth, to make sure that the incredible series of chance of events that have brought humanity to this point was all worth it.…
Recently, pesticides have been in the news more often than usual. That is because there have been new studies coming out proving pesticides cause symptoms of ADHD, increased risk for cancer, autism, and birth defects.
We don’t usually think about this when picking out apples at the grocery store or eating blueberries at a cookout. We tend to trust that no one would put dangerous chemicals into our food. These recent studies, done by the University of Montreal, the National Academy of Sciences, and numerous physicians around the world, have come to many of the same conclusions. Pesticides are harmful to humans and cannot be as easily washed of as we believe. They can cause learning disabilities in our children and cancers in adults. They can cause birth defects when eaten too often during pregnancy.
There are many things you can do to lessen your exposure to chemical pesticides. One it to use an organic, plant based pesticide on any garden or lawn you keep. Peeling your skinned fruit and veggies is another way to avoid harmful chemicals. Because most of the nutrients and anti-oxidants from these foods are found in the skin, buying organic would be optimal. Organic fruits and vegetables can be found in grocery stores and are always labeled “USDA Organic”. You can also often find organic produce at nearby farms. This would also help small businesses in your area thrive.
Some fruits and vegetables cannot simply be washed of the pesticides. The USDA did studies on which produce has the highest amount of pesticides. Here is a list of foods to always buy organic in order to reduce your exposure:
Buying organic produce can be difficult for many reasons. Some being they are not even available or they are too expensive. Keep in mind that consumers have the control. Vote with your pocket book. Organic produce is continuing to decline in price because it’s increasing in popularity. The more we buy organic, the more will be available at a cheaper price.
There are many farms who need people to buy shares of the farm. These farms are called co-op farms or Community Supported Agriculture farms. The way they work is by charging an upfront fee of around $400 dollars. This is a once a year cost. Then you pick up organic produce weekly. You can get anywhere from 2-6 bags of produce a week. Most CSA’s run from May to November.
Get creative and don’t give up. A goal of an organic diet can take a year to achieve. But it will be worth it and you will notice a great difference. Not to mention you will feel great about doing your part on this planet by helping reduce the amount of chemicals sprayed onto the soil.…
People do meditation for a vast array of reasons. One reason is to look deep into one’s self and reflect. A way to do this is with the use of Tarot cards. The following visualization meditation is good for gaining insight and problem solving.
Preparing to Meditate on a Tarot Card
Begin by selecting a Tarot card. If a deck of cards isn’t owned, a quick Internet search will produce a variety of sites that will have pictures and definitions of the cards. Simply find a card that appeals to you. Please keep in mind that the card will have one meaning straight up and another if reversed. Once a card has been selected and the meaning has been read, it will be time to start the meditation.
How to Begin a Tarot Card Meditation
Hold the chosen card and study it. Try to memorize as many details as you can. After two to three minutes, put the card down and get into a comfortable sitting position while keeping the back upright. With eyes closed, begin to take relaxing, deep breaths.
Next, envision the card in the mind’s eye. Try to recall as many details as possible. If attainable, envision yourself as being part of the card. Continue to do this for a couple of minutes until it feels like every part of the card has been experienced
Experiencing Insight Meditation
It’s now time to concentrate on the meaning of the card. What kind of meaning does this card have in your life? For example, let’s say the strength card came up. This card represents not only physical strength, but inner strength as well. If using this card, think of problems that have been overcome in the past due to courage.
Remember what it felt like to draw inner strength for courage. Is there any thing happening in life that would require drawing from this inner strength? While thinking about this, see if any ideas enter the mind. Often, answers to questions and problems will come while in a relaxed state of meditation.
No matter which card is chosen for a meditation, think about the meaning and the positive effects it has had in life, then reflect on the meaning when the card is reversed and what can be done to help improve life.
How to End a Meditation
When finished reflecting on the card, take a minute to clear the mind and just focus on the breathing. When ready, open the eyes, slowly get up, and resume the activities of the day. Feel free to do this meditation any time some insight is needed.
A Tarot card meditation not only allows for a visualization exercise, but provides an opportunity to gain deep insight. What makes this such an interesting meditation is that although the formula for the meditation is the same, the meditation will be different each time depending on which card is chosen.…
Meditation is a good way to relieve stress, balance the spirit, and find peace of mind. Some studies even say that meditation has certain health benefits. Mastering meditation techniques certainly isn’t easy, but once learned meditation can always be repeated.
Sometimes, it may seem that even deep physicial relaxation doesn’t always free the mind. For most, relaxing the body isn’t the difficult part of meditation. It’s relaxing the mind that’s the hard part – and this is where certain meditation techniques come in. Understanding meditation may help with mastering relaxation techniques. To meditate is to quiet the conscious mind and let the subconscious lead. This sounds simple in theory, but meditating isn’t always easy.
If relaxing is a problem, try some relaxation techniques like deep and slow breathing. Counting breaths may help with relaxation, or even just counting backwards from one hundred. It’s a good idea to stretch the muscles for a few minutes, then sit or recline comfortably and just let the body go limp. Pre-stretching often makes this limp, relaxed feeling easier to get into. Sometimes, it seems hard to keep still, as the world is a very fast place. Stillness and quiet are the cornerstones of true meditation. Gentle music, or other noises that won’t be distracting, are perfectly okay. Meditation is about the individual’s own personal comfort.
Deep relaxation means letting the mind relax, too. When trying to meditate, don’t try to balance a checkbook or pen the grocery list mentally. Though it should be simple, the hardest meditation technique is learning how to just stop thinking. Just stop thinking. When serious about meditating, it’s best to relax in a comfortable and quiet location. Deep, relaxed breathing and the absence of conscious thought is the goal of meditation. Getting there is the hard part. If counting does not help, try to focus your mind on a single image. A candle flame, a tree, a flower blossom, even just a ball of light – hold this picture in your mind’s eye, and then change it. Add wind, change the color, but deviate the image only slightly. Focus on this until it’s very solidly in your mental vision and you can change the picture with ease, and then focus on nothing at all for a time.
Some meditate just to relax, and lying quietly without thought is a wonderful way to achieve this goal. For more serious meditating, certain techniques may be used to achieve different goals. Some may use meditation as a way to deal with problems, and some to find spiritual guides. Whatever meditation is used for, mastering the basic techniques of total mind and body relaxation is the starting point.…
Why do we find it difficult to concentrate during meditation and what can we do to improve our ability to focus?
Concentration is said to be the key to meditation. Whether we are meditating on a candle, a mantra, a verse or our breathing, the most important aspect is to focus our mind on the object of our meditation.
Why is concentration so important?
In all walks of life, concentration is a great strength. Students who are able to concentrate on their studies without being distracted by the TV or by other members of their family are more like to succeed in their exams than those who can’t do this. Likewise, those who achieve success in the business world will often speak of devotedly applying themselves to their goal and not allowing other distractions to get in their way. This may be a very worldly form of concentration, but the principle is the same – concentration is the key to success. During meditation, concentration is needed in order for us to be able to bring the mind to rest; it is this rest that brings about the peace which so many of us long for in today’s society. Swami Paramananda, author of Concentration and Meditation (Eighth Edition, Vedanta Centre Publishers 1996) states it unequivocally:
“Meditation is inseparable from concentration. When the mind has gained its full strength through singleness, it naturally becomes meditative”.
Why is it hard to concentrate?
Although we talk about modern life being busier than ever, a restless, agitated mind has been a human problem for a very long time. In the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Geeta, (Faber & Faber 1982) estimated to be written 5,000 years ago, Arjuna presses the Lord Sri Krishna for advice on how to rest his “fickle and turbulent, obstinate and strong” mind. Krishna acknowledges his difficulty:
“Doubtless, O Mighty One! The mind is fickle and exceedingly difficulty to restrain, but O son of Kunti! with practice and renunciation it can be done”.
Our minds are very active – they’re used to making plans, forming opinions, commenting on what’s going on and generally chattering away. It’s not surprising, therefore, that when we sit down to meditate we find that it’s not so easy to stop all this chatter and attend to our intended focus. We’ve been allowing our minds to wander without any form of control for years – or decades – and unless we’re very fortunate, they’re not going to just fall calm and quiet just because we sit quietly and sound a mantra.
What do we do when we find it difficult to concentrate?
The ability to concentrate is an innate faculty, not only of humans, but of every living creature. Take a look at a cat who stops still for a couple of seconds before pouncing on a mouse. It’s true that our minds can be very scattered, but we’ll usually find that there are certain activities that we do attend to with a good degree of attention – reading a book, playing a musical instrument – even watching a football match requires concentration! There are steps we can take, however, if we wish to strengthen our ability to focus during meditation:
The above steps will enhance your ability to concentrate and subsequently help your meditation.…