health


Dr. Alexander Imich recently.

Dr. Alexander Imich recently.

My friend Nadira likes to clip interesting newspaper articles, put two or three of them into an envelope and send them to me. Often they are about horrible things that very sick men in the Middle East do to women in the name of Islam (Nowhere in the Koran does it say that you must cut a woman’s feet off if her shoes make too much noise. I’ve checked.), sometimes they are interesting animal stories about tiny kangaroos called bilbys or a cat that rides a bus in England everyday. Almost never are there clippings about UFOs.

I am a person who has the nasty habit of jotting down notes on the backs of envelopes that people and businesses send me, causing me to retain a paper mess sometimes. Several days ago I was looking through some of my voluminous papers replete with odd notes featuring telephone numbers of forgotten people with no names attached and appointment times without a reference to whom I was supposed to meet or why. When I find a note that is still important and decipherable I jot it into a spiral bound note-book and then the envelope is recycled.

Among these envelopes I found one from Nadira postmarked 11 OCT 2011. I had read the articles within the envelope nearly 3 years ago so the contents were familiar but vague. There was an article about voodoo in the boroughs of  New York and another about how children think, but the third article really caught my attention. It was titled: A Secret to Long Life: UFOs by Ralph Gardner Jr in the Wall Street Journal April 28, 2011. This article was about then 108 year old Dr. Alexander Imich. And it made my blood boil. Imich seems like a very interesting fellow with interests that parallel mine. He practices the fairly well proven theory that a calorie restrictive diet can lengthen life. Imich has a Ph.D. in zoology and worked in the area of chemistry, yet the author Gardner, seemed to make light of that caloric restriction idea which has many science-based studies that agree. But it was Gardner’s words about UFOs and parapsychology that really bugged me.

(more…)

Grape hyacinth & primrose All rights reserved © R. Shaw

Grape hyacinth & primrose
All rights reserved © R. Shaw

Happy Earth Day, everyone! This year Earth Day has fallen on a Monday so this past weekend there were many events and ecological protests in many places including huge hearts from around the world, aerially photographed and dutifully posted on FaceBook. But how far have we come? Have people changed their habits to benefit our environment?

This morning I took a yoga class at a very nice studio. The place was clean, the staff was friendly and the instructor knew her subject. It seemed like a wonderful way to celebrate Earth Day with a good stretch. The instructor even wished us all a Happy Earth Day! After which several women (the class was composed of 90% women) cracked open their personal-sized water bottles. It simply ruined my class. Here I was, in what should have been a bastion of ecological consciousness. I wanted to shout expletives at them. I did not.

Do I ever drink bottled water you may ask? Yes, I have. Sometimes at event jobs that is all that is provided. I do not choose it. I have even been seen running to the ladies room to refill the bottle rather than take a new one. It seems to me that these yoga students could have planned other options, such as filling a metal water bottle from home with filtered water, or even having a refillable water bottle with a filter. The filters are good for 300 refills and thereby keep 300 plastic bottles out of the environment. Bobble and Brita are inexpensive brands.

Here is a very good article on why disposable water bottles are so bad:

http://flourishonline.org/2010/08/so-whats-the-big-deal-with-plastic-water-bottles/

In short they are bad for your health when the plastic leaches into the water, the bottles are mostly made of petroleum keeping us petroleum addicted, and they are hell on the environment because they do not easily disintegrate. Plus the companies that produce much of the bottled water make chumps out of the people that buy it, because most of it is just tap water anyway.

I do not bring water to exercise classes, I simply use the water fountain before and/or after. That is tap water too.

MyPictureAs an intuitive counselor and psychic reader I have noticed an unusual trend among my adult female clients. Recently I am hearing over and over that they want to be popular and they fear they are not popular. I have not heard this very much from my male clients. The males largely feel that they have inadequate drive toward personal social goals, they are tending towards “couchpotatohood”.  But this is not about the guys, though a fellow can feel free to try these ideas, as they are mostly not about being female.

First I began to wonder, “Why now?” This trend has cropped up fairly suddenly. Can it be that the online social networks are failing us? Can one have 1000 friends on Facebook and still be lonely? Or is it that working from home or working independently has social consequences? Previously, worries about popularity seemed largely confined to teen and preteen girls. Now I am seeing it in adult women.

The first question I feel compelled to ask my clients is “How do you define popularity?” Here there is confusion. From my point of view, the questioners seem to lack close intimate interaction of a friendly sort. In short, someone in whom to confide. But they cite others who are invited to more social events, though when they do attend these events, they find the other attendees boring, shallow or filled with detrimental habits. They perceive that these others are having fun while they themselves are not. I am not at all sure that these others are having such great fun.

Often the women who the questioners are comparing their popularity to, are women who others have gravitated to for personal gain. For instance, perhaps the “popular” woman can hire others for a position, or has a publicized fortune, or a famous husband. On a certain level I feel as though the questioners are not seeing the situation clearly and in reality their role models are often not all that happy.

Putting that aside I am going to make a few practical (not psychic) suggestions and close with a visualization for popularity. The practical suggestions may seem very obvious but it is astounding how many of those persons asking (as well as others) do not take care of the obvious.

It seems awful to have to start by asking you to check the very basics very honestly, but here it goes. Are your habits of hygiene impeccable? Is your body clean and fresh smelling? Do you brush your teeth several times a day and carry gum or breath mints with you? Are your clothes clean and appropriate for the occasion? Do you follow general rules of etiquette, especially saying “please” and “thank you” clearly? Have you observed your expressions in a mirror or, even better, on a video? One of my clients comes in coughing and sneezing all over and leaves a trail of used tissues behind. Ugh-gross! Another who is a well-known male journalist has breath that would kill houseplants, while another is a constant whiner and so forth.

Generally, smiling helps a lot. Look people in the eyes and smile directly, but briefly, at them. Practice this on “safe” people on the street. Fear (as usual) is your biggest enemy. Don’t be afraid to say the first word in a social situation. If you see the same people every week in your yoga class don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to them one at a time and ask for their name and remember it. Make some form of mental note to remember their name, and when you see them again greet them casually by name. Take an interest in what others say to you. Most of all learn to LISTEN. Don’t just wait for the other person to finish so you can start talking about yourself. When you do speak make sure that by and large you have positive things to say about yourself and others. It is OK to blow your own horn a little, especially if you have just had a notable accomplishment, but do not become obnoxious about it.

Another obvious question to ask yourself is: With what sort of person or group do you wish to become popular? Your choice of clothing should be congruent with the group but in some way outstanding so you will be noticed. For instance, if business suits are the mode of dress, wearing a hot pink spandex number will get the wrong sort of attention, but a red shirt underneath the suit jacket may be perfect. Dress appropriately and remember that you are looking for friends more than sex. (Sex is good too.) As a woman, being too sexually overstated may put other women off from being your friend. Biologically I believe this is instinctual. Every female wants to attract the male carrier of the best DNA even if she is not considering a mate intellectually. Another female putting on a display is detrimental to the other females’ prime directive. Simply put, this is built in. This is not meant to be a political statement, it is only meant to be common sense.

Being empathetic and genuinely helpful will go a long way and most of all be courageous and take a chance on speaking to someone. And always remember, popularity begins by making one friend at a time.

A visualization for popularity must begin with a visualization for a friend. On a piece of paper write down a description of an ideal friend. It is OK to put down a few physical preferences like age range and such, but most of the preferences should be things like shared interests, kindness, and sociability. Turn all of the traits you don’t want in a friend into the traits that you do want. (Cruelty becomes kindness, ignorant becomes wise and aware.) Before you go to sleep but after you lie down in your bed, read your description and close your eyes and shut the light. See yourself in the particular situation in which you may initially meet your friend (such as at breakfast at a local cafe or at a Green Party meeting). See it in detail. Hear yourself  offering a greeting and smiling. Then hear your new friend answering and hear what she says. Answer and ask her name. Then let go of the scene taking place in your mind. Next go to sleep with a positive affirmation: “I am a happy person who makes friends easily.” A few nights later repeat the visualization and add another step, such as visualizing the next time you see your new friend and what happens. Keep at it until you make a new friend. It works, just DO it. 🙂

Fahrusha is available for psychic readings, intuitive counseling and life coaching.

A female human receiving inspiration. From an oracle deck called The Rainbow Bridge Tarot by visionary artist Lauren Raine. See end of article for link to this deck.

Sometimes while in a light meditative state certain things occur to me out of the blue. I have learned to pay attention to these unusual but seemingly random thoughts. Sometimes these thoughts are about my health and my body and I feel these thoughts may not originate in my brain but in my body parts and they are sent to the brain where they are brought gently into my awareness.

This idea is given life by studies which indicate that other organs, principally the heart, have their own intelligence and by other findings about the amazing awareness of certain animals without highly developed brains in the mammalian sense, such as the squid and octopus.

The first memorable incident of this odd personal medical intuition came a number of years ago when I was diagnosed with mildly elevated cholesterol levels at a rather young age. In my case this is not primarily a lifestyle and diet problem but a hereditary issue. I was musing over this situation and it occurred to me somewhat out of the blue that I should eat eggplant everyday for lunch. I was even given a recipe: make a slice halfway through the eggplant after washing it and cutting off the stem. Do not remove the skin of the eggplant. Put a couple of cloves of peeled garlic into the slice. Wrap the eggplant in aluminum foil and bake in the oven until soft. Remove from the oven and mash the eggplant and garlic adding cayenne pepper. Salt is allowed. Put on Scandinavian style whole grain flat bread and eat. Do not use any oil at all.

I followed this pretty faithfully every day for about a month. I went back to have my blood tested and discovered that my cholesterol levels had dropped by over 30 points! I gave my recipe to a number of people including my father and his brother, my uncle. My uncle said he had added this food to his diet and also experienced a drop in his levels. Though both men are now deceased, neither died of heart or circulatory disease and both lived into their late eighties and both had hereditary high cholesterol. My father did not take statins and neither did my uncle to my knowledge.

I personally still prepare this recipe and find it healthful, although I must admit I do not eat it often enough. I was shown a scene from inside my body by Spirit (I guess) in which I saw the eggplant in my intestine pulling fat molecules from my intestine wall. Recently I read about a new medical discovery that uncovered dried apples as a food that reduces cholesterol levels in women. I imagine that the mechanism is similar.

Warning: I am not a medical professional. This account is anecdotal.

Another instance of this odd intuition came to me some years ago while I was cleaning my ears in the manner one is cautioned against- with a Q-tip! I had noticed for awhile (this is sort of gross) that my earwax was copious and oily. All of a sudden this thought popped into my mind (almost verbatim): “This is probably not a good sign, the next thing you know ‘they’ll’ (researchers) probably say that this kind of earwax predicts a susceptibility to breast cancer.” A month or two later I read just such an article in a magazine. Thankfully I no longer have this sort of earwax.

Most recently I noticed skin tags (acrochorda) in one of my armpits. These are little bits of extra skin which are raised from the surface. In my case they were more annoying than disfiguring. I went to a dermatologist who cut them off and biopsied them. No problem, but then they grew back. More annoying after spending a considerable sum to remove them. Again an idea popped into my mind. Put tea tree (Melaleuca Alternifolia) oil and thuva oil on them regularly. I do not like the smell of thuva as much as tea tree oil so I began applying tea tree oil to the tags every morning after washing. At this point I am happy to say they are nearly gone. At some point during my self imposed treatment I decided to check on the internet for natural remedies for skin tags and also to see if what I was doing would be deemed safe. Both tea tree oil and thuva oil are prominently mentioned as remedies but the kicker is that there is a product for sale, by Dermisil, a proprietary formula of sorts for skin tags whose primary ingredients are…you guessed it…tea tree oil and thuva oil.

Now these experiences are not radical. My being is not taken over by the entity of the famous Doctor Fritz (an extraordinarily compelling story). My guess is that this is my own body speaking to me. Other plausible theories would include that these messages come from my higher self, the collective unconscious or universal mind (God), or a disembodied entity (back to Doctor Fritz).

While I have not come up with the cure for all disease I am sure that humanity could lessen suffering thru banning nuclear reactors (The unresolved Fukishima incident will cause millions of cancer deaths in the next twenty years.) and having much more respect for Our Mother Earth.

Postscript: To learn more about the Rainbow Bridge Tarot click the link.

Simple pencil drawing of a cross-section of the train.

I totally admit that it sounds absolutely vain to have a title of this nature, but many good solutions can come from common folk who think deeply about a problem. I encourage you, dear reader, to make suggestions on how to make this idea work better. My intention is to put America to work and end dependence on fossil fuel and thereby clean up the environment and make the air cleaner to breathe.

America needs better mass transportation. we lag behind much of Europe, Japan and China (and probably other places too) with our train system. Those places have high-speed bullet trains. I think we should go them one better. If America had better and more attractively priced public transportation we would drive less and create less pollution and use less fossil fuel.

My idea is for the government, in conjunction with the train companies, to build a high-speed train to connect America’s hub cities. This would be no ordinary train. It would be solar-powered by panels set on top of the tube through which it would move. This could be a similar application to solar roadways that I cited in an earlier blog post.The train would be set about one-third into the ground with the tube built around it and it would have a modified octagonal shape with rounded corners. It would have only one track and might work by the maglev system. The most famous maglev train is in Shanghai, China.

Sitting the train in a ditch and surrounding it with a tube would make it safer and faster as inertia could be modified within the tube through a suction like effect. There would be no collisions possible due to the train being inside the tube. No animals would be killed on the track because the train would be totally enclosed. Because it is only in a ditch and not in a subway tunnel the cost would be lower to build.

Thousands of American workers would be employed improving the grassroots economy of the country. Building the train system would provide construction jobs. There would also be maintenance jobs and service jobs running the complex rail system. There would be hundreds of engineering jobs in creating the plans and execution of this idea as well as thousands of peripheral jobs in train station services. Using the solar-powered train would lower the dependence on fossil fuels. It is a win-win situation for the country. No longer would we lag behind China, Japan and Europe.

This rough idea that has excited my imagination came to me all in one piece in an open meditation.

Update 11/28/12: Thanks to Stephan A. Schwartz via the SchwartzReport: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/9702521/310mph-floating-trains-unveiled-in-Japan.html

The first photo in this article bears a resemblance to my drawing especially in the area of the furrow in which the train runs.

 

File:Radiation warning symbol.svg

I have not wanted to write about Fukushima, because I have nothing good to say. My grandmother used to tell me “If you don’t have anything nice to say about someone, don’t say anything at all.” Sadly, I have not entirely lived up to her words, but I have tried. The Japanese people have much to overcome in their current situation and I do not wish to make their lot any worse than it is, and that would be difficult to do in any case.

I have been following closely the situation involving the nuclear reactors which were affected so disastrously by the earthquake off the coast of Japan last spring. The site from which I have gotten most of my information is Arnie Gundersen’s Fairewinds Associates. Mr. Gundersen and his wife have been steadfastly reporting the bad news that is horrible to hear, but it is bad news that we must force ourselves to hear. His is a wake-up call to all Americans that nuclear power is inherently horribly dangerous and that danger once unleashed is complete and lasting annihilation. American nuclear reactors are mostly old and past the date which they were originally intended to be taken off line. This adds to the danger as leaks are more likely from old reactors. The single piece of good news is that solar power has surpassed nuclear power in energy production in the United States.

In a nutshell, the Fukushima nuclear disaster is far from being over. The site is still red hot with nuclear particles. Tokyo itself, 148 miles away from the Fukushima reactors, should probably be evacuated. The level of contamination of random ground samples in Tokyo would be considered hazardous nuclear waste in the US.  The officials of TEPCO (Tokyo Electrical Power Company?) who run the Fukushima facility and the Japanese government have been lying to their citizens and to the world. TEPCO is even burning nuclear waste and putting hot particles in the atmosphere that we all breathe. They have become mass murderers as many innocent people and animals around the world who unwittingly breathe those particles will die horrible deaths from various cancers. This is not supposition, this is fact.

The US is in collusion with the cover-up of the facts. Please read the following articles:

http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/the-radiation-warnings-you-wont-get-from-the-mainstream-propaganda-machine_04022012

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/01/fukushima-radiation-spreads-worldwide.html

I am extremely disappointed in Hillary Clinton in that she signed an agreement to the effect that the US would continue to import goods from Japan without subjecting them to testing for radiation.

Why has the media chosen to ignore the obvious danger coming from Fukushima and why do the government and various states continue to champion the building of these reactors, these machines of certain doom, although there are other cleaner energy options such as solar, wind, water and geothermal energy available? Many European countries whose populations may be more awake than Americans have begun the phasing out of all nuclear power from their borders. In fact the nuclear industry is greatly tax subsidized by the American taxpayer: See this Alternet story by US Senator Bernie Sanders and Ryan Alexander.

The Fukushima situation is worse than the disaster of Chernobyl in the Ukraine. Take seven minutes out of your busy life to look at the legacy of Chernobyl here. Notice that Chernobyl is estimated to have caused nearly a million cancer deaths worldwide.  Now realize that the Fukushima disaster will continue to cause cancers for the next 100,00o years. Yet our mass media outlets continue to ply us with vacuous stories and little to no information on this very real menace.

Please keep checking these internet news resources for valuable information, it may be the most important thing you can do for yourself, the environment and generations to come.

Fairewinds Associates

Nuclear Age Peace Foundation

The SchwartzReport

The Fukushima Diary

Update 4/24/12:

Mutations in Michigan-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AupyLDGHKk

Hunger strike demonstrations in Tokyo-

http://www.timeout.jp/en/tokyo/feature/4968/Tokyo-hunger-strike

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hunger-Strike-for-the-Future-in-Tokyo/255751377792291?sk=info

Doyle Plillips sends this update: http://soundcloud.com/flashpoints/flashpoints-daily-newsmag-05-6

& http://blog.imva.info/world-affairs/4495

I spoke to Amy Kohn at length about her new project and it is indeed very  interesting. Here is her request:

Do you have a recurring dream? Do you often wonder what it means? If you have a recurring dream that is vivid, emotional, or perhaps even confusing and would like help understanding what it means, then we want to talk to you. Emmy Award winning television producer developing a new series about the analysis of dreams.  Contact us at 212-687-7716 or at madtwin@rocketmail.com. Please include your name, age, where you live, a description of the dream and how we can contact you. The more you can tell us the better!

Are you a woman? Are you the parent of a daughter? Are you married to a woman? Do you have a mother? In any of these cases you should read the autobiography I Am Nujood, aged 10, Divorced

This is a difficult book to read, not due to the complexity of the verbiage, but because of the poverty and abuse this child had to endure at the hands of her family. It brings up the abhorrent practice of child marriage. Many little girls as young as eight years old are married without their consent to men often decades older than themselves. They are often imprisoned inside the men’s homes as little more than slaves both sexual and domestic. The reasons for this practice are complex and rooted in the culture in which they occur. Poverty can cause a father to give his child away, but that same father may have multiple wives and his children may number in double digits. He often cannot support them all but gives no thought to birth control. This puts into place a cycle of oppression against women and girls because they are not considered equal to men and in Islamic countries the females must uphold the concept of family honor. A rumor against the honor of a girl or woman may be the motive for an honor killing, even in the United States.

Nujood Ali

In this book the eponymous young writer exhibits a bravery which is remarkable and praiseworthy. Credit must also be given to the people who helped her because Yemen’s culture can punish the defenseless and those who seek to defend them. I sincerely hope that Nujood chooses to continue her education and become a lawyer like her champion, Shada Nasr, who represented her in her divorce hearing. But Nujood is not alone. Lots of other children are forced into marriage. One quarter of Yemeni brides are aged 15 or less. It seems to me that supporting the education of women and female children in places where they are abused because they are female, is one of the most important things that can be done to bring about world peace and and end over-population. 


http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/08/26/yemen.divorce/index.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/04/nujood-ali-12-year-old-di_n_485952.html

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126110751

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Polygamy%2Bharmful%2Bsociety%2Bscholar%2Bfinds/3290757/story.html

I ran across a very interesting article this morning courtesy of Dara Holness, who is always alerting me to interesting articles. I don’t reprint many of the articles forwarded to me or those I run across myself, but today I make an exception. The reason is that this article highlights an example of two important edgy phenomena: the possible existence of an afterlife and the far reaches of human earthly survival.  This little boy was revived after not breathing for over three hours and he simultaneously had an experience of the afterlife.  Suffice it to say, I am very impressed!

Clinically Dead Boy ‘Saw Granny In Heaven’

Thursday, April 8 10:02 pm

Sky News 2010

A three-year-old boy brought back from the dead after his heart stopped beating for three hours has told how he saw his great-grandmother in Heaven.

The youngster – who is named only as Paul – claimed he met his relative and she sent him back to Earth.

Paul was playing on his own when he fell into a lake near his grandparents’ house in the town of Lychen, north of Berlin, Germany.

The child’s grandfather later found him lifeless in the water.

Paul was quickly dragged to the shore but the youngster remained unconscious.

His father, who had had first aid training in the past, tried to resuscitate his son by giving him mouth to mouth and heart massage.

A helicopter took him to Helios hospital in Buch and doctors also tried to resuscitate him but he was unresponsive.

They were about to stop because the boy had been clinically dead for three hours and 18 minutes – but then a miracle happened.

The team managed to get his heart beating again, defying the laws of medicine.

The water in the lake was cold and the boy’s core temperature was just 28C – it should normally be 37C.

If the temperature had been higher, the team would have stopped trying to resuscitate after 40 minutes because the boy would definitely have been brain dead.

Cold temperatures means the metabolism slows so body can survive with little oxygen.

Professor of Paediatrics, Lothar Schweigerer, is from the Helios hospital in Buch.

He told Sky News: “My doctors were close to saying ‘we can do no more’ after two hours of thorax compression.

He said this was “because the chances of survival had gone and the little lad must have been brain dead”.

The professor added: “But then suddenly his heart started to beat again … it was a fantastic miracle.

“I’ve been doing this job for 30 years and have never seen anything like this.

“It goes to show the human body is a very resilient organism and you should never give up. The boy is happy and healthy. It’s a wonderful thing.”

He told daily newspaper Bild: “Paul said to his parents, ‘I was with Oma (granny) Emmi in Heaven. She told me to go back really quickly.'”

There has been much rumbling from various sources that the FDA intends to ban certain nutritional supplements from being sold in the US because they are being misused (overdosed) by those that take them or because they have unsafe properties. Largely I believe that the individual should determine for themselves if they wish to take the supplement and the individual should be responsible for following the dosage guidelines which by law should be posted clearly on the bottle. The government cannot always protect people from themselves.

There are of course certain exceptions to this where the FDA should be more active in testing and banning substances. For instance one exception should be when a product is tainted.

Most people by now are aware of the very many scandals in China surrounding the intentional tainting with melamine and lead of food and nutritional supplements. Both of melamine and lead are deadly when ingested by humans.  But many are not aware that most of the vitamin C sold in this country comes from China. The vitamin C and other imported substances are not sufficiently monitored and tested for purity before being repackaged and sold to unsuspecting Americans.

In my opinion, this is a huge accident waiting to happen. I know of several people poisoned by tainted tryptophan from Japan and one person suffering from lead poisoning due to a tainted Ayurvedic product from India. Their lives have been very compromised by their poisoning.

There have been instances of poisoning within the US and from other trade partners, but the instances of tainted products emerging from China is taking epic proportions.

Tainted Chinese Drywall

Tainted Chinese Tapioca

Tainted Chinese Milk

Tainted Chinese Apples, Mushrooms & more

Tainted Chinese Pet Food

Tainted Chinese Imports Common

A list of the articles on this subject could fill many pages. We, as US citizens, should petition our government to crack down further on these imports and have the FDA do more testing for poisons especially in supplements. I wonder also why the US cannot manufacture more of its own components for vitamins and nutritional products. I hope that readers of this blog will call the manufacturers of the supplements that they use to ask if the components come from China. I further hope that readers will email their Congressional  representatives in the House and Senate and demand to be protected from these poisons in their foods and supplements and other products.

I feel so happy and privileged to know people who write books. In the past few years I’ve lost two author friends, Captain Arthur Haggerty and Serena Wilson. My world lost some of its luster when they passed on. Both of them changed my life for the better. Cap was really my best friend for many years. He wrote primarily about dog training and he helped me to get my late dog, Junior Pie, into show business. One of his books, Dog Tricks, was co-written by Carol Lea Benjamin, who has written a series of dog inspired mysteries that I love to read, and who I am privileged to have met several times in conjunction with Captain Haggerty! Serena Wilson was my first official teacher of Middle Eastern Dance and a dear friend as well. She wrote The Serena Technique of Bellydancing with her husband Alan Wilson, also a friend.

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When I first met Lauren Raine I felt I must have known her in a previous life. So familiar her story and so compatible her personality, she is surely a spiritual sister. She has published a work of great brilliance, Masks of the Goddess. This limited edition art book comprises and chronicles her work of many years. She is featured in several other of my blog pieces on this site.

This past year my friends Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg have written a handsome volume about flavor pairings, The Flavor Bible, that I adore because I seldom cook by recipe. This book tells which food’s flavor goes well with which other food and which spice, allowing me to invent my own recipes with fervor and greater success.  This book is one of many wonderful food books that this illustrious globetrotting couple have written together.

Frank DeMarco is primarily a writer on metaphysical subjects and a founder of Hampton Roads Books and most recently Hologram Books. His 2008 offering, Babe In The Woods, is both metaphysical and very practical. For anyone who has ever thought about taking a seminar at the Monroe Institute, DeMarco has provided a detailed guide couched in a delightful story that is a thinly veiled account of his own first experience at this awesome place. I personally can’t wait to get back there. Frank DeMarco is one of the wonderfully wise and witty characters one might meet if they venture to the Institute and its surrounding community.

I’m Allergic is Missy Harris‘s first childrens’ book and hopefully not the last. It is a charming book for both those kids with allergies and their young friends who don’t understand what the concept means. I believe that the book provides a great service in telling children who don’t suffer with allergies what happens in the experience of those that do.

All the other books mentioned here have been published in 2008. I feel compelled to mention another book, The Lure of The Edge by Brenda Denzler, published in 2001 but which I only found out about in November of 2008. Finding it was a very serendipidous synchonicity. I was browsing a library catalog for intelligently written books about UFOs when I saw Brenda’s very familiar name. Could it be the very same person with whom I’d been corresponding on an internet listseve about other subjects? Indeed it was.  It is written very thoughtfully on an extremely charged subject and it deals with, among other things,  the onus that falls on many professionals who entertain the reality of UFOs and the unwillingness of much of the scientific community to look further into the UFO mystery.

https://i2.wp.com/www.made-in-china.com/image/2f0j00fGgtFBQnFErTM/Melamine.jpg

I ran across this article today thanks to Cindy P. I am not new to this information, but seeing it again set out so plainly reminded me that I know that it is a very serious issue which hasn’t gotten enough coverage. The issue is Melamine Poisoning and it could easily become one of the very big news stories of 2009. Melamine from China has already killed many thousands of our pets and many thousands of babies in Asia. Unscrupulous persons add it to the food supply, particularly milk products and protein powder. It can and will kill you. It is silent and deadly and I know of no cure. I predict it will become a major killer of humans across the globe unless the food supply is protected.

http://www.proliberty.com/observer/20081104.htm

From the November 2008 Idaho Observer:


Melamine: Another toxic industrial byproduct planted in the food chain

Over the last few years, the list of food and drug recalls, ecoli and other food borne illness outbreaks and food/beverage-induced mass poisonings have become more frequent. Government-approved pharma drugs and chemicals of known toxicity are leeching into the environment and are intentionally added into products being sold to consumers. The most recent corporate food adulteration scandal involves melamine contamination in baby formula. While tragic for the babies themselves and the adults who loved them, the larger lesson of this poisoning is that corporate convenience and profit trump public health and safety when it comes to government regulatory oversight.

By The Idaho Observer

Near the end of September 2008, news was broadcast worldwide that 53,000 infants in China had become ill and several died as a result of melamine-contaminated milk.

This wasn’t the first time that Chinese melamine has contaminated products with deadly results. In March, 2007, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began receiving thousands of reports of American cats and dogs dying from kidney failure after eating contaminated pet food. Although only 14 cases were confirmed as “melamine poisoning from pet food,” there is no centralized reporting system so the numbers of dogs and cats that died of melamine poisoning was likely much higher.

The pattern being revealed here is the increasingly pervasive presence of melamine contamination in commonly-consumed food products both here in the U.S. and abroad.

What is melamine?

There are several ways to produce melamine, some of which have been patented by Rockefeller’s Standard Oil subsidiary American Cyanamid beginning in 1956. Melamine, which is 66 percent nitrogen by mass, is added to a variety of plastics, resins, coatings and even concrete products to reduce porosity and increase strength. Melamine is also a flame retardant.

the Dutch company DSM, the world’s largest melamine producer, published an “industry update” in April, 2007. The update noted that, between 2002 and 2007, while the global melamine price remained stable, a steep increase in the price of urea (feedstock for melamine) has reduced the profitability of melamine manufacturing.

While melamine is manufactured as an end product, it is also a byproduct of synthesis gas production. “Syngas” production in China has been increasing to meet with the nation’s growing energy needs by converting low-grade coal into liquid fuel through a process that involves the conversion of urea through “pyrolysis” (heat and pressure in the absence of oxygen). Melamine is a byproduct of urea pyrolysis.

Since early 2006, mainland China, with melamine production growing by about 10 percent a year, has been experiencing a “serious surplus” of melamine and has recently become the world’s leading melamine exporter.

The emerging picture is that melamine, as a byproduct of syngas production, like sodium fluoride as a byproduct of aluminum and phosphate fertilizer manufacture (and depleted uranium as a byproduct of nuclear energy production), is expensive to dispose of properly so it is being diluted in commonly-consumed products and sold to people.

Melamine in milk and milk products

Melamine, a white powder that is not approved as a food additive, has very little taste or odor and is illegally being added to milk and milk products. Tests also show that melamine contains zero protein but has a unique chemistry that falsely accentuates the protein values of milk and milk products.

The basic nutrient in milk is the protein “casseinate.” Melamine has nearly the same protein structure as casseinate but contains too many nitrogen ions and cannot be absorbed nor excreted by the kidneys and kidney failure eventually results. This can be especially dangerous if one’s diet is high in nitrates such as those found in processed meats like ham, lunchmeat and hot dogs.

Adding melamine to milk powder not only reduces the actual milk content but is much cheaper than milk so it lowers production costs. Melamine can be easily mixed with powdered milk and, since it doesn’t have a unique smell or taste, it cannot be detected by consumers.

Melamine in food

The nitrogen-rich molecule is sometimes illegally added to food products in order to increase its apparent protein content. It has also been employed as a non-protein nitrogen, appearing in soy meal, corn gluten meal and cottonseed meal used in cattle feed. Melamine is known to cause renal and urinary problems in humans and animals when it reacts with cyanuric acid inside the body.

Background

In 2007, an estimated 50,000 cats and dogs in the U.S. died suddenly due to kidney failure. Investigators traced the cause to pet food that contained melamine-contaminated wheat gluten from China.

Beginning in 2008, hospitals in China reported an abnormal increase in infant cases of kidney stones. By August, 2008, China’s Sanlu Milk Powder tested positive for melamine content.

In September, 2008, New Zealand’s government asked China’s regulators to test milk products. By September 21, 2008, the vast majority of milk-based food products manufactured in China and stored in Taiwan warehouses tested positive for melamine content.

New Zealand, Australia and most E.U. nations responded by ordering a recall of melamine-contaminated products from China and issued public warnings.

In the U.S., however, because of the threat of credit market collapse, our shaky stock market, bank failures and Chinese ownership of $trillions in bonds and real U.S. assets, the Bush Administration’s FDA and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Mike Leavitt failed to order recalls or issue a public warning (Curiously, they continue to promote avian flu vaccines which are also manufactured in China by Rockefeller’s Sanofi-Pasteur). Meanwhile, many common food products contain melamine that are sold in stores throughout America.

What happens when melamine is ingested?

Melamine ends up inside the kidneys eventually forming stones which block the tubes that excrete urine. Since the person cannot urinate the pain is intense. The kidneys then swell and eventually begin to bleed. Although surgery can remove the stones, ingestion of melamine will often cause irreversible kidney damage. This can lead to loss of kidney function resulting in death from uremia or, if caught in time, long kidney dialysis—the expensive blood filtering process that takes about four hours every three days—for the rest of one’s life or until damaged kidneys can be replaced.

Why is kidney damage more serious in babies? Kidneys are very small and most modern babies, unfortunately, drink a lot of infant formula. It is estimated that 13,000 infants in China are currently hospitalized but since the media is tightly controlled in China, the actual number may be much higher.

What foods should be avoided?

Foods that contain dairy products from China should be avoided. Most milk chocolate sold is contaminated with melamine. Brand names such as Kraft, Nestle, Dreyer’s, Nabisco, Vitasoy, Mars and countless others use ingredients from China that could be contaminated with melamine.We suggest that you avoid food products from China and products containing Chinese ingredients until further public notice.

If you own a snack bar, restaurant or coffee shop, stop selling dairy-containing products from China. If you have infants at home, change to mother’s milk or find other substitutes such as raw goat’s milk. It is vitally important that you share this information with family and friends so they will understand the risk of melamine-contaminated milk poisoning.

The whole world (the Bush administration notwithstanding) is now deeply concerned with food products made in China or manufactured from ingredients made in China. It is difficult to determine where products are made based upon labels or barcodes. It may be prudent to simply avoid mass-produced and nationally-distributed milk and milk products unless you are certain that they are not imported from China or made from ingredients imported from China.

But where does it end?

If we are to boycott food from China and Taiwan because we suspect it may contain melamine, should we not also boycott food from the U.S. known to contain dangerous FDA-approved additives and drugs, genetically-modified plant and animal products? Should we not boycott U.S. food that has been irradiated to extend shelf life?

We are quickly coming full circle in the food-production cycle. We began as hunter-gatherers who either acquired food or starved. With urbanization came the division of labor and farmers produced food in trade for goods and services produced and supplied by others. Mechanization, coupled with corporatization, replaced farmers and food began being processed and packaged more and more for maximum profit and minimal personal liability to the point we are at today: The food supply sustains corporate profit not human life.

Our two choices are emerging: Eat poisoned food from corporate (fiction) sources and die slowly, or eat wholesome food from local (Creation) sources and live.

~Dr. A. True Ott, Ingri Cassel and Don Harkins contributed to this article

I have always been fascinated with the idea of living underground or living in a cave. I really think it might be the wave of the future. When I visited France, I went into some marvelous wine caves. Nearby some people live in caves and they are often called troglodytes.

http://www.newfreebooters.com/?p=11

In Scotland at the incredibly interesting community of Findhorn some of the dwellings are covered with dirt and have grass growing on top, while others are built into a hill. I’d love to visit Findhorn again and stay in such a place.

In Tunisia there is a place called Matmata that I wanted to visit where the denizens escape the North African heat by burrowing into the ground and creating underground homes. There is even an underground hotel Hotel Sidi Driss, where a scene from Star Wars was filmed. Unfortunately I did not have enough time in Tunisia to get there.

http://www.motherearthnews.com/Nature-Community/1980-11-01/Underground-Homes.aspx

The most fascinating of all underground complexes to me is in Cappadocia Turkey. There are at least forty underground villages some of which can be visited and toured.

Right here in the USA it is possible to purchase defunct underground missile silos to use as offices or dwellings. Peter Davenport who manages the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC) has done just that. He has purchased a decommissioned USAF ICBM missile base in Washington State to house the center. I met him and heard him speak at the Atlantic City UFO Conference last February (2008). He is doing a terrific job and I wish him well in this very important work and with this innovative underground site.

Finally here is a most informative article brought to my attention by Dara H. about 20 MILLION people who live in caves in China.

Energy efficient home, easy to maintain — and no mortgage

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/226/story/57952.html

MIAOGOU VILLAGE, China — Like millions of other Chinese, Li Zhanjun lives in a dwelling that is fireproof, noise proof, warm in winter, cool in summer and the epitome of an eco-friendly design. Moreover, it’s cheap.

Li lives in a cave.

About 20 million Chinese still reside in caves and dirt-covered dwellings on the Loess Plateau that straddles the middle and upper reaches of the Yellow River in China’s northwest.

Some of the caves have been passed down for generations, with hard-packed earthen walls, electrical wiring, piped-in plumbing and other modern conveniences, including cable television.

Longtime cave dwellers are often passionate about their way of life, saying they are shielded from the elements in a practical and efficient fashion, dwelling along hillsides and leaving valuable arable land in valleys for growing crops.

Researchers say economic necessity isn’t the only reason so many Chinese continue to reside in caves.

“People from abroad think people who live in caves are very poor. But our research shows that is not always the case,” said Wang Jun, a researcher on caves at the Xian University of Architecture and Technology.

Many simply have grown accustomed to a lifestyle that dates back more than a millennium. Caves also have a revolutionary luster. Mao Zedong, the revolutionary founder of modern China, lived in caves that still honeycomb this region after the Long March, plotting the drive to take over the country that succeeded in 1949.

Caves are easily excavated from the silty soil here, requiring only picks and other digging implements. The earth is so hard-packed that caves don’t need additional support to prevent collapse. Most have a stone facade, with large lattice windows framing a door and allowing light to pour in during the day.

Generally, the caves are shaped like loaves of bread, 10-to-13 feet wide and anywhere from 20-to-25 feet deep, with arched ceilings. Several caves dug next to each other can have connecting doors, providing for a larger overall dwelling, with flues allowing for ventilation from indoor cooking fires.

The caves provide a cool respite from intense summer heat, and a snug retreat for inhabitants as winter temperatures drop.

Wang Aifang recalled how one day last winter, temperatures fell to minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit. When she stoked up an indoor cooking furnace, the cave quickly warmed up.

“Look how the warm air circulates from the stove, under the bed and out the flue,” she said, feeding a fire in an earthen hearth with branches from dried sesame plants.

Her dirt cave had walls so hard-packed they appeared to be made of concrete. They were covered with white lime, except at lower levels, which she had covered in newsprint.

“The houses in the city have to use heat. We don’t,” Wang said.

Wang, the architect, who’s not related, said researchers had done tests on the caves finding that even when outside temperatures fell to 3 degrees, indoor temperatures in the caves stood at about 54 degrees.

Just a few decades ago, as many as 40 million Chinese lived in caves. Back then, many caves had small doors and windows, making them dark and dank. The numbers of cave dwellers has dropped as living standards improved in China, even as cave designs have gotten more comfortable, with bigger doors and windows and better ventilation systems.

Wang is trying to convince authorities to promote cave living, designing greenhouse fronts that allow them to trap solar heat more efficiently in winter. He said caves are far more energy efficient than freestanding buildings.

“If you cook just a little food over a fire, it heats up the whole cave. A house isn’t so efficient,” he said.

One American who spent five months with Chairman Mao in the caves around Yanan, his revolutionary headquarters here in Shaanxi Province, recalled the caves as “a great way to live.”

“My cave was very easy to heat — just a little square stone charcoal brazier . . . with a few sticks of charcoal glowing would warm the place during the day. When you went to sleep, on your little cot, you’d bank the fire by raking the ashes over the embers and then puff them back to glowing in the morning,” said Sidney Rittenberg, who spent some three decades in China before returning to the U.S.

“Life in the cave was quite clean,” Rittenberg added in an e-mail. “After boring a new cave out of the hillside, they would leave it unoccupied for the first year to let it dry out, so that by the time someone moved in it was both clean and dry.”

Cave living holds less appeal to young Chinese.

“They think it’s rustic,” said Li, who along with his wife Wang raised two sons in their cave, which was dug out by his grandfather. “They (the caves) are so comfortable, but the young people think it’s primitive.”

In addition to caves, many Chinese in this region live in hillside housing with earthen berms for walls and earth on the rooftop. Many are built with local stones from a quarry, with an arch facade. Standing outside his earthen home, Sheng Xiaolong noted the stonework on the facade, comprising large slabs.

“Actually, we pay more for this than for a regular building,” Sheng said. “People are not allowed to use explosives anymore to get their own stone slabs. . . . Stones are heavy and require a lot of labor.”

Cave designs have changed over the years. As rural incomes rise, cave dwellers bring more furniture home. They’ve built walls that go straight up to about six feet, allowing for wardrobes to be placed flush against walls. Ventilation systems have improved, and Wang said some 80 percent have indoor plumbing.

They remain largely impervious to natural disaster.

“They are safe in earthquakes. Only landslides can damage them,” Wang said. “They can’t burn down.”

One of the biggest advantages remains economic, he added.

“You can live there forever. You don’t pay anybody,” Wang said.

“Hearts can break and never mend together, life can be that way.”

Fleetwood Mac

Back in the ’90s I read an article in, I believe, New Age Magazine, by a heart transplant surgeon about heart transplant patients and how they inexplicably sometimes took on the characteristics of the deceased heart donor. I recall the article being titled “The Heart Remembers.” The surgeon also wrote a book that I was unable to track down. The book may have been The Heart’s Code by Paul Pearson, but I’m not sure. The article was totally fascinating and every now and then in the intervening time, I have mused over what I remember of the article. There was also a very entertaining movie, Return to Me, featuring David Duchovny about a man (Duchovny) whose wife dies and her heart is transplanted into a young lady (Minnie Driver) with whom Duchovny’s character falls in love. I was a big X-Files fan and so of course, I went to see this movie.

In the last two days I’ve come across two amazing new stories about heart transplant patients that I’d like to share. Clearly, the heart is not simply a muscle that pumps blood, clearly it is much more than that. It would seem that the cells of the heart retain the emotions of their original owner.

The first is from FoxNews:

Heart Transplant Patient Kills Himself in Same Manner as Donor

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,347151,00.html

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — A man who received a heart transplant 12 years ago and later married the donor’s widow died the same way the donor did, authorities said: of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

No foul play was suspected in 69-year-old Sonny Graham’s death at his Vidalia, Ga., home, investigators said. He was found Tuesday in a utility building in his backyard with a single shotgun wound to the throat, said Greg Harvey, a special agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Graham, who was director of the Heritage golf tournament at Sea Pines from 1979 to 1983, was on the verge of congestive heart failure in 1995 when he got a call that a heart was available in Charleston.

That heart was from Terry Cottle, 33, who had shot himself, Berkeley County Coroner Glenn Rhoad said.

Grateful for his new heart, Graham began writing letters to the donor’s family to thank them. In January 1997, Graham met his donor’s widow, Cheryl Cottle, then 28, in Charleston.

“I felt like I had known her for years,” Graham told The (Hilton Head) Island Packet for a story in 2006. “I couldn’t keep my eyes off her. I just stared.”In 2001, Graham bought a home for Cottle and her four children in Vidalia. Three years later, they were married after Graham retired from his job as a plant manager for Hargray Communications in Hilton Head.

From their previous marriages, the couple had six children and six grandchildren scattered across South Carolina and Georgia.

Cheryl Graham, now 39, has worked at several hospices in Vidalia. A telephone message left Sunday at a listing for Cheryl and Sonny Graham in Vidalia was not immediately returned.

Sonny Graham’s friends said he would be remembered for his willingness to help people.

“Any time someone had a problem, the first reaction was, ‘Call Sonny Graham,’ ” said Bill Carson, Graham’s friend for more than 40 years. “It didn’t matter whether you had a flat tire on the side of the road or your washing machine didn’t work. He didn’t even have to know you to help you.”

The second from the Daily Mail is as follows:

I WAS GIVEN A YOUNG MAN’S HEART — AND STARTED CRAVING BEER AND KENTUCKY
FRIED CHICKEN. MY DAUGHTER SAID I EVEN WALKED LIKE A MAN

By Claire Sylvia
Daily Mail
April 9, 2008


Yesterday, the Mail told the extraordinary story of how a heart transplant
recipient in America committed suicide — just like the man whose heart he
had received 12 years previously. In another extraordinary twist, it emerged
that the recipient had also married the donor’s former wife.So can elements of a person’s character — or even their soul — be
transplanted along with a heart?

One woman who believes this to be the case is Claire Sylvia, a divorced
mother of one.

She was 47 and dying from a disease called primary pulmonary hypertension
when, in 1988, she had a pioneering heartlung transplant in America.

She was given the organs of an 18-year-old boy who had been killed in a
motorcycle accident near his home in Maine.

Claire, a former professional dancer, then made an astonishing discovery:
she seemed to be acquiring the characteristics, and cravings, of the donor.

Here, in an extract from her book A Change Of Heart, Claire tells her
remarkable story…

…………..

During my final lucid moments before my heart-lung transplant, I was told
that a medical team would soon be leaving to “harvest” the organs that would
save my life.

My surgeon, Mr John Baldwin, would remain with me, ready to begin the
operation as soon as he was notified that the donor’s heart and lungs had
been removed. But by this time I was far too groggy to focus on these
details, which was probably just as well.

Eventually, Mr Baldwin said to me: “We’re going to put you under now,
Claire.

“I have to remind you that it is always possible that something could go
wrong, and the organs don’t arrive in good condition.

“This sometimes happens with the lungs, which are very fragile. They could
be damaged during transit. Sometimes, at the last minute, things don’t work
out.” I looked up at him and said: “That’s OK. Do what you have to. It’s in
God’s hands now.” After that, I don’t remember anything until slowly
becoming aware of a buzz of voices calling my name: “Claire, wake up. It’s
over.” I awakened gently, feeling no bodily or physical sensation — nothing
but pure consciousness and a cacophony of voices.

I couldn’t speak, but managed to wiggle my fingers.

Someone brought me a pen and paper, and I scribbled my question: Did I get
them? “Oh yes,” the voice said. “Everything’s fine.”

Then I lapsed back into unconsciousness.

Later, after my initial recovery from the operation, I began to think of
more questions.

How long would this new heart keep beating? How long would these new lungs
keep breathing? Would I reject my new organs?

I envisioned the new heart breaking free of its stitches and popping right
out of my body.

I wondered whether Mr Baldwin had sewn it in right.

I felt it was beating deeper in my chest than my old heart had. It felt
different.

When I asked the surgeon, he explained that he’d had to position my new
heart farther back than the old one, to fit it in.

It was nice to know that I still had some connection to reality.

With all my fears, though, I was just grateful to be alive.

I was also deeply thankful that a family I’d never met had made it possible
for me to by-pass death and rejoin the world.

It was a humbling thought, and I wanted to be worthy of their amazing gift.

When I told Gail Eddy — the transplant programme co-ordinator — how I
felt, she suggested writing to the donor’s family to express my gratitude.

While I couldn’t know their identity or give them my name, I knew my donor
was an 18-year-old boy who had been killed in a motorcycle accident.

Because I was the first person in the state to have such an operation, there
was a lot of publicity, and two reporters came to the hospital to interview
me.

One asked: “Now that you’ve had this miracle, what do you want more than
anything else?” “Actually,” I replied, “I’m dying for a beer right now.” I
was mortified that I had given such a flippant answer, and also surprised.

I didn’t even like beer. But the craving I felt was specifically for the
taste of beer.

For some bizarre reason, I was convinced that nothing else in the world
could quench my thirst.

That evening, an odd notion occurred to me: maybe the donor of my new
organs, this young man from Maine, had been a beer drinker.

Was it possible that my new heart had reached me with its own set of tastes
and preferences? It was a fascinating idea. During those early days, I had
no idea that I would look back on this curious comment as the first of many
mysteries after the transplant.

Or that, in the months ahead, I would sometimes wonder who was
choreographing changes in my preferences and personality. Was it me, or was
it my heart?

On the fifth day, though my body was doing fine, I fell into a profound
despair.

Part of what I was experiencing was a post-operative depression, but I was
also going through the early stages of an identity crisis. I mentioned my
feelings to Mr Baldwin, but he told me not even to think about it and “just
get on with my life”.

A month later, I left the hospital and moved into a medical halfway house a
few miles away.

Now that I could eat like a normal person, I found, bizarrely, I’d developed
a sudden fondness for certain foods I hadn’t liked before: Snickers bars,
green peppers, Kentucky Fried Chicken takeaway. As time went on, a strange
question crept into my mind. Although I hadn’t thought much about my donor,
I was acutely aware that I was living with a man’s heart — and I wondered
whether it was conceivable that this male heart might affect me sexually.

Until the transplant, I had spent most of my adult life either in a
relationship with a man or hoping to be in one.

But after the operation, while I still felt attracted to men, I didn’t feel
that same need to have a boyfriend.

I was freer and more independent than before — as if I had taken on a more
masculine outlook.

My personality was changing, too, and becoming more masculine.

I was more aggressive and assertive than I used to be, and more confident as
well.

I felt tougher, fitter and I stopped getting colds. Even my walk became more
manly. “Why are you walking like that?” my teenage daughter Amara asked.

“You’re lumbering — like a musclebound football player.” This new masculine
energy wasn’t limited to my walk. I felt a new power that I associated with
strength and vibrancy.

A certain feminine tentativeness had fallen away. My sexual preferences
didn’t change in an overt way — I remained a confirmed heterosexual — but
something had shifted deep within me.

And I could tell that others sensed it, too. I became friendly with a blonde
woman I met at a conference.

We spent time together and, when the conference was finished, I invited her
to stay for a few days.

It was innocent on my part, or so I thought, but as soon as we were alone
she made it clear that she was interested in a sexual relationship.

I declined her invitation, but her surprise at my lack of interest made me
wonder what kind of signals I had been sending out without realising it.
Around this time, I also had the most unforgettable dream of my life.

In it, I was in a grassy outdoor place, it was summer, and I was with a
tall, thin young man with sandy-coloured hair.

His name was Tim — possibly Tim Leighton, but I’m not sure.

I thought of him as Tim L. We seemed to be good friends.

As I walked away from him, I felt that something remained unfinished between
us. I returned to say goodbye and we kissed.

I seemed to inhale him into me in the deepest breath I had ever taken.

I felt like Tim and I would be together for ever. When the dream was over,
something had changed.

I woke up knowing that Tim L was my donor and that some parts of his spirit
and personality were now within me.

I wanted to check this information, but the transplant programme observed a
code of strict confidentiality.

I called Gail Eddy, the transplant co-ordinator.

Although she couldn’t tell me who my donor was, I hoped she could confirm
the name Tim L.

When I asked Gail, there was a momentary pause.

“I’m not supposed to discuss this with you,” she finally replied.

“Let it go. You’re opening a can of worms.” I was disappointed, but I
respected Gail’s judgment and assured her that I’d drop the subject.

The subject, however, refused to drop me. Some months later, while out at
the theatre, I met Fred, a rather handsome guy from Florida.

We talked about my transplant and about the donor. I wasn’t sure if Fred was
genuinely interested in my operation or if he was chatting me up, but there
was something about him I liked and I gave him my phone number.

Fred called the next morning and was eager to meet.

He said he’d been moved by my story and — bizarrely — had had a dream in
which he saw my donor’s obituary.

Together, he and I decided to go to Boston (the nearest city to the
accident) and search the newspapers for my donor’s obituary.

Fred was already there when I arrived, scrolling through the newspaper for
the week of my transplant.

We soon found the item we were searching for — an obituary for an
18-year-old who had died in a motorcycle accident.

His name was Timothy Lamirande. My dream about “Tim” was true after all.

I felt a weakness in my knees and collapsed into a chair.

The clipping mentioned five sisters and two brothers.

The family of my heart were right here on a piece of paper. Until this
moment, in a strange way I hadn’t been 100 per cent certain that the
transplant had even happened.

The process had been so otherworldly that it was easier to view it as a
miracle.

But, suddenly, I knew the donor was real and that he had a family.

There was the proof: a name, an address, a town.

A few days later, I met Gail Eddy and told her what had happened.

I asked her if she thought it was possible that Tim’s name was spoken by one
of the doctors during my surgery and that it somehow permeated my
unconscious.

“I was wondering the same thing,” said Gail.

“But the doctors are never aware of the donor’s name.

Besides, Mr Baldwin works in near silence: not a word is spoken.”

Almost nine months later, I had another dream about “Tim”.

I felt he was doing everything but send me directions to his parents’ house,
so I decided to contact his family.

I wrote to them and they agreed to me visiting them.

I drove to Milford in the state of Maine with a close friend.

We waited in a car park where Tim’s father would meet us.

As a large brown car drove slowly into view, my stomach tightened.

Mr Lamirande was smaller than I expected and greeted us with a simple
“Hello” — not the profound moment I was expecting.

We followed him to the house.

Tim’s parents lived in a world of freshly-mown lawns and large clapboard
houses.

I was incredibly nervous, and surprised to see three of Tim’s sisters there
to greet me, too.

So there I was, with Tim’s heart inside me, sitting on Tim’s couch next to
Tim’s mother, and we were talking about the weather.

We exchanged small talk before being joined by Annie, a fourth sister, who
was closest in age to Tim.

Leaning against the mantelpiece, she looked me in the eye and said: “So tell
us how you found us.”

The only thing which interrupted my story were the exclamations of
amazement. When I’d finished, many eyes were misted over with tears. “None
of the other people who received his organs have been in touch with us,”
Tim’s sister Carla said.

I learned that in addition to his heart and lungs, the family had donated
Tim’s corneas, kidneys and liver.

Mrs Lamirande — June, as she had asked me to call her — went to another
room and returned with a framed photograph.

Sitting back on the couch, she turned the picture so I could see it.

Tim wore glasses, although I hadn’t seen him that way in my dreams.

In this photo, he looked about 14.

He was dressed in formal clothes, standing beside a priest.

But even with the glasses, I could see the sparkle in his eyes. June started
to say something about Tim when she suddenly choked up.

Now the tears flowed. I felt a bond between us like nothing I had ever
known. But I couldn’t quite comprehend this: me holding Tim’s picture in my
hands and his heart in my chest.

I paused to take a breath and Tim’s lungs filled with air.

Except that they were my lungs now.

Mine to breathe with, as I grieved with his mother next to me. June said Tim
had had a tremendous amount of energy.

His sisters described how difficult it was to baby-sit him and how he tried
to run away from them.

“He was restless,” one of them added. Perhaps it explained why I, too, now
had so much energy.

“Was he a beer drinker?” I asked. His sisters nodded.

When I told them how I had wanted a beer soon after the operation, there
were smiles all around. It was so amazing just to be there that I had to
remind myself that I had come with some specific questions.

I asked if Tim had ever had colds and whether he recovered quickly.

They told me that he was hardly ever ill, and I wondered if this explained
my new-found resilience?

I also asked if he liked green peppers.

I’d never liked them before the operation — but afterwards I loved them and
included them in virtually every meal.

His sister told me that, yes, Tim had loved green peppers — “but what he
really loved were chicken nuggets”.

This explained my trips to Kentucky Fried Chicken. I was dumbfounded.

Later that weekend, before going home, I went for dinner with the Lamirandes
at a local restaurant.

In Tim’s honour, I ordered chicken nuggets.

The conversation was light; far removed from the purpose of my visit.

“I’m not much of a correspondent,” June told me, “so I won’t be writing very
much.

“But we want you to know that you’re welcome here any time you like.”

As we walked back to the Lamirandes’ house, June asked if I wanted to come
in for a little dessert.

Once inside, June disappeared and returned with a huge cake, decorated with
a single word in large print: WELCOME. As the mother of my heart presented
the cake to me, her face was beaming.

“Chocolate,” she said. “Tim’s favourite.”

……………

Extracted from “A Change Of Heart – A Memoir”
By Claire Sylvia with William Novak

…………

These stories are so amazing I can’t really add much else. I would conclude that we should pay more attention to, and have more respect for our hearts. A way in which I honor my heart is to listen to an open heart meditation by Mark Macy.

I am sure that many people who read this are aware of additives which are added to our food and cosmetics supposedly for our own good. Many of us apply sunscreen, or wear makeup with vitamins, or eat yogurt with added cultures all in the hopes that we will remain attractive or healthy longer. But how many of us know that some additives are made of bits so small that they are 80,000 times thinner than a human hair and that these bits easily penetrate human organs including placenta and fetuses thereby also entering into children before they are born. These nanoparticles do not seem to be as carefully regulated as they ought to be. This could be cause for great medical concern in the future when we are all filled up with the stuff and our bodies react in an unexpected way. Yeah, I know, you didn’t need something else to worry about. Sorry.

The links below were sent to me by my friend Bill formerly of Superior:
Britain’s Daily Mail

Information Liberation

I meditate regularly. I also do guided visualizations and attempt out of body experiences. Much of this work is done in a prone position, often in bed and often before sleep. An occasional hindrance to success in this area is acid reflux. I have heard other meditators complain of this condition. I do not like to ingest medications and I have discovered a remedy which works wonders in this area and is very healthy. Simply eat a Mackintosh apple before retiring. Other types of apples may work, but Mackintosh apples work best for me.