If you’re like most people on planet earth, you probably haven’t been feeling so hot the last few weeks. The more sensitive you are to space weather – i.e. how the sun’s rays, and the cosmic rays interact with planet earth and human health – the more ucky, strange, light-headed, spaced-out, wired-up or just plain weird you’ve probably been feeling.
In this post, I want to try to set out a little more clearly how the same factors that are leading to increased seismic activity is also affecting your brain, your mood, your ability to sleep at night and even, your physical health.
In recent weeks, volcanic explosions, large earthquakes and freak weather events have been multiplying across the globe. God is the main reason all this is happening, and the force majeure behind it all, but the way in which God is probably doing this is via the interaction between cosmic rays and silica.
Magma contains a ton of silica. People also require silica to produce collagen and bone - and collagen is a semi-conductor. To quote EFT guru Dawson Church:
"Semiconductors are not only able to conduct energy, in the way the wiring system in your house conducts electricity very quickly from one point to another. They are also able to conduct information; think of your high-speed Internet connection. Besides many other properties, semiconductors are also able to store energy, amplify signals, filter information, and move information in one direction but not in another.
"In other words, the connective tissue system can also process information, like the semiconductor chips in your computer. Your connective tissue system is well suited for the task of conveying both energy and information, because it connects every part of your body to every other part.”
The sun’s rays and cosmic rays are a form of radiation, or energy, that is vibrating at a particular wavelength, and that electronic ‘vibration’ is interacting with planet earth in a whole bunch of ways that we haven’t even really begun to understand.
People are electric.
What that means is that the human body is governed by an electrical system so sensitive, and so finely tuned, that even small changes in these ‘vibrations’ can have a huge impact on the hormones our bodies’ create, and on how much ‘stress we feel, subliminally or otherwise, and also what substances our cells secrete.
What brings all these things together is the human pineal gland, which is a tiny, grain-of-rice-shaped endocrine gland located in the brain ‘behind the eyes’. The pineal gland is responsible for producing a number of very important substances and hormones, including serotonin and melatonin.
Melatonin is responsible for regulating a number of the body’s most crucial biological rhythms, including our sleep cycles and ‘circadian rhythms’. As a very general rule, the body produces more melatonin when the pineal gland is exposed to light, and stops producing it when exposed to darkness. Melatonin also plays a crucial role in protecting our nuclear and mitochondrial DNA.
(I.e. the stuff that can cause mutations and other genetic ‘changes’ – both good and bad – in the human body.)
Now, are you ready for the leap into some really cool stuff?
Scientific researchers have found that the pineal gland acts as a kind of ‘way station’ or link between the external environment, and the body’s network of internal systems. To quote the study:
“The pineal gland takes environmental information and converts it into chemical and electrical signals within our bodies. It converts light, temperature and magnetic environmental information into neuroendocrine signals that regulate and orchestrate body functions. It regulates our internal clock—determining our daily sleep–wake patterns and influencing our broader lifetime rhythms.”
The researchers also suggest that the pineal gland is the ‘physiological interface’ between body and mind, and the ‘gatekeeper’ enabling people to access their more spiritual side, and the spiritual dimension.
The study continues that the pineal gland is responsible for taking:
“…various forms of energy, such as light, sound, electromagnetism and the putative energy behind the healing effects of prayer,” and translating them “into electrical and chemical signals within our bodies.”
THE LINK WITH EARTHQUAKES ETC, AND SPACE WEATHER
In 1998, New Scientist published a study showing that the sun’s electromagnetic activity (i.e. the charged particles that make up the solar wind) affect the human electromagnetic field, in a similar way to how it affects the earth’s magnetic field, or magnetosphere.
There are two ways humans are being affected by the sun. In times of greater activity (also called ‘solar maximums’), the sun will typically eject much more energy towards the earth, via things like CMEs, or coronal mass ejections. These are huge bursts of energy that when they hit planet earth, can lead to symptoms like headaches, mood swings, sleep disturbances, mood swings and a general feeling of being unwell.
Then, in time of very low sunspot activity, called ‘solar minimums’, the solar wind from the sun decreases, which in turn weakens the earth’s magnetic shield and enables more of the cosmic rays (i.e. energy waves) from other bodies in the universe, such as stars, comets and other planets to bombard the planet.
Again, there is hard science (if you can call it that) that links cosmic rays – which are NOT the same as the sun’s rays – to much greater perturbation of silica molecules in magma. Greater perturbation = more chemical reactions going on = more magma on the move, = more volcanic explosions and more and bigger earthquakes.
The effects that cosmic rays have on human health are barely on the radar for ‘hard science’, but we can certainly say that levels of UVA, UVB and UVC are also on the rise – often in a very dramatic way – during solar minimums.
We are currently in a solar minimum that is shaping up to be one of the most ‘quiet’ periods of sun activity for 200 years.
That is why the volcano and earthquake activity is picking up, and that’s also why more and more of us are feeling ‘weird’, ill, or strangely emotional.
Once again, the pineal gland is hugely affected by the earth’s electromagnetic activity. Other studies show that during solar storms and other times of dramatic electromagnetic activity, the pineal gland will produce abnormal amounts of melatonin – and this can has some severe affects on human health.
THIS is a good article, to get an idea of the sort of health issues that occurred for a swathe of people back in 2015, when there was a massive solar storm. Here’s an excerpt:
“The type of intense solar activity we’ve been experiencing this week can have serious effects on: the central nervous system, the stomach lining, all brain activity (including equilibrium), along with human behavior and all psycho-physiological (mental-emotional-physical) responses. This can manifest as nervousness, anxiety, worrisomeness, the jitters, dizziness, shakiness, irritability, lethargy, exhaustion, short term memory problems, heart palpitations, nausea, queasiness, prolonged head pressure, and headaches.”
I’m willing to bet a whole bunch of the people reading this have been experiencing at least some of these symptoms, over the last few weeks.
THE SPIRITUAL DIMENSION
Usually, I don’t go on so much about the spiritual dimension to all the spiritual self-help stuff, but I’m going to make an exception in this post.
As we said earlier, God is the prima facie cause for all of these things happening. There is a lot of potentially disturbing things happening in the world, and the growing sense of unease is coming both internally, from our biological rhythms being affected electromagnetically, and also by the increasingly erratic and powerful freak weather, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
(Not to mention politics, wars, economic issues and all the other more mundane things
The pineal gland is the most pronounced ‘link’ between body and soul.
The more spiritually-aware a person is, the more God-awareness they have, the more they are trying to work on overcoming their negative character traits, and trying to God what He really wants, the smoother this current period of time is going to be.
The more understanding we have about body-mind-soul being linked, the smoother this process is going to be, and the more we’ll be picking up God’s cues about what we need to work on and change.
Right now, God is creating a set of circumstances that are practically guaranteed to set off everyone’s ‘stress response’ – and its attendant negative emotions and bad character traits - in a very unmissable way.
Fear, anger, anxiety, hysteria, depression, panic, hatred – all that stuff is going to be rising to the surface at the moment.
God is doing that so we recognize we still have a lot of issues to work on and work through, and to encourage us to make Him part of the solution.
The people who get that message, and who make regular efforts to calm down their pineal gland via meditation, hitbodedut, prayer and other methods that connect us to God and to our spiritual dimension will weather this storm much easier, and come through in better shape.
And the people who don’t….
Well, it’s going to get more and more stressful. So it won’t be pretty.
I’ll write more about this, but in the meantime, there is a definite link between space weather, freak weather, earthquakes and volcanoes, and human mood, sleep patterns, wellbeing and physical health.
And so much of the impact that space weather has on us hinges around silica and the pineal gland.
Two days’ ago, Dutchsinse posted up a whole, long video showing how more unexplained wildfires are breaking out within the volcanic fields of a whole bunch of the volcanos in Western USA.
The day after he posted that up on Youtube, Youtube pulled his livestream channel and blocked him.
Why did Youtube do that?
That is the question.
In the meantime, you can see that particular video above, here, and it’s shmirat eynayim friendly (as much as anything can be, considering the ads on Youtube).
Here’s a few things to toss into the mix about what may be really going on, with all the record wildfires happening across California, plus a few other Western states.
Firstly, the whole area is literally covered in volcanoes.
Some of them – 167 – are marked as officially ‘live’ by the authorities (including the Long Valley caldera, which was just raised up to ‘live’ supervolcano status when they discovered 240 sq miles of melted magma, beneath its surface).
But there are literally thousands, nay, hundreds of thousands of volcanic cones and vents and also a bunch of related geo-thermal features like hot springs, geysers and mudpots, all over the Western part of the USA.
And while many of them are officially being ignored, and being marked ‘dormant’, or even dead, here’s the thing:
Even ‘dead’ and dormant volcanic fields continue to degas a whole bunch of gases and vapors into the atmosphere from the ground.
To put this another way, volcanoes don't have to be actively erupting, or actively doing anything much, to still be pumping a huge amount of diffuse CO2 and other greenhouse gases out into the atmosphere.
There’s a bunch of science to prove that, but perhaps the most simple way of proving it is this: geothermal pumping operations are going after oil, and gas extraction, and super-heated steam to turn turbines.
There are literally hundreds of thousands of geothermal ‘wells’ now drilled into huge swathes of land in the US (and also in places like New Zealand, which is also very volcanically active). Most if not all of these operations are occurring on the flanks of 'dead' and 'dormant' volcanoes (although in Hawaii, they also drilled down into the flanks of the ever-erupting Kilauea...)
And the gas they are extracting – what they actually call ‘shale gas’, or ‘natural gas’ – is mostly made up of methane.
And methane is highly flammable.
As the magma is moving below the crust – and all the earthquakes and volcanoes popping off around the whole Pacific ‘ring of fire’ right now show that magma is on the move across the globe, and is coming closer to the surface – then the volcanic gases associated with the magma will start to rise up, and degas in increasing quantities through the earth’s crust.
And everyone knows, that a single spark can ignite an explosion, or a fire, if there’s gas anywhere near it.
And the amount of gas being stored in volcanic shale, and in other of these deep rock formations, is mind-boggling – we’re literally talking about many trillions of cubic metres of methane.
How do you know this is true?
Well, why else would the fracking companies would go to such lengths to drill wells many thousands of feet down into rock, if there wasn’t some serious amounts of gas to extract and sell?
And now, that gas is coming closer to the surface, and igniting fires all over the Western US, in the volcanic fields associated with a whole bunch of volcanoes, many of which are either not even listed, or are listed as being dormant or ‘dead’.
If you’re bored and you’d like to learn a little more about US volcanoes, go and look up Mount Shasta. It last exploded around 1797 – very recent times. And it’s the USGS’s #1 volcanic risk for the US, that no-one even really talks about.
Here's what the USGS has to say about it - and it's a masterpiece of double-speak! You have to read it very carefully to understand that Mount Shasta is currently a huge eruption risk, because it's barely erupted the last few hundred years, and even the USGS admits some massive eruption is due 'every 6-800 years'.
I.e., round around now.
Now, read THIS article on how 2 of North California's volcanoes are currently listed as 'very high' threat levels by none other than the USGS, and one of them is Mount Shasta.
Shasta county was devastated by the wildfires raging a couple of months’ back.
Do you think that’s a coincidence?
Now, can you start to figure out why Youtube is trying to close down Dutchsinse?
After I'd written this, I came across a news story from a couple of weeks' ago, about a hole in the ground in Arkansas, that's been 'spewing fire' for the last month or so. You can see the full story HERE, but here's some of the key points:
While methane is being fingered as a culprit for the fire, no-one can figure out where the methane is coming from, because it's ALL NATURAL, and is coming up from volcanic gas degassing at the site. But the authorities are only exploring 'man-made' gas leaks, vis:
"Gas company Black Hills Energy, which was asked to help inspect the site, confirmed it didn't find any utility or fuel lines leaking in the area.
The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality also examined several underground fuel storage tanks in Midway to ensure they were sealed.
"Based on ADEQ inspections it does not appear that any of these tanks contributed to the fire," the agency said in a statement to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette."
But I think it's kind of proving the point: more and more volcanic gas is rising to the surface, and causing 'wildfires', and methane is a the main culprit.
It’s going to be slow posting on spiritualselfhelp at the mo, as I’m still in the process of trying to figure out what God really wants from me, and where to turn my attentions next.
But I just wanted to share with you that the seismic and volcanic activity across planet earth is continuing to pick up sharply. Usually, there are between 8-12 magnitude 6+ earthquakes occurring in any 30 day period.
Between the middle of September, and the middle of October 2018, there’s been 30 6+ earthquakes striking, plus many more volcanoes erupting – including ones like Kadovar, which were listed as ‘dormant’ because they hadn’t exploded in a thousand years.
Pay attention to the news headlines about all the crazy weather and flash flooding going on, and you’ll see that many of the stories will include lines like ‘one in a thousand years occurrence’, or will tell you that the last time something as ‘dramatic’ as this occurred – whether it’s hurricanes slamming into the US, like Michael, or flash floods killing 30 people across Europe, particularly France – was in the 1800s sometime.
That’s not a coincidence.
The last solar maximum began around 1850, and we’ve had relatively benign, stable weather for the best part of 150 years, as a result. But now, we’re entering into what could very well be a severe solar minimum, and solar minimums affect seismicity, volcanic explosions, and weather, in ways that very few people are even beginning to understand.
(If you go HERE, Sacha Dobler has a very clear explanation of what solar minimums and solar maximums actually are, and some of the ways they can affect planet earth.)
So, the earthquakes and volcanoes will continue to pick up, and that will feed in to increasingly erratic weather patterns. Every time a volcanic eruption reaches up to the stratosphere, as happened with the recent eruption of Manam in Papua New Guinea, that saw a column of ash injected into the sky to a height of 50,000 feet, that can severely disrupt weather patterns.
It has to do with the sulfur particles contained in the ash, that then bind with water vapor in the stratosphere, and become what’s called ‘sulfur aerosols’ that reflect sunlight back away from planet earth.
Grand solar minimums generally coincide with much colder periods of time, and guess what? Parts of the US and Canada got their earliest snowfalls for over a century last month, and average temperatures for October 2018 already seem to be coming in on the much colder side.
We aren’t headed into a period of ‘global warming’, if anything, we are looking at a time of ‘global cooling’. And as more and more volcanic eruptions start to occur – also in the oceans, where there are an estimated 3.5 million submarine volcanoes that are barely being registered, let alone tracked for emissions of Co2 and eruptions – that’s going to lead to more crazy and erratic freak weather.
If you want to know why so many fish and marine creatures are dying off – it’s because the submarine volcanoes are erupting, and either boiling them in super-heated water or poisoning them with localized clouds of volcanic gases.
If you want to know why warm-water creatures like whales are being found swimming up the Thames – it’s because the oceans ARE getting warmer. Why? Because a lot of the submarine volcanoes that no-one talks about are erupting, and are degassing Co2 (and other volcanic gases) in huge quantities.
If you want to know why birds are dropping dead out of the sky, why aquatic fowl were found ‘poisoned’ after drinking from lakes in Winnipeg, and why rare waterspouts are forming off coastlines in so many different places at the moment – the volcanoes hold the answer.
There is much, much more volcanic activity going on – including ‘passive’ degassing of often toxic substances, from the flanks of volcanoes listed as ‘dead’ or ‘dormant’, and including geothermal springs, mudpots and geysers – than anyone official ever talks about.
But I think as we enter the grand solar minimum and more and more seismicity, volcanic activity and freak weather occurs, even the scientists will have to lift their heads out of the sand at some point, and admit that something is going on.
And that volcanoes, and not man-made carbon emissions, really hold the key to understanding our changing climate.
After writing a few posts on internet addiction, and on how too much time online grows out of some sort of profound 'lack' in real life, it suddenly struck me (like, duh!) that I also have some big lacks that I'm using the internet to fill.
The most pronounced of these is just straight up trying to interact with people. I keep moving location... I don't work out of the house.... I don't have any close family in the same country... My kids are older now, and I don't know the parents of their friends, or have school events to meet new people at.... I'm still struggling to find a synagogue where I feel I really 'fit'.
All this means I have a big lack in my day-to-day interactions with real, live people.
The last week or so, as I've been trying to spend way less time online, that lack has been popping up with way more forcefulness.
But how do I fix this?
So many people today are 'disconnected', and hiding behind anonymity online and addictions to ersatz internet relationships. Now that I'm starting to dry out from my own online obsession, at least a little, I realise just how hard it is to meet real people.
So many of us are scared that the other person is going to end up being a psycho, or more trouble than they're worth, so we're all keeping each other at arm's length.
I don't know what the answer is right now, I'm thinking out loud.
But I can see that getting more 'real' and getting away from the internet is a much bigger mountain than I thought.
"Facebook’s founders knew they were creating something addictive that exploited “a vulnerability in human psychology” from the outset, according to the company’s founding president Sean Parker." - The Guardian
The first thing to understand is that social media was made to be addictive on purpose. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp – whatever the social media platform(s) you’re addicted to, they were all designed to keep stimulating your brain in exactly the way required to create some sort of mental dependency.
Why did they do that?
Because more users = more influence = more money.
That’s why Facebook has a nasty 30 day limit before it will really let you delete your profile, because it wants to give enough time for any resolution you made to come off Facebook to crack into pieces, and make it as easy as possible for you to go back in to the addiction.
Nice, isn’t it?
So, how can you get out of it?
Cold turkey is one route, but cold turkey doesn’t work for most people (not least, because of the sneaky tricks companies like Facebook are using to keep people hooked.) So instead, the answer is to try to take the time you spend on this stuff down by small increments, on a regular basis.
[I should just mention here that I got rid of all my social media, except Linked In, last year, so I’m not 100% up-do-date on the interfaces being used now, so what I’m suggesting here are broad-brush ideas.]
How can you do this? Here’s some practical suggestions:
It’s very easy to over-ride the password if you DO want to visit these sites, but having an extra obstacle makes it much, much easier to avoid impulse, knee-jerk visits that you really are just making out of force of habit. If you’re REALLY serious about putting these sites off-limits, have someone else K-9 them for you on your PC, without telling you the password they’re using to do that.
4) Don’t do anything anonymously. Sticking to this one, simple rule will help you stay out of a whole lot of trouble online, and take down a lot of the ‘thrill’ of surfing. If you can’t stick your real name on a comment, if you can’t openly visit a certain site, or group as your real self – don’t do it. It’s just feeding the dark side of your personality that is keeping you chained to the internet.
But, as with all addictions, there are deeper reasons for why you keep logging back in, so you may also want to spend some time doing the following:
1)Figure out how much time you’re actually spending on social media every day. Make a note of when you log on, and when you log off, over a 72 hour period. The answer will probably shock you, and it will help you to get more motivated to use that time on stuff that will actually nourish your life and your soul, instead of depleting it.
2)Find out what negative emotion is ‘pushing’ you to use social media. Here’s a few of the most likely culprits:
c.Apathy & despair
e.Sadness & depression
g.Frustration & anger
Once you know what negative emotion is triggering your social media use, then you can take steps to try to deal with it in a more productive way.
EG, if a sense of loneliness is causing you to feel you need to ‘grab some attention online’ by doing or saying something risqué, aggressive, ‘edgy’, or outrageous – think about what real, positive activities you could be doing with a real person instead. Doesn’t have to be anything to set the world on fire – could just be a walk in the park, or a bit of window shopping, or meeting up for a coffee.
(If you really want to take this up a level, try visiting an old age home – I guarantee you’ll find tens of people who would be only too happy to have someone to talk to, and to take an interest in.)
Meanwhile, to take another very common example, angry and frustrated people are just looking for some opportunity to knock someone else over online, or to make a ‘clever’ comment at someone else’s expense, or to try to blow a hole in someone else’s sense of well-being.
Doing this gives them a sense of feeling powerful, and important, and in control. And ironically, it’s exactly this that is actually missing in their REAL life.
So, the idea is the fill the ‘hole’ in your life that is currently full of social media with other, real, more productive things that will really give you something tangible back. But before you can figure that you, you first need to know what negative emotion is triggering your surfing habits.
3. Find productive REAL ways of doing whatever gives you a kick on social media. If you like debating ideas, consider taking a course somewhere that will enable you to do that. If you like finding new recipes online, go buy yourself a gorgeous cookbook (or borrow one from the library).
If you like knowing how your friend’s holiday really was – call them up and ask them!If you still need a bit more of a ‘push’ to get off, take a look at this video. It kind of hits the nail right on the head. (This has a couple of shots of women in it, buyer beware).
And the last thing to say, as always, is to pray on it.
God can turn anything around - even a soul-destroying addiction to the internet.
Re-posting this from last year - seems a lot of us are currently having to deal with abusive people who live in a strange 'mirror world' where they accuse everyone else of being the problem. Here's a little background, to help you understand what's really going on - taken from my series of posts on C-PTSD.
I just wanted to talk a little about the phenomenon of ‘projection’, which will help you understand one of the most puzzling aspects of dealing with emotionally-disturbed individuals.
On some level or another, emotional disturbance occurs when a person isn’t acknowledging the truth of who they really are, how they really behave, and what they really think.
Now, this characterizes all of us from time to time. All of us have things we’re in denial about, or facets of our personalities that we’d rather not acknowledge, or things we do that we try to play down or minimize. That’s human nature.
The more emotionally and spiritually ‘transparent’ we are, the better our emotional and mental health usually is - and vice versa. By the time you get into the murky area of things like Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), Anti-social Behavior Disorder (AsBD), Disassociative Identity Disorder and schizophrenia, for example, that healthy ‘transparency’ has become so opaque it’s literally led to a breakdown in the affected person’s grasp of reality.
When a person can’t honestly accept and acknowledge facets of their own personalities, thoughts and behaviours, they start PROJECTING these things on to other people - which can be completely head-wrecking, until you understand what’s really happening
Here’s an example: a restaurant in Hawaii put up a notice saying no “Trump fascists” would be served on its premises. That restaurant owner is acting in precisely the ‘fascist’ way they’re accusing Trump supporters of doing - which is classic projection.
Multi-billionaire George Soros accusing Trump of being a ‘wannabe dictator’ is also a classic case of projection. Now, I’m not saying that projection and emotional disturbance only happens by liberals and left-wingers, because it’s a problem that crops up all over the place. But what I have noticed is that there an awful lot of ‘projection’ stories hitting the headlines in the wake of Trump’s win, as one emotionally-disturbed celeb after another is using Trump’s win to vent their own emotional issues.
Of course, projection also happens much closer to home, too. If you want to know what an emotionally-ill person really thinks about themselves, pay close attention to all the insults and put-downs they start shooting your way, especially those that are completely off the mark, seem completely out of context or are just plain bizarre.
Say, you’re a gourmet chef and someone starts ranting at you that you couldn’t even make a decent piece of toast. The chances of that statement being true about a gourmet chef are practically nil, so you know you’re dealing with a pure piece of projection. But the projection can be much harder to spot if you’re being accused of a problem you really do have yourself.
For example, if you’re being accused of not doing enough ‘soul-searching’ by someone with zero interest in spiritual issues, that’s obviously projection, but it could also still have a crumb of truth in it. Some effort will need to be made to figure out how much of that statement is pure projection, and how much is actually relevant.
Another point to make about projection is that whatever we’re accusing other of doing (at least directly, to their faces) is nearly always an indication of something we ourselves need to work on.
The more I’ve been trying to work through my own issues like arrogance and anger, for example, the less those traits are disturbing me when I see them in others, and the less likely I am to comment on them in a critical way.
God created the whole world as one big mirror, to show us what we ourselves need to work on and fix. Any trait or behavior you see in someone else that hits a nerve is something you yourself need to deal with, and work on. If it’s not agitating you, it’s not your problem in the same way, even if it’s still objectively nasty, bad and mean behavior.
You could write a whole book on this subject, but I’ll stop there.
In the meantime, here’s some rough rules of thumb for dealing with projection:
I personally now almost enjoy my abusive correspondence (almost….) as each fresh batch of emails gives me a clearer picture of my emotionally-disturbed correspondant's state of mind, which is sometimes even entertaining (almost…)
The last thing to say about projection is that God is still hiding messages for us inside all the projected statements from the emotionally-disturbed people we know, but it’s very rarely the ‘face value’ message of what we’re being told.
If you follow this blog, you’ll know that I’m usually trying to point out the links between our mental and spiritual health and our physical health, because the world generally treats physical health as a closed system that only depends on sleep, diet and exercise, as though our brain has no other impact on what’s going on with our bodies.
My approach is very different: if the body is feeling a problem, it’s because it’s only manifesting some issue the soul is having, which comes out in the emotions, and then if it isn’t dealt with and / or acknowledged, that shows up as a physical health problem.
This is particularly true of chronic health issues including aches and pains.
So, when my back started feeling weak a few months’ ago, I knew it was connected to the terrible stress I’d been under. What still caught me by surprise, however, is that when the back muscles started to weaken, my lower stomach muscles went with them, and all of a sudden, I had a pot belly.
I’m 44, and I’ve NEVER had a pot belly, not even after my kids were born. I’m not a ‘skinny’ person, but that’s just not an area that I tend to carry my flab in.
Again, I was so preoccupied and stressed out, it took a while for this to register, let alone for me to start figuring out what to do about it. But then my clothes (which are all designed to fit a slimmer waist and bigger bottom) started to feel pretty uncomfortable, and even in the midst of all the stress and upset, the penny dropped I had to get to grips on the situation from the body, up.
Stomach fat is fed by stress, directly, and in turn, it feeds stress. The fat cells produce a lot of cortisol, which is a ‘stress hormone’, and cortisol produces fat cells, in a yucky vicious cycle that is still very poorly understood.
That’s why even if you’re watching your diet and exercising regularly, you may still develop stomach fat if you’re never-endingly stressed.
So, this is what I’ve started doing to try to take down the flab:
1)Start walking and talking to God, ideally for an hour a day.
I was talking to God at home for an hour a day, but I realized I have to start moving around more, and as I am anyway talking to God then, and as I often get even better insights when I walk and talk, combining the two is a really excellent way of getting on top of the fat-causing stress from the spiritual side, while also burning more calories from the body side of things.
‘Enough’ is not a fixed part of the equation here. The experts often say 8 hours, but really most parents just can’t manage that regularly, so I can’t think that MUST be what we need to be getting to function properly.
I recently read that if you have a good, relaxing sleep even just one night a week, or a good snooze in the day even just one day a week, you live as long as people who get a regular 8 hours every night. This makes more sense to me, as it fits in with God’s ‘shabbos’ paradigm, where one day a week, we have a day of rest.
To put this another way, that Shabbos shluff is actually holy and helping you live longer.
3)Use Rescue Remedy liberally.
Rescue Remedy is a Bach Flower remedy, and it really does help to reduce subliminal stress – that feeling of being wound-up without even really knowing why. If you’re having troubles going to sleep or staying asleep, try the night version. Otherwise, swig down some drops whenever you are feeling ‘stressed’. (The drops are certified kosher, the sweets and pastilles aren’t, at least not in Israel.)
4)Do some exercise specifically to strengthen your stomach / back muscles.
So, I was walking around for six months already, and doing all the above, but the pot belly barely shrank (although I do feel much healthier and fitter again, BH, and have more energy).
It suddenly struck me, dunce that I am, that I actually might need to re-strengthen the muscles in my stomach and back that went all weak a while back, so they can hold my stomach back in the right place.
I hate, hate, hate gyms.
I can’t do things like play tennis or basketball like I used to, not least for tznius reasons, so then what?
Enter: HASfit, a Youtube outfit that actually has some good videos made by people who believe in keeping their clothes on and not frying your brain out with terrible music. (Much rarer than you might think, in our day and age). Even better, they have a whole range to pick from, including five minute work outs for middle aged women who haven’t properly exercised for years.
And the last thing to tell you is that some of their videos are even suitable for men, like the two I’m linking to in this post, which only has Coach Kozak doing his thing in a very tznius setting.
I’m still at the beginners stage, but after doing 5 minutes of easy stomach exercises 3-4 days a week, I am starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel, BH. So, put your blanket down on the floor, wear something suitable, and hit play!
(The first one, above, is for beginners, and anyone can do it, or at least, make a brave attempt. The second one, below, is much harder, but you can move on to that once your stomach muscles grow back.)
I know I’m not the only one having stress-induced stomach flab issues. And even though I’m working on the flab-causing-stress from the top down, sometimes we also have to work on the stress-causing-flab from the bottom up, too.
Overtime, you’ll start to find that it’s getting easier and easier to maintain pole position in directing your own life and your efforts and energy to where you really want to get. You’re starting to be more aware of what you do and don’t actually like, what you do and don’t actually want to do, and what activities and people fill you up, energize and empower you, and which ones really don’t.
With practice, you’ll get more and more adept at noticing when your backseat driver is surreptitiously back behind the wheel, pulling you down into pointless distractions and off into tangential dead-ends, goading your critters into a fury or trying to ship them out - permanently - to Australia.
The good news is that most of the time, he’s not going to be able to mess with your head the way he used to. You’re onto him now, and most of his sneaky tricks, and you’re starting to be able to ‘choose against’ much, much more, and more easily than in the past.
The bad news is that the backseat driver still has access to your two biggest nuclear buttons, and the more you start trying to pull away from him, the more he starts to use them against you.
These two buttons are marked ‘fear’ and ‘anger’, although most people don’t actually realize that these are the two raw emotions powering up those babies.
Many people prefer to call these buttons by fluffier names like stress, worry, indecision, mild upset, disappointment, etc. But if you dig a big deeper, you’ll always hit the bedrock of either anger, or fear, lurking underneath. It’s like when the boss calls you over for a chat, and your stomach instantly lurches into your shoes.
We can call that ‘butterflies in the stomach’, which conjures up the most fragile creatures in the world whispering gently around out intestines, but what are we feeling really?
WHAT ARE YOU REALLY FEELING?
“The boss wants to talk to me? Why? What did I do wrong? Is it that unauthorized phone call to Honolulu I made three months ago? Did someone complain about me? I bet it’s Jill! She’s had her eyes on my project for a long time. She’s always stabbing people in the back. She’s such a cow. I can’t believe she’d go this far though, unbelievable…”
Step back, and let’s observe what’s going on here. It started out as fear, and then very quickly the anger and self-indignation rushed in like a tidal wave, together with a solid (but completely unproven….) assumption that Jill has done the dirty on us somehow, and dropped us in hot water.
Then you get to the boss and you find out he just wants you to know you have a week of leave to take, and you need to do it pronto, by the end of the year. That’s it?!? You worked yourself up into a state over that?!
What’s going on here? Suddenly, you feel like you’re four years old, all lost in the world and completely overwhelmed. You need your mommy, right now. But now you’re 34 years old! And mommy isn’t available to soothe your pain and kiss is better. What makes all this even worse is that you’ve convinced yourself you’re an enlightened human being now, and that you’re meant to be past all these charged emotional outbursts.
The people who buy into that story get so badly stuck because they’re effectively closing themselves into a cell with no light, no window, no door. If you tell yourself that you’re enlightened and you can’t get angry or scared even more - even though you’re clearly doing precisely that - how can you ever get out of the problem?
If you can’t recognize the street that lead you down this blind alley, how can you retrace your steps?
True emotional freedom requires us to be honest about what’s really going on. It requires us to stop daintily hopping over words like stressed-out, healthy venting and a bit worried to actually call the emotional spade a spade: we’re angry, and we’re scared.
And sometimes, it’ll go the other way around instead, and we’ll be scared and then angry. And sometimes, a few other things will get drawn into the mix, too, and we’ll find ourselves feeling angry, scared, resentful, jealous and hating.
But underneath it all, it’s really all just a reaction to losing control.
Don’t panic when you suddenly discover you have no idea what you yourself really thinks about a whole bunch of stuff, or that you have no idea what you really want to do with yourself, or why.
Instead, just turn your attention to taming your inner critters. The way to do this is to just start noticing how they react to your situations and experiences. Does the thought of having to give a big presentation, or attend a job interview send them scurrying back into their box, or climbing the walls?
What makes them soften up and relax a little? Long walks on the beach? Long talks with someone a little wiser? A little light reading or a hard work-out? As you get to know your critters better, you’ll soon start to figure out that certain people literally have them eating out of their hand, while others put their backs up and get them baring their teeth and growling up a storm.
Relating to your deeper feelings as critters that need to be house-trained can give you a very helpful handle on how to deal with being plunged into feelings of frozen overwhelm or hepped-up over-excitement. But where critters beat dogs hands down is that with a bit of practice, you can actually get them to talk.
Actually, that’s not exactly true. The critters are talking to us all the time, just we haven’t tuned our ears to hear them. But listening to what they are saying can quickly become one of the most profoundly satisfying and useful skills you’ll ever learn in your life. Because critters often hold some of the most valuable pieces of insight and wisdom.
Up until now, you couldn’t hear them because the backseat driver was filling your head with all its dictates, and arguments and worries and concerns. The critters couldn’t really get a look in, unless they went ballistic one day and bit someone’s head off (and let’s face it, that used to happen much more than we like to admit. That’s part of the reason we shoved them in the Porta-Pet in the first place.)
And initially, you may have to take them out for walks muzzled, until you really learn their moods and their foibles, and what sorts of things can set them off and trigger an attack stance. Over time, if you observe them carefully, and really start to listen to what they’re telling you, and showing you with their reactions, you’ll start to build the most rewarding relationship of your life.
The more you care for your critters and tend to their needs, the more they’ll come to trust you, and to go to bat for you when you need them.
Your critters have a much keener sense of smell than you do; they can sense danger - and also snuffle out genuine opportunities and hidden treasures - a million times better than you can.
But you have to be the one holding the leash and taking them for a walk, and not the other way around.
Over time, you’ll discover that you’ve come to know your critters so well, and that you’ve trained them so ably, you very rarely have to worry about them losing their heads and chewing their way through the neighbors’ prize dahlias. Instead, you’ll be able to easily put their talents and abilities at your disposal - as long as you learn their limitations, and respect their requirements.
If your critters hate big, loud, superficial parties, don’t take them to those things even if it seems like a great idea. If they hate being cooped in a stuffy accountant’s cubby hole, you’ll have to find a different job to do, or a different way of doing your job, that will take the critters into account.
If the critters hate sitting through a six hour Thanksgiving feast with your nearest and dearest, you’ll have to decide to either box them back up out the way for the afternoon (and then deal with the consequences of doing that later) or bring them along but leave at the first sign they’re getting a little antsy.
You’ll learn so much about life if you start to listen more to your critters. But that doesn’t mean they’re always right, or completely infallible. When you’re out searching for clues, or trying to track something or someone down, the bloodhound will be invaluable. But no-one sane ever takes their dog’s advice about what stocks to invest.
So don’t expect more from your critters than they’re capable of giving you.
Learn their strengths, respect their weaknesses and you’ll be rewarded many times over.
But don’t expect your backseat driver to like your critters, or the other way around.
One of the backseat drivers’ favorite ploys is to spend a few moments inflaming and inciting your critters, until all hell breaks loose and they’re pooping all over the place and otherwise wrecking the joint. At that point, the backseat driver will try to convince you that you can’t deal with these critters by yourself - I mean, look at the terrible mess and destruction they’re causing!! - and that you really need him, the backseat driver, to get things back under control.
How’s he going to do this? By banning the critters to the back of beyond, crating them up and shipping them out.
That’s how they got into that Porta-Pet crate in the first place, and that’s why they’re going so bug-eyed and wild now you’re finally trying to spring them out again.
From their side of things, whenever the critters have to deal with the backseat driver again, it’ll bring out the very worst in them. Whether they deal by gnashing their teeth, running away or freezing in place - maybe, a combination of all of these things - depends on a whole bunch of things.
But the more you’ve invested in your relationship with your critters, they more they trust you, and the more you really understand and value them, the easier it’ll be to get things back under control again when they do go a little beserk again. And that is inevitably going to happen, because animals inevitably act like animals, not angels.
So to sum up where we’ve got to:
The more you get to hang out with your critters, the more you’ll start to find that you want to hang out with people who like, even love them just as much as you do. Or at the very least, who can tolerate them without blowing a gasket.
There will still be times when you have to Porta-Pet them, but increasingly you’ll find that you’ll want to keep those occasions to a bare minimum, and to also keep those times as short as possible.
Because while you can function superficially without your critters, your critters can’t stay sane for long without you, and they’ll be sure to let you know how much they missed you when you get around to visiting them again.
It’s a great feeling to finally feel yourself properly in the driving seat. You set the destination, you decide where you want to go and how and why, there’s no-one holding you back now, or ordering you around.
Which is when most people discover the next hurdle on the path: now they are starting to get some mental clarity, and a break from the backseat driver’s incessant instructions, nagging, small talk and general freak-outs about all things large and small, they find
they have no idea where they want to go. Or why. Or how they actually feel about the process of trying to get there.
It’s like that 17 year old who finally gets around to asking the cute girl out for a date, and after months of planning and hoping and waiting finds he has absolutely nothing to say to her when the big day comes around.
If you’re not prepared for this part of the journey, it can easily tip you head-over-heels and have you scrambling to invite the backseat driver back into the car again, so you can get past that panicked feeling of having no frigging clue about what you actually want to do in life, or how.
“Sure, I had all plans to drive down South and visit a bunch of cool canyons but now that I can actually just go right ahead and do, I’ve got cold feet. I’m not sure I want to spend a month of my time on a road-trip right now. I’m scared of what I’m going to find if I go. I’m even more scared of what I might come back to.
“Maybe, this emotional freedom is more hassle than it’s worth, and it’s easier to go back to just following orders and dreaming about freedom in theory…”
This is a really normal response, to that first taste of freedom.
That's why so many long-term prisoners baulk when they're finally released, and will do anything they can to get themselves back into jail as quickly as possible.
You’re being stampeded into a panic about what’s out there, and you’re probably also stressing about how you’re going to cope, and feeling pretty overwhelmed by all the things that you kind of relied on the backseat driver to take care of for you.
This is when it starts to dawn on you that kicking that guy out of the car was empowering, but maybe also the dumbest thing you ever did in your life. Because now there is no-one else to blame, there is nothing else to hide behind and the buck stops with you.
If you’re not prepared for that heady kick-back from your first real taste of freedom, it can knock you out cold. So many people turn tail and run when they’re finally given the key to open the door, and get out there a little, but that’s only because no-one ever told them that this feeling of overwhelming panic is just a stage.
If you sit quietly, and wait it out, it’ll pass. For some people, it may take a few minutes for the freak out to start to fade away, for others it may be more like a couple of hours, or a couple of days. But it won’t be more than that, and if you can get through this stage, you’ll be through maybe the biggest milestone on your quest for emotional freedom.
It’s like when you bring that cute puppy home from the pound in its plastic travel crate. The first time you open that box up, that cute critter is going to power out of there like Usain Bolt.
It’s going to run up the walls, wee in the corners and generally make you wish you’d just said ‘no’ to all the wheedling to get a dog.
Alternatively, it’ll push its way back, far, far back, against the wall of the carry crate, and not hell nor high water will get that animal to venture out into the wide open space of your yard. But just leave the door open, go about your business, and slowly but surely, he’ll start sniffing around and when he gets a little hungry, or he needs to attend to some present business, he’ll come out and make your acquaintance.
Whichever way your own internal ‘critter response’ is going to play out, trying to stuff the dog back in the box and shipping it straight back to the pound is not the answer.
You wanted that dog in your life because you wanted the benefit of getting your face all licked off when you open the door after a hard day’s hustle, and you wanted something warm and cuddly to hang out with and talk to. Maybe, you also wanted Buster in your life to give you a greater sense of security, and like someone, something, has got your back.
A dog can do a lot of good things for you. Persevering through those often difficult few days and weeks when you’re starting to get to know each other, and starting to figure out what each of you can bring to the relationship, and how best to relate to each other takes time and a lot of patience.
The same is true with your internal ‘critter response’. Those guys have been all boxed-up inside of you while the backseat driver’s been calling the shots for years. Now that you’re finally swinging the cage open, you can expect to feel messy and chaotic for a while, or panicked and all crumpled up at the back, scared to put a foot wrong.
But with a bit of coaxing, a bit of training, and a lot of patience, your critter response will turn around from crazy-making overwhelm, to giving you the best, most loyal and lickable best friend you ever had in your life.
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