Super Bowls

I realized this evening that all of my meals today were nestled within a bowl. I started my morning with my usual celery juice, consumed from a glass, however from that point forward, bowls held my food. 

I tried a smoothie bowl for the first time this morning. I have a fruit smoothie every day for breakfast. It is convenient to take my morning smoothie with me if I have early appointments. Today I had time to sample the smoothie in a fresh way, as I’ve seen pictured on Instagram. I appreciate the community of health conscious sojourners that encourage one another on that social media site.  (Connect with me there. I’m cindylauderdalemoore)

After blending  together a banana, peach and wild blueberries, I poured the mixture into a bowl. That’s the smoothie part. I added sliced banana, sliced strawberries, more blueberries and chia seeds. This was an excellent cold and fruity breakfast, eaten with a spoon. What I will love about this treat is the huge variety of  bowls possible. And creating breakfast in this way engages my creative side. I can make the meal pretty. 

Lunch was a fresh salad in a bowl…tomatos, cucumber, carrots, celery and avocado on a bed of mixed greens. The salad dressing I made yesterday was a tasty addition to my salad. I didn’t snap a picture. 

This evening I enjoyed another meal in a bowl. Commonly called a Buddha bowl or hippie bowl (my favorite term!), this is a simple and nutritious meal. Like the smoothie bowl, there are endless possibilities for combining raw and cooked food to create a healthy and appealing meal. 

I filled my bowl with brown rice, stir fried veggies left over from last night, black beans and fresh diced tomatoes. This colorful meal tasted as good as it looked. The simplicity of the food and the preparation of it created a deep awareness of how I am nuturing myself. 

Because it is important to me, I looked up the symbolism of the bowl. The bowl symbolizes receptivity, wisdom and the gift of seeing the bigger picture. A bowl of food represents the ability to nurture and sustain myself and others. 

I love that. Nurturing and sustaining myself and others is perfectly aligned with my healing journey. The bowl just became my favorite way to enjoy a meal. I feel inspired to collect a few more interesting bowls to dine from. 

Living a Pain Free Life

Today marks the end of my 28 day healing cleanse. I’ve been doing a countdown, sharing a benefit each day from this healing journey. Benefit #1 is living a pain free life. 

The above picture was taken on Halloween last year. The cane in the pic was not part of my tourist costume! It was a necessary aid for me to walk. Twenty years after a car accident damaged my neck, sternum, lower back and legs, twenty years in which I experienced pain every day, my condition deteriorated. I developed severe sciatica down my left leg, creating great pain and difficulty in walking. Six months later, after physical therapy, energy work and massage, I was able to walk without the cane except for early in the morning. I still had pain in my leg and had trouble straightening it out if it was bent for too long, but it was better. 

However, when I recently began to experience sciatica down my right leg, I knew I had to shift something. I have things to do and places to go! The healing cleanse was my something to do. Following a simple, raw, plant based diet has put me on a healing path, and makes me feel like I have taken charge of my health and well being again. I’ve learned what foods to eat, which supplements to take, and what not to eat, to heal myself. 

Here is what has shifted in my health, in just 28 days:

  • Headaches disappeared, after the third day on the cleanse. I haven’t taken an ibuprofen for 25 days. 
  • Allergies are also gone. No sinus pain or pressure, no cough, no sniffles. 
  • Minor aches and pains are gone, along with stiffness in fingers. 
  • Muscle pain is gone throughout my body. 
  • My neck vertebrae are much better. I still have minor discomfort there but it continues to improve.
  • No indigestion or acid reflux for 28 days. 
  • Restless legs syndrome has disappeared, except for the afternoon I accidently ingested sugar in a restaurant smoothie. 
  • I sleep well at night, without using sleep aids. 
  • I feel lighter, more fit, better than I have in 21 years. 
  • The pain in my right leg has cleared up completely. 
  • My left leg is much, MUCH improved. I have very little pain. The last three days I haven’t used the cane, even in the mornings. I can straighten out my leg more easily after it has been bent for a while. 
  • I can lift my left leg with out grabbing it with my right hand, to put my shoe on. 
  • I can walk for several hours with no pain and only minor stiffness. 
  • I can speed walk and climb stairs, without pain. 

I am well on my way to living a pain free life. I am much further along on the healing path than I dreamed possible in such a short time. I feel incredibly healthy and I’m not willing to trade that in for the fleeting pleasure of eating pizza or ice cream or a Reuben sandwich. 

So what now, after the cleanse? I will continue on this path. I will continue to avoid sugar, dairy and gluten, while consuming a plant based diet that broadens to include cooked veggies, brown rice, olive oil, nuts and legumes. My health is important enough to me to eat in a way that improves my well being, day by day. This is a lifestyle that I can embrace and enjoy. 

I am doing this. 

If you would like to know more about the healing cleanse or Anthony William, whose book Medical Medium inspired my journey, check out these resources:

Medical Medium book

Fruit Bowl with Banana Milk

I’ve had a fruit smoothie every morning for the last 21 days, and they’ve been delicious. However, when I saw this new and super easy recipe on Anthony’s Facebook page, I was excited to give it a try for breakfast this morning. 

Fruit Bowl with Banana Milk

1 banana

1 frozen banana, cut into chunks

1 cup of water

1-2 cups of fruit (berries and mangoes are great) 

Cut up the fruit, if necessary, and arrange in a large bowl. In a blender, process bananas and water. Pour cold banana “milk” over fruit and enjoy. 

This was a great alternative to having a bowl of cereal with milk. I used strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. I popped a couple of chopped up bananas into the freezer beforehand and used one this morning. 

The banana milk was cold and a bit frothy and very yummy. Although I am really enjoying the morning smoothies, I like having this alternative breakfast choice. And this is definitely better for than a bowl of sugary cereal. It’s all about daily choices, on this healing journey, and ultimately I’m choosing health. 

What is This Feeling?

I wasn’t going to post a healing journey update until Monday, when I crossed the half way mark on this cleanse. However, as I was doing my free writing this morning, on day 12, I had an aha that I wanted to share. 

Tuesday of this week I realized I felt different. I was ten days into a cleanse that, as detailed by Anthony William in his book, Medical Medium, consisted of a raw fruit and veggie diet for 28 days. Something had changed! I had a difficult time putting into words what exactly had shifted. But I could feel it. 

I am lighter, having lost weight as a result of the vegan diet. However, it’s more than that. I feel lighter, cleaner on the inside. 

And I’ve done more than drop pounds. I haven’t had indigestion since I began the cleanse. Or a headache once I got past day 3. I’m sleeping deeply at night, without a sleep aid, I’m allergy and congestion free, and hydrated. I never realized how dehydrated I was, until last week. 

The numerous little aches and pains that I had are gone. Best of all, the pain level has greatly diminished in my lower back and legs . I still have some stiffness and pain in my left leg when I first wake up, or if I sit with that leg bent for too long. However my leg muscles relax more quickly and for the most part, I am pain free throughout the day. I am deeply grateful for that. 

In addition, I’m learning about my beliefs around food. The free writing I do every morning has been instrumental in going deeper into that love/hate relationship that I’ve had, and resolving issues, which is crucial for my future health. 

Finally, I have connected with others who are on a similar healing journey, by way of my blog posts and social media. There is a community of souls out there, people who are taking back their health, and thanks to Anthony, healing from a variety of diseases and disorders. I have been privileged to encounter these courageous men and women and walk with them. We encourage each other and learn.

What is this feeling? I have written that question down several times and mused aloud about what I was experiencing. So many wonderful shifts are occurring, so many positive changes. What is this? What?

As I wrote this morning, and tried to capture the differences I’m feeling, a thought arose. Very clearly the words came, This is what a healthy body feels like. 

Tears filled my eyes. 

This is what being healthy feels like. I’ve been in pain for so long. I’ve had various minor issues for so long. I had forgotten what feeling good feels like. Now, I feel light, energetic, peaceful. My body isn’t using massive amounts of energy fighting against viruses and inflammation like it was. The war on the Epstein Barr Virus and/or shingles, and inflammation, isn’t over, yet. But I am winning this battle…one step, one day at a time. 

What is this feeling? Health. 

Keeping it Real

This is day 9 out of 28 of my healing cleanse. Although I still have several weeks to go to complete the cleanse, I have been profoundly affected by this journey. I undertook the cleanse, which involves eating raw fruits, vegetables and greens for four weeks, to heal from chronic pain. Nine days in, I can report that my pain level has greatly diminished. And not only in my left leg. All those little aches and pains I attributed to getting older have faded away as well. I feel lighter, in soul and body. 

These results are encouraging and help to spur me on. I have had no desire to return to my old eating habits. I’m discovering truths about myself as I continue this journey and I am enjoying the abundance of fresh fruits and veggies in my diet. 

Until lunch time today. 

I had an extremely delicious and satisfying breakfast smoothie, made with bananas, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries. I think that triple berry drink is my favorite so far. Lunch was going to be a big leafy salad with chopped up veggies. However, as I walked into the kitchen to begin preparations, I found myself pushing away from that idea. After nine days of salads, my mind said a quiet “no” to having another one. 

This is where I can trip myself up, good intentions or not. This is the slippery slope I often encounter, about a week in, when I am making healthy changes to my diet. I come up against a “no, I don’t want that”. I know if I allow myself to be pulled back into old eating patterns, I’ll slide right back into equally old habits and poorer health.  

I went inward. I could force myself to eat a salad. No discussion. No allowances. Just do it. I searched for the cause of the resistance. As I’ve learned this year, resistance means I’m moving out of the flow. The flow is where I want to be. I checked to see if I was craving anything. I wasn’t. It really came down to this…I didn’t want any lettuce, spinach or kale for lunch. It didn’t appeal to me. Considering possibilities, without judgement or being critical of myself, opened up other options. 

I created a veggie bowl, made up of celery sticks, sliced zucchini, yellow squash and cucumber, and raw asparagus spears. Half an avocado mashed up with a diced tomato and lemon juice became my healthy and flavorful dipping sauce. Lunch was amazing. And pretty to look at. Beauty is important to me, as I am nourishing my soul as well as my body. 

That pause this afternoon, to listen to my own objection and get behind the resistance, was crucial to the success of my healing journey today. I can do this. I can choose to live in a healthier way. And I can honor myself as I do so. 

Tonight, greens were back on the menu. I enjoyed a spinach, celery, basil, tomato smoothie. It was yummy!

Fruit’s Bad Rap 

One of the things I’ve learned this week is how valuable fruit is in my diet. Reading in the Medical Medium book, I discovered that fruit has received a bad rap in recent years. Because of the fructose in fruit, that many equate with processed sugar, this food group has fallen out of favor in the American diet. 

I’ve long held the belief that I couldn’t consume much fruit either. It often seemed to give me indigestion after I ate it. However I was willing to follow this healing cleanse to the letter, for the sake of increased health and vitality. I was willing to eat fruit, and risk the indigestion. 

I hoped the benefits of fruit…antioxidant, anti-cancer, anti-disease, vital to gut health…would override any acid reflux I might experience. To my surprise, and delight, I have not had any indigestion or acid reflux, and fruit has been the foundation of my diet this week. I learned it wasn’t the fruit that was creating the digestive issues. It was the other foods and junk I was eating that was keeping my system out of whack. 

On this hot, muggy, busy day, my dinner tonight was simple and nutricious…and entirely fruit based: strawberries, blackberries, fresh pineapple and cut up mango. It was the perfect summertime meal. 

The 28 Day Healing Cleanse Begins

On this beautiful and peaceful Sunday, I spent time this afternoon preparing for another month of adventures. Rather than focusing on a daily creative action, during the next 28 days I’ll be focusing every day on health and healing.   

I love how life flows and the Divine guides me to the right actions to take. I came across Anthony William on Facebook a couple of years ago. I’ve benefitted from his posts concerning health, taking note especially of his insights on healing from what he calls mysterious illnesses, including chronic pain and inflammation. 

It was no coincidence that I was aware of Anthony at a time in which physical issues that I have from a long ago car accident worsened. After the accident in 1995, doctors said that in 20 years, my condition would rapidly deteriorate. I chose not to believe that. And yet last fall, right on cue it seemed, I had to begin using a cane to walk. After six months of increased pain, physical therapy, massage and energy work from my friend Margit helped me to walk without aid again. However, I was concerned. I searched for ways to bring further healing to my damaged back and legs. 

Which brought me back to Anthony William. I saw his post about drinking celery juice first thing every morning, to restore digestive health and bring balance and healing into my body in numerous ways. I have been amazed at what this daily practice has shifted in my overall well being. 

Encouraged to know more and go further, I bought Anthony’s book, Medical Medium. I finished the book today, and I am eager to begin the 28 day healing cleanse, as described within. I made careful notes, about what I could eat and when, and what herbs and supplements to include. 

It is very simple, really. For the next 28 days, I will only be eating fresh fruits, dates and vegetables…green vegetables primarily. Using a juicer and a blender, I will be enjoying celery juice plus fruit or veggie smoothies, and chopped salads. No, it’s not how I normally eat. And that’s the problem. My body needs a break from its usual fare so that toxins and heavy metals can be released, and health restored. 

I’ll share a more in depth review of the book after my 28 day cleanse, when I can also report results. I’m excited. I’m hopeful. I’m dedicated to being the best possible version of myself, which includes being healthy, active and pain free. 

Anthony William says, “We eat things our systems don’t appreciate, indulge in foods to comfort our emotions rather than feed our bodies and souls. As we seek out snacks, meals, beverages and desserts that keep emotions at bay, our bodies become the victims of our soul damage. We get confused and cross the line between what we like to eat and what our bodies need.” 

I am listening, to what my body needs and to the guidance I was given, at a soul level. Watch for updates over the next four weeks, as I embark on this grand adventure. 

Journey 142: Remembering

st johns memorial chapel

I knew when I woke up this morning, that it wasn’t an ordinary Friday. As I moved from light slumber to full consciousness, I was immediately aware of a heaviness in the room, crowding me. It was overcast outside, not as light as it should have been, but that didn’t account for the somber stillness in the room.

And then I remembered….it was May 22. It all made sense then. Four years ago today, Joplin and its neighboring community of Duquesne were devastated by an EF-5 tornado that cut a path of destruction through the southern part of the city. In its wake lay the rubble of thousands of homes and businesses, piles of twisted cars and trucks, trees pulled from the ground or, if left standing, stripped of leaves, small branches and bark. Big box stores such as Wal-mart, Home Depot and Academy Sports were gone or severely damaged. St. John’s hospital was ravaged, as was the high school and numerous restaurants, churches, elementary schools and parks. One hundred and sixty one people lost their lives….men, women, children.

st johns memorial tornado tree

Our funny looking trees that survived the tornado

As I got ready for the day, I pondered the heaviness that I felt. I am intuitive and empathic, gifts since birth. I wasn’t just feeling sad, remembering the day. I was feeling the accumulated emotion of hundreds of people in the Joplin area, and beyond, who were feeling grief and sadness….who were remembering. I realized it must be a phenomenon created by the great disruption of energy, accompanied by intense fear and loss. And the loss was so massive, of life, of pets, of possessions.

I moved through my day, as I normally would, but with my awareness heightened, my emotions just beneath the surface, remembering as well. I took shelter during the tornado. I felt the house shudder and buck under the impact of wind and debris, windows shattering. I heard the horrific noise of my neighborhood being torn apart.  I felt intense concern for my family members, and relief as one by one, they were accounted for. I hurried into the next block, with my heart pounding, to my youngest child’s house, or what was left of it, and felt the greatest of gratitude when I saw her standing in her yard, wrapped in a blanket. I don’t believe anyone living in Joplin that day was left untouched by what happened. The upheaval of the city shifted and changed lives.

st johns memorial vacant lot

A vacant lot where a house once stood

My path this morning criss-crossed through the tornado zone. I continue to live within the area.  In the four years since the storm, I’ve grown accustomed to the sights and sounds of re-building, the vacant lots, which are decreasing in number, the funny looking tornado trees, as I call them. I was more mindful today, as I drove. On a corner a new bank is being built. Apartment buildings are going up nearby. New houses are filling in my neighborhood. Everywhere there were signs of growth, progress, rebirth. I cruised slowly through the area, really looking, carrying that collective heaviness like a weight on my shoulders and chest.

st johns memorial commercial construction

st johns memorial new construction

After a wonderful time this afternoon, spent with my grandson Dayan watching Dr. Who, I returned to Joplin and after a quick stop at home, headed out again. I was very aware of the time…5:20…the time the tornado struck. I knew where I wanted to go, to spend a few moments reflecting and releasing. I had not visited this place yet. It was calling to me.

On the old site of St. John’s hospital is a newly erected memorial. The hospital has relocated to just south of Joplin, and opened its doors in March of this year. The St. John’s Mercy Memorial Garden has a beautiful, spacious pavilion standing on the exact location of the former hospital’s chapel. High atop a grassy knoll, the serene space overlooks the newly restored Cunningham Park to the north, with its children’s play areas, memorials and the Butterfly Garden, and the new Irving Elementary School to the south. To the east are neighborhoods of newly constructed houses, testaments to the strength of Joplin in overcoming this tragedy. And to the west, where once there stood a vast medical community, there are empty spaces being reclaimed by grasses and nature. Perhaps, someday, buildings will stand there again.

st johns memorial cunningham park

Cunningham Park

I sat, alone, in this sacred place. Four years ago, the tornado would have just passed this place, leaving devastation behind. Closing my eyes, I could hear the roar of the wind and the sounds of breaking glass and screaming metal. I let that old energy rise within me and pass on through. There followed the cries of hundreds of people, in pain, in shock, in sorrow, accompanied by the persistent wail of sirens. I let those too pass through me. My emotions rose, briefly, fiercely…and they moved through. At last, there was silence. My shoulders, neck, head, jaws and chest hurt. The weight grew heavy indeed, pressing me into the bench. And yet, in that deep silent heaviness, I began to feel pools of hope. Alert, I opened to more. Eddies of life, currents of faith, pockets of healing were there, beneath the sorrow.

st johns memorial roof

Beneath the pavilion

I breathed deeply and let it all pass through….the fear, the grief, the despair….and then hope, the ability to prevail, the spirit of unity…and Life. Beneath it all….Life. When I stood, the heaviness and pain had eased, carried away with the cool breezes swirling around me. I walked to the four sides of the pavilion and looked out in each direction over Joplin, my home, my community. I sent out love and gratitude and blessing. And peace. The wind brought back silence to me, and deep, sustaining peace in return. It was time to go home.

st johns memorial irving school

Irving Elementary School

Day 209: Stroll Through the Butterfly Garden & Overlook in the Evening

Butterfly garden at evening e

I have intended to do this first for a couple of months now. The Butterfly Garden & Overlook, located in Cunningham Park at 26th and Maiden Lane, was dedicated and officially opened on May 22 of this year. I was there for that moving ceremony, along with my grandson Dayan and my sister Linda, and hundreds of others from the Joplin and Springfield areas. It was wonderful to hear the speeches and see so many turn up for the dedication. After the ceremony, I moved through the structures quickly, not able to see many of the features due to the crowd. That was okay. I planned, in the near future, to visit again and look at everything and spend time in that serene, beautiful space.

Two plus months later, the time for that visit arrived. Tonight, for my first, I visited the Butterfly Garden & Overlook, just after sunset, and spent time there soaking up the peace. I wasn’t sure how lighted the garden would be and if it was even possible to be there after dark. While the lighting was not overly bright, it was well lit enough to walk the pathways. The lower lighting contributed to the calming, restorative atmosphere of the space.

Butterfly garden at eveing fountain e

I enjoyed wandering around. There were four youth in the structures when I arrived but they moved on into the park, leaving tranquility behind. Greg, who had not seen the Butterfly Garden & Overlook, accompanied me and strolled around on his own, reading the plaques and trying out one of the benches. I was moved, as I was the day of the dedication, by the simple yet powerful design of the outline houses. Looking over toward where St. John’s Hospital used to stand, I remembered all that had changed in this area. Grief and disbelief welled up and I didn’t try to staunch those feelings. Tonight, I let them rise and flow outward from my chest area. I breathed in deeply and slowly released the air and the energy swirling around my heart. The sound resembled a sigh.

For the first time this evening, I sat on the bench with the journal beneath it. I held the journal, which was full, stories and sentiments and drawings on every page. I didn’t try to read the words. I simply held the journal and felt the emotions emanating from it. I let the sound of water from the nearby large fountain soothe me. Healing is taking place in me and in my city. I very rarely hear anymore in my mind, as I am trying to sleep, the sounds of breaking glass and debris hitting the house. However, a part of me acknowledges what happened each day as I live and drive and dine and shop in the tornado zone. I accept it and I release any need to explain what happened or question why. As I sat quietly on the bench, peace flooded through me, and peace filled that sacred place.

As I continued walking through the garden, I stopped to lightly touch a flowering lavender plant. The scent lingered on my fingers and I was refreshed, renewed. As I straightened, my eyes were drawn to a word, carved in bold letters, on the back of the fountain. A spotlight brought the word sharply into focus, a beacon in the darkness. HOPE. Hope for Joplin. Hope for me. Hope for all who live and work and play here. That one word promises so much. I am grateful.

Butterfly garden at evening HOPE e