Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Down the Rabbit Hole

Can we just move past the fact that I haven't written on this blog for over a year? Yes, let's do that...we can come back to what I've been up to after I get some of these thoughts down on the page, as fast as I can possibly type. Forgive any typos/misspellings/terrible grammar mistakes...I'll probably fix them later anyway. 

First off, this week I've been on vacation. After a very stressful, difficult year yours truly has been heading down the path of total annihilation. A bit extreme term I know. I've needed to make some changes in my life. Perhaps what I mean to write is that I've been breaking myself down into smaller manageable parts because the chaos of both the outer world and my interior world have been breaking me wide open. I will not go into a rant on the socio/political/economic turmoil happening out in the world right now. I sincerely can't handle it right now.  My physical body wants to shut down and play dead if I delve into it too deeply tonight.

Instead, I will tell you about the three books that I am currently working through this week.  I am reading a chapter every day and trying to process out what the work brings up through journaling. Three titles:
1. Brene Brown's The Gifts of Imperfection - I started reading this book half-heartedly in the Summer but found myself turning away because it was too difficult to deal with what it was bringing up for me. I came back to it at the end of last month and something clicked. I am further along now and trying to face some of my demons along the way. As always, easier said than done but I'm flexing my courage muscle to see if I can find a new way of approaching my life and those tender, vulnerable places that need some serious healing love.
2. Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily and Amelia Nagoski - Okay, this book is changing my life right now. I didn't realize how much stuck stress (and stress stew) I was sitting on, and what kind of physical damage it was causing my body. Honestly, the chronic migraines should have been my tip-off.  This book was recommended by my therapist in the Spring but I was too busy and too stressed out to even read it back then. Yes, I see the irony in that last statement. But now that I know and I can't un-know the information that it's given me. 
3. Emotional Agility by Susan David - This is my most recent addition and I'm trying to find some emotional balance in the face of so much uncertainty, stress and life challenges. When I know more I will write more. 

Writing -  In the past month, I've gone back to writing creatively. Working on a new writing project after all this time. It feels good to spend some time creating again. Gosh, I should have known I would spiral out without having some ties to my writing life. The new work-in-progress is called Valentina, this is not the final title. Hopefully, I'll have a first draft done by the end of the year. 

Yoga - I'm back to a daily practice of yoga. I started off as a need to stretch after sitting in front of a computer all day/all year. And now it's a good release to work through some of the stress in my life. 

Meditation - Yep, that's right, I'm meditating twice a day for at least 15 minutes. Once in the morning before I get my day going. I quiet my mind and breathe deeply. Most days, it's trying to shut down the task master and the endless to-do list. Also taking a formal meditation class once a week. It helps to be in community with others who are meditating. It makes me feel a little less alone in the world. 
And meditate as the last thing i do before I got to bed. Helps slow down my over active brain. The last two weeks before vacation I was sleeping less than 4 hours a night because my brain would not turn off. I was barely functioning. The meditation has helped a great deal. I think I would have been worse off if I hadn't been meditating. Oh, a big shout-out to Dan Harris' book 10% Happier. It's part of the reason why I went down this self-empowering rabbit hole. Thanks Dan!!  

Painting - I actually mean painting my apartment. I love listening to musicals  while brightening up my home space. This week, I finally sealed my window ledge and painted it to a lovely light green color. I've been meaning to do this for the past year. It's finally done. Yay! Super pleased that I finally got it done. It's definitely not perfect because I'm not a professional contractor.  But I still get real pleasure for getting things accomplished. When I got this apartment, I made a long list of all the things I needed to fix/improve/work on. I've managed to get quite a bit done so Yay!  

Music- there are two songs that I can't stop playing over and over again. Justin Bieber's Ghost. Now don't hate. This tune made me stop in my tracks. The other song is The Other Side with Zac Efron and Hugh Jackman (from the Greatest Showman soundtrack). I seriously can't stop myself from jumping around my apartment when this story comes on. It actually brings me joy. On  that note, I'll leave it there for now.

All artwork, photos, and text © Copyright 2008-2021 Liliana Almendarez unless indicated otherwise. All Rights Reserved. Any downloading, copying or use of images on this website is strictly prohibited without express written consent by Liliana Almendarez.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

In A Rut....

I'm in bit of an existential rut. I get it, this pandemic has everyone a bit loopy. As a introvert, I don't really mind the time alone in my Brooklyn apartment, for the most part. The problem is that it gives me too much time to think. Too much time to contemplate the state of the world. And it plays over and over in the mind like an old Chinese water torture...drip, drip, drip...right between my eyes. I have too much time for navel gazing and you know how I get...a bit muddled to say the least. I've been reading light novels and re-watching Farscape for escapist fantasy. But I've reached my limit with escapist fantasies. What happens when one has reached their limit? That's right, reality comes crashing through and rudely interrupts to gain one's attention. I watch way too many hours of CNN. It seeps into my brain matter and sucks away any semblance of hope. I look at the state of the world and it fills me with despair, the soul-wrenching kind. Even now as I type these words my throat is clenched and my eyes are filled with unshed tears. I feel the rage of injustice coursing through my body.

I have learned in my studies that these times are cyclical. We will forge ahead and create a new reality as the global consciousness is raised to the next paradigm. Change is painful only when we a grasping to the old ways. There are people who want to unplug, remove themselves from the pain but what they don't understand is that they are not separate from this web of reality. We are all interconnected. We are part of a larger community, we are part of a global community. And we sorely need better leaders. A community of leaders who will blaze through these troubled times. Leaders who will light the way through the darkness, not for their own selfish reasons but for the good of humanity. I've been feeling too cynical for too long, hence the existential rut. I want a better vision for our future. My nieces and nephew need a better world, a place they can sink their teeth into, a better tomorrow. 

From Paulo Freir's Pedagogy of the Oppressed, he writes, "In order for the oppressed to be able to wage the struggle for their liberation, they must perceive the reality of oppression not as a closed world from which there is no exit, but as a limiting situation which they can must become the motivating force for liberating action." There is so much work to be done. More to come. 


All artwork, photos, and text © Copyright 2008-2020 Liliana Almendarez unless indicated otherwise. All Rights Reserved. Any downloading, copying or use of images on this website is strictly prohibited without express written consent by Liliana Almendarez.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Herbal AntiViral - Fresh Ginger Root

I am going to preface this blog entry by saying I am not a medical expert. All the information I am sharing is straight out of Stephen Harrod Buhner's book Herbal Antivirals. Mr. Buhner is the expert and all I'm doing is sharing information that is easily accessible. There is a section in his book on fresh ginger and (the reason for this entry) I thought this root is something that is easily accessible to most everyone. 

Why Fresh Ginger? Fresh ginger root is a respiratory antiviral. It will help reduce fever, reduce cold chills, reduce inflammation in the bronchial passageways, thin mucus and helps move it out of the system, reduce coughing, and increase blood circulation. 

Dry ginger found in tea bags is not strong enough since the essential oils are reduced considerably in the drying process. 
Fresh ginger root is best.  

Note of caution
If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, fresh ginger in high doses would not be recommended.   
Also, may aggravate gallstones, so if you suffer from them caution is advised.  

Fresh Ginger Juice Tea
Juice one or more pieces of fresh (peeled) ginger. (Save the plant matter that is left over to make an infusion). 
Combine 1/4 cup of fresh ginger juice with 1.5 cups of hot water, 1 tbsp raw honey, the squeezed juice of one quarter lime, 1/8 tsp cayenne (his recipe). The tea is pretty spicy without the cayenne. 
This tea should be consumed every 2-3 hours if you are sick. 

To stay healthy against the virus, a couple of cups of ginger tea a day works. 
Candied ginger root slices or pickled ginger are great snacks and healthy stimulants for the system.

Infuse the leftover plant matter from juicing and steep it in 2 cups of hot water, allow to steep for 4-8 hours, covered. Strain and use the infused liquid as you would ginger juice.

If you don't have a juicer, grate or chop the peeled ginger root (size of your thumb) as finely as you can. Steep in 1.5 cups hot water for 2-3 hours covered (covering preserves the essential oils). Strain and use the infused liquid as you would ginger juice. 

If you are really sick: 6 cups of tea per day minimum.  

For the geeks like me: As an antiviral, ginger inhibits the attachment of viruses to the cell, inhibits hemagglutinin (red blood cells clump together), inhibits viral proteases, inhibits neuraminidase, stimulates antiviral macrophage activity, is virucidal. It is antibacterial, antiarthritic, antifungal...I can keep going but you get the picture.  

Shout out to Mr. Stephen Harrod Buhner for the information. 
Pass this on to anyone who can't wait for a vaccine.  

Be well, stay safe and wear a mask in public.  

With love,