soulintraining

Posts Tagged ‘soul in training’

Out on a limbo

In Living a Life Off-Center on January 27, 2011 at 12:09 am

The spiritual path is not always a smooth one. Though many think it is an uphill climb, getting easier as we put one “foot” over the other, it is far from being that simple. Getting from here to bliss is requires a lot of rerouting, sometimes stepping back and even (it seems) going in circles.

Don’t beat yourself up if there are times when you feel like you’re the goldfish in the bowl of life. It sometimes help to just be fully aware of exactly where you are, even if it feels like nowhere. The first step for any kind of growth or expansion is awareness and acceptance.

Life in limbo isn’t too bad, just take the necessary measures to not stay in that place for too long.

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Out on a Limbo

(Published in the Super section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, August 25, 2007)

Here, there and nowhere

I think I can be guilty most times of being an emotional fence sitter, racking up mileage points to and from my trips to limbo. It was easier earlier on in life, using pure idealism to propel me forward in making decisions, the world, being black and white through a teenager’s eyes was so much easier to make my oyster, or at least I thought. Adulthood and coming to terms with emotional upheavals slowly brought in more color, and definitely more static. So, finding clarity when lost in a feelings fog can make one reluctant to leave the limbo terminal. Not knowing the beginning or the end of what you’re going through can sometimes be extremely peaceful, as paradoxical as that sounds, it’s like being a permanent resident of Switzerland during the World War. It’s a neither here nor there Neverneverland and numbs the pain of having to choose one over the other. Ignorance is bliss, and limbo is bliss at its best. There are of course, advantages and major disadvantages of being in this state. One thing that could be considered a pro is that it actually gives you some time to think and reflect. Honestly, like when you are unsure if your flight is leaving on time or is delayed you then surrender to the fact that you have to sit down or walk around lost in as many distractions as you can possible come up with. In come the scenarios swimming in your head, all the possible wonderful endings and all the disastrous ones, in fact, it becomes a mental Choose Your Own Adventure, and the best part about it is that the ending can change over and over again. That’s the fun part about being in limbo (ok, fun is relative) you allow yourself a certain amount of detachment in order to play and replay scenes from your life and permit yourself to rebook your destination, if at least, in an imaginary outcome atlas, with no hidden fees and surcharges. You become audience to your drama, so in that aspect, limbo rocks. Another plus about limbo is that it allows reassessment, and for some, the chance to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is often scowled upon as a weakness, when the truth be told, showing vulnerability gives others a chance to help, when they would normally be turned away out of pride. There is no shame in admitting you need help, no one is expected to be strong day in and day out, and when the winds of confusion set in leaving us helpless in the hands of what we cannot control then humility takes over as well. We then learn that although we have to make decisions on our own, there are many around us who will help us til it’s time for that decision to be made, who act as support, sounding boards, sometimes even a shoulder to cry on or an understanding ear. We all crave definition in everything from our tv sets to our own lives but first we have to surf through our experiential channels in order to get the best reception, and this takes time. Limbo gives us a timeout and eventually a way out. So on your way to destination definition, enjoy a couple of stopovers in limboland.

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May the Force be with You

In Living a Life Off-Center on January 24, 2011 at 11:45 pm

Even though it’s already 2011, I tend to believe more in the energies of the Chinese Lunar Calendar. This is why I am still continuing to do a little spring “purge” (it’s a lot more powerful than just a spring cleaning). Aside from scouring through my closets and bookshelves for things I no longer need, have outgrown or will never use again in order to give them away (one person’s trash could be another person’s treasure) I have also been digging up old articles, pics etc to see if I can find any  “treasures” in them.

I stumbled upon editorials I used to write as Contributing Editor to Super! In the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Since I have committed to posting something every day in my Soul Train blog I felt it would be good to rehash some of the things I’ve written and repost.

I hope this helps any and all souls in training 🙂 Do remember this was written six years ago as we were approaching the second quarter of the year.

May The Force Be With You

A different kind of swoosh!

Same s–t different day. Sound familiar? Same old, same old. These are standard answers for many of my peers and even the more youthful of my friends have used the word “boring” to describe their current situation in life, work and sometimes their future’s outlook. Being stuck in a rut just sucks. Artists call it a “block”, executives call it a “dead-end job” students call it “practicum” and I call it a “telenovela”. Maybe I meant same s–t different network.

The biggest challenge in wanting something different is people are not often willing to DO something different. I’ve read that if you keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect a different result, then you’re a horse’s ass (Ok I added the horse part) In a nutshell, your situation will only change when YOU change, so today let’s talk about change, or at least making some changes. Tomorrow we welcome the first day of May, not only do we enter into the second quarter of 2005, in Western hemispheres Spring is in the air, and for most species of flora and fauna, life begins in the Spring. In a galaxy far, far away, it also marks the opening month of a small, under hyped sci-fi movie entitled Revenge of The Sith. (Yes, there is a connection, patience.)

Whether your Jedi Master is Yoda or Buddha the “force” is something to be reckoned with and not taken lightly. In Chinese philosophy it is called “qi” (pronounced chi) which means the circulating life energy that is thought to be inherent in all things. In simpler terms, it’s the life force. You may not be aware of it, but your surroundings, the way you live, the way you think have already caused clogging in your qi and the qi around you. If lately you feel you’ve been down on your luck, stuck to a routine, uncreative, and unhappy then it may be time for a change of scene. The wonderful thing about changing your “qi-nery” is that it is simple, inexpensive and can be done by anyone, anytime.

Ready padawan? Look around you. What is the state of your house? Apartment? Bedroom? Office? Unopened mail, unwashed clothes, unread books, dried out pens, betamax tapes (?!!!) memorabilia from the 70s and 80s that are so decrepit in appearance that they wouldn’t be displayed on Ebay. Wasted space is wasted energy. How you live is a reflection of how you are. Think of your body like your bedroom, how much clutter will it take in your inner interior design for you to finally do something about it? Let’s get started:

Have nothing around you that you do not know to be useful and believe to be beautiful. There exists a metaphysical law saying that if we desire more abundance in our lives we must create space for it. How can more good come into our lives if there is no room to accommodate it?

Start to give. What may no longer be useful and beautiful to someone may be a treasure found to another. Look at your closets, bathroom counter, library, drawers, gadgets, music and video collection. Is it possible that these things you no longer need or desire could be more beneficial to and/or serve others? Even when you’re cleaning and clearing out remember not to make a mess of things.
Some rules: (applicable to public officials too)
If you take it out, put it back
If you open it, close it
If you throw it down, pick it up
If you take it off, hang it up.
If you really don’t need it give it to someone who does.

Move 27 objects. (Huh?) Literally, PICK UP and MOVE 27 objects in your home that have not been moved in over a year. No one is going to mind if the left bedside lamp is now on the right, move the books you still love from the lower shelf to the upper shelf. Arrange a series of picture frames in a different way. Maybe the dining room table would look better if it faced a window, those knick knacks, touristy souvenirs could use a reshuffle… (oh my God the Christmas lights are still up?!!!!) So what’s happening now? Are you perhaps getting more creative? Maybe a little more imaginative? (how the hell am I going to explain this to my mom?) What is certainly happening during this process is that you are doing something DIFFERENT 27 times and all of a sudden you just start to FLOW.

When you move things around energy transforms from potential to kinetic. Your mind expands, you break your routine and you allow the vital universal life energy to swirl inside and around you. True creation is based on intuition and not on manipulation. I will be bold enough to say that when this is done in the spirit of fun and lightness you will actually start to FEEL the positive energy released throughout your surroundings. The added bonus in doing this makeshift spring cleaning is that you may stumble upon something you once thought was lost, or forgotten. YOU. (cue: voluminous, orchestral background music.)

Indulge yourself with a chocolate bath

In Philippine Star Column on October 7, 2010 at 11:58 pm

 

A chocoholic's dream come true

 

The wonderful thing now about many of our bath products is that they come in all sorts of smells and textures. What you would normally find in an herb and spice shop can now be massaged into your hair or on your hands. Sweet everythings as well are now added ingredients in your bathroom armada; take a look at your shower shelf, I’m pretty sure you’ve got bottles and jars that can make you smell like a freshly cut bouquet of flowers, to a more invigorating, energetic sprig of mint, or for the teenager at heart, bubblegum.  I prefer clean scents myself and shy away from soaps and shampoos that have a very strong fragrance; it just makes me think that a lot of chemicals were used in the producing of a scent that smells even better than the real thing.

In a friend’s house I chanced upon her basket of bathroom goodies and a product caught my eye. It was a cleansing gel that said Mint Chocoholic Dreams by Vitaoils. I guess what really caught my eye was the word “Chocoholic,” because left to my own devices I would probably have this dark coated treat on a daily basis. My primary thought was, if I can’t eat it every day then it might be a good idea to have its scent readily available. I checked the ingredients, saw nothing chemically frightening and was intrigued that it contained a “healing”  mulberry oil. The bonus was that the whole bottle of 300ml was about P150. Thinking I had found a steal, I decided to get another cleansing gel labeled Vanilla Beam; it seemed like a great opportunity to try two of my favorite foodie scents in one go.

 

Vanilla helps calm your nerves

 

I laughed when I returned home and added two bottles to my shelves, I really did have a preference for things scented with chocolate (cocoa butter lotion) and vanilla (in candle form). I made a mental note that if I liked this particular product I would try their other fragrances such as lavender- scented Be Calm and The Wonder Tree which had tea tree oil and was recommended for anti-bacterial cleansing especially for those with acne and the dreaded “bacne” (back acne). Reading the labels again I was pleased to find out that aside from satisfying my desire to be surrounded in any way possible by chocolate, I would also be able to improve the elasticity of my skin and diminish the appearance of stretchmarks. True chocoholics know that their addiction (especially in its darkest form) actually contains antioxidants the cleansing gel also made used of peppermint to add a nice little buzz to the senses. This was to be my morning gel for sure, since I was going to try the Vanilla Beam which promised a more calming respite from the daily stresses of living when used.

The healing mulberry oil as constant ingredient is also worth a little investigation. According to the VitaOils website, mulberry in itself (its Latin name is Morinda Citrafolia-but some are more familiar with its name “noni”) is considered a medicinal  plant with a whole range of uses. Practitioners of ayurvedic and/ or alternative medicine have claimed that the noni fruit contains many active constituents that are extremely beneficial to human physiology. It has been used as a natural moisturizer keeping the skin from “cracking” during extreme conditions and when ingested alleviates digestive problems such as nausea and diarrhea. To be fair, the list is quite long and mulberry seems to be an excellent cure-all for most physiological problems. It even goes as far as saying that it may trigger the production of seratonin in the brain. Seratonin deficiency has been found to be one of the causes of pathological conditons. In simple terms more noni can prevent you from becoming loony.

 

Four now, two more scents to come!

 

I’m not sure how true all the stuff I read was, and I do remember when there was a time that drinking noni juice was all the rage, as its marketers claimed the same thing, you could cure almost anything (although most bought it as it claimed weight loss and better skin) but all I wanted was to make sure that the stuff I bought wasn’t going to be drying or harmful and smelled good enough to eat. The Mint Chocoholic Dream was lightly scented and you could smell it a lot more once applied to damp skin. It was also not greasy and didn’t foam too much which for me is an indicator that it wasn’t heavy on chemical components. After drying off, the scent of chocolate with a little tinge of mint did remain and my skin did feel smooth. An obvious winner there on the first go. The Vanilla Beam didn’t give me as much of a connection, although it felt the same, light, not greasy and washed off right away, yet leaving the skin smooth  and pleasantly scented.

Once my stash runs out I will, without hesitation, get another chocolate “hit” and perhaps go out of my comfort zone and remember my mental note to try another fragrant offering.

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Check out VitaOils website at http://vitaoils.co.nr  or call tel. 215-5152 or 929-4549 to find out where to purchase them.

Reposted from The Philippine Star)Updated October 08, 2010

Flower power can help you bloom inside and out

In Philippine Star Column on September 16, 2010 at 11:49 pm

Several years ago I was in the market for something that would give me regular sleep and just calm me during certain work-related anxieties. I was definitely not looking for prescription medicine and I certainly wasn’t about to go to a shrink for answers. Yoga at that time helped, of course, but it wasn’t as if I could just do a sun salutation series on the office floor or in between meetings, I needed something a little more convenient and safe. An aunt turned me on to her “hobby,” which was Bach Flower Essences or remedies.  She explained to me that this was a homeopathic solution that was beneficial for everyone  and then she pulled out about three boxes of small bottles. Each bottle was labeled with the name of a flower or plant, some of which I had never heard of, like Agrimony, which is supposed to help someone be more truthful about their worries and emotions.  These floral remedies were created by Dr. Edward Bach (1886-1936) who was born in the UK and practiced Western medicinefor over 20 years until his interest in immunology propelled him to find a more natural way to prevent disease. Bach believed that illness was the result of disharmony between body and mind — an external expression of one’s emotional negative state. He made up his mind to work on his own “cures,” leaving his lucrative London practice to work in Wales and the English countryside.  It was here that he could fully concentrate on finding a new system of healing using plants and flowers. During the spring and summer months he prepared new herbal remedies and in winter he treated patients for free.

Make your own liquid bouquet!

Unlike essential oils that are normally used for aromatherapy (massages, oil burners), Bach Flower remedies are turned into elixirs that you can actually drink. They are mixed with spring water or fresh water (there is a measurement) and you are recommended to take a couple of drops a day, depending on what your requirement is. Dr. Bach came up with 38 essences and later on divided a person’s ailments into seven types, namely fear, uncertainty, lack of interest in the present (perhaps a more formal way of saying ADD or spaced-out), loneliness, over-sensitive to influence and ideas (read: drama queen), despair or despondency, and over-care for the welfare of others (I think this is a nice way of saying mind your own business!). The process of getting your Bach Flower remedy is quite fun, especially since you’re not necessarily limited to one “essence”; you can actually mix and match and come up with your own liquid bouquet.  The first way, or more traditional way, is to choose according to your need from the seven that were indicated above. For example, if it’s loneliness then you can have a nice little mix of Water Violet, which will help you in your relationships with other people, plus a little Heather for those days when you are by yourself for long periods of time.  Bit of a control freak? Then stir up a concoction of  Beech (helps you to become less critical of others) and Vine (respect other people’s ideas and views). Of course, the elixir is more potent when just one is used, but if you are unsure of what it is exactly that ails you, a nice little mix is always helpful. A tip, if you’re not sure, then make an elixir for uncertainty out of Ceranto that claims to help you trust your own judgment in decision making.

The second way, which is what my aunt advised me to do as she laid all the bottles in front of me, was to choose intuitively, in other words, choose by “feeling” what was right for me. I selected two on the basis that they sounded like flowers I would like visually (or the smell of), like wild rose and honeysuckle. Ironically when I was made to read up on them (as my aunt prepared the mix) it did resonate with my experience at the time. Both flower essences were categorized under “insufficient interest in the present moment,” the wild rose was for taking responsibility of your own life, and the honey suckle for letting go of the past — in short, to keep me grounded in the present moment, in the now so to speak and to stop worrying. At that time I was at a crossroads in my career, and I was subconsciously looking for a way to deal with it rather as I was already functioning on a rather apathetic auto-pilot state. In the following weeks I obediently took the elixir every time I felt worried and anxious, especially when I returned home from work. The most immediate effect was that I slept better at night, and the long-term effect was I eventually made the decision to leave my job. Within a month, I was happily surprised by a job offer — one that was certainly nowhere near my expectations at the time. I’m not saying that Bach Flowers are a magic potion and cureall for everything, but in my case, the soothing of my state of mind certainly didn’t hurt, and my change in my overall state probably allowed more beneficial experiences to come in.

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For more information on how to have a Bach Flower Remedy Session in the Philippines contact Tina at 0928-5050202

Hands-on Everything

In Philippine Star Column on September 10, 2010 at 5:01 am

Face it, we like to touch, especially our faces and everything (and sometimes everyone) around us. Office computer keyboards are not properly dusted (unless you are fortunate enough to have a janitor with the same paranoia as Ethan Hawke’s character in Gattaca); you pay with money that has passed through all sorts of hands; you sometimes shake hands with people who may not have the decency or the presence of mind to wash theirs regularly and well; you carry a legion of germs to further spread around. It’s a vicious, rather disgusting cycle, really. Hand sanitizers have become a purse must-have, especially in a country that is infamous for not having properly working public toilets.

There are a whole range of hand sanitizers out there that have their fair share of gimmicks to get you to buy them. Most of them are just prettified spritzers of alcohol, which may not be the safest option. Others promise that they will moisturize your hands at the same time, I really don’t know, just based on common sense, how that is at all possible, but hey, as long as it gets you to clean your hands, then go grab yourself a bottle or two. I’m turned off by those that are either heavily fragranced or just flat-out smell like rubbing alcohol. I’ve found a nice compromise with Messy Bessy’s The Little Warrior which uses sugarcane alcohol, aloe vera extract and green tea essential oil. Sugarcane alcohol is not as drying to the skin as commercially produced alcohol; the aloe vera extract may have some moisturizing benefits and the tea oil has antiseptic qualities. The scent is light and it fades away quickly. I also like the brightly colored refillable bottle since I can find it in the black hole that I call my bag! It also has a three-fold use: it cleans your hand, can be used as a disinfectant so you can spay it in the air around you and lastly it’s a surface cleaner — just spritz it on a cotton ball or tissue and wipe away.

Look ma! Clean hands!

In terms of choosing products that are better for your health in the long run, with the rule of thumb being “if a fifth grader can’t pronounce the ingredients it probably isn’t good for you,” it should also be environmentally friendly (refillable bottles, locally sourced materials) and belong to a company with a sincere social conscience. There has been a rise in social enterprises, from first-time entrepreneurs to bigger corporations creating a spin-off unit as part of their CSR. Messy Bessy engages the disadvantaged youth through their H.O.U.S.E project by providing them both with employment and education. I have been fortunate enough to go to their warehouse and plant and I’ve witnessed the great care the proprietors take to ensure a safe and hygienic working environment. H.O.U.S.E stands for Helping Ourselves Through Sustainable Enterprises and the project recently received a one-year grant to put up its in-house alternative school. The employees get an education worth either an elementary or high school diploma and body and soul are also nurtured with workshops in art therapy, creative writing and yoga

As a consumer, being allowed to witness how the products are assembled and created gives me a lot more confidence when I patronize a certain brand. Messy Bessy has expanded from its line of household cleaners to a more economical line called Misis Linis to Baby-friendly products called Messy Baby and is in the process of creating food items that are a healthier alternative to well-loved Pinoy snacks such as instant noodles which normally have a very high monosodium glutamate content.

If you are trying to make a change in your lifestyle, dramatic steps are not always necessary; you can start with tiny, almost taken for granted ones. Something as simple as switching to a better brand of handwash in your bathroom or a product in your purse is a really good first step.

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For more on Messy Bessy and The H.O.U.S.E Project, go to messybessy.com.

Angel Altars

In Living a Life Off-Center on September 7, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Ready to be the hostess with the mostest!

I recently completed a Wishing Angels ritual. The whole idea behind it was to “host” a group of wishing angels in your home for approximately five days. A friend had to pass on her guests to 2-3 friends and she chose me to be one of the recipients. The ritual itself was fairly simple, although there had to be some preparation involved. When I mean wishing angels I truly mean our winged guardians but these ones were primarily to help grant three of your most heartfelt wishes. These three wishes had to be personal ones, and not for other people.

To prepare, I had to dedicate an area in my bedroom to house my divine guests. This was going to act as an angel altar, which required a few things. The first was that it had to have a vase or a pot of fresh white flowers, a candle, an apple and then a white envelope with a letter containing my three most heartfelt wishes. They were going to arrive at 10:30pm and I was to welcome them with an opening mantra of gratitude. That morning, I went to the local flower shop to pick the brightest, whitest flowers I could find and also a shiny green apple. I was lucky that I had a battery operated candle (you have to keep a candle burning for five straight days) because this is obviously a safer option than a real candle. Two of my other friends did the same thing, they used a battery operated candle. I spent the afternoon thinking of my three most heartfelt wishes and wrote them down, placing the letter in the white envelope and under the apple. For an extra special touch, I placed a ceramic figure of an apple on the altar. This is what it looked like:

Ready and waiting for my guests of honor!

My candle worked out well being battery operated, it flickered almost like the real thing plus it was vanilla scented which made it even more realistic.

Even better (and safer) than the real thing!

I also added some of my crystals that had angel-like properties:

Barite with watermelon tourmaline

For extra measure I also put a quartz cluster  just to amplify the energies:

More power!

At around 10pm that night, the rains started to pour and the ritual specified that I would have to open the front door and any main entrance to allow the angels in. In my case that meant the gate at streetlevel of my house, my front door and of course my bedroom door. I was worried about the rains, how was I going to stand outside and wait for them without getting wet and without looking ridiculous in my nightwear and an umbrella? By 10:28pm I waited by my front door (inside the house) wondering what I would do when the clock struck 10:30. All of a sudden, the front door “trembled” as if a strong wind at hit it I noticed several bright red lights blinking from outside my house, my heart leapt and I ran to open the door. I saw my brother, returning home from work at this late hour and alighting from his car-which meant, he was going to open the front gate since he had to enter. Problem solved! With umbrella in hand I watched him open the gate and felt a thrill I kept the front door open as I waited for my brother to climb up and go inside. He was giving me a quizzical look wondering how I could have opened the door for him without him having to ring the doorbell. When I glanced at my watch again it was exactly 10:30pm. There are no coincidences in this life, my guests had arrived, and had hitched a ride with my brother.

I felt like a giddy teenager as I welcomed them into my room and gabbed on about how I hoped they would like their little space. They seemed to approve and I went to bed that night with a huge smile on my face. Throughout the course of the day my friends and I shared stories about how they welcomed their angels and their experiences with them. I asked them to email me their angel altars, so here are a few versions:

Angel figurine already with an electricity fueled candle

Angel altar with disco light instead of candle

There were some who opted to put a more personal touch on their altars by surrounding it with photos of their loved ones:

Personal touches make it even more special

For the next five days, I used my imagination in entertaining my celestial guests. A friend of mine who could “see” them told me that mine were a mother and daughter tandem, and quite big in size (which I felt) and also quite old and regal (something I also felt). One friend had about three angels who visited her and they seemed more youthful and a little more playful. Another friend had a group of female angels, probably about five or more who were noisy and seemed to chatter like a bunch of highschool girls. I took my guests to my office, to the mall, flower shopping, to a bridal shower and always gave them the option to go back to my home and rest if they wanted. I know this sounds crazy but it gave me a sense of love whenever I spoke to them (sometimes out loud but in public places mentally) and I was quite sad on the 5th day when I knew it was time to say goodbye to them. That goodbye night was also special with a farewell ritual. As I walked them to the front gate (and thankfully it wasn’t raining this time) my dog followed me and he started to bark at noone and nothing in particular. When I opened the front gate he ran out, barking, and I panicked a bit as he rushed to the right side of the road barking, and then to the left side of the road. All of a sudden he stopped, and just ran back in. For the rest of the time I spent outside completing the ritual he stoically sat on the front steps looking into the distance. Eventually he lay down but with his eyes still focused straight ahead. This time I knew that my guests had really left and had moved on to their next host (2 of my good friends).

All in all it was a lovely experience, I am now waiting for my angels to surprise me with my 3 most heartfelt wishes granted beyond my wildest expectations. 🙂

One more altar option for the road

Angel sign language

In Living a Life Off-Center on September 5, 2010 at 2:11 am

Just finished a great book that I wanted to share with everyone.  It’s called Signs from Above by Angel Therapists Doreen Virtue and her son Charles Virtue. It’s a small book and I thought I’d whizz through it, but the stories shared in this book required a slower, more indulgent read. The book revolved around the premises that Angels are all around us and more than ready to give us divine “signs” of affirmation and guidance. Doreen shares stories from people who have experienced such signs like clouds in the shape of angels, feathers and rainbows that have comforted them especially in times of doubt and grief.

Signs from Above

What I enjoyed most about reading this was that I did get clarity on certain situations of my life by asking for signs. I also told the angels to surprise me since my overactive imagination would begin to anticipate signs already documented in the book. And you know what? They did surprise me, three times in fact in one day.

The book ends with specific prayers for specific situations, which would be helpful to anyone who didn’t grow up in a prayerful environment. They are short, simple requests (dependent on situation or need) that one can say at any time of the day or night.

This would make a great gift or have by your bedside, in your office for those days or nights when it seems you don’t know what to do next. If you believe in angels, you will be greatly comforted by the ways they use in which to communicate that they are there for you, all the time. Be prepared to notice the signs they give because in most instances, they are, instant. The most challenging aspect is trusting that those are signs, just remember there are no coincidences and that when in doubt, ask again, and again. Unconditional love embodies every angel so until they get the message through to you, they won’t stop trying, it’s up to you to keep listening, seeing or feeling.

Bug Begone!

In Living a Life Off-Center on September 2, 2010 at 1:57 pm

To be scared is normal, to be fearful, is a little more serious but relatively normal, to have a phobia-which evokes an emotion that goes beyond words but the closest would probably be terror is God-awful. There have been accounts of people who go into hysteria, some as extreme as dropping dead, right on the spot when faced with that one thing or situation that throws them right off the sanity meter. Yes, I know, this all sounds overly dramatic, but that’s what a phobia can do, bring out the telenovela in you, all at once you have no concept of vanity or poise, so even if you’re in the most anticipated, glamorous event of the year in your fight worthy ensemble you will be reduced to a big old mess, worthy of a straitjacket.

So what freaks you out the most? You’ve heard of agoraphobia-fear of open and or crowded spaces. There’s zoophobia-fear of animals and the rather amusing cacophobia-fear of ugly things (beauty is really in the eye of the beholder). Fear is not alien to me but I have found that there is nothing else that makes me turn around screaming and running awat like a complete and utter lunatic than a cockroach.  It sounds silly right? I disagree, a cockroach, roach, ipis, cuca, whatever you want to call it is akin to the spawn of Satan. Seriously, that’s how I view them, practically indestructible sneaky little things that can creep through any hole, probably go through walls, and have the balls to go straight at you, even if you’re 200 times its size.  I’m not going to even get started on the flying ones which can send even the bravest, macho man screaming for his life (trust me, I’ve witnessed this) as this hideous winged menace makes an aggressive beeline for his head.

Roach no more!

As there are many ways to skin a cat, there are of course many ways to kill a cockroach, but more of them involve sprays with toxic fumes. Grab your supermarket brand of bug or roach spray, and spritz away, the smell alone is enough to kill you. This is especially detrimental in times of panic when you are trapped, alone in your bathroom and a roach decides to launch a surprise attack, if you are like me, you aim and fire that spray in all directions (because you’ve closed your eyes in fear) and what’s left is a fog that cloaks you and besides killing that six legged little beast you’ve probably also poisoned your lungs and goodness knows what else. Worst of all, if you’ve gone and emptied out half a can in one area of your abode, the smell stays for hours, even the whole day, and probably, so does all the toxins.

Thankfully, there have been less dangerous (to humans but not to roaches) alternatives in the market. One of which is the Anti-Roach Spray of Messy Bessy. Messy Bessy is well-known for its environmentally and people friendly line of house cleaning products and has expanded into handwashes, and repellants. Their roach spray uses a patchouli oil blend that seems to freeze a roach on the spot with one go and its smell will not cause you to gag or your eyes to tear. Again, you have to exert a little self control here, a spritz or two is enough if you empty the bottle out the patchouli’s scent will be overwhelming, but not toxic at least.  Herbal pest controllers have been recommending essential oils or certain herbs to get insects or other unwanted critters to bug off.  Citronella oil for example when mixed with a little water can be used to fight off mosquitoes and you can even spray it on your furniture as it gives off a pleasant smell and will not stain if diluted properly.

I have to admit that my newfound weapon of roach destruction has been effective. Even with a regularly cleaned house or office, the rains and overall crappy sewerage keep bringing my fears to the surface (literally) so I make sure I always have a bottle within arm’s reach. The cockroaches may never go away completely but at least I’ve found another way to fight them off. Ironically, when I did an online search for “phobia of cockroaches” the term used for this was Katsaridaphobia. Ah, the irony.

For more information on Messy Bessy products and where to get them visit: http://www.messybessy.com

Crystals as works of art

In Living a Life Off-Center on September 1, 2010 at 4:50 pm

I recently visited a good friend of mine who is a collector of healing crystals. I was welcomed by the sight of the most breathtaking works of art ever made by Nature. Most of these are naturally formed, sculpted by God Himself, in my opinion.

Whether you like crystals or not, I’m sure you will find the beauty of these pieces undeniable.

Aquamarine with Muscovite

Ajoite in quartz

A beautiful ajoite "master" crystal

An assortment of other really gorgeous hard to find crystals...drool

These ones above are smaller in size but still big on WOW! I would love to write about the properties about every single one but words aren’t enough, it makes a huge difference when you actually see them and hold them. The bottom left is a pink tourmaline in one of the most beautiful shades of pink I have ever seen and perfectly shaped for a pendant. Just above it is another pink tourmaline in twin flame formation and with what looks like rutiles inside, making it even more powerful. Right top is a baby version of the previous aquamarine with muscovite, doesn’t it look like a brooch? And last but not least, a very, very rare twin flame formation rutilated quartz. Not only will it help you find your twin flame or soul mate but rutilated quartz is known for its anti-aging properties, so find love, while staying youthful is a pretty good 2-1 kind of crystal!

Atlantean Citrine

I loved this one as well. I feel like I must have been from the city of Atlantis is a past life. This one just has a sheen that catches your eye, it’s almost gem-like but it has never been through any polishing process of any sort. The bonus, it also has citrine, which is what’s used to attract abundance,especially financial abundance.

Golden Calcite with Rose Amethyst

This just looks like a piece of heaven fell from the sky. I’ve never heard of rose amethyst, but I am so grateful I’ve actually gotten to see one!

And, just for an encore, the piece de resistance, and definitely not for sale is once again the aquamarine with muscovite cluster. All the terminations are perfectly formed and never touched by man. It looks like a bouquet, or, as I said in my title, a definite work of art. I would rather invest in something like this than a man-made piece of art to be honest, at least with a crystal of this quality you know it is truly one of a kind!

Aquamarine with muscovite detail

Airplants ambiance

In Living a Life Off-Center on August 29, 2010 at 1:50 am

I can’t say I’ve ever really been big on flowers, until recently. Not quite sure what changed, but hey, change is always good right? Flowers, like plants do give off an energy and when treated with love can brighten a home or an office. I have been making weekly visits to our local market where there are freshly cut and potted flowers in abundance. It’s akin to active meditation where you focus on color, size, scent and of course, the flowers respective energies. Cut flowers are beautiful when arranged with love and have certainly given my bedroom a prettier and more feminine vibe. When I started playing flowers in various parts of the house I noticed that there was an overall sense of harmony, flowers belonged inside as colorful and “live” accents to the more solid and still furniture and art pieces. There is nothing like bringing a living thing to enliven a quiet, somber space.

When I brought a cheery combo of cut flowers to the office I noticed more of my co-workers would pass by desk and smile. Some would compliment the arrangement in passing and others would stay for a moment and stare, their eyes lighting up. Yes, flowers do have powers and it does sadden me a little bit when they no longer bloom and begin their can’t-be-helped wilting. I was contemplating on buying more potted flowers over the weekend until I made a very welcome discovery.

Living Airplants…or called among the flora-fetish’d- Tillandsia.

A tillandsia "Stricta" is so low maintenance

My good friend turned me on to these rather “cute-sy” air plants as we were scouring a streetfull of garden accessories and plants yesterday. She squealed in delight when she saw a whole bunch of them displayed nonchalantly on a table in a place selling expensive Koi (carp) fish. “These are so low maintenance” she said with a huge smile. There were two types we found, the Stricta and the Cotton Candy.

Cotton candy Tillandsia are a bright pink eyeful!

Now, the magic of having these so-called living airplants is that if you are not green thumbed( I certainly am NOT) is that they need minimal care. As they don’t have roots you can place them on a pretty plate or shallow bowl (use your imagination) or you can even hang them. To keep them alive you just need to spritz them lightly once a day or even every other day. Perfect!

I should have gotten a whole bunch (because where we got it was dirt-cheap, in the US they sell this for about USD6 while I got mine for about…my goodness if converted to dollars it would be FREE!! No joke.

A fresh water spritz a day is all it needs

I am now in the process of creatively trying to display them, from ceramic mugs to colorful plates as I plan to bring the cotton candy variety to my office. (My desk is rather drab-well the whole office is, painted in a monotonous blue) and I will keep the pair of strictas at home.

Living airplants are a soul in training’s perfect start up tool to have a little flower power and positive energy in this life! Grab a bunch if you can find them 😀

A great accent for a drab living or working space

There are several varieties of Tillandsias out there, so it would be good to do an internet search on what is available in your country. This is really a plant you can literally hang out to dry.