Monthly Archives: September 2015

The Safest Place To Live

©Holli Margell Seattle Skyline

©Holli Margell Seattle Skyline

With all of the wild fires burning around the Pacific Northwest, my kids can’t help but hear about the damage on the news. My daughter asked me, “Where is there the safest place to live?” She is only 7-years-old but knows that some places in America have Tornadoes, and some have Hurricanes and Earthquakes. She wanted to know were we could live that would be safe from all of the natural disasters.

This was a hard question for me to answer, and I asked her what safe meant to her to better understand what she was worried about. Lucky for me, my Mom was visiting, and she answered, “It’s the place where you have a good community to help each other out.” As I thought about it more, she was right (funny how parent’s often are). No place on earth is safe from natural disasters or disease, but what makes one area or city survive them is the community that works together.

We have a national program to help every state handle a disaster called FEMA, which stands for Federal Emergency Management Agency. This is very important on a country-wide level, but more importantly is the community you have in the city or neighborhood where you live. If you think about it, if an earthquake happened, who would be able to help you immediately? Your neighbors!

In the city of Seattle, we have a program to help neighborhoods plan for a natural disaster called SNAP (Seattle Neighbors Actively Prepare). They teach groups how to organize a safe place for folks to gather and share resources, as well as how to pack an emergency kit for families. A good way to do this is by contacting your local neighborhood council or group and planning one afternoon to invite neighbors to make a plan.

You don’t have to be in Seattle, or go to training to build your community up or plan for an emergency. This can be as simple as walking around your block and introducing yourself to your neighbors. You can create a simple plan by inviting neighbors to join you in figuring out how you can help each other out in case of an earthquake or by setting up a phone tree in case of fire. For example, we have introduced ourselves to our neighbors and while it’s nice to know two hair dressers live a door down, it’s even better to know of the ER nurse next door!

We all have the potential to live in a safer place just by getting to know our neighbors, making a plan and having our own emergency kit to with a few extra things to share!

Warmly,

Holli Margell, Editor

Laughing Buddha And My Father’s Advice For A Good Life

Laughing buddha has been a figure throughout Chinese culture as a representation of contentment. Buddha in folklore is admired for his happiness, plenitude, wisdom of contentment and open kindheartedness. One belief popular in folklore maintains that rubbing his belly brings wealth, good luck, and prosperity.laughing buddha

I can say that growing up, my life was full of happiness, I admired my father’s attitude in life and how he dealt with tough times. He has taught me the biggest lesson of all. There are three things I must remember and the first was RESPECT, second that was as important was RESPECT and the third which was most important was RESPECT. It all starts with yourself, and affects all others. Please take a moment and find that happiness. Be happy for who you are and find that true peace of mind to create that balance.

I heard one day on the radio that the biggest killer in life was loneliness! I believe that there is way too many distractions in our lives. As we start disconnecting with nature and people to focus on  electronics, we replace talking with texting, typing instead of writing, buying vegetables instead of growing our own. Please take a moment and look at yourself.  Let’s take baby steps to build a stronger village, family and really see the importance of connection.

The liver is the organ of emotions, the mother of the heart. If you notice that sleeping has been an issue and stress is high, CE pills are recommended. CE Pills are made to create a balance for the Liver and Spleen. The liver works soundly between 1-3 am, our deepest sleep. Plan on sleeping to support this. I tend to sleep at 10pm.

If you ever travel to Asia, find the Laughing Buddha, it will bring you wealth, good luck and prosperity. And, learn contentment; a state of happiness and satisfaction.

Love,

Juli

Kung Fu Stretches To Help You Get Through Your Day

Do you ever suffer from unbelievable back pain, joint or muscle aches, or even muscle tension? Being only 20 years old, I’ve had numerous jobs where the main point of the job is heavy lifting, standing all day, constant walking back and forth, or even sitting all day. My back, as I have come to find, has many years of stress put on it. The most tension has been embedded deep in my shoulder blades and mainly my lower back. Highly active jobs can really take a toll on your body, and after years of being in the workforce, I decided it’s about time I do something right for my body. So, I got my first professional massage.

It was magnificent at first. Laying on the long massage table, getting my back rubbed gently and listening to smooth jazz, then all of a sudden, “OW! OH, MY GOD!”  The masseuse takes her elbow and grinds it into my shoulder as if she was kneading the knot right out of me. After the all intensive body manipulation, it was time to bring on the cups! For those who don’t know what cupping is, cupping is a form of Chinese therapy in which heated glass cups are applied to the skin along the meridians of the body, creating suction as a way of circulating the blood flow in your body. On a side note, personally I like the after dots that come with this massage. Honestly, how many people do you know that wear polka-dots on their body? Not very many I bet! Anyway, the cupping was a way better experience than the body massage. My whole back was stretched by these small cups and each cup was on a specific pressure point, evaporating the toxins that have inhibited my body for so many years. When I was relaxed enough, I started breathing deeply and let out all that pain, but it got me thinking. What could I have done to prevent this pain? What can I do now that will help my body feel better so I won’t have to feel this pain again? The solution was simple. In fact it was so simple that it has been easily over-looked my whole life!

Stretching of course! It’s so easy and it has so many benefits. Just taking a little time away from your busy day is highly essential for your body. The constant go, go, go adds stress to all parts of your body, not just muscle pain. It causes a domino effect on your system because your whole body is linked together. For         example, when your back hurts, it sends stress signals to your brain, which makes you feel bad, so it affects your mode negatively which in turn, causes strain on your head.

Some have time for the gym and some don’t, but you don’t need a gym membership to stretch. The benefits of stretching include helping improve flexibility which increases your range of motion (remember the days when you use to do cart-wheels or touch your toes?). Stretching corrects posture by lengthening tight muscles that pull areas of the body away

from their intended position due to the extended amount of time on our computers; many of us have tight chest muscles which pull the shoulders and head forward, leaving us with hunched shoulders. Stretching has the potential to decrease injury by preparing muscles for work before activity. It increases blood and nutrient supply to muscles, thereby possibly reducing muscle soreness!

It even does wonders for your mind. In a short amount of time (10-15 minutes) of stretching calms the mind, provides a mental break, and gives your body a chance to recharge. It’s important to take time for yourself and let your mind relax. With all the different events that prolong through the day, that 10-15 minutes for yourself is vital.

Let’s try this relaxing exercise to help begin the stretching process. Take your hands and place them gently on your stomach (above the belly button, right below your chest). Now take a deep breath in for 4 counts (breathe in 1.2 .3 .4) and then breathe out for 4 counts (breathe out 1. 2. 3 .4). This should be really slow and your shoulders should feel relaxed and not tense at all. Do this 5 times. Now doesn’t that feel a whole lot better? Just doing this calms your heart rate and regulates your breathing which brings oxygen to your lungs. Now you are ready for some stretches! These stretches have been practiced by ancient Chinese farmers for centuries,  with kung fu martial arts, and in yoga.

Stretch 1: Exercising the Shoulders, Arms Lower Back

Forward Stretch

Forward Stretch

Starting Position: Find somewhere to balance yourself like the couch arm rest or your office desk, take one large step back away but to a point where you can still reach it. Spread your feet  shoulder lengths apart.

Movements: Bend forward reaching toward whatever your support is. Keep your head facing straight (look at a specific object and keep your focus on that), and really stretch those arms. You should also feel a stretching tension in your legs and lower back. After you stretch forward come back to the beginning position.  Do this stretch 10 times, but with each stretch take your time and really feel it. (see figure 1)

Stretch 2: Circling Single Arm

Starting Position: Take a left “bow step” with the left leg bent at the knee and the right leg stretched behind and place left hand on left knee. While the right arm hangs at the side. Or if you don’t want to look like a weirdo in the office/and or can’t bend too far, just stand up straight with your feet shoulder length apart and place your left hand on your hip.

Arm Stretch

Arm Stretch

Movements: Move right arm forward, upward and backward in a circular motion, counter clockwise. Then reverse the direction and go clockwise. Do each direction 10 times. Repeat these movements with the left arm but with your right foot bowed or with your right hand on your hip. Be sure to keep your arms straight and your shoulders relaxed. (see figure 2)

Stretch 3: Exercising Leg Pull

Knee stretch

Knee Stretch

Starting Position: Lean against the wall if you have to, this stretch is easy, place one hand against the wall and  simply lift one leg behind you and balance on the other. This stretch mainly focuses on your thighs.  Stretch for 1 minute. Do the same processes with the other leg (see figure 3)

Stretch 4: Exercising Leg Stretch

Starting Position: Stretch your leg out and place it on top of your nearest stable support (chair, table). Then stretch down to touch your toes, its not crucial to touch them if you can’t but eventually you will be able to. Do this stretch 10 times.

Front Leg Stretch

Front Leg Stretch

These are just a couple of basic stretches that will help your body immensely. Just keep in mind that with each stretch, you are doing your body a favor. These stretches won’t take too much time out of your day. Find a quite spot for yourself and stretch out that tension. Remember to breathe deeply, and while you stretch imagine pushing all that negative energy out of your body. Keep your body stress free and happy!

– Shaila Suleman