Part 2

Brain statesIn part one of this series, I discussed how former drug users might benefit physically by taking up a regular meditation program. I also touched on how former drug users are at an advantage when it comes to “finding the Self”, as the mind-altering action of some drugs approximates the deeper states of meditation. In this piece, I will address a few mental and inspirational elements that regular meditators enjoy, which will also help former drug users find what we are all ultimately looking for—a deeper connection to our true Selves—all while keeping them off dangerous drugs.

The Way I Cope

Drugs not only make the body feel good, they make the mind feel invincible. Amphetamines were given to World War II pilots as a way to keep them awake and alert on numerous sorties throughout the war. Even today, speed-like drugs are given to ADD-labeled children and adults to help them concentrate. Drugs do, in fact, enhance our mental capacities in the short-term. Whether talking stimulants for alertness and concentration, or the mind-expanding quality of hallucinogenics: the primary use of many recreational drugs is for altering mind-states.

Stress copingGoing within via meditation also alters consciousness states. As we deepen our meditative practices, we pass through states of consciousness that simulate dream states or even deep sleep (albeit consciously). It is for this reason that former drug users have a hand up on most non-users—they know what it feels like to pass through these varying stages of consciousness. When meditating, the former drug user will recognize and feel a sense of calm, ease and comfort passing through these stages. Call it an acquired skill to feel comfortable as one makes it through these transitions. The average person often must take several passes through a consciousness state to feel comfortable enough to allow it to happen on its own without a mental disruption or dispersion of the state.

From a mind perspective, meditation has also been shown to decrease anxiety—a godsend to anybody who uses, or has used, drugs at one time or another “to cope.” Studies have shown meditation increases stress adaptability as well. Or plainly, regular meditators handle stress better—one reason some people turn to drugs to begin with. Further, meditators have been found to feel less lonely. It is well known that loneliness is associated with increased incidence of illness and death. A regular meditation practice, then, goes a long way to preserve the psychological, emotional and physical wellbeing.

Finally, regular meditators have been found to have increased brain activity in the prefrontal cortex, the area responsible for executive function, while simultaneously decreasing activity in the amygdala, the area of emotional reaction. Executive function encompasses a number of mental processes, but put simply, this region is responsible for inhibiting emotional outbursts or impulsive behaviors. The amygdala, on the other hand, is the area where memory, decision-making and emotion work together to elicit quick responses. These two regions are regularly at odds with one another, balancing how we wish to act—venomous anger for example—with how we contain ourselves. The amygdala in teens, for instance, develops much more rapidly than the prefrontal cortex, leading to more reactionary decisions and impulsive behavior (one reason teens are at higher risk for accidents). But by meditating regularly, executive function is enhanced while reactionary amygdala function is depressed, and thus the practitioner becomes more poised and disciplined, thinking things through rather than exploding in unrestrained emotion.

The Voice I Hear

Woodstock-1969Some people have had spiritual experiences on drugs, as attendees at Woodstock or today’s raves might attest. This is because chemical substances acting on the brain can open doors to insights, compassion and even a feeling of “oneness,” things we ultimately all crave as human beings. For this reason, many habitual drug users return again and again to drugs to relive a temporary experience which we intuitively feel should be more permanent.

Users who have spiritual experiences are correct in their intuition—feelings of oneness are our birthright, and they should persist beyond the temporary high felt from drugs. The only way to tap into this eternal unity is by going within and awakening to the Self. While the term Self is actually interchangeable with many others—God, the absolute, the final reality, etc—it is incomplete and incapable of fully describing what yogis would call the source of all things. No matter which name you give it, this source is what we all truly want: reconnecting with the Self is the inner drive which underlies all human desire. And it is exactly this which is the basis for people turning to drugs.

When we uncover our true Selves, however, we concurrently uncover the bliss inherent in our source of being. Through this uncovering we come to realize that we exist in this material dimension (our form) for a purpose, and the deeper we go within, the stronger our realization of our life’s purpose becomes. But interestingly for the former drug user is that this realization also brings to light the purpose of the chosen path of substance abuse. Most people enter professions where they wish to make a difference, either in an area which they perceive themselves to have failed in the past, or in an area which they themselves have been helped. It is not surprising then that many former drug users, myself included, look to make a difference in the world of recovery—helping other addicts shake the illusions of the high drugs provide, and in finding the truth inherent in uncovering the Self.

Helping Drug AddictsRegular meditators have also been found to cultivate greater compassion—for themselves and others. Why is this important? Because it is so easy to beat oneself up for perceived mistakes one has made, and every other shame and guilt that comes along with drug addiction. Having compassion for one’s choices comes from a deep understanding that one receives as a result of going within. By understanding the greater purpose of our choices, we can open up to a world of gratitude for the life we have lived, and how it has lead us down our current inspired path. The highest service in life comes through giving from a place of compassion—the I-have-been-there-before state of empathy. Nobody can relate to this more than former drug users who have dedicated their lives to helping others, and this compassion is enhanced by a regular meditation practice.

Meditation has also been found to improve a person’s skill at introspection—the ability to reflect on one’s life and oneself mentally and emotionally. People who have a strong ability for introspection come to know themselves better, make better choices, and experience greater growth spurts emotionally and spiritually. As a consequence, meditation also opens the floodgates to inspiration, so creativity is enhanced as one quiets the mind of its incessant chatter and allows the Self to reflect unimpeded. Most creative geniuses have a way of tapping in—meditation is one surefire way to unleash our inherent potential and express creative genius. Start today to take advantage of this power we all possess.

OnenessPeople typically return to drugs to recreate an experience that brought them close to feeling the bliss of oneness with all things. That is because drugs open doors to states of consciousness which simulate stages we pass through along the path to union—the known deeper states of meditation. Drug-induced altered states of consciousness, however, are short-lived and they come with many unwanted side effects, most treacherously death. But what drug users are searching for is what all people ultimately search for: the bliss that comes from awakening to our true Selves. While many paths to the Self exist, meditation is time-tested and proven; its effects are long-term, and its many changes are permanent. Drugs will never bring the seeker what he or she is looking for, because like all external experiences, they are transitory and illusory by nature. Only by going within and uncovering the true Self will an individual find what he instinctively seeks: union with the entire universe. Meditation is a tool available to all of us—rich, poor, young, old, male or female—to bring us in-touch with our true essence, while enhancing our lives in body, mind and spirit. But even more astoundingly, former drug users may be at an advantage as they have experience in passing through various altered states in which the average, non-drug user is not so immediately comfortable. These reasons seem overwhelmingly encouraging for those in recovery to take on a meditation practice. Turn on and tune in, if you will, and you will find exactly what you have always been looking for.

prozac_cake_by_h0p31355-d4iys4qIt was only a matter of time. How long could the wool be pulled over society’s eyes before questions would arise? Antidepressants have been some of the most overprescribed meds in all of history, yet the “science” behind them is tainted with selective publication, where research groups leave out negative outcomes, and only publish favorable ones. But the real tragedy is in how western culture could buy in to the mass drugging  of society, the medicating of an illness of questionable etiology, and the anesthetizing of its children; all for one reason only: It was the easiest thing to do. Time is not on the side of the current pharmaceutical solution to depression, however, as larger, more scrutinizing eyes peer into the dark hole that is the antidepressant industry, and some of the truths revolving around the popular SSRI medications will finally be brought to light.

A recent comprehensive study carried out in Copenhagen, Denmark, and published last week in the BMJ (the British Medical Journal) showed that pharmaceutical companies were not presenting the full extent of serious harm in clinical study reports, which are detailed documents sent to regulatory authorities such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) when applying for approval of a new drug. Researchers examined documents from 70 double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of two common types of antidepressants—selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI)—and found that the occurrence of suicidal thoughts and aggressive behavior doubled in children and adolescents who used these medications.

dt_140827_rope_hang_suicide_depression_800x600 (Copy)This should come to no surprise for readers of this blog, as I have reported extensively on similar occurrences taking place within the antidepressant manufacturing industry since 2008! Remember when I told you how “one third of antidepressant drug studies are never published in the medical literature, and that virtually all of those that are hidden happen to show the drug being tested did not work”? Or how about when I brought you the 60-Minutes piece that disclosed that many of the studies that show antidepressants not doing much more than placebo have been hidden by the manufacturers who lead the studies. Hmmm…see a pattern here? How about when I told you of the government’s black box warning on antidepressants which were causing increased suicidality in young adults taking the medications. Or maybe you have checked out my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health, where I delve in to detail of the shameful practices of antidepressant industry. And remember…I told you that antidepressants were the third most common prescription drug taken by Americans of all ages between 2005–2008, and that  more children are on psychoactive drugs today than on any other drug ever before in history. Well if you actually have no clue as to what I am talking about do not feel ashamed, you are right in step with the rest of society, because you were never meant to know, you see. That was the idea. And if you did happen to find out, you likely let it gloss right over you, even if your child was on these same drugs, because you have been conditioned by a system to believe in your cultural health authority—your medical doctor. Little did you know that your trusted doc was being fooled as well.

BMJ-study-329 (Copy)According to the Scientific American article, The Hidden Harm of Antidepressants (February 3, 2016), “Last September a study published in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology revealed that a third of meta-analyses of antidepressant studies were written by pharma employees and that these were 22 times less likely than other meta-studies to include negative statements about the drug. That same month another research group reported that after reanalyzing the data from Study 329*, a 2001 clinical trial of Paxil funded by GlaxoSmithKline, they uncovered exaggerated efficacy and undisclosed harm to adolescents (emphasis mine).”

This latest Danish study discovered that some of the most useful information was in individual patient listings buried in the appendices. For example, they uncovered suicide attempts that were passed off as “emotional lability” or “worsening depression” in the report itself. This information, however, was only available for 32 out of the 70 trials.

“[This study] confirms that the full degree of harm of antidepressants is not reported,” says Joanna Moncrieff, a psychiatrist and researcher at University College London who was not involved in the study. “They are not reported in the published literature, we know that—and it appears that they are not properly reported in clinical study reports that go to the regulators and form the basis of decisions about licensing.”

Medical report (Copy)Here is an interesting tidbit on the dynamic between the pharmaceutical industry and the government regulatory system meant to keep an eye on it: The FDA requires pharmaceutical companies to fund and publish studies on all their products. As you might imagine, that is loads and loads of paper. To accommodate the reporting agents who must read these papers, thousands upon thousands of studies are combined in the form of a meta-analysis—a study of studies—where certain parameters are established, and these studies are collectively analysed and reported on. And who do you think prepares these meta-analyses? Yup…representatives with ties to pharmaceutical companies themselves. Duuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhh….

When the researchers from the Nordic Cochrane Center in Copenhagen attempted to secure the appendices from the EMA they were flatly denied.

“We found that a lot of the appendices were often only available upon request to the authorities, and the authorities had never requested them,” says Tarang Sharma, a PhD student at Cochrane and lead author of the study. “I’m actually kind of scared about how bad the actual situation would be if we had the complete data.”

“They talked about commercial confidentiality although there was absolutely nothing in these reports that was commercially confidential,” Peter Gøtzsche, a clinician researcher at Cochrane and a co-author of the study.

It took three years, repeated requests and complaints to the European Ombudsman—elected by the European Parliament to investigate claims against European Union institutions—for the research team to receive the documents. While the EMA vowed to increase public access to clinical-trial documents, no equivalent has been proposed for the U.S.

Medicine-Costs (Copy)You can see that the antidepressant industry—from publication to regulation—has had the cards stacked in its favor for decades. But as a result of the fine work carried out in Copenhagen, more attuned eyes are now on the case. It will be much harder to deceive the greater scientific community as it has been to fool the public and its pushers: the medical establishment. How the medical community has eaten up the fabrications conjured by Big Pharma without so much as a question: “Hey, why aren’t my patients doing significantly better?” “Gee how did we ever make it this far as a species without antidepressants if they are so crucial?” “Do my patients really need to be medicated from the time they are very young til the day they die?” “Are lifestyle drugs really the answer for a modern humanity?” I mean, really, no doctors ever had those thoughts? Ever? That’s what really blows me away. And to this day, doctors will defend their paradigm, “I know its helped my patients.You don’t have a competing theory.” But they can no longer say the science backs them up (as so many had assumed in the past).

31drug-inline1-650 (Copy)But, again, this entire fiasco is simply a dynamic: Individual doctors would naturally accept a paradigm taught in medical college as a sacred cow. What reason would compel the average medical doctor to question what seems to make sense. Isn’t that how we do it? Take the smoothest, easiest run down the river; why wouldn’t we? People want that. And we got it. What’s easier and more miraculous than pharmaceuticals? Seriously. AND…we get cool stuff for pushing it—pens, all-expenses paid trips, and updates from sales reps on the latest breakthroughs, science and public health figures along with Starbucks and muffins. Parents are happy because it appears something is being done. But don’t mind Junior—he just wants to kill himself… Listen, it’s a dynamic. If a doctor is not forced to make a change he or she will not. Even highly-discriminating professionals are susceptible to stagnancy.

High waves hittingEasy, solution, and profits are three words that make for a powerful force—elements of an unharnessed wave that can sweep over a village and wipe away its foundation before anyone knows what hit them. But a study like the one carried out in Denmark is a wake-up call for an inherently more powerful force, the force of the public good. As more accurate information gets out to the masses—like the dangerous side-effects of suicidal thoughts and aggression in young people taking antidepressants—people will be less inclined to make that choice for their own children, doctors will become less enamored with the pharmaceutical option for treating depression in children, and the regulatory agencies—under public pressure—will have to become more scrutinizing (which essentially means “more paper”).

And pharmaceutical manufacturers? Well they will merely look for newer drugs to replace the current antidepressants. In fact, they are already in the works now. A dynamic it will continue to be, just with different parameters to fool us for the next while.

*Please read up on study 329


Lottery winner“Dr. Campos,” the office manager said in her best business voice, “Would you like to contribute ten dollars to the office lottery pool?”

Ugh…we aren’t going to win. Greater chance of getting struck by lightning, twice! But I couldn’t stand to let my colleagues get rich without me, not for ten dollars…so I bought in.

I am relieved we did not win. It is not that I am above the fantasy…but I know something: Nobody unprepared to handle such a massive sum of money will keep it for long, or at the very least, the work it takes to manage a jackpot will stagger them. Very few people realize this fact, but many lottery winners rue the day they hit the numbers.

“You know, my wife had said she wished that she had torn the ticket up. Well, I wish that we had torn the ticket up too.” ~ Jack Whittaker, West Virginia, Powerball lottery jackpot winner, $315 million

BlingSpending sprees are the first order of business. Gotta buy the bling, and the houses, and the boa constrictors, and the stripper pole…you know, lottery-winner necessities. But ask any big-name athlete or celeb who has squandered away millions (Mike Tyson, Michael Jackson), it goes fast…like water through the fingertips if you are not careful. About 70 percent of people who suddenly receive a windfall of cash will lose it within a few years, according to the National Endowment for Financial Education.

Today, after spending almost all her winnings — “big house, fancy cars, designer clothes, lavish parties exotic trips, handouts to family, loans to friends” — [Sharon Tirabassi] is back in the working class: riding the bus, working part-time, living in a rented house.

But not just the spending, the people coming out of the woodworks with hands outstretched. Numerous lottery winners talk about friends and family who have come asking for assistance, only to get offended if the new millionaires say no or ignore their calls. On Good Friday 2004, Sharon Tirabassi and her sister, Shavaughn, walked to a variety store to buy lottery tickets.  Shavaughn also wanted a renters’ guide, but at the first store there were none, so they moved on without buying tickets. Next store, same thing, no renters’ guides. They continued walking for several blocks, entered the third store, where Shavaughn grabbed a renters’ guide. She went to the counter and bought a Super Seven ticket. Sharon followed and bought her ticket.

When Sharon won the $10 million lotto, Shavaughn believed it was because of herself; it was her wanting the renter’s guide (and purchasing two random pick tickets before Sharon) that allowed Sharon to be in the right place at the right time. Without Shavaughn, there would be no lottery winnings. For this reason, Shavaughn thought she deserved a payout. Sharon gave her $500K. Shavaughn wanted more. Today the sisters no longer speak.

I had to endure the greed and the need that people have, trying to get you to release your money to them. That caused a lot of emotional pain. These are people who you’ve loved deep down, and they’re turning into vampires trying to suck the life out of me.” ~ Sandra Hayes, split $224 million Powerball jackpot with a dozen co-workers in 2006

outstretched handsBesides the challenges of managing newly acquired wealth, many lottery winners make grave mistakes which affect their psychology and support networks. Some cut contact with old friends, family and their familiar neighborhood in order to move among the rich in a fantasy paradise. New neighbors are often not friendly to the ‘nouveau riche’ and as a result lotto winners have difficulty with social integration.

But the most macabre outcome for a number lottery winners is the death that seems to follow after hitting the jackpot. Take young Craigory Burch Jr., 20-year-old forklift driver-turned-lottery winner, who won nearly half a million dollars in Georgia; he did not live long to enjoy his winnings, as he was killed in a home invasion last month, only two months after purchasing a winning ticket.

Abraham Shakespeare Or take the story of Abraham Shakespeare of Sebring, Florida, $30 million lottery jackpot winner, found murdered and buried under a slab of cement in the backyard of his new lady acquaintance’s home.

Or Jack Whitaker, our $315 million jackpot winner from West Virginia, whose granddaughter was found dead, wrapped in a plastic sheet, dumped behind a junked van. The cause of death listed as ‘unknown’, but likely due to her drug lifestyle which Whittaker says is a direct result of his lottery winnings. He believes the Powerball win had become a curse upon his family. ”My granddaughter is dead because of the money,” he said.

According to a 2009 study by the Paris School of Economics, sudden windfalls can in fact increase one’s risk of death.

“Positive individual income shocks produce changes in lifestyles which may well be prejudicial to health. Exogenously higher income“—that is, wealth that comes, poof, out of the blue—”produces unhealthy living.” ~ Anneli Rufus, Lotto Death Curse

Out Of MoneyAdd 46-year-old Urooj Khan, who was found poisoned with cyanide following a $1 million jackpot win. And 47-year-old Deborah McDonald who was run over by a car near Sandusky, Ohio, after leaving a bar where she had been celebrating her win on the Ohio Lottery’s official TV show. And the bus in 2003, carrying a group of Germans, which overturned, killing 28—they were on a trip to Spain that they had won in a lottery. And the list goes on and on…

No I am grateful that neither me nor my colleagues hit the numbers last month. We are here to provide service to the world, and any windfall of big-time money is not going to get us there; it will serve the least amount of people—not the staff, not the clients, and not the community. I played the game for $10 to stay cohesive with my mates, but in the end I had to sigh a big, fat, “Phew…” Tragedy prevented by mathematical improbability. And on to play another day.


56a70bad78832.image (Copy) When it comes to cardiovascular events—heart attacks and blood clots in the heart or lungs—time is of the utmost importance. The sooner the person having the cardiac event get medical attention, the greater their probability of survival, and the greater their chance of preventing irreversible damage to the muscle tissue of the heart, which can eventually lead to heart failure. Most people know the symptoms of a heart attack—chest pain, shortness of breath, and pain in the left arm or between the shoulder blades. While these symptoms can be experienced by both men and women, women, in fact, can have unusual symptoms, and these differences may keep women suffering a heart attack from seeking immediate attention. Awareness of these signs of heart attack in women could prevent disaster, particularly so for black and Hispanic women, according to the American Heart Association.

While heart attack rates between men and women favor men slightly, women die at a higher rate of 1 out of every 3 to men’s 1 of 4—heart disease is the leading killer of both sexes annually. While chest pain, left arm pain and shoulder pain are typical and well known, as are shortness of breath, anxiety and dizziness, women can also feel nausea and vomiting, which does lead some to pass symptoms off as the flu or food poisoning. Women may also feel pain between their shoulder blades or neck pain, which is especially deceiving if the woman already has pain in those areas. Women tend to be about a decade older than men when they suffer heart attacks. And if women have diabetes, their risk is four to five times higher than it is for men.

heart-healthBlack women have a higher incidence of heart attacks in all age categories and young black women have greater probability of dying before they leave the hospital. Black and Hispanic women are also more likely to have heart-related risk factors such as diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure at the time of their heart attack.

Once a heart attack starts, time is of the essence: Getting help quickly minimizes damage and increases the chance of survival. Nieca Goldberg, M.D., medical director for the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU’s Langone Medical Center and an American Heart Association volunteer, says: “Although men and women can experience chest pressure that feels like an elephant sitting across the chest, women can experience a heart attack without chest pressure. Instead they may experience shortness of breath, pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, upper back pressure or extreme fatigue.”

And on women ignoring symptoms,“Many women I see take an aspirin if they think they are having a heart attack and never call 9-1-1,” Goldberg said. “But if they think about taking an aspirin for their heart attack, they should also call 9-1-1.”

Heart disease can be reduced by following some health basics:

  • photogallery_heart_disease_prevention_10_fullExercise – you have got to move; you have got to sweat. Fail to do either and increase your risk significantly.
  • Eat well – whole, natural foods, moderate portions, lots of water, fresh juices, vitamins supplements.
  • Rest – sleep and downtime are very important. People who don’t sleep enough are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease—regardless of age, weight, smoking and exercise habits.
  • Mental – balance those mental charges; Deep breathing and meditation go a very long way here
  • Minimize toxins – smoking, liquor, drugs, sugar, etc.
  • Medical – after 40, get checked consistently (to me rhythm is more important than frequency, but this will depend on your awareness and regular attention to body-health)

Women need to be mindful of heart attack symptoms. In sheer numbers, women are not much different from men, so knowing the warning signs of a heart attack, especially the unusual ones, may be the difference between life and death. The sooner any person having a heart attack gets into treatment, the less likely they will suffer irreversible tissue damage, which is almost a guaranteed future cardiac event. Be smart, ladies, save this link and go back to read the symptoms of heart attack every January 1st—it just might be the wisest health practice to do all year.


Part 1 here

Anorgasmia

I have previously written on some underlying factors which may cause anorgasmia. I have outlined four of the seven primary fears which pull people out of sexual consciousness and into self-criticism. As I have pointed out, our mental state is vital to our ability to perform sexually and to orgasm. Anorgasmia, while affecting more women than men, has every person susceptible if they succumb to any of these primary fears. I will finish this topic by discussing the final three fears, starting with the fear of inadequacy.

Fear of inadequacy

Fear of InadequacyThe next fear is related to our feelings of self-worth. While the fear of inadequacy could certainly apply to the fear of physical rejection, it is really our self-image in the world to which this fear applies. When a person misperceives her sexual worth in any given situation pertaining to her social or economic worth, or even her heritage, it can lead to hampered sexual arousal, and ultimately anorgasmia.

This fear is often financial in men.  As there is some evidence to women’s orgasmability being related to their male partner’s financial worth, at least according to one study, it thus makes this fear not completely unwarranted. However, men should consider that any true negatives on that end would likely prevent things from escalating outright, so if she is in bed with you, then it probably is not that.

Women, on the other hand, may feel intimidated by a difference in class, socio-economic status or racial heritage, which again can hamper relaxation, sexual arousal and orgasm. In fact, any feelings of inadequacy can do the same. This may be the number one reason some married couples only experience mono-orgasmic sex—that is, only one partner (usually the male) climaxes—even when both put in the effort. When one partner feels inadequate relative to the other, the sex will suffer. And when that feeling of inequality persists, so does anorgasmia. It is perfectly healthy for power to fluctuate in a relationship, and the partner perceiving the short end of the stick may express it sexually (albeit unconsciously); however, once balance returns, even if briefly, di-orgasmic sex can be had once again. Couples in awareness of this fluctuation can even find greater intimacy within this dynamic if the dominant partner uses it as an opportunity to nurture the other one sexually, and the non-dominant partner uses it as an opportunity to trust. Any power games played here, however, will run the risk of creating a mono-orgasmic sexual imbalance within the relationship.

Of course, this fear is based on a misperception, as one can never be beneath another. Saying this, however, it can be a difficult obstacle to overcome psychologically, and seeking help may be necessary. Please contact me if you have are having trouble with this fear and it is affecting you sexually.

 Fear of disgracing loved ones

Family disgrace“What would my mother think?” “What would my children think?” “What would my friends think of me if they knew I did/liked/desired that?!” The opinions of our loved ones matter to us, and many hold themselves back with an unconscious fear of disgracing ourselves in their eyes. This fear can be seen on more superficial levels as manner of dress, chosen profession (particularly in eastern cultures), even social and professional affiliations. It is closely related to fear of social rejection, only greater. If you can hear your mother scolding you, it is doubtful you will be climaxing. Now obviously some people might experience the opposite and actually get sexually aroused from the same scenario; however, most people who have an unconscious fear of disgracing their loved ones will be affected negatively sexually.

This can be tough and deep rooted, so I encourage anybody who is aware of this obstacle in their sex life to seek help. Please contact me.

Fear of dishonored reputation

reputationMany of us have worked hard to establish ourselves professionally, and as a result we have earned a certain reputation in our industries, our communities and within the world at large. It is not uncommon for the fear of loss of reputation to affect our decisions, in many ways good, as it keeps some of us in check, and prevents us from doing things that embarrass us later. However, when that fear runs deep it can affect sexual arousal, performance and orgasmability (creativity and partner satisfaction as well).

Some careers or professions are historically uptight—teachers, judges, clergy, to name a few—and thus people within those professions may have difficulty enjoying di-orgasmic sex. Saying that, however, anything that is repressed will be expressed elsewhere and so plenty of these professionals exhibit quite carefree (and sometimes careless) sexuality. The rise in female teacher sex relations with male students is testament to this. But to those afflicted with an irrational fear of losing face if their pleasures and fantasies are found out, only keep themselves from enjoying sex and experiencing thunderous orgasms.

While these seven fears may seem irrational to those who do not suffer them, I can assure you they are very real. And while some people are perfectly content with both their fears and their anorgasmic or mono-orgasmic sex lives, plenty are frustrated by them. If you happen to be one who cannot figure out why you no longer reach orgasm (or never have!), then it will be wise for you to self-reflect and investigate, and if you find that one or more of these fears is in fact hampering you, you can overcome them, and enjoy explosive sexual experiences that need to be experienced to believe. Please contact me if you need help in this area, and stop missing out on this natural gift that has been bestowed upon us humans—the pleasures of orgasm. Believe me your life will blossom.

Part 1

Cocaine BlissDrug addiction is a form of seeking. The high we get from drugs is the closest thing to the altered states of consciousness that are the hallmark of deeper states of meditation, including samadhi, and thus drug users—most unconsciously—are seeking what we all are: the internal source of bliss. Bliss can only be achieved from within, whether it be inspiration, fulfillment, joy or any other state of being; it is an inside job. Drug addiction, then, is like any other attachment to the external world—it is our seeking fulfillment from things outside of us.

The quest for bliss, or a something other than what we experience in the purely physical world, is a real and ubiquitous drive—a universal human yearning. We bounce from experience to experience, desire to desire, and even relationship to relationship—what the yogis would call gaining knowledge—seeking this bliss. And all these quests for the outer are necessary to lead us to the reality of the inner. Drugs and chemical highs are no exception. In fact, former drug users may even be at an advantage on this quest, as the altered states so familiar to substance abusers most closely approximates the different states the meditator passes through on his or her way to Self-realization.

Learning the Self is the most rewarding experience we can have, as it lasts a lifetime. While every former drug user has learned invaluable lessons about herself, only through conscious awareness and awakening can true Knowledge—and all it affords—be had. In seeking the Self the greatest of all fulfillments is ours—the bliss we are never able to find in outer experiences. By taking on this quest, the former drug user has the greatest probability of remaining clean, because what is a temporary high when compared to bliss?

russell brand meditatingThe quest to “find” the Self can be carried out by a number of paths. One such path is meditation. Meditation, the art of silencing the mind and going within, is a profound practice, one which has a number of short and long term benefits for the former drug user. The benefits range from the physical, like a decreased risk of debilitating cardiac events, to the mental (increased emotional control), to the spiritual, like greater creative inspiration. In the following paragraphs, I will touch upon these benefits of body, mind and spirit to encourage former users to take up the habit of going within. I am certain that when I am finished you will see that the enormous advantages the practice of meditation affords are far greater than any momentary highs we get from drugs.

The Way I Feel

Dopamine system

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Drugs feel good—we can thank the dopamine system for that. But the physiological sensations resulting from drug actions are temporary and come with the risks of tolerance, withdrawal and potential overdose. Going within, on the other hand, particularly via the path of meditation, provides physiological changes which are longer lasting, and many even permanent. These physical changes can feel good too, but they are subtle and come on gradually, so there is really no high with true meditation.

Meditation has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiac events—like heart attack and stroke—by one half. At risk African American men and women were given either a meditation program, muscle relaxation exercises or conventional health education courses. Those participants who meditated had nearly half the risk of suffering a cardiac event. These findings are particularly valuable for recovering methamphetamine and cocaine users, as stimulants can stress the cardiovascular system (heart and blood vessels). Further, the practice of pranayama (breath control) works to slow the metabolism, bringing down heart rate, respiration and blood pressure. These physiological changes are imperative for any person who has been artificially speeding up their cardiovascular system with drugs.

Meditation also has been shown to reduce pain, fatigue and depression. Many people who suffer from chronic illness turn to drugs to alleviate pain. A 2010 study showed that an eight-week course of mindfulness training reduced all three symptoms above, and improved health-related quality of life for people suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS). As any long-term drug user will tell you: part of the package that comes with substance abuse is pain, fatigue and ultimately depression. Here we now have evidence of the power of going within for alleviating these overloading sensations which often plague chronic drug users.

healingFinally meditation may lead to improved healing—something every drug user needs, as repeated use of chemicals can and does lead to breakdown of the body. Both inflammation and immunity are altered by meditation. Inflammatory processes have been observed to diminish, while immune function has been found to increase in regular meditators. As self-healing, self-regulating organisms, we need our innate powers to function unimpeded. While drug use hinders our healing abilities, quieting the mind and going within enhances them instead. Choose meditation and watch your miraculous regenerative powers operate in full force as your body and mind return to their most optimal functioning states.


depressed-pregnant-woman-300x200Here’s the $64,000 question: When it comes to the alarming increase in children born with autism over the last decade, what seems a more likely factor—a mother’s depression, or taking antidepressant medication while pregnant? Think about that for a minute. Well as coincidence has it, a recent study has just shown a link between a mother’s use of antidepressants during her second and third trimester pregnancy and an increase in the risk of her child developing autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

The disturbing rise in autism has almost doubled over the last ten years, and everything from vaccinations to exposure to flame retardants have been suspected as being the cause of this increase. But a study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics (online) this week showed that mothers who had one or more prescription for antidepressants filled during the second or third trimester of the pregnancy had an 87 percent increase having a child with ASD, compared with women who did not take the medications while expecting. And women who took selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a particular class of antidepressants, which includes Zoloft, Prozac and Celexa, had a more than double the risk of having a child with autism. Finally, women who were prescribed more than one class of antidepressant during the final six months of pregnancy had greater than four times the risk of having a child with autism.

understanding-about-autism-spectrum-disorder (Copy)ASD is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects a person’s ability to communicate, interact and behave appropriately with others in social situations; it includes autism, Asperger syndrome or other pervasive developmental disorders. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1 in 45 children in the United States has autism, and the condition is about five times more common in boys than in girls. The most recent controversy surrounding autism has been fears that the disorder is caused by routine childhood vaccinations, particularly the measles-mumps-rubella vaccination, but recent evidence has shown there to be no association.

In the study, researchers analyzed data collected from all 145,500 pregnancies that occurred in the Canadian province of Quebec over a 20-year period from January 1998 to December 2009, in which mothers had a full-term pregnancy and gave birth to only one baby. They followed up with the children until age ten; 1,054 of the children were diagnosed with ASD. The researchers looked at whether the women in the study had filled a prescription for antidepressants at any time during their pregnancy, or one month before conception.

t1larg.antidepressants.pregnancy.gi (Copy)The analysis found that about 4,700 infants, or 3.2 percent of babies, were exposed to antidepressants at some point during their mothers’ pregnancies. Among these babies, 46 developed autism. But only a mother’s use of antidepressants during the second or third trimester was associated with a greater risk of autism in children (31 exposed infants developed autism). The risk was persistent even after taking into account maternal history of depression. However, there was no increase in ASD risk linked to using antidepressants during early pregnancy.

Antidepressants are not only some of the most prescribed medications within the general population but extending into maternity as well. In fact, 7 to 13 percent of American women are estimated to be taking them while pregnant, according to one study. While previous studies have sought to determine a link between antidepressant use during pregnancy and autism, there have been mixed results. This latest study, however, is the largest of its kind.

“This study is the first to quantify autism risk based on the class of antidepressants used by a woman during pregnancy, and the first to find an increased risk with SSRIs mostly,” said study author Anick Bérard, a professor of pharmacy at the University of Montreal, who specializes in drug use during pregnancy.

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These results have got some in the psychiatric profession up in arms, and why wouldn’t they be? As some of the most (over)prescribed meds today, antidepressants are the go-to for medical professionals in general, and psychiatrists specifically. Some doctors are going as far as downplaying the findings. Despite the second and third trimesters being critical for fetal brain development, and that serotonin is essential for this process, and also that previous research in animals has hinted at SSRIs altering certain aspects of fetal neurodevelopment, some in the neurosciences think the points are moot. Says Lars Henning Pedersen, Adjunct Associate Professor at Aarhus University in Denmark, these results can largely be explained by other factors, such as the severity of a mother’s depression.

According to Bérard, depression severity is indeed a possible explanation, and  for which the research group is now conducting studies to look at it, She does point out that her recent work shows an association between antidepressant use and autism only, and is not proof of causation. However, to further recommend antidepressants, particularly SSRIs, during pregnancy is dangerous. Says Bérard,

“The common belief that depression can only be treated with antidepressants is false. I would always be very cautious about saying that anything is ‘safe’ during pregnancy. We have to remember that thalidomide was labeled as ‘safe’ for use during pregnancy.”

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The “critical flaw” in the new research, says Roy Perlis, a psychiatric geneticist at Harvard University, is that it doesn’t fully account for the fact that women suffering from psychiatric illnesses already have a greater risk of having children with ASD. Although the authors controlled for maternal depression, “they don’t really have reliable measures of severity,” he says. As a result, there’s no way to tell whether the children were at higher risk because their mothers were taking more drugs or because the women had more severe depression.

But Bérard states that her group’s study shows that the link between antidepressants and autism is above and beyond its increase in risk associated with maternal depression alone. The results showed mother’s depression to be associated with only 20 percent greater autism risk. Bérard’s opinion is that, “Given the mounting evidence showing increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcome with antidepressant use during pregnancy, our study shows that depression should be treated with other options (other than antidepressants) during this critical period.”

So what do you think? Is severity of depression more likely a potential cause of the near doubling of ASD over last decade? Or is it the increased use of antidepressants among pregnant women? Maybe it is neither; maybe it is just changing guidelines and better diagnosis and recognition. Heck it may even be that antidepressants actually help the fetus of a depressed mother, at least this possibility has been posed by psychiatrist Jay Gingrich at Columbia University. What do you think? You better think about it seriously,  folks, especially if you are planning to have family. Informed decisions bring the greatest certainty – exactly what you want with every decision possible when having a baby. A good pregnancy is a calm pregnancy, and that’s the best you can ask for.


My chiropractic clients will tell you that in my office it is adjustments, rehab, stretches, exercises and ice! Ice, cryotherapy, the big word in fitness marketing (my gym has a full-on cryotherapy center) today. Just so you know, I have been pushing ice since before it was hip.

In any case, when it comes to icing injured tissue or body regions, some rules apply. Always remember to watch the clock: I recommend fifteen minutes, then at least ten minutes off if you wish to reapply for another fifteen, that should work fine. Also be sure to put a thin barrier between the ice bag and your skin. I tell everybody this vital precaution every time I recommend icing, especially if that person purchases a bag from me. In fact, no ice bag exchanges hands without my warning…yet, yet, yet…

No matter how much I emphasize this point, there is always one or two peeps out of every ten that will not heed my warning. Why Dr. Campos; why ya gotta put a barrier between your skin and the ice bag? Oh I thought you’d never ask. Here’s why:

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Burn from an ice bag.

Because if you do not put a thin barrier—paper towel, tee-shirt—then you will get burned…literally. Yes ice, like fire, can burn. Ever heard of frostbite? Duhhhh…

Okay, okay, I know many people do not know this; however, do you think it might be important if the doctor takes the time and is adamant about explaining it? Had one client fall asleep on his ice bag for well over the recommended fifteen minutes, and he had a very similar burn as the one pictured above for months afterward. Truth be told, I do not even know if it is gone now…maybe, I hope.

So, yes, please be smart, especially if you must be hip and dip into cryotherapy. Heed my warning and place a barrier between your skin and the ice. The barrier must be thin enough—even jeans work—so that the affects of ice actually get through. So terry towels are too thick; you will never get enough of the ice’s effects if the barrier is bulky. And remember, when icing, you will pass through three stages;

  • Cold – the obvious one
  • Burning – this is where people, especially those not watching a clock, will pull the ice off. Bad move, you will not get the effects you are shooting for until you reach the next stage
  • Numbness – this is where the therapeutic effects—decreased inflammation and pain relief— are occurring.

Please just watch a clock and stick to it through the three stages, use a barrier, and continue the practice for as long as your doctor recommends. Skip any of the three and you risk, at the very least, not getting better, but at worst a burn. Do you really need to experience that to believe what I tell you? Good. Happy icing.


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.

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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.

Innovation

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.*

Novelty

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.

Seeking-The-Self-Book-Cover

Available for pre-order for 50% savings

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 drnick@drnickcampos.com 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.

Before

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).

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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 drnick@drnickcampos.com

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