disease

Lemonade Time!

Posted on Updated on

So I have a cold, again. I used to be so healthy, but the other day I caught another nasty cold. I’ve had 3 in 3 months! I got one while in Beijing (with a fever and everything) and then another one just before New Years. I spent New Year’s Eve at a friend’s cabin, had a great time, but could barely talk. When I felt like saying something, which was approximately every 20 seconds, I had to think really hard to decide if I really needed to say it. It’s a good exercise… most of the time I had to conclude that my clever quip could go un-said. I have less timeless wisdom than I thought! Anyways, it was fun, and in about 6 days I had pretty much kicked that cold to the curb. So, a few weeks ago, we went to Las Vegas, and California, and except for an occasional cough, I felt great. We got back to Alberta, and Darren and I took my niece and nephew to the waterpark at West Edmonton Mall, which was a hoot! We rode the waves in the pool and did some slides, too. I forgot how much fun those slides could be!  :) I swallowed a little water — got hit by a wave I wasn’t ready for. Afterwards, we got drawn in to the candy store (if you know West Ed, you know the one) and bought some Jelly Belly jelly beans. They are my favourite! We started munching them immediately — we were so hungry from all the swimming! — and I kept munching them on and off until bed time. I know, not good for me, but they are so flavourful! Fake, artificial flavours, I know, but anyways…

The next day, I woke up with a nasty head-stuffing cold! Man! Initially, I blamed the swimming, and germs from snotty-nosed kids in the pool. Well, I’m the snotty-nosed one now, and I actually want to blame the jelly beans! But, if they are to blame, then I must have been pretty low-immune system/toxic already. Isn’t it amazing how “toxic” we feel when we’re sick?

Darren and I stopped at an organic grocery store and while there, he found a booklet on “The Master Cleanser” by Stanley Burroughs. Besides describing how the combination of lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne makes a good cleanse, Burroughs talks about germs and viruses in a completely different way. He says that they are always present in our bodies and we should be grateful for them because they help us clear toxins from our bodies (he talks  a lot about toxins), such as when we get a cold and our body produces a great deal of mucous to get rid of toxins. Interesting idea… I don’t know if it’s entirely true, but it’s something to think about! This line of thinking helped me be less resentful of the cold, seeing it more as my friend, and made me think about the timing of my last 3 colds — after being in Beijing, eating all sots of strange food (not always fresh, food with lots of sauces), after Christmas (which involved a few sweets and goodies, and although I didn’t majorly pig out, it’s more food colouring and sugar than I’m used to), and after Las Vegas. What do you think? Any chance it’s related to toxins… and more than a co-incidence?

And then there’s a whole other idea: that disease is caused by disharmony in our spirits. Now, I’ve meditated and thought about this, and I’m afraid to say that my colds might be related to unkind words. I admit that around those times I may have said some unkind words to Darren — not in arguments exactly, just bits of sarcasm or, well, unkindness. So, while I am doing this cleanse to help my body clean out toxins, I am also going to clean out the last bits of sarcasm, sharpness, or even wittiness that isn’t completely innocent and building others up. I think this will have a wonderful, positive effect on my spirit, much moreso than any dietary change! Think about it — beautiful, uplifting words to make a perfect, healthy throat and lungs. Makes sense to me!

For now, I’m finishing day 2 of the master cleanse, and day 1 of my kind-words-only policy. I’ll keep you posted on how I’m feeling!

In other news, progress continues of my book. The artist, Biliana Savova is working hard on the illustrations, which should be complete next week! This is all so exciting! I am going to be approaching a few people to read it and provide an endorsement for the back cover — a nice little quote on the back to say how great my book is! I need to work on the website… I’ll let you know when it’s ready so you can all go run and check it out! Take care everybody!

Population Cycles

Posted on Updated on

licking-his-chopsI recently saw a show about cats — a National Geographic program — which talked about their special adaptations for hunting and how they became domesticated. They actually chose to be domesticated by humans. They were attracted to where people live, catching mice in our barns and houses, eating dropped food (or getting handouts!), using our shelter, and overall, they realized that living with people is advantageous to them. The other cool thing is that they can also quickly go feral and live totally on their own again in the wild. So although they are domesticated, they can reverse the process at any time! This explains my usually mild-mannered kitty suddenly going berserk when he gets overstimulated, for example. But he’s nothing like the cat I had that went feral.

His name was Arnie, named after Arnold Schwarzenegger, and we used to let him go outside, and then had to track him down at night to get him back in. One night, he wouldn’t come back in and was nowhere to be found. For several days we looked all around the neighbourhood, but no sign of Arnie. Eventually, we stopped looking, but an ad in the paper about a month later described our cat found about 20 blocks away — sure enough, it was Arnie. But he wasn’t the same. He was totally wild, quite scruffy looking, had signs that he’d been in some fights, and really did not want to be indoors. He spoke through his body language, as cats always do, and scratched my husband on the eyelid. After that, we let him out and sort of stopped looking for him to come in at night, and he was gone for good.

But coming back to the idea of cats eating mice and other vermin… In the middle ages, vermin (love that word!), and therefore cats, thrived in cities, but also around that time, people started getting really superstitious. They started accusing each other of being witches, and many cats were killed too, believed to be the minions of darkness. You have to admit, they can be kind of spooky — silently appearing out of nowhere, slinking around, eyes glowing in the dark… In any case, superstitions got the best of them, and they killed off almost all the cats who would have killed the rats who carried the fleas who carried the Bubonic Plague. An estimated 75 million people died in that plague — 30-60% of the population of Europe at the time, and the plague spanned from China to Northern Africa and throughout Europe. It turns out cats are partially immune to the Bubonic Plague! Isn’t it ironic that cats could have saved humans if we hadn’t been so irrational and superstitious. (Hmm… I wonder if we have any superstitions or false beliefs now that are affecting our future…)

I’m currently reading a great used bookstore find, Nahanni, by Dick Turner. It’s about his adventures in the Northwest Territories and Yukon in the 30′s – 50′s. The explorers of the time truly lived off the land; they literally walked a hundred miles a year in the wilderness maintaining trap lines, hunting, and doing whatever they had to do to survive. Turner observed the land and the animals, and he noticed certain cycles — the typical predator-prey cycle where, as the moose population grew, so did the number of wolves. Then, as the wolves decimated the moose population, they starve or have to move to other areas. Predator and prey… it’s a natural cycle, and although we don’t seem to like it, that’s the way the natural world is. We especially don’t like being prey! Come to think of it, we aren’t fond of starving either! We want to be the top predator, but never starve. Anyways, Dick Turner noticed another cycle: periodically, the rabbit population would climb, until 3-4 years after peaking, a disease would come and rapidly wipe almost all of them out. Then, they would gradually start reproducing again, and even though they had many predators, they reproduced so fast, they would eventually reach that peak-disease-decline part of their cycle again. The cycle repeats about every 7-11 years.

So… could this ever happen to us? We aren’t exactly rabbits, but really, man has no major natural predators. Sure, grizzlies and wolves killed and ate some of the pioneers, and still get a few people a year, but it would seem that man’s main population control is in diseases. Unless you consider self-predation — war still kills far too many of us with far too few working on preventing it… in this way, we are our own predators. But it seems possible that diseases might be our population-control cycle, if we get too crowded. We are getting better and better at curing and preventing some of them, yet we still die of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and more self-inflicted diseases. And we’re working on eliminating other things that kill us — accidental deaths and crime in the developed world, and hunger and various diseases in the developing world (malaria and AIDS come to mind). We are working so hard to maintain and extend our lives, and reproduce, on a planet that must eventually have a limit to the amount of life it can support. Unless we get a lot smarter about how we grow food, purify water, and consume natural resources, it’s possible that another Black Plague might come to reduce our population.

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

A few minutes ago, as I was writing about death, my heart started pounding a little. It’s uncomfortable, yet it shouldn’t be. Death is a part of life. A flower, so beautiful and fragile, must die to produce the fruit it is meant to produce. Perhaps we are the same, but we are so attached to this life, and the superficial things in it, that we can’t see any good in death. And we get sidetracked, when we could be living fully in the moment… and so we miss the most beautiful parts of life and death. Perhaps we would do well to be like a flower, happily enduring the heat, the cold, the rain, the wind, and always turning to face the light. To just be. To stop stressing about the future, including diseases, and just be.

frozen-pansy