Sexual obstaclesIn an earlier post I discussed the physiological differences between men and women that allows men the potential for orgasm during any sexual encounter in which they can perform. Men are pointers and shooters. Women, like men, have to be physically aroused to climax, but most women also need to be mentally aroused. Yes there are always exceptions, but the rule is that a lover must get into a woman’s mind for her full arousal and the greatest chance at her having an orgasm.

But whatever aids us also challenges us equally, and the mind too can be the greatest obstacle to a woman’s reaching her optimal orgasmic state. In that earlier post I discussed the first of seven primary fears, the fear of moral disgrace, which is based on religious beliefs. This post we will discuss fears 2-4, starting with the fear of not knowing enough or being experienced enough.

Fear of not knowing enough/being experienced enough

sexual inexperienceThis fear is based on our perceived accumulation or deficiency of knowledge. In this case, it is sexual knowledge or experience. Most everybody can relate to moments when they felt inexperienced sexually. The nervousness that rides along with this feeling can be paralyzing, except for the trembling. This fear can lead to erection problems in men, lubrication issues in women, tense muscles, and every other fight or flight, sympathetic nervous system (SNS), response possible. Now while the sympathetics are actually responsible for the ejaculation in men, in women they play a role in the onset of sexual arousal. But here is the interesting thing, a 2000 study on the role of the SNS in sexual arousal among three different female groups—normal sexual function, low sex drive, and anorgasmia—showed that while exercise (an inducer of SNS stimulation) increased signs of sexual arousal in the first two groups, it did the opposite in women who have difficulty climaxing. In other words, women who are anorgasmic will be further hampered by anything increasing tension, including mental states.

Fear of not knowing enough sexually can lead to performance anxiety, where the woman—in her ability to receive without being sexually aroused—becomes a passive spectator in the sexual act, rarely enjoying  her time, seeing sex more as a duty than a pleasure. Despite this obstacle being, in a sense, self-inflicted, it does lead to an overall feeling of non-safety, which, as any woman will tell you, is the killer of sexual arousal. Partners can aid in quelling this fear through reassurance, encouragement and communication of what feels good, what is erotic, and so forth to the one sexually “crippled” with this fear.

Fear of physical rejection

body dysmorphiaThis is perhaps the most obvious fear, as we all have body parts that we both love and despise—this is as true for supermodels as it is for you and me. However, this fear can be extreme enough in some people as to affect sexual performance in men, and sexual arousal—and thus anorgasmia— in women. Too fat, too skinny, organ size, breast size, nipple size, skin blemishes, bad tastes and smells are all areas that can have some people too self-conscious to relax during sex.

If you were to understand that everybody goes into it with areas of themselves they do not love, and that a person is actually in bed with you because of something they like about you, then that helps. If you are too self-conscious to actually enjoy sex, then contact me, because I can show you every reason to love that part of you that you despise. And until you do that, orgasmic sex with another person is unlikely to happen.

Fear of social rejection

Social rejection“What will people think if I…” Finish the sentence. That is the fear keeping you from experiencing orgasmic sex or life itself. Is it being with someone of a different age (too old, too young), a particular body shape or size (too fat, too skinny, too short, too tall), or a different race? Is it what the neighbors would think if they heard you scream your sexual desires? What your children might think if they find your vibrator? Whatever it is, it’s nothing more than a hang-up. That fat girl just might give you the best orgasm of your life; that young guy could be your key to climax. Screaming might just be the release you need to have an orgasm, and frankly, the neighbors might like it.

Some people believe that if they were to receive and enjoy their sexual pleasures, they might be labeled a slut, or looked upon as a pervert. Some are still afraid to express their homosexuality. Others are ashamed of what they themselves consider deviant. Some people are even afraid their sex partner might be turned off if they let loose, and I’ve got to tell you—I doubt it. I have met and spoken to a lot of people, and most admit they like kinky stuff in bed. We all do! Accept it and start having fun. Believe me, nothing is too weird—if you like it, someone else does too. Promise. A universal. Contact me if you really cannot get past this one.

Part III coming soon

tall vs shortDid you ever watch the Brady Bunch? Do you remember when Bobby was stressing over being small, and he just could not see any upside to his little boy frame? And then he fit through the meat locker window, saving his and Greg’s life, and in a flash he was enlightened. Well turns out there’s another benefit along with passing through tight spaces that grows with each centimeters (cm) of height NOT developed: it lowers the risk of developing cancer. You heard right, being tall seems to increase one’s cancer risk. At least that is the word out of today’s meeting of the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology held in Barcelona.

Researchers, who have not published their findings in any medical journal, say they conducted the biggest study of its kind looking at at birth, health and military records of 5.5 million people born between 1938 and 1991. What they found was that as height increases over a certain baseline, 1 meter or 3 foot 3 inches (3’3), cancer risk increased every 10 cm, by 10 percent in men and 18 percent in women. While nothing has been published, these results do seem to confirm the findings of other studies like a 2013 U.S. study, looking at women only, which found a 13 percent higher risk of developing certain cancers for each 10 centimeters of height.

Breast-CancerAlong with the increased cancer risk, the current study found that for every extra 10 cm, a woman also had a 20-percent higher risk of breast cancer, while there was a jump of 30 percent for every 10 cm in melanoma risk for both genders. A 180 cm woman (5’11) would be about a third more likely to contract cancer than a woman of 170 cm (5’7). Not every expert agrees with the potential height-cancer link, however, as some question the methodology of the study, while doubting the strength of the link, pointing out a much greater cancer association with genetics and obesity. Skeptics also believe that any link might be attributable to growth hormone, which could be affecting both traits.

“It sounds an odd relationship at first glance, but it is actually very plausible that the risk of cancer in a person should be related to the number of cells in their body, since that determines the number of cells ‘at risk’,” Dorothy Bennett, a scientist at University of London said in comments issued by the Science Media Centre.

healthy for all sizesSkeptics wish to emphasize that these results should not have tall people worrying about contracting cancer. I agree. Scientific inquiry into everything has value on many levels, but causing unnecessary stress is not one of them. Nobody wants or needs to have the risks associated with uncontrollable traits hanging over their heads, yet science shows what it shows; what can we do? It’s a tough situation really—an access to truth, yes, but unpleasant findings nonetheless. My feeling is just be grateful for the information so that you can monitor yourself throughout your lifetime as you age, and perhaps an inspiration to pick up the health regimen a bit. Hey, we can all do better than what we are doing now, and I even believe that striving for and achieving better fluctuates constantly throughout our lifetime too, so now is as good a time as any. If you are tall: start juicing, get lots of vitamin D (yes, even in the face of these findings on melanoma – adequate sun exposure is waaaaay more important than any melanoma fear, just sun smartly), take omega 3′s, drink lots of water, eat moderately, sleep plentifully, and so on, and you should be fine.

And before Bobby Brady gets too big for his britches, understand that shorter people were not found to be without risk—they just had a lower risk, but risk all the same. So people of all shapes and sizes need to take part in the same behaviors I have described above. Listen these are good habits no matter who practices them, and frankly, I would rather spend my time focusing on all the health enhancing stuff I can do, and less worrying on which of my traits increases which risks. I mean, life is a freakin’ risk, darnit. Just do the right things and you should be fine.

green tae pills for weight loss

The jig is up for on-line weight loss products, as British teen contracts hepatitis from drinking a green tea she purchased on the internet to “lose weight.” Here’s a wake up call for people purchasing any products that one ingests: it’s just not a good idea to do this sort of thing anonymously. And for you hawkers of weight loss products: herbal and pharmaceuticals carry the biggest risk, why not maintain the highest integrity with quality and support of your product? Oh might be because many, if not most, on-line companies which sell these products are overseas, and I doubt they are reading this post, but you the potential victim are. So here is the truth about many companies that sell supplements or drugs online: they do not care about your health!

The 16 year-old girl from London presented to her doctor with nausea, joint pain and nonspecific abdominal pain, as reported recently in the British Medical Journal Case Reports. Doctors gave the girl antibiotics to treat her for what they assumed was an infection, but she returned to the emergency room jaundiced with worsening symptoms. At that time, the girl told her doctors about drinking the green tea for weight loss.

“I had only lost a couple of pounds but then started having horrible pains in my joints, and felt very dizzy and sick,” she said in the study. “I was very scared when I was admitted to hospital and had lots of tests. I didn’t fully understand what was going on at the time.”

After doing multiple tests searching for viral causes to her illness, the teen’s doctors realized she had acute hepatitis, or an inflamed liver. Once the girl stopped drinking the tea and was given intravenous fluids and medication, she quickly recovered.

pesticides on cropsDoctors believe the liver damage was from a chemical mixed with the actual green tea, and not the tea leaves themselves, although the tea was not tested for contaminants. Green tea is non-toxic, but never put it past unscrupulous companies, or even unknowing ones, to boost product in either quantity or action. Contamination can occur at any stage from pesticides on crops, to mixing (compounding), to packaging. In this case, it was likely the “weight loss” compound added to the green tea, as green tea itself has no actual weight loss properties.

“We acknowledge that green tea is predominantly a very safe and healthy drink, with antioxidant properties,” the case study authors wrote, explaining secondary additives may cause harm. “This raises the possibility that it is the addition of other chemicals causing hepatotoxicity, (chemical-driven liver damage) particularly in preparations used for weight loss.”

It reminds me of a story that had an enormous impact on, not only my thinking on the subject of purchasing herbal supplements (or pharmaceuticals) on-line, but even merely taking herbal compounds. My longest-standing client (15 years – thank you MV), a director’s assistant at the time, roughly a decade ago, made her television directorial debut after the hired director had to pull out of the job at the last minute after being hospitalized for liver failure following the taking of herbs for “detoxing”, which incidentally she purchased online…from China! C’monnnnnnn… freakin’ duh!

That story stood out for me because I always remember one of my  teachers in chiropractic college, Dr. Assibi Abudu, one of the greatest doctors and men I have ever met, a medical doctor, told my class that liver failure from ingesting herbs is a common occurrence; and I believed him, because Dr. Abudu wore his experience like a seasoned veteran, and I knew he’d seen many wars. And this experience my client relayed to me was simply confirmation – I did not need any more convincing, and I have advised people consistently with this information ever since: Unless you get herbs from a licensed and competent (careful, don’t assume) practitioner, don’t take them! At all…

hepatitisListen, herbs are no different from pharmaceuticals in that they are foreign substances to your body. At low levels they may be perfectly therapeutic, but at larger doses, they can be lethal. And they can be stepped-on, just like street drugs, by people stupider than you and me. Your body – primarily your liver and kidneys – will need to detoxify (neutralize) the compound, and then excrete it. Further, any active compound in the substance will have its own effects and side-effects. Knowing this, wouldn’t you feel safer with products that have been tested? In this regard, only pharmaceuticals make the grade. Not even nutritional supplements can boast significant numbers of companies testing their products; in fact, this is the number one black cloud over the supplement industry’s head. And herbs…? Fuhgdat! I wouldn’t ever, no sorry…

Be smart and do not buy herbs online. If you want to lose weight, you’d better understand that you will never, ever find a magic bullet; and even in so trying you might damage your health, as this British case shows. I would go as far as saying that you need to practice utmost scrutiny when choosing to buy from any supplement company, as you never know what you might be getting (or not getting, as is the case sometimes). Only buy from companies that you can confirm are legit.

Here is the resource I use to know, with no uncertainty, the quality of the supplements I use or sell: Consumer Labs.

Supplement testingAnd I live by the principle that if I am going to put a foreign substance in my body, whether pharmaceutical, “nutritional,” or herbal, I must be severely discriminating, and weigh the benefit to risks of doing so. Safety lies in testing, and that’s why pharmaceuticals come out the best, just beneath taking nothing at all, but far better than taking any other foreign substance. By not having stringent testing regulations, herbs and supplements just fall to the bottom of the barrel for me. I know lots of supplement sellers and companies that are going to have their feathers ruffled over what I am saying here, but sorry, if you have not gone through the stringent third party (not your own company or its agents) testing, then you are just not legit in my book. If you would love to show your legitimacy, then submit your product to Consumer Labs for evaluation.

Safety when taking any ingestible should always be top priority, and this should be rule of thumb:

Herb testing

Taking nothing > doctor prescribed pharmaceuticals > practitioner recommended herbs* > herbs sold retail from verifiable source (Whole Foods for instance) > herbs from person in alleyway > on-line.

Seriously, folks.

*I would probably place homeopathic compounds here, although their dosages are so small that I doubt their toxicity, but I certainly wouldn’t take anything for granted.

ecig hospitalSomebody wasn’t paying attention when I said to watch it with those e-cigs. Remember three years ago, I told you about the man who nearly had his face blown off by an exploding electronic nicotine device? Well déjà vu, vapers – a kid in the south-eastern United States had an e-cigarette explode in his face, breaking his neck and burning a hole in the roof of his mouth. James Lauria, a 23-year-old vaper, now speaks with a lisp from the dime-sized hole in his mouth. He suffered first degree burns over his face and fingers. He even burned his cornea (the transparent layer forming the front of the eye).

“It’s just a normal day,” explained James. “I’m at work and things quieted down and I stepped away for a second like I always do. Next thing I know, it exploded and I was on my way to a hospital in an ambulance, and that is the last thing I remember.”

James’ injuries were so severe he was airlifted to the University of Alabama’s burn unit, where he spent a week in the ICU.

“He had burns to his hand and a fractured neck and finger, and burns to his cornea,” said Ed Lauria, James’ father. “It blew a hole through his palate and at the same time, flames went down and he got first-degree burns on his chest and up on his face. It forced his front tooth up into his gum- out of sight -and chipped the other one and damaged a few other lower teeth.”

It’s been six weeks (July 29th) since the accident and James is still on a liquid diet, unable to eat solid foods. His mother, Beth said he will be fitted for a prosthetic for the roof of his mouth

Well dang! If that ain’t enough to make you quit… This on the heels of another recent story that kids are routinely vaping marijuana to avoid the strong smell which accompanies regular pot smoking – probably to toke up at school.

E-cigarettesVape is slang for ‘vaporizing,’ which is heating up a liquid substance, called e-liquid (usually propylene glycol, glycerin, water, nicotine, and flavorings), to the point where it turns into an aerosol, which is inhaled. Some believe that because it is not smoke—with the associated carbon monoxide, tar, and so forth, that it is better (less risky) than smoking. And some have been selling vaping as a way to stop smoking. Uh…yah, ok.

Ok, ok…I get it. But darn it, if you ask me, nothing is worth the risk of blowing your teeth out. Duh-uh-uh-uh-uhhhh! I guess it will have to happen a few more times for knuckle-heads to learn the hard way. But I’ll say it again: If you are going to quit smoking, then quit! Otherwise, just smoke the real stuff, and keep your teeth in place. Gawd…

Watch the video to see James Lauria explain it:

7802157 (Copy)Hoorah for humanity, as doctor-assisted suicide appears to be gaining ground in progressive Western culture. A California state bill allowing for physician-assisted suicide has passed a key legislative committee after failing to clear the legislature this summer. The bill was pulled from consideration in the legislature’s regular session in July but was reintroduced last month as part of a special session on healthcare called by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown. Proponents have been trying to legalize aid-in-dying in California, without success, opposed by the Catholic Church among others.

Doctor-assisted suicide for the terminally ill is the humane practice of putting people out of their misery—people who are suffering from the pain of cancer or other chronic, debilitating illnesses. Proponents state that not only does the practice help those who are suffering, but their families as well, as the costs of keeping a person alive medically can run into the tens of thousands per month. The biggest opponent to doctor-assisted suicide is the Catholic Church, which believes that helping one end one’s life is a sin, and that we should place more focus in encouraging people to live. The church was joined in their opposition by a group of doctors—who believe that their role is to save lives, not to end them—other religious groups, and disability rights activists, who believe that disabled people will be encouraged to end their lives by insurance companies and burnt-out relatives. But once the powerful California Medical Association removed its opposition, backers hoped the measure would finally pass. When the bill failed to get through the California legislation in July, it was reintroduced and passed today by 10-2. Next the bill goes to the assembly finance committee.

doctor-assisted suicideAlthough the issue of euthanasia is an old one—the Ancient Greeks practiced it by administering the poison hemlock—the contemporary issue has been a focus of debate since 1870. While different countries, and even different U.S. states have their varying laws, for the most part in the U.S. it is illegal. Some countries and states recognize and allow voluntary euthanasia, while non-voluntary and involuntary euthanasia is illegal everywhere, with the latter considered murder. Jurisdictions where euthanasia or assisted suicide is legal include the Netherlands, Colombia, Switzerland, Japan, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Estonia, Albania, the US states of Washington, Oregon, Montana, and Vermont and, starting in 2015, the Canadian Province of Quebec. Doctor-assisted suicide differs from euthanasia in that the means of death (usually lethal drug) is self-administered in the former, and doctor administered in the latter. Assisted suicide is legal in the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Switzerland. In the U.S. assisted dying laws are restricted to terminally ill and mentally competent adults, again in Oregon, Montana, Washington, and Vermont.

The controversial topic of doctor-assisted suicide was brought to the forefront of consciousness when last year a 29-year-old cancer patient, Brittany Maynard, moved to Oregon to take advantage of that state’s assisted suicide law. Polls show consistent support of doctor assisted suicide among California voters.

Brittany MaynardWhile opponents fear the potentiality for foul play—a valid concern—especially for monetary gain, such as from inheritance or life insurance payouts, and even by insurance companies looking to back out of their financial obligations, the newest form of the California bill addresses these concerns by making it a felony to pressure someone into physician-assisted suicide. It also forbids insurance companies from sending patients information about aid-in-dying drugs unless the patient has requested it.

If you have never been in the presence of a cancer sufferer, or if you have never had excruciating, unrelenting pain yourself, it might be hard to resonate with the idea of doctor-assisted suicide, but take that migraine headache of yours, multiply it by ten, and then imagine it affecting you every single day for ten years—a horrid thought isn’t it? Or your herniated disk, tooth abscess, sinus infection, or whatever, and this probably still does not come to the level of misery a cancer sufferer endures, especially if they are also doing radiation and chemo. According to several studies, more than half of oncologists polled have received requests from a patient wanting to end their life.

EARLY_10-2 (Copy)

Absolutely parameters need to be in place, and you better believe there will be some foul play—there always is, in every possible aspect of life. But this does not mean that we shouldn’t make the move toward being more humane with regard to our suffering brothers and sisters. I mean, c’mon, we put animals to sleep to save them from suffering, why would we not extend that same dignity to humans? Listen it has to be voluntary—that is, the patient herself must be a part of the decision and the one to administer. Do you think people cannot decide for themselves whether or not they have had enough? My feeling is this bill will eventually pass. Like the medical marijuana laws, society is dropping some of its outdated morality to allow for greater possibilities. I think this is the right way to go; people should have the right to make decisions about their health, their healthcare, and their lives—that is, whether or not to continue. This is humane and allows for the greatest autonomy. How can we go wrong with that?

optimal orgasmic stateAs I was sitting around the virtual universe, the topic of orgasm came up, specifically how to know one’s most optimal orgasmic state, and why so many people fail to reach it, let alone know what that state might be. You better believe the right state is necessary to reach orgasm, but men and women have very different physiologies, which dictate how they get there, or whether they get there at all.

Both genders have some clear cut advantages to their sexual expressions, and some disadvantages too. For instance, orgasm in men, for the most part, is hinged on having an erection. It’s the ol’ point and shoot – they mostly come and go together. In other words, to simply be able to do it at all, a man is practically assured an orgasm. Women, on the other hand, can have sex functionally whether in the proper orgasmic state or not (albeit less gratifyingly), and many habitually do just that, over and over again – a number reporting that they enjoy sex, even without orgasm, as intimacy leads to its own rewards.

Big bangObviously the upside for men is that the pleasures of the big-bang are a part of most, if not every, sexual act. For women, though, it takes work—in the form of foreplay (although what we generally mean by this term could actually be the sex act itself)—and sometimes lots of patience. But women can and often do feel a stronger sense of intimacy with the sexual act, whereas the male sex act can, at times, be purely biological. This is likely due to some reproductive realities—like men must ejaculate to procreate, while women need only receive to conceive. By no means does this suggest that women do not love a good ol’ romp for the romp’s sake; and most certainly a big-bang orgasm is equally, if not more, sweet for a woman, but the physiological function between the sexes differs enough to cause these polarities.  All that being said, however, when it comes to anorgasmia (inability to achieve orgasm), women are exceedingly more afflicted than men.

To orgasm, a woman needs to be in the right frame, physically and mentally, as both physiological and psychological stimulation play a role in a woman’s entering the most optimal orgasmic state. Stimulating a woman’s mind is as large a part of reaching orgasm as is stimulating her body; and while not an absolute, it most certainly adds to and aids in the process. Both partners being “open,” mentally and sexually, are enormous enhancers to a woman’s orgasmability.

anorgasmiaThis is not as easy as it sounds, however: Men and women alike can have mental barriers which may not only affect our sexual performance and orgasmability, but can play a role in how we express our sexual personas (prudishly, insecurely, or overly-aggressive to name just a few), and thus dictate our sexual-life history as a whole. While these mental barriers can certainly become conscious in our awareness, most often they remain hidden away as established mores and norms, beliefs that we tuck aside, accept as reality, and despite their having little substance or validity, submit our sex lives to.  While the variety of mental barriers is large, they belong to a family of seven primary fears, which affect us on a multitude of levels, including sexually.

The Seven Primary Fears

The seven primary fears that can affect one’s sexuality to such a degree as to obstruct orgasmability are fear of moral disgrace, fear of not knowing enough or being experienced enough, fear of physical rejection, fear of social rejection, fear of inadequacy, fear of disgracing loved ones, and fear of dishonored reputation. While each can be expressed in varying forms, their foundation is rooted in the primary fear itself. I will discuss how each can act as a hidden obstacle to our sexuality, affecting performance and our ability to orgasm.

Fear of moral disgrace

Moral Disgrace - SexThe first fear is a fear of moral disgrace. This can have a number of different sources: It may be considered “sinning against God,” morally shameful, or disgraceful to one’s religious belief system or its authorities. It has its roots in a moral code that says sexual pleasure is bad, and the act of “doing it” should be for reproductive purposes only. Both men and women can have repressed feeling of guilt revolving around masturbation, past sexual experiences and particular sexual acts. I have an acquaintance, a staunch Christian, who is mortified over her penchant for anal sex. She actually believes she will be stricken down somewhere, sometime in her life for fantasizing about and indulging in what she considers to be a deviant act. Now, interestingly, she is not restricted enough by her beliefs to block her from experiencing sexual pleasure, as she reports no problems in that area, but I simply use this example to illustrate of how our beliefs color our perceptions of sex. I have no doubt that her fears affect her relationships and feelings of self-esteem and will continue to do so as long as she holds onto this irrational fear.

The idea that God is somehow for or against any sexual act is rooted in our moralistic Victorian heritage, when “irregular” sex was condemned.

In line with the physiological idea of the body as a closed system of energy, male sexual ‘expenditure’ and especially ‘excess’ (spermatorrhea) were said to cause enfeeblement. Thus it was seriously held, for example, that sexual appetite was incompatible with mental distinction and that procreation impaired artistic genius. Men were vigorously counselled to conserve vital health by avoiding fornication, masturbation and nocturnal emissions (for which a variety of devices were invented) and by rationing sex within marriage. Even when other causes were present, sickness and debility were frequently ascribed to masturbation – the great erotic subject described as vigorously as it was denounced. ‘That insanity arises from masturbation is now beyond a doubt’, declared one widely read authority, who also claimed that ‘masturbators’ became withdrawn, flabby, pale, self-mutilating and consumptive. Ailments afflicting adolescent girls were similarly said to signify abnormal sexual excitation. With punitive therapy in mind, some doctors erased sexual pleasure through barbaric practices such as penile cauterisation and clitorodectomy. ~ Sex & Sexuality in the 19th Century, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

VictorianLadies circa1855

But not only Christians who can be weighed down by moralistic guilt and shame, any person strongly influenced by a spiritual authority is vulnerable, particularly if that authority views sex outside of procreation a sin. (Part II up next)

When one thinks about meditation, rarely does science come to mind, or heaven forbid, business and commerce. Since most people equate meditation with a spiritual practice (as if that is something separate from the rest of the human experience), they tend to think of science, business and commerce as more mundane aspects of life, and thus the antitheses of the goals of meditation. But nothing could be farther from the truth.

neutralizing waves of emotion

Meditation is the practice of clearing the mind, and going within oneself to seek the Source of all experience, knowledge and action. It is purposefully altering one’s state of consciousness to more deeply and firmly connect this source within oneself; by doing so, a number of interesting things begin to happen. Yogis and sages have described many of these interesting things for millennia, but it was not until the twentieth-century that science actually started to take notice.

meditation studiesMeditation has been heavily studied since the 1950s. Sixty years of research has uncovered some remarkable things. Not only does meditation affect the physical body, but the mind and human behavior as well. But what does any of this have to do with business and commerce? As I alluded to earlier, it is impossible to separate the many facets of life, and why would we want to? Business and commerce, as a crucial element of our daily lives, is as potentially enhanced as any other area of life by the interesting things brought about by a regular meditation practice. Over the next several posts, I will be outlining some key findings in the meditation sciences and how they pertain to business and commerce. You will see when I am through that today’s companies cannot afford to keep this information from their personnel any longer. If you wish to expand in business, you will be far more successful with a team trained in the art and science of meditation.

Meditation Improves Creativity

perksToday’s companies are doing just about everything they can to foster a culture of creativity within their ranks. From encouraging “play time”, to expanding workplace flexibility, to offering numerous perks to employees including in-house personal and professional development programs, the modern organization strives hard to give itself the competitive edge. Creativity leads to innovation, innovation to products, products (through marketing) to sales and profits. With creativity, Amazons, Facebooks and Googles are born; without it…Blockbusters, MySpaces and Yahoos die.

Creativity is crucial in both a company’s personnel and its operation/management. Thus having a way to cultivate creativity intrinsically, organically and reliably would be a most valuable asset to any company. Science has shown meditation’s ability to enhance creativity by promoting divergent thinking—a style allowing new ideas to be generated.

Blockbuster Death

Meditation also has a significant effect on three other creativity-interdependent traits: innovation, problem solving and novelty. And there is no doubt that regular meditation plays a role in shaping the mind physically, making these valuable qualities a conditioned, and therefore potentially permanent, part of the individual. Please understand the magnitude of this, and how it might strengthen an organization in the same way farm team does for a big league ball club: by acting as a foundation for an entire culture, in which the core values and characteristics of a company can be instilled and expressed uniquely throughout the individuals making up its personnel.


Open-MindBecause of meditation’s ability to “neutralize” the mind’s “waves of feeling,” which make up the incessant mind chatter permeating most people’s thoughts, it creates an open space for which new and imaginative ideas can come into formation. Inspiration may come during meditation, but more likely it arises spontaneously throughout one’s day, be it during wakefulness or sleep. A clear mind has a way of doing that.

Every great thinker throughout history has had these moments of inspiration, and many have had specific rituals to get them in the space of receiving. This power is inherent in all of us, but some have discovered the ability to tap-in at will, while others simply need to be taught. Meditation, or quieting the mind, is a potent, efficient and ever-evolving tool to touch this level of innovation regularly.

Problem Solving

emotional controlProblem solving is vital to company’s survival and success. Customer service, public relations, lost market share, competition all require quick and decisive thinking. For this, clear minds and controlled emotions are paramount, and nothing beats regular meditation as a way of conditioning these qualities of mind.

A 2007 study showed that people practicing a mindfulness exercise called affect labeling, in which participants were required to label facial expressions with the appropriate emotion, had increased activity in the right prefrontal cortex and decreased it in the amygdala (limbic system). The right prefrontal cortex is responsible for many functions, but most significantly executive function: the management and control of cognitive processes which includes working memoryreasoningtask flexibility, and problem solving, as well as planning and execution. The amygdala (the alarm center in the brain that triggers stress-related feelings), where memory, decision-making and emotional reactions are processed, was subsequently inhibited.*

Another study showed meditation’s ability to increase emotional adaptation strategies—how feelings are processed—and reduce emotional reactions (which are often abrupt and unrestrained). Further, other studies showed a greater ability of meditators to accept “negative” emotional events and continue mental functioning with minimal error.*


One uniquely human characteristic is our drive for novelty. We constantly crave “new and improved’ in every facet of life, and this is what guarantees business and commerce an eternal role in human affairs. The ability to discern what can and should, in fact, be made better (yes, even the wheel!), comes down to a clear and sharp mind. Nothing beats meditation in creating an environment of clarity and novelty.

neuroplasticityAs I mentioned earlier, meditation has shown irrefutable evidence of influencing a practitioner’s neurology—that is, shaping their actual nervous system. Studies have shown that the incredible brain changes seen in long-term meditators also happen to be cumulative; so in other words: the more meditation, the greater the changes. This ability to change and reshape our brain and nervous system is known as neuroplasticity, and is crucial in creating new habits and skills. Just think, a company can increase its potential for regular novelty and innovation, while also shaping the neurology of its personnel to maintain a greater openness to creativity—a win-win situation under any circumstances.


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Again, think about it: How much can meditation enhance the minds and lives of an organization’s personnel? How much could a culture of regular mind-quieting expand the parameters of a business or industry—by stimulating innovation, effective problem solving and novelty? How valuable would an in-house training program be for the infrastructure of a company? These are questions today’s businesses must surely ask themselves when trying to remain competitive or garner dominance within their industry. While modern companies are doing everything they can to keep their employees loyal, including opportunities for personal and professional development, adding a meditation instructional program is completely new and cutting-edge. The professional mindfulness coach will not be simply versed in the art and mystery of meditation, but also understand the culture of commerce and how a meditation program can benefit a company in its core values—providing quality goods and services for public or private sectors for a fair compensation. If this makes good business sense to you, then please contact me at so we may discuss how we can implement a quantifiable and measurable meditation program within your company.

*Both excerpts from my soon to be released book, Seeking The Self Through Meditation, available through pre-order for significant savings

130620_MEDEX_CIGAR.jpg.CROP.article568-large (Copy)A big fat duuuuuuuhhhhhh in the world of health today, as a new study discloses that half of all cardiovascular deaths are due to preventable factors. Why duh? I have been reporting on this phenomenon since I wrote my quintessential health manual, The Six Keys To Optimal Health, a decade ago. Okay, okay, to be fair, many of you have not read it; and I am certain many of you do not peruse the health news in the same manner I do. However, saying that, we all know the risk factors for cardiac events, so why are people not taking heed?

The study, published today in the Annals of Internal Medicine online, looked at data from the BRFSS (Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System) 2009–2010 of over 500,000 people, ages 45 to 79, to asses risk factors associated with cardiovascular deaths (heart attacks, heart failure, etc). The five primary risk factors were: smoking, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure—and all are preventable. Complete elimination of each of these risk factors would reduce cardiovascular deaths—the leading cause of death in the U.S.—by 54% in men, and nearly 50% in women.

heart disease risk factorsSmoking and high blood pressure led to the highest proportion of preventable deaths, and nearly 80 percent of people reported exposure to at least one of the five risk factors. Despite these risks being preventable, if every state was brought to the level of the best state, only ten percent of the deaths would be prevented. Get it? What this means is that Americans, in general, practice risky cardiovascular behaviors. Yes, eighty percent of the country either smokes, is obese, has high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes. And many have several, and some have all! Do you get it? That’s freakin’ abysmal. And we wonder why health is so poor in the U.S. Can’t blame healthcare (sickcare) for this one.

Like I said, we all know the risks, so why do we fail to avoid them? Ummmm…I can take a guess…let’s see: because American citizens have become so spoiled by ease and comfort that we believe we are entitled to live as we please, and then be “saved” by medicine. That’s precisely what universal health care was all about – our inalienable right to have our preventable conditions treated – and this study proves it. Preventable! I know it is hard to hear, and it certainly doesn’t endear me to the masses when I say it, but it’s the truth and we both know it.

So let’s go over it again:

I know we are all going to die, but nobody reading this wants it to be them, not prematurely anyway. So do the right stuff and I promise you will get more out of life, and more life to get things out of. I’ll continue to send out tough love via health information, facts, and no nonsense interpretations meant to wake…you…up. Hope you are listening.

The-Bright-Sun-Blue-Sky-Clouds (Copy)I am one lucky mother…I love the sun, and I live in Southern California. But like many people, believe it or not, I sometimes neglect my sun needs. Nothing is crazier, I know, when so many regions are sun-deprived for much of the year. It’s the equivalent of “starving children…” in the guilt-trip-you-for-not-doing-something-you’re-supposed-to-category. But, believe me, we pay the price for our negligence.

I had been feeling not so great recently, and frankly I was perplexed. I had been working out regularly; in fact, it was first time in long time I have been completely injury-free. Shoulders felt good. Low back good…I was eating well. Lots of vegetables; good portions. Juicing. Quit coffee, so sleeping much better than…ugh months. On purpose professionally and within my dharma…but somehow, I was not feeling “myself”. I was starting to wonder if this aging thing really has something to it. I have never been an ageist. I just believe that you can be in the best shape of your life at any age. I really do. But I was tired, a little blue, and skin as white as some new veneers. I said to myself, “This year, I am going to channel Apollo.” I will commit to daily sun for the entire summer—beach, canyons, festivals, everything, bikes, stilts, pogo sticks, you name it. No more Mr. Pasty guy. Not this year.


So I started last week at the local swimming pool with my kids. I actually wore sunscreen, cos my white-a** skin was extremely vulnerable. I felt immediately different. That night I had that good ol’ familiar sun-glow; you know the one, that buzz around your entire sun-exposed body. And I had a sort of refreshing tiredness, if you know what I mean. Then Sunday, Fathers Day, I took my girls to the beach. It was overcast, but hot and humid. I used sunscreen again. We sat in the sun for about two hours, which was perfect. While I got a teeny bit red (I’m not worried about it) that night, I felt really good—that, “I just did something real nice for my body,” good.

Then this week, I hit the hiking trail — evening hikes, diminishing sun, cooler temps — and really got my coconut stick legs some exposure. In exactly one week that saw me in the sun five of seven days, I already notice the difference. My energy levels have been boosted significantly, so both for physical exertion, and for mental work that comprises the bulk of what I do. Both are different in need and stamina; in other words, just because you have energy to go to the gym, doesn’t mean you have it to sit down and do your taxes for five hours, and vice versa, of course. My sleep has been deep and satisfying, which has me the most grateful because that area has been real wacky for some time. My mood is uplifted, light and enthusiastic, and I look ten years younger (no seriously…stop).


And none of this is surprising to me. Like everybody, I sometimes forget how vital sufficient sun exposure is to health and well being, and thus how vital to the way I feel. It’s so easy to forget, especially since I take 5000 IU vitamin D every day. Supplementing is not the same as the real thing. Supplementing is only to fill in the gaps—the bulk of any nutrient must come from its source (write that down). Vitamin D, as we have seen over the last decade and more, is involved in so many processes that it truly is the wonder vitamin. Being sufficient in vitamin D is as empowering as being deficient is debilitating. From increased cancer risk, to immune dysfunction, to increased blood pressure, a lack of sufficient quantities of vitamin D3 in your blood leaves you susceptible to disease, while optimal levels can make you feel and operate at you highest.


Duh to me…but I am happy to remember the basics when I stop feeling quite right (we all oscillate through high and low health constantly, within our own unique yet variable physiological range). That’s all it takes. Nobody has to feel the need for perfection—it’s up-and-down over and over again—just remain mindful. I challenge any fellow well-meaning hermits to get in the sun daily this summer, even if just for a walk on your lunch break. Eat lunch outside, do your paperwork in the park, drop beats in the heat—whatever you have to do to get your sun in this year. Me…I’ll be at the beach.

skinny jeans neuropathyFashion leading to funked-up function strikes again! This time skinny jeans are the culprit, and they are cutting off nerve supply to constricted hipsters. A case study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry tells of a 35-year-old Australian woman presenting to doctors with severe weakness of both ankles, which ultimately led to her being hospitalized for four days with muscle damage, swelling, and nerve blockages in her legs. Doh!

The woman reported helping a family member move, which required hours squatting while emptying cupboards. She stated that her skinny jeans felt tighter and more uncomfortable throughout the day, and when she returned home later that evening, she tripped and fell due to a bilateral foot drop. If you have never heard of foot drop, that is when nerve supply to the limb gets irritated (cut-off) enough to cause temporary paralysis. We see the same thing in long-term sciatica sufferers.

popliteal nerveUpon examination doctors found extreme swelling, to the degree that she could not remove the jeans on her own—they needed to be cut off! She had severe weakness affecting both legs, ankles and toes—she even had diminished ankle reflexes (no bueno). She had lost sensation at the outer (lateral) portions and tops of both her feet (really no bueno). She had classic signs of nerve irritation, which could ultimately lead to long-term damage. Damn those skinny jeans! Because nerve conduction studies showed conduction block in both common peroneal nerves between the popliteal fossa and fibular head, it is safe to say the compression occurred behind the knee.

Hospital staff treated the patient with intravenous hydration (good ol’ fashioned water, the elixir of life), and she was able to walk out of the hospital on her own after four days. Doctors were taken aback by the damage caused by skinny jeans.

“We were surprised that this patient had such severe damage to her nerves and muscles,” Dr. Thomas Kimber of the Royal Adelaide Hospital in Australia told the Associated Press.

We postulate that, in the present case, the peroneal neuropathies were the result of compression between the biceps femoris tendon and fibular head as a result of squatting. The tibial neuropathies were likely caused by compression of the nerves in the posterior compartment of the calf by oedematous muscles that had undergone ischaemic myonecrosis as a result of squatting. The wearing of ‘skinny’ jeans had likely potentiated the tibial neuropathies by causing a compartment syndrome as the lower legs swelled.

foot dropWhile previous complications with skinny jeans have been primarily nerve compression at the inguinal region or groin, leading to outer thigh numbness (lateral cutaneous nerve) this case was the first reported of its kind. The doctors believe the problem is compounded by the non-stretchy nature of denim.

I almost bought my first pair of skinny jeans last fall, but after trying them on, I just could not get around the fact that they felt…too…damn…tight. Hey, I like a firm grip in the crotch like the next guy, but nah…that was just too much jewel squeezing for my tastes. If you gotta wear the skinny jeans, then don’t don them for the big move, or any other activity that has got you squatting for dollars. Otherwise if you must squat, and you are wearing your jean leotards, better that you strip to the skivvies. Just hope they are not your tighty-whities.

WashingtonMtRushmoreAnybody who knows me is aware of my voracious appetite for reading biographies. I especially love learning about the difficulties great people have faced, and overcome, on their journeys. Whether talking Confucius, Sir Issac Newton or Jesus Christ, I relish the fact that every life, big or small, has obstacles to surmount. Why do I appreciate a good tale of conquered summits? Because it helps me walk through my own cross-bearing; it reminds me that every challenge I face is a part of my history. What will become of my legacy as it reveals itself from the fog of the great unknown? That’s the most exciting thing about life as we live it—we just have no freakin’ idea.

When it comes to conquering the chaos of  uncertainty with poise, honor and nobility, I find no story more uplifting than General George Washington’s experience commanding the Continental Army during the American Revolution. If you do not know this story more than your faded recollections of high school history, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Joseph J. Ellis, His Excellency, George Washington. I read this book the year of its publication, 2004, on a whim, simply because I saw it in a bookstore and it spoke to me energetically, or called me over, so to speak.

This book could not have been more appropriately titled because excellence is the only word that truly does Washington justice. He was excellence incarnate. But more important is his story, his role in the American War of Independence, which is the perfect metaphor for what we all face at one time or another in our lives: Dire circumstances, on the verge of catastrophe, up against forces well beyond our capacity to handle, totally unprepared, ill-equipped, and without resources, yet through a sense of purpose, tenacity, grit, and some unexpected good luck, we can make it through, forging a whole new entity, nation or paradigm along the way. George Washington’s story is every person’s story who has ever tried to build, lead or change something in their lives. And like the General, if you can survive, you will probably succeed and thrive.

The GeneralHow did he do it? How did George Washington manage to keep afloat during such dismal and uncertain conditions? I will present to you here what I believe were Washington’s key characteristics, ones I think we can all benefit from when putting them into action during our own turmoil. The thing you must understand about what we discuss here is the general air of the time in 1775, when Washington had been appointed commander of the Continental Army. The British were the greatest Colonial power in the world, with a devastating navy. They were mega-wealthy—their colonies brought in vast sums of money, of which they used to finance their war machine. They had spent an entire century fighting (and beating) their neighbors and colonial rivals of Western Europe; they were experienced, tough and disciplined.

BattleOfVirginiaCapesWashington’s military, on the other hand, was comprised of amateurs—”the middling  sort”—as Ellis describes them. They were at  times undisciplined, unpaid and without supplies or clothing. Congress at times meddled where it shouldn’t have, and was often powerless to help—money, supplies and food were in severe shortage. Despite some early successes, the Continental Army had suffered severe setbacks in New York and New Jersey. To say the colonies, public and  military were riding low would be an understatement. To say General George Washington was in a bleak situation, a state of darkness, in which he could not be entirely certain of how events would unfold, would still only be touching the tip of the iceberg  as to what he must have been experiencing. But it all came to a head during the winter of 1777-1778, at Valley Forge, in Pennsylvania—where the Continental Army was holed-up, riding out the severe cold. The men were wracked by starvation, disease and malnutrition.

“To see Men without Cloathes to cover their nakedness, without Blankets to lay on, without Shoes…is a mark of Patience and obedience can scarce be paralel’d.” ~ General George Washington

As Ellis describes it: “Most of the horses died from starvation or exposure, and their decaying carcasses filled the air with a stench that joined with the blood in the snow to create sensory scenes that Washington never forgot.”


Keeping this dreadful scenario in mind, and perhaps even relating to your own personal Valley Forges, let’s now take a look at what made Washington the avatar of excellence:

  • He had colossal staying power — this is the hardest thing for people to keep in mind. Just stick it out—time really is on the side of those who can tough out the storm. Washington rode out six long years of war—that’s no home, no family, no rest, no peace, no quiet, no partying for 72 months! Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zero. Some people get thrown if they have a few bad weeks. If you want to succeed at any life change or endeavor, sticking out the tough (and sometimes all-out-freakin’-abysmal) times is tantamount to victory. Tides turn over time, and you can be assured that your down-slide will turn to an upswing sooner or later. Amazing things happen to those patient enough to wait; loss is only guaranteed if you throw in the towel. Stick it out like a Continental.


  • He did not let his inexperience or “not knowingness” distort his mission — Up to the time of his appointment, George Washington never commanded a large conventional army. He only knew what he had learned from military books, and by observing British commanders under whom he had served as a young man, but he did not let this cloud his sense of purpose (dharma), or keep him from going full force into the unknown. Too many of us cower under the nightmares we create in our minds over not being experienced, talented, smart, young, blessed or lucky enough to make the grade. You are never going to be one hundred percent ready to take any leap—heck, you might just find yourself in utter chaos brought about by nature itself: sink or swim time. While being prepared for what you can anticipate is one of my mantras, carrying on, despite your greenness, will take you to heights unanticipated. So fight through fear, and focus forward—it’s the only way to fly, anyhow.
  • Battle_of_PrincetonHe held steadfast through several demoralizing defeats — With his troops battered and beaten, without clothes or shoes, their Marches of Patience “traced by the Blood from their feet,” the General pushed onward, with a certainty that is needed to overcome any monumental obstacle. Certainty in this case is not of how things will unfold, but of the laser-focus discipline necessary to complete one’s destiny. We have all had to withstand demoralizing times, but when these come one after another, it takes real strength of will to maintain one’s sense of purpose. That is why I say it is important to be in-tune with one’s dharma or life’s purpose, because this is what drives us through the blizzard, battered and bloodied, with or without shoes. When our strength of purpose is greater than outward conditions, we conquer.
  • He was bold, creative and unorthodox — Washington did what was needed at all times of dismal uncertainty, and he did things differently. His bold moves completely perplexed the British army who thought they had the “old fox” trapped. He made the most of what he had, which was very little by way of supplies, artillery and even food. And while most armies would rest after battle, Washington had his moving, bringing them to safety, while their opponents slept. When we are in our own turmoil, nothing is more powerful than movement, action, and novelty. The harshest of times are what lead to innovation and new ways of doing things. If necessity is the mother of invention, then chaos is the father of efficiency. We so often learn to do things in a better way when we have just got to do something, anything, fast. Take your own dire circumstances as an opportunity to try new things, especially if you have lost money, resources or people, and you have got nothing much else left to lose. Get crazy; get creative—you will be surprised at what you come up with.


  • He dealt with the worst conditions, and learned from them — Nobody has had worse conditions than the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. Shortages of men, shoes, shirts, blankets, and gunpowder would have crippled most men into impotency, but not Washington who powered on. As Ellis put it, “The lesson Washington drew from that experience, learned not from books but from struggling on a day-to-day basis, was that the meaning of the Revolution…had been transformed during the course of the war.” Persistence, certainty, and tenacity are crucial elements during the toughest of times, but most important is what you learn from moment-to-moment. Too many of us keep our blinders on during tough times, when in fact our eyes should be the most open. What did you learn from each of your experiences? What was the upside to the downside, and vice versa? What can you be grateful for each day? Write it down, don’t mind-eff it—every day, write down and meditate on what you are grateful for. Focus on that.
  • WashingtonHe stayed true to his principles — Washington was no pushover. He loved and respected his men, for sure, as his many letters advocating on their behalf showed how deep his admiration. But make no mistake about it, the General stayed true to his position as leader and commander; he demanded discipline. He relieved officers of their duty if they showed dullness, cowardice or insubordination of any sort; he would string up deserters, and order “one hundred lashes to their bare backs for minor infractions.” Washington was driven by a profound purpose, and he knew his role within the dynamic. Know your role, and play it out to the fullest, to the best of your abilities, and without looking for reward or recognition. Doing things in this way will allow you to complete your mission without getting side-tracked by low-priority distractions or irrational emotions.
  • He did not attach to his perspective — Perspectives are relative, and attaching too firmly to any one closes you off to greater possibilities. Washington was generally firm in his convictions, but he was also able to let go, and in so doing, allowed his cause to unfold into its ultimate victory. Despite his stubbornness in wishing to attack the British again in New York, he relinquished to the French plan to attack in Virginia, where the French fleet was prepared to drive the British out of Chesapeake Bay. Washington’s giving in to a different perspective and path led to the decisive victory in the war. We simply cannot know everything, and more often than not, it is the unknown that holds the final solution, not the known, so let go when time calls for it (you will feel it intuitively). The exciting mysteries of life unfold in the space of the unknown. Trust in the process. Trust in the universal forces of destiny, and watch your cause manifest even better than how you envisioned it. This is a universal truth illustrated beautifully by Washington’s history in the war.

cornwallisAs I said, we can look to General George Washington not only as the father of America, but as an avatar on how to handle our own internal wars, and our external Valley Forges. By practicing discipline, confidence, tenacity, persistence, certainty, creativity and flexibility, we too can overcome the most dismal of circumstances, and create the change we have been working toward. Whether we are talking financial struggles, relationship struggles, challenges with children, or complete life-makeovers, just remain mindful of the traits Washington (and the entire Continental Army) exhibited during the Revolutionary War. We all must enter battles, survive wars, and carry crosses. How we come out on the other side depends directly on how we commit to walking through them. Be like the General and do it with purpose and conviction, and watch your destiny evolve in excellence.

The key teaching in the first book of the Yoga Sutras is the verse: “Yogaś citta-vritti-nirodhaḥ.” While a number of different translations for this Sanskrit (the primary holy language of Hinduism) line exist, they all essentially mean the same thing: “Yoga is a quieting of the mind.”Another interpretation which I love is:

“Yoga is the neutralization of the waves of feeling.”

Yes! If you can visualize thoughts as vibratory waves, propagating as concentric rings from the mind outward into the world, then you get a good representation of the manifesting powers of waking consciousness.

Propagation of a Mirage - DrNickCampos

By envisioning these propagating waves of feeling, we can see how our desires and fears, likes and dislikes, attachments and repulsions drive our perceptible experiences, and ultimately become manifest in the world. So yogaś citta-vritti-nirodhaḥ is a neutralizing (I love this term) of the thought waves of feeling, which is the goal of yoga—to be thought-less (without thought), to quiet the mind. It is within this quieting that meditation—and ultimately samadhi, or union—takes place. ~ Dr. Nick Campos, Seeking The Self Through Meditation

This excerpt from my upcoming book illustrates the final goal of yoga—union—along with its means: quieting the mind. Silence and union are the hallmarks of a complete yoga practice, which according to the Yoga Sutras includes eight limbs, or observances, that lead to the ultimate state of samadhi. While Patanjali (author of the Sutras) outlines one clear path to union, by no means does it stand alone; in fact, within the Hindu based philosophies, a number of equally viable alternative paths exist. The eight limbed yoga of Patanjali, however, is an excellent foundation for beginners, of which asanas or poses (what we typically refer to as yoga here in the west) are an essential limb. A weakened, tight, restricted and painful body is not really conducive to yoking, so if one cannot sit comfortably in silence (meditation), samadhi is rather unlikely.

While asanas are essential to yoga, true yoga comes from quieting the mind. Regular silencing has massive effects on the body (backed by extraordinary research), mind (more studies), and character (yup, studies even here). But the most valuable benefits which come from silence cannot be understood by mere words—they must be experienced.

Seeking The Self Through MeditationI believe every serious yoga student deserves to have this experience, and that is why I have created Seeking The Self Through Meditation, a twelve-hour comprehensive course on the meditative components of yoga.  The course covers technique, philosophy, movement and silence, the necessary foundations for a powerful yoga practice. This course is as much experiential as it is theoretical. While history and philosophy lay the ground work, this course uncovers tested and proven techniques for entering and maintaining  a state of “mindlessness,” along with multiple opportunities to practice during guided meditations. Additionally, this course addresses some of the physical obstacles to maintaining a long-term sitting posture, and the specific corrections to removing them.

I am offering this course to yoga, fitness and dance studios as a way for their instructors or members to deepen an already existing asana practice. It means little if your current asanas are traditional, gym training or dance, your practice/workout/sport/art will all benefit from the principles emphasized in this course. Further, you will learn ancient secrets to a complete body, mind and spirit vibrancy—timeless teachings of Self-awareness that are the spark of immortality.

For bookings: contact

Richard Pan, Ben Allen

Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, author of Calif. Senate Bill 277, which would sharply limit vaccination waivers

Time for me to weigh-in on this vaccine matter. As it turns out, politicians in California have proposed a bill to mandate vaccinations for all children. California Senate Bill 277, authored by Senator Richard Pan, would make vaccinations a requirement to enter school by removing current exemptions for religious or personal beliefs. This following several measles outbreaks over the last few years, most notably the Disneyland outbreak this past winter. The proposed measure has parents outraged over civil rights, and coming out in droves to oppose the bill.

The Disneyland outbreak sparked controversy earlier this year and lit up news and social media sites—everybody had an opinion. Pro-vaccination supporters, the most vocal and caustic of the groups, assert that parents who choose to not vaccinate their children are irresponsible, and they put everyone at risk with their decision. Pro-choice advocates believe it should be an individual choice, while anti-vaccination camps are terrified and angry over the many families that they believe have been damaged by vaccinations. It’s as big a controversy in health care as has ever been, and each side is fighting vehemently to have their view the victor in this struggle over public health.

The plan is early in the legislative process, but it has high-level support. Senate Leader Kevin de Leon, a Los Angeles Democrat, has signed on as a co-author. If it becomes law, California would join Mississippi and West Virginia as the only states with such strict vaccine requirements.

From December 28 to April 3, 2015, 147 people from seven states were reported to have measles and are considered to be part of a large outbreak linked to Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California. The outbreak likely started from a traveler who became infected overseas with measles, then visited the amusement park while infectious. However, no source has been identified. Analysis by CDC scientists shows that the measles virus type in this outbreak (B3) is identical to the virus type that caused the large measles outbreak in the Philippines in 2014 .

measles (Copy)

Authorities report that the majority of people who got measles were unvaccinated. Measles is still common in many parts of the world including some countries in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Africa. Travelers with measles continue to bring the disease into the U.S. Measles can spread when it reaches a community in the U.S. where groups of people are unvaccinated.

People opposed to the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination believe that the inoculant can cause illness, like autism or Crohn’s disease. Dr Andrew Wakefield, a consultant gastroenterologist, drew national attention to a possible link between autism and the MMR method of vaccination in a study in 1998, but resigned from his post at the Royal Free and University College Medical School in North London after being told his research did not ‘fit in’ with the college’s strategy. The method in question is providing three live, yet attenuated, viruses in the vaccination. Attenuated means alive but altered, so that the virus is weakened. Now with the added Varicella virus, the causative agent in chicken pox, you’ve got four attenuated viruses in one MMRV shot. Because of the magnitude and potentiality for pathogenic reversion (becoming virulent or dangerous within the host), some parents are naturally freaked out about what could happen to their child following one of these inoculations.

Pro-vaccination camps, particularly a number of pediatricians who say they see the horrors of these ‘childhood infections’ up close and personal, claim the fears are greatly blown out of proportion and are unwarranted. Further, they state correctly, that as the number of children going unvaccinated increases, the greater the risk of outbreak, and this puts us all at risk.

Community_ImmunityI was approached on this topic often over the last decade, primarily from peers who were having babies and having heard the controversies on vaccination, were unsure as to what to do. I disclosed my views in this podcast. While my views have not changed from the time of the recording, circumstances have, in a way I warned of, and that creates a very different environment—one that I would expect to stir the flame of this incendiary issue. As I pointed out in the podcast, I really believe this choice is best left to parents to decide. I think all parents should do their research. There is no denying the effectiveness of vaccines in curbing infectious diseases. The devastating illness that can result from virulent infections is nothing to play around with.

But, on the other hand, there is also no denying the small risk of complications from receiving a vaccination. Yes the probability of having an adverse event is small, but it’s enough that people can and have gotten ill from vaccinations. For families having to deal with the devastation of an adverse vaccination event, probabilities aren’t relevant—their child was hurt by something that, to them, in hindsight perhaps, was not entirely necessary.

Adverse reaction to Hep vaccine I also point out in the podcast the realities of herd immunity—the rationale for most people as to why vaccination is not absolutely vital for each individual—that it only applies when a certain percentage of the population has developed immunity, either through exposure or inoculation. When enough of the population has developed immunity, those without are also protected due to the inability for the pathogen to gain a stronghold within the majority of individuals, sparing the entire community. This effect, however, diminishes as the population’s immunity decreases, usually through non-vaccination as the incidence of exposure will also be low do to the herd effect.

We are in one of these periods now. Enough people have bypassed vaccinations for their children, and the herd effect is low enough that we should start seeing outbreaks. So the current events with regard to measles does not surprise me in the slightest. Keep this in mind, folks, because as your child remains unvaccinated, his or her risk actually goes up due to the diminishing herd effect.

Health-care-workers-say-no1 (Copy)Does this mean I advocate mandatory vaccination? HELL NO! Nothing in my mind is more a violation of civil rights than forcing any type of treatment, medical or otherwise, upon us. Are epidemics real potentialities? Yes. It takes sensible-minded people to take responsibility on their own to prevent them from happening. That’s why I write these posts: To alert people to the full picture.

Yes each inoculation is a risk—a small but real one. And if you are the unlucky family whose child suffers an adverse event…well I cannot think of anything worse. But you’ve got to carry out your due diligence and do the honest research—on both sides. That’s exactly what we did with my daughters, and I have to say that getting both sides really colored my perspective. You will see that many factors are necessary to consider: school conditions (which are very hard to predict or control in a big city, or anywhere for that matter), whether or not you will travel with your children, open borders and freedom of movement throughout the world (heck I was just in Peru—I got vaccinated, without question), many things that should have you weighing both sides.


In the end, we vaccinated my daughters for what we considered the big ones—MMR (I don’t remember if we did chicken pox), DPT, polio, hepatitis—but never the flu. It was a personal decision. I do not believe it is the right decision for anyone else—you have got to figure that out on your own. As far as endangering others, well we endanger each other every time we get in a car; that’s a part of life. I don’t believe we must then force-feed medications/vaccinations down people’s throats because of it. Both side always exist together, and wisdom resides in the center. So I believe that discerning parents will start to inoculate again, especially as outbreaks and illness continue to come closer to home, as the Disneyland outbreak most certainly had. But until people make those decisions on their own: Get the government mandates the HELL off the ballots! No way could I support that. I am in deep admiration of the courageous and tenacious parents standing up for the fundamental right of choice. Step down from this duty and watch Brave New World unfold in front of your very eyes.

Vaccinations are a tricky number due to the potentiality of disaster on either side of the extremes. But we must continue to question manufacturers, science and the law on this controversy, lest one side overpower the other and threaten the civil rights of us all.

six-keysI have recently become aware of questions and comments pertaining to bottled water, particularly if it is the “biggest scam” of the century. I wrote about this subject extensively for my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health, and while the book has been in print for going on seven years now, I am certain the information I provided is as relevant as ever today. I am including an excerpt here so you can get the gist of the water industry in general, and the value of bottled water specifically.

When we consider all the contaminants that infuse our drinking water today, is it any surprise that the bottled water industry has exploded, enjoying thirty-five billion dollars in sales worldwide? More than half of all Americans (54 percent) consume bottled water regularly, with 36 percent drinking it more than one time per week. Sales in the United States have now topped nine billion dollars and are rising rapidly. According to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, bottled water sales have been increasing at a rate of 9.1 percent per year. That makes it the fastest growing beverage segment in the United States, second only to sodas as the most consumed beverage by volume.

bottled waterThe quest for health has led Americans to consume bottled water at astonishing rates. Although most people poled in 2003 replied that health was the major reason for drinking bottled water, taste and convenience were also cited. Is bottled water really safer than tap, though? The answer to that question may actually startle you.

The EPA regulates public tap water. Bottled water, on the other hand, is a packaged product and is therefore considered a food item: that means it is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA has standards for bottled water that are as stringent as those set by the EPA’s for tap water. However, as reported by National Resources Defense Counsel (NRDC) Senior Attorney Eric Olson in his 1999 report, the FDA has a “weak regulatory framework,” which unfortunately “may allow careless or unscrupulous bottlers to market substandard products.”

bottled tapWhat this means is that you do not always know how pure bottled water is. No law prohibits bottled water manufacturers from using a label with a picture of mountains or springs, regardless of the actual source of the water. Companies are therefore free to bottle tap water and market it with a label depicting some scene from nature. Seems misleading, right? Well, unfortunately, it’s completely legal. There are rules, though, which require bottled water labels to disclose the origin of the water (spring or mineral), the manufacturer, and the volume. If the water is from a municipal source and not treated any further, the label must say From a Municipal Source or From a Community Water System. Where this whole process starts to become convoluted is when a company takes regular tap water and treats it further; this can be something as minor as chlorinating the water, which is usually a pretty good sign that it is municipal tap water. Treated municipal water is not required to be labeled as such; therefore, companies can call their water “purified.”

3165233628_da0fcc1aa1_nAccording to government and industry estimates, about 25 to 40 percent of all bottled water is actually bottled tap water. Some cities have announced that they too will get into the bottled water business by selling their tap water without further treatment. And if those were not enough, the two largest beverage companies in the world, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, have also entered the bottled water race with their brands Aquafina and Dasani respectively. “Aquafina reportedly is treated tap water taken from 11 different city and town water supplies across the nation,” says the NRDC. PepsiCo executives explain that anybody can find out the true source of Aquafina by calling the 800 number on the bottle top. Sure, just let me call the number on this bottle top while I take a break from reading the inserts my utility company has sent me—give me a break! With mountains pictured on the label, I should assume that it means I am drinking pure mountain spring water, right? But there you have it—bottled tap water from the makers of liquid sugar. Today, Aquafina is the number 1 branded noncarbonated bottled water in the country.

Bottled water = big Money So if 40 percent of bottled water is just tap water, how come it is so expensive? Industry experts disclose that 90 percent or more of the cost paid by consumers for bottled water go to things other than the actual water like bottling, packaging, shipping, marketing, retailing, and profit. And being tap water, bottled water from municipal sources may be contaminated with agents like fecal matter, bacteria, arsenic, and other carcinogenic chemicals. The NRDC did a four-year study to test bottled water safety and found 22 percent of brands tested chemicals at levels above strict state health limits. They concluded that “if consumed over a long period, some of these contaminants could cause cancer or other health problems.”

To be fair to many of the nation’s largest bottled water companies, most bottled water did pass the safety standards set by the NRDC in their study. Consumers can find out the source of their bottled water by visiting the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA). The IBWA is a trade organization that helps the FDA set safety standards on bottled water. Members of
this organization must submit to an annual, unannounced inspection administered by an independent, internationally recognized third-party organization. This inspection ensures that its members are bottling and selling safe water. Please visit their Web site to check on your local bottler, supplier, or distributor.

Making a decision about whether to buy bottled water comes down to a couple of key points…

This is only a portion of the bevy of information I provide on drinking water and the numerous other aspects of keeping healthy and well in the twenty-first century. Pick up a copy of The Six Keys to Optimal Health here to get the most essential information and advice on health and wellness in print today.

dr-drug-abuseWhat’s the difference between a drug addict and a physician who’s a drug addict? Access. That’s right, while the numbers of substance abusers within the general population and among physicians is roughly the same—around ten percent—doctors are more likely to abuse prescription drugs. Obviously this is a scary notion if the doctor is in charge of life or death situations.

A measure to randomly test physicians was defeated in California last November. Experts believe it was due to an addendum for increasing malpractice policy limits, which opponents argued would increase health care costs for everyone. The plan would have mandated random drug and alcohol testing for physicians, overseen by the state medical board. Physicians could have been tested if they were suspected to be abusing substances or after an unexpected patient death or serious injury. It would have also required physicians to report colleagues to the medical board if they suspected impairment on the job resulting from substance abuse. If doctors tested positive, their medical licenses would be suspended, pending investigation.

Some of the facts revolving around physician drug abuse:

  • Studies estimate that 10 percent to 15 percent of physicians develop a substance-abuse problem in their lifetime
  • In one study*, 69 percent of physician substance abusers had abused prescription drugs—most often narcotic painkillers such as oxycodone (Percocet, Oxycontin) or hydrocodone (Vicodin), but also sedatives and stimulant drugs
  • When physician substance abusers asked why they used drugs, they sometimes admitted to “recreational use.” But more often, they said they were “self-medicating” for physical pain, depression, anxiety or stress in their personal or professional lives
  • One-out-of-three physician substance abusers relapsed following treatment
  • In a 2010 JAMA study, 17 percent of physicians surveyed said they personally and directly knew an impaired or incompetent physician in the prior three years
  • Only 67 percent of physicians who knew of a colleague’s problems reported it to relevant authorities
  • Emergency medicine physicians used more illicit drugs. Psychiatrists used more benzodiazepines. Comparatively, pediatricians had overall low rates of use, as did surgeons, except for tobacco smoking. Anesthesiologists had higher use only for major opiates. Self-reported substance abuse and dependence were at highest levels among psychiatrists and emergency physicians, and lowest among surgeons.
  • Compared to the average person, doctors tend to have more guilt and shame surrounding their addiction

addiction-doctorsSince 2004, random drug testing has been in place for anesthesiology residents at Massachusetts General Hospital, and it appears to be working: During six years before the program was implemented, there were four substance abuse incidents, but not a single one since. Bravo!

To quell fears of police state tactics, it is important to note that punishment is not the purpose of the monitoring—it’s patient safety. With medical mistakes booming, it is important to reduce risk at every corner. It is also to get the physicians much needed help. Most states already have physicians health programs (PHP—*where above study results were gathered) to monitor participants, evaluate needs and direct treatment. A BMJ study in 2008 showed that 65 percent of physicians enrolled in PHPs remained free of substance abuse for five years.

Well I feel for these docs, I do, because I can only imagine the difficulty of kicking a habit when it is readily accessible. It is really too bad that they tried to bundle the malpractice increases within the mandatory testing, because I can see why that made the measure unappealing. Malpractice litigation is already out of control, and raising limits from $250K to $1.1 million, as the measure intended to do would have made it too easy for unscrupulous, greedy lawyers (the next group needing sails deflated) to abuse an already taxed system. Out of control malpractice litigation is one reason unnecessary and costly diagnostic testing has gone overboard. So, again,I can see why voters rejected it. Good move, actually.

But be on the lookout for mandatory testing in your state, because it looks like, despite the failure in California, it’s coming. And that’s a good thing for patients, and the doctors challenged by substance abuse. Patients should not be at risk from a surgeon nodding out during a procedure, and doctors should get the help they need, even if it comes against their will at the time. I am certain they will be relieved when all is said and done.

drug mishaps elderlyA client of mine told me today how he monitors and manages the large number of meds his partner is on. Drugs for blood pressure, HIV, an organ transplant, “high” cholesterol, and a bevy of miscellaneous medications is a lot for any individual to keep a handle on, and unfortunately relying on one’s physician to do so is like putting one’s faith in the government. In fact, it was just this topic—how the partner’s doctor nearly screwed up by ordering potassium when the patient’s potassium was already high—that got us talking about managing one’s meds. My client was infuriated because the doctor was making assumptions regarding an episode of dizziness instead of taking the necessary tests—odd in a culture of diagnostic over-testing, but really, as with any profession, anything can happen.

While I accept the above story with a grain of salt, as I understand that people color facts as they wish the story to be taken; however, I still believe it is wise practice to be the one in control one’s medication schedule, or that of one’s loved ones. So my client provided me with a sample spread sheet he uses that I loved so much I want to share it with you. You can print the picture below, or the link will take you to a downloadable document. You could also just type out your own, using the provided document as a sample.

Sample Drugs List Layout

While I think the document my client put together is outstanding, I do think one column could be added, and that would be adverse drug reactions. My client pointed out that pharmacies keep an eye out for that, I still think taking personal inventory on the matter is wisdom. It does act as a reminder to keep all of one’s prescriptions with the same pharmacy.

Also notice that my client not only lists the medication, but dosages and times of ingestion. This is another way one can help prevent over-ingestion, and thus overdosing. Creating a few more columns with the days of the week, and using hash marks to signify when each drug was taken, or some similar method would also be helpful.

Yes taking medications, particularly loads of them, requires discipline and responsibility. That’s the way it should be. Be smart and use this chart to take control of your or your loved one’s medication schedule. The average American senior is on a litany of drugs, and drug mishaps are all too common. By organizing one’s drug schedule with a system such as this, it is one more step toward safety and accident prevention.

HarmonologyThe following is an excerpt of the foreword I wrote for Stephen O’Connor’s latest book, Harmonology: An Insider’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Through Music

Music has played an important role in my life for as long as I can remember. I am sure I am not alone in this sentiment as many of you must feel the same way. Who among us cannot visualize his or her life’s story to the sound of the important music each has resonated with at various points in time? When we think of the greatest influencers throughout history, many have been music makers. So why does music have such a profound influence on us, our lives, and even the world, and on such a dramatically grand scale? It is because music is a primordial sensory archetype buried deep within our collective unconsciousness—that layer of consciousness lying just beneath our personal unconscious awareness, formed by millions of years of evolution, and common to all people. The psychoanalyst Carl Jung called it the lower stratum of the psyche, the source of instinctive behavior, those which come from the constant repetition of universal emotional experiences, like the rising and setting of the sun, wakefulness and sleep, happiness and sadness, conflict and resolution, and the change of seasons. Music, then, has the ability to touch that deeply unconscious part within us, bringing forth an intense appreciation of the beauty of the universal vibrations to which we all resonate.

Primordial SoundWhat is this universal vibration? The Vedic philosophies call it Om (or Aum), the primordial sound. According to these teachings, Om is the original vibration, leading to all consciousness and material creation that is the known universe. It is considered the manifestation of God in form. In the sacred Hindu text the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says to Arjuna:

“I am the father of this universe, the mother, the support and the grandsire. I am the object of knowledge, the purifier and the syllable om.”

In Judaic and Christian religions, the heaven and earth is said to have been created by the Word of God (Logos). From the first chapter of the Gospel of John:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made…”

Even modern science has identified this universal vibration, this primordial sound, as the “music of creation.” Regular patterns in the so-called afterglow of creation, astronomers say, were caused by sound shock waves shortly after the Cosmos was born. Scientists have even been able to determine the musical notes associated with these waves. Said Italian astronomer Paolo deBernardis:

“The early Universe is full of sound waves compressing and rarefying matter and light, much like sound waves compress and rarefy air inside a flute or trumpet. For the first time the new data show clearly the harmonics of these waves.”

bigbang-immagine-di-anateprima (Copy)Music is thus the archetype of all creation to human beings, and as such represents the most elemental feelings of beauty that reside within us. I would even go as far to say that all living things resonate to sound vibrations, and modern science continues to amass evidence in support of this notion.

So while music as a reflection of the primordial sound may connect us to all living things, another human attribute separates us from every other species: The ability to use models or symbols to expand our reality. Tool making is one such application of modeling, which actually helped separate our early ancestors from similar species that continued to cling to trees. In fact, tool making was one of a handful of skills that rapidly progressed our evolution into the world-dominating species we are today. And our persistent use of models and symbols over several millennia has led to technological advances that have ultimately resulted in the construction of massive civilizations, instantaneous trans-planetary communications, and regular exploration of outer space and the cosmos, along with a myriad of other marvels.

CounterpointWe have mastered this use of symbolism to expand our reality. Much of the advanced scientific thinking of today has started out initially as a model, theoretical at first, but after some observation and testing, the model is accepted or rejected as a reasonable representation of nature. What is Interesting is that we tend to look to nature itself to come up with ideas on how other aspects of it might operate. Call it an understanding we humans have—whether innate or via thousands of years of experience—that we find within nature a number of processes which repeat themselves. By simply looking at the histories of aviation, biotechnology, artificial intelligence and even warfare throughout the ages, we can see how nature has been the greatest influencer on human innovation. It is this ability to describe and understand our universe from the physical, to the mental, to the experiential, by creating models based on known natural processes that have expanded our thinking, and our reality, to where they stand today.

These two themes—the universality of music as a connector to the primordial sound of creation, and the uniquely human trait of using models and symbols to expand our reality—are what have captivated me most by the literary and philosophical work in front of you now. Harmonology: An Insider’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Through Music came to my desk by means of a request from the work’s author, Stephen O’Connor, to take a look at the book and possibly write a foreword. The author and I had met back in 2012 when, through a serendipitous bit of synchronicity, our paths crossed in the virtual universe, specifically the dimension of social media. I speak of our meeting as synchronous because, having read and reviewed his first book, Counterpoint to Reality, I became acutely aware that he and I had been destined to meet. And I paradoxically refer to our meeting as serendipitous because—as I sit here having just finished his current work—I feel a sense of gratitude for the great insights that I have received from the philosophy and model that is harmonology.

red-counterpointThrough this book, and the insights contained within the harmonology model, I am able to see that my day-to-day interactions, my relationships, and my work are all a part of a grand universal symphony, of which my experiences are the individual notes and harmonies that make up the musical masterpiece of my life. By studying this manuscript, the reader will see, as I have, the inherent order in his or her relationships—both romantic and otherwise—through the model of the 12 note musical scale. The author has brilliantly made the connection between the primordial sound and how people vibrate individually, as well as with one another, and has created a reasonable model, through observation and research (albeit small at this time), which seems to support the principles of consonance and dissonance inherent in the rules of Counterpoint (the relationship between musical sounds that are interdependent harmonically yet independent in rhythm and contour)…

I have left the remainder of the foreword for you to read when you pick up this book, and I highly recommend you do so. The information contained within Harmonology: An Insider’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Through Music, will give you valuable insights into your current relationships, your life experiences and yourself. I believe you will find, as I have, that Harmonology is fairly accurate in describing your current, past and even future relationships. Relationships are life’s harmonies and we are the musical notes. Harmonology: An Insider’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Through Music does an exquisite job of showing you exactly how these notes blend together to make up the symphony of your life. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

Part 3 of a multipart series (part 2 herepart 1 here)

poor-salesIt has been awhile since I have added to this fascinating subject, but today I feel inspired so here goes: We have been discussing going with the flow, and what happens when “the flow stops flowing”? In part one, I discussed the foremost question one must ask, and that is how one is to define flow—is it money, is it being purpose driven, or is it something else? I think that needs to be known upfront before we can determine if and where the flow has actually stopped flowing.

In part two I discussed the possibility that what we are using to measure flow might be something not really that high on our values. I use money as the example, but it really could be anything—success (whatever that is; another term we would need to define), contact list, people reached, or whatever. People often believe they should value something valued by others, an authority or society as a whole, but we value what we value—trying to make it something else will only lead to frustration and possibly depression. A much better strategy would be to honor, appreciate and submerge yourself in what you truly value.

Higgs BosonBut now the question arises: What if we do, in fact, value money? And let’s say it has been our measure of flow, and perhaps that flow has stopped flowing. What might be some reasons for the drying up? Ahh…now this is an excellent question. When a scenario of this kind does occur I find it enormously revealing, and while I suspect it can be difficult for the one immersed to see the big picture, I do believe this type of thing is a completely ordered event, one meant to shape our growth and development.

The universe is an ordered entity. There are subtle energies at play at all times; these energies have effects on sentient beings such that they push and prod us to move in the direction of our dharma. Remember that? Dharma is our life’s purpose, and we all have one. Better to tune-into yours than to blow off the notion as mumbo-jumbo, and allow life to unfold randomly. These subtle universal forces act on individuals all the time—physically, mentally, socially, through personal relationships, economically, and through acts of nature. These forces are nature moving you in the direction of dharma fulfillment.

So here is a short-list of reasons why a formerly abundant flow might have dried up:

  1. listening-to-your-customers-on-social-mediaIt might be time for new products, services or information. A lack of flow may signify a lack of interest in your current product, service or program. Not a biggie—just time to evolve. Listen to your clients and customers—ask them what they want. That is the great thing about social media: you can see what people are into—what they are posting about, their conversations, their questions to you—all these give information as to how you can improve what you provide. Everything changes, including what people are looking for. Thus it may be the product, service or information that’s stagnant reflecting itself in flow.
  2. It may be time to change your avenues of dissemination. In other words, you might need to bring yourself up to speed with what’s resonating with people today. Some people, companies and industries are slow to catch onto current lifestyle trends. At the rate at which things change today, that’s professional and business suicide. And those most susceptible are, without a doubt, entities that have enjoyed previous success. It is very hard to not leave well enough alone, but fail to change with the times and watch the flow stop flowing suddenly and dramatically. I am amazed at how many in my profession of chiropractic are still clueless about having and maintaining something as basic as a website (Stone Agers)! Then there are those who say they don’t do social media. Uhh…well then you are killing yourself (Bronze Agers). What about review sites, videos, blogging, Yelp, mobile apps, and the list goes on and on. Have you failed to take your business to the next level (Iron Agers)? Well duuuuuuhhhhh….!caveman and computer
  3. It might be time to reevaluate your product, service or information’s value to people. Yes, maybe you think your business is more valuable than it really is. You might be right on the money with your self-assessment, but it never hurts to reexamine. Listen, I have described here how business is a monetary exchange of perceived value. If the flow has stopped flowing, and that flow is money, then to me THAT speaks volumes! It doesn’t mean you suck—it simply means that, without question, it’s time to grow. Face it, people just aren’t that into some things anymore. People’s needs and interests evolve. Film developing, CDs and DVDs, the Yellow Pages—these are just a few examples of things that are dead or dying fast. C’mon! I am sure you can think of a few relics in your industry…heck you might even be attached to one or more. It sure wouldn’t be so hard for me to see why your flow has stopped flowing if you are selling the obsolete.
  4. career-change-nowIt might just be that your current product, service, or information is no longer one of your highest values. Hey people change! Our interests grow, we evolve, we desire to touch more people—this is a natural process in life. And while you may still have love for what you do, it may be time to see how you can expand yourself. Maybe it is time to teach, or to write books, or to speak to corporations—all of these would be growth for somebody who is working one-on-one with clients. Remember subtle energies are at play within the universe, and that energy flows between and among people. If you are no longer truly inspired by what you do, but are doing it because, “it pays the bills,” well then guess what? Your clients will feel it too; and they will stop coming—believe me, I’ve seen it more times than I can count. It’s all energy, and you can’t hide your underlying feelings (except from yourself). Consider it a wake-up call, for you to expand into the next leg of your dharmic path. I’ve met attorneys on their way to medical school, corporate paper-pushers moving on to give guided adventure tours, you name it. This life is meant to be lived NOW, today! Listen to what your heart is really telling you and go after what you love. If you don’t know how to do it, then contact me: I help people every day with this exact dilemma (

The universe is a perfectly ordered entity, even if it does not seem that way on the surface. Even when it looks like life is reigning in chaos, forces are pushing you toward fulfilling your dharma. Where would the world be had Walt Disney, J.K. Rowling or Thomas Edison not followed their universal push?

Braided riverA true flow never stops flowing, not without another channel opening in its place. We exist in an energetic universe, where transformation is the key. You have to ask the right questions, do the right evaluations, and then listen to the messages the universe provides through its subtle energies. It helps to be in-tune with those energetic fluctuations, and there are methods for becoming more proficient at doing so (contact me for available courses or consultations). But the most important thing is to understand this aspect of the universe, and how its energies are at play constantly to push you toward fulfilling your life’s mission. Without this knowledge and understanding, it IS a universe of chaos, and it would not surprise me to see someone completely baffled by an apparent “flow that has stopped flowing”. But wake up to the magnificence of the universe, and follow its natural flow. If you open yourself to this possibility, I promise you will be amazed at what unfolds.

moneyMost people believe that money is the answer to everything. There is even a joke that, “Money may not buy happiness, but it’s better to cry in a Lamborghini than on a bicycle.” Har har har…yeah, ‘cept it ain’t necessarily true. While surveys and studies can be found to support any position, a recent Money Magazine survey (Sept 2014) showed that “what makes retirees happiest,” isn’t money, but health. Yes health! Duh! And that is what this post is about: How having money may actually be a hindrance to good health. But not for you, because you read this blog, and you take the information, assimilate it and act accordingly. Right, read on:

Retirees Happiness (Copy)This post came to my attention while discussing my cousin’s employer with my mom. Turns out the employer is an elderly man who sits on the board of a major tech company. He’s financially loaded, and he also spends much of his non-working time visiting doctors. He is on a multitude of medications—for cholesterol, for high blood pressure, for bipolar, for sleep disturbances, and on and on. We know this because my cousin is this man’s personal assistant. As I listened to this story I couldn’t help but think how this man, so representative of the average American senior with regard to his health care, was on this polypharmacy path for one simple reason: He could afford to be.

Then it got me thinking about our new “universal health” system, which essentially promotes the lifestyle I have just described. Yes it does. The premise was that everybody deserves as much modern medicine as they need. Uh huh… Let this man’s story illustrate what we become when we rely on the medical industry to guide our health decisions.

seniors medsWait Campos! That’s unfair: We do not know this man’s particular circumstances. Okay, true, but we do know a few things. As of 2012, 65 percent  of American seniors were on three or more prescription drugs, 36.7 percent were on five or more prescription drugs. We also know that many conditions today, which receive a large proportion of annual prescriptions, are lifestyle related. Take last year’s (2013-2014) most prescribed medications for instance, four of ten were for conditions that can be significantly improved (or prevented) with the proper lifestyle modifications (and I would argue that three others could be avoided with “alternative” approaches, mostly paradigm shifts). Cholesterol lowering, heartburn, blood pressure lowering, and diabetes—all preventable AND fixable with proper lifestyle modifications.

But is that the road most westerners choose? No! For whatever reasons—be it looking for easy answers, rationalizing, or the shared doctor-patient belief that only meds are truly viable—the majority of Americans (and our European and now Asian counterparts) choose the polypharmacy route over caring for their health, and I am certain that is a disease of modern affluence. We run to medical care because we can! Yes it’s the easier answer to control our dysfunctions rather than correct them through lifestyle modifications. So much easier to take a pill then walk around the block every day, pump iron, lay off the sugar, and so forth. And we have been conditioned to believe that is the only way to do it. It doesn’t matter how much information comes out extolling healthy behaviors: The average westerner runs to his or her doctor for a medical fix first—that’s what the data shows.

Low Cost HealthI actually believe that the so-called have-nots are in a better position health-wise, as they can take their health into their own hands from an early age. What we do habitually is what matters most, and so focusing on healthy behaviors soon and often will not only be best for your current health, but also will train you to look to yourself when health challenges arise. Heck yes, medical care is necessary in many circumstances; but understand that our reliance on medicating fixable conditions is deeply ingrained into your psyche by years of observation and acceptance. Evidence of lifestyle modification improving conditions like type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol (if that’s even an accurate diagnosis as it is doled out today), high blood pressure and many gastrointestinal issues (like gastric reflux) abound. You do not have to be the victim of historical tradition—frankly it’s foolish.

Don’t let your ability to indulge in medical care be the definitive factor in how you approach your health. Use our incredible medical system for crisis care, and you take care of the lifestyle part. Believe me when I say that you can neither buy happiness nor health. I would venture to bet that my cousin’s employer would trade his wealth any day for a return of his health. Heck I guess he is in a way now anyhow. What a crazy world we live in.

Shanice Clark

Shanice Clark found dead from apparent accidental choking on chewing gum

As I have been talking about choking children, a tragic story comes out of Pennsylvania this week where a star college basketball player was found dead, an apparent victim of gum asphyxiation, or choking to death on chewing gum while sleeping. This may sound like some scare tactic your grandmother tells you to get you to spit out your gum, but it appears to be real, and with severe consequences.

baby choking

Women’s college basketball player, Shanice Clark, a senior at California University of Pennsylvania, was found in her apartment around 3 a.m. Sunday morning and pronounced dead an hour later. Important to note that while police are ruling this an accidental choking, blood tests and an autopsy are pending and the death is still being investigated. Clark was twenty-one, a six foot tall forward from Toronto, Canada.

Although choking on chewing gum is rare, it still it warrants caution. Watch your children, teens and even adults, as this story shows that anybody can choke to death. Be cautious with candy as well (children under 4 years of age should never be given hard candies or gum)—really just about anything can block an airway enough to cause choking and death. And again I stress—learn first aid/CPR—you’ll never be sorry for it.

A real freak tragedy in Pennsylvanian this week. Make sure you spit out your gum if you feel sleepy. That’s all.

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