Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Yoga of Pancakes

Before Yoga – Eat Pancakes; After Yoga – Eat Pancakes

Fluffy pancakes dripping with warm, real, grass-fed, hormone-free cow butter and delicious pure maple syrup. Yes, that's right, pancakes. Not gluten-free, not dairy-free, not egg or sugar-free, just pure, fluffy, the way grandma used to make 'em pancakes, stacked to the hilt on a plate in front of you with a glorious cup of Joe and some fruit. I don't care which fruit you choose: bananas (cause you can get em year round), strawberries, blueberries fresh or frozen. Hey, maybe you are a chocolate chip pancake fan, or chia and cinnamon. How ever you stack it, I am going to show you how you can practice yoga while enjoying a hearty stack of flapjacks right now. Shanti Om.

Everyone thinks yoga is a bunch of body-twisting postures which contort your form into strange positions for the purpose of both fitness and enlightenment. And though this is true, to an extent, yoga is truly so much more. It is more correct to say that yoga is a state of mind, and you can practice that state of mind in any situation, at any time. In fact, the more you can practice in random, mundane situations, the better of a yogi you become.

I choose the yoga of pancakes to illustrate the fact that yoga is not a strict dogma of practices which limit, but is instead a mindset, which when implemented in its fullest, liberates.

Before ever practicing and embodying yoga, one might sit down to eat a stack of fluffy pancakes and enjoy them with very little thought. Maybe even while watching television or reading the daily paper, maybe with the companionship of Aunt Jamima or Mrs Butterworth.

As yoga is brought into one's life, the experience of eating pancakes begins to change. It starts with a deeper awareness of the body and its relationship to the foods one is consuming. Perhaps one newer to the practice of yoga may suddenly decide that they don't jive with fake syrup, or that wheat flour pancakes are preferred. Later, as the practice deepens, gluten-free might come into play and an awareness of butter – real or not – starts to matter. Perhaps there comes a time when the yoga practitioner is not feeling the pancake vibe at all and instead feels the need to eat lighter, fresher or more “crunchy” foods.

All of these shifts reflect the refinement process in the mind of the yogi.

As consciousness begins to truly take a seat in the awareness of the yogi an equilibrium takes hold which is less and less affected by outside circumstances and input. 
Instead, the yogi starts to influence his or her surroundings, and those things which are consumed are likewise transmuted through the alchemical field created by the yogic mind. 

Now, pancakes become once again pancakes, as enjoyed in the beginning, but now somehow enhanced by the observing mind. The yogi now participates fully in the act of eating and with every bite the witness mind engages, transforming the act of eating pancakes (or doing anything else, for that matter) into a yogic practice and a holy moment.

The yoga of pancakes is not unlike the yoga of parenting or the yoga of bike-riding. It is synonymous with bhakti yoga, karma yoga and mantra yoga. The yoga of anything or anything yoga is the conscious doing of a thing, anything, which brings you into a deeper experience with that thing. It is the allowing of any moment, of any task, of any engagement to become the gateway to the eternal holy moment of presence. With awareness, everything becomes yoga – be it dish-washing, child-rearing, sun-salutations, mantra or pancakes.

When a yogi eats fluffy pancakes dripping with warm, real, grass-fed, hormone-free butter and pure maple syrup, they do so with consciousness and presence, allowing them to over-ride all else. A pancake eaten yogically is a pancake fully surrendered to, with no preconceived notions, no limitations, no expectations and no labels. It is an occasion to experience the god-self through the filling of the senses...a pratyahara moment which gives way to a pancake meditation and a transcendent experience that defies even the pancake.

So if you love pancakes and you think eating them can't align with your yoga, or you are a yogi and you think you have to give up pancakes, or anything really, just remember this. Yoga is a state of mind. States of mind are stronger and more potent than any physical object or experience. It is the way you choose to respond to an experience or thing that determines the quality of that experience or thing. The Yoga of Pancakes can be applied to every moment and every act. It is the ghee in the supermarket of choices. Get clear. Eat pancakes, do everything, like a yogi.

Namaste Friends.

May Bliss Be in Your House Today - As it is in Mine.

Stasia Bliss

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Journey to Diabetes with my Son and Beyond it...

Two months ago, my son and I ended up in the emergency room with a type 1 diabetes diagnosis for him after watching him struggle with some curious symptoms for weeks. My father was with us as we tried to talk my oldest boy into gracefully accepting the pin-prick which has now become a regular, multiple times per day practice. What seemed overwhelming and tragic to us then has become one of the biggest miracles of our lives, while at the same time becoming both frustrating and "tragic" in a different sense - as we look out into the world and at the tens of thousands of other children and adults alike handed this same diagnosis yearly without hope of another solution.

Some of you have been following the progress of my son Tage and his healthy "recovery" (is how I deem it) from not only a diabetes diagnosis, but from a life of built-up emotional stressors and lifestyle habits which were not supporting his authentic brilliance. Over the past 2 months as we have gone from insulin shots at every meal and bedtime, to no shots at all while he consumes only raw, whole foods. The process has not only been incredible for his body in terms of health, but for his character, his mind and his emotional well-being.

Nobody ever said it was going to be easy, but this has been one of the most rewarding several months of my life. I have repeatedly deemed it my "Master's course" as I have had the opportunity to put everything I have ever learned about health, emotional well-being and natural medicine into play. This has truly been my test of the integration process, if ever there was one. 

When I look back over the past 20 years of my life and all the health practices I have studied and been engaged in, I marvel at their application, together, in times of "crisis" and chronic-overload, NOW with my son in this process of healing.

My Early Studies

I started my studies by attending massage therapy school in Salt Lake City back in 1997 while still living close to home. I then branched out into acupressure and got my degree as a Master of Gi-jo acupressure, a technique I have come back to over and over again with great delight. 

I then studied essential oils at the Australasian college of herbal studies where I deepened my love and appreciation of distilled oils. After that, I continued my studies a The School of Natural Healing in Springville, Utah in 1998 and 1999 and received my Certificate as a Nutritional Herbologist. In this school I learned about detoxification of the organs and body tissues and the crucial role this plays in helping us heal. I learned to create herbal formulas and became intimately familiar with individual herbs and their application. At the time I was working as a Wellness Consultant at a local health food store and daily worked to improve my knowledge in regards to herbs and every other supplement I was confronted with. I was hell-bent on "knowing everything" when it came to products I might be potentially quizzed about. 

Travels Abroad

From there, in the year 2000 I left the country and spent a year traveling through SE Asia, being exposed to and studying much in the way of alternative medicine, Ayurveda and yoga. I returned home and self-studied in the art of Astrology, Crystal healing, the Mayan Calendar for over a year and learned to track my body's emotional cycles and menstrual cycles so I could become healthier - both in myself and in my relationships. I spent several years growing my own herbal garden and harvesting my own herbs, making tinctures and whatnots. I utilized affirmations, got creative in the kitchen and stretched my wings into cooking up homemade tempeh, kombucha and other fermented products.

I returned again to India in 2003 for 6 months and studied Kundalini yoga and Tai Chi privately with a Yogic Master. After daily practice I returned home to teach Kundalini yoga and meditation for several years. This time had me practicing Hot yoga regularly as well as teaching other styles until I felt drawn back to India to study yoga more in-depth. So I left and spent another 4 months (plus 2 months)in 2005 in an Ashram for a Yogic Lifestyle immersion course where I was chanting, meditating, stretching and studying daily - and fully immersed in the ways and philosophy of Hatha Yoga.

Motherhood began

I returned home to teach yoga for the next 10-12 years even during the time when I gave birth to my first son - Tage - who this story is ultimately about. I remember teaching upwards to 5-6 classes per day during my gestation period with him. I taught every style including the Yoga Nidra practice I had grown to love so much while in India. This practice helps to clear out the subconscious mind of deep rooted patterns and I knew it was good for him as a growing fetus, so I used to listen in headphones while I grew him in my belly. We continued the practice every night after he was born until he was at least 3 years old. 

Around that age, I started to teach less, completed my first book, and began a raw chocolate company while I studied the art of internal alchemy through my newly found mentor Almine. ( I took on many more yoga classes and private students while I also grew my chocolate business as one which emphasized the use of raw, superfood ingredients, essential oils and high vibrational energies such as sacred geometry, crystals and mantra/chants - all of which we used over the chocolate in its creation.

Tage grew up on my raw chocolate, and he had eaten pretty well all of his early years. He even had his own garden patch where he grew and harvested his own vegetables. Looking back at the time with his dad, he had a great environment, ate healthy and was not exposed to much television or sweets. I got into feng shui, among other things, and had been studying the Anastasia books about how to create gardens which especially nourished the ones who would eat the foods by putting the seeds in your mouth before planting. Tage did that for his own garden as well. 

It was probably one of the healthiest environments he could have been raised in. My ego got in the way when his dad accused me of not being responsible or "pulling my weight" when the thought seemed outrageous to me in every sense. He did not want to get married and he never wanted to have more children, and so I thought, after spending time away from each other one weekend, and both agreeing we liked ourselves better apart, we separated.

I believe this is where the traumas began for Tage. It was very difficult for him, especially as a very grounded Taurus personality, to transition to a space where he was not with both parents. It was difficult for me too. I didn't have a home, and ended up staying with friends. Tage and I slept on a bottom bunk together on a single mattress for part of the week, and then on a recliner loveseat during the weekend when my friends who were letting us stay had their kids weekend visit (when Tage wasn't with his dad).

From there we got a housesitting gig for a year and Tage experienced me going through several relationships with men who I think he adored very much, and who adored him. When it didn't work out, he felt abandoned. I did my best to keep spirits high, and I remember, at age 4, Tage was very tuned into Spirit and used to "channel" messages for me often.

When Tage was 5 I met a man who would become my second boy's father. At first Tage and he were very close, best buddies even. But as that relationship progressed (or digressed?!) Tage was continually hurt by his disappearance and by my sadness over the continued failure of the relationship. This is where I believe Tage started to stress-out. His self-confidence waned and he was uncertain anymore how to trust me and my choices for him.

He hated public school and felt it was making him "lose himself" I remember him saying. He used to hide and try to miss the school bus and cried for hours about having to go. I wasn't sure how to not make him go, what I would do - and I tried a few home-schooling creative possibilities, including having him go to a friend of mine who was trying to start an alternative school with some other boys several days per week. 

We moved a bunch. With my younger son's father we ended up leaving Oregon and returning multiple times. It was an emotional roller coaster. Tage was missing his father and stability. He was starting to eat junkier, and watch more t.v. With the popularity of the tablet, he finally got into video games, which took him further and further away from his emotions, which were getting progressively stuffed. He was stressed out, eating poorly and I was trying my best to keep our little family impossible as it seemed.

I became a certified Emotion Code practitioner during one of the spells where my partner and I were separated. I thought it would help all of us to work on the subconscious mind, and for me, I felt great strides were made. Maybe if I had worked on Tage more then...of course it never helps to have regrets.

After his brother's 3rd birthday, Tage was pretty deeply taken to constantly stressing-out and having incredible, uncontrollable outbursts. I knew something was deeply wrong, he needed a therapist, he wouldn't go to school. I was at an end of my rope. I was considering having him live with my parents because I just couldn't communicate with him. He was being deceptive, he was unhealthy, he was defiant. I was so frustrated.

I finally broke up with my youngest's dad for good. I knew it was bad for all of us for me to be with him. Even though I wanted my youngest to have his father, for all intents and purposes, it was bad news. He wasn't supporting us, emotionally or financially, and it bordered on abusive, otherwise. Tage had begged me to break up with him for years. He never wanted me to let him back...when I had so many times. I should have listened, but I just wanted a whole family. Tage suffered for my choices.

After we finally moved out of our joint living situation in November of 2016 Tage suddenly got sick. He had rashes, he felt feverish, He was emotional. I considered it an emotional release from the years he had put up with being around his step-father. (and it probably was that as well) I felt he felt that he finally had a safe place to emote. We were staying with my parents temporarily. I wanted to leave the state, and had intended to go to Arizona to check out places to potentially move, come the new year. I was going to leave Tage with my parents over the holidays while I took a trip. They seemed okay with it. Except he wasn't getting better. I was getting more worried. 

A week or so before planning to depart, I had a Cards of Destiny reading with a dear sister who asked me for a trade. She felt compelled to talk to me. I had coincidentally lost my voice that week, but we did a call anyway. I listened intently while she read my cards. She spelled out my last year to a tee.!!
And when it came to the impending next "pull" - the cards basically warned that a trip could be dangerous...possible car trouble, it said...possible family health issues.

I couldn't leave with this sort of reading...and within a few days, my car was in the shop with a blown hose. This hose turned out to only be one of many problems which finally became more than the car was even worth and I left the car at the shop for them to keep. 

On December 17th it was 2 days before Tage was supposed to fly to Portland to visit his dad and family for the holidays. He was beyond excited, but still not improving from weeks of being sick. He was starting to obviously lose weight and he had been up every night urinating 10 times, and 20 or more times during the day. He was incessantly thirsty and I knew I had to get him checked out before he flew.

My mother was a bit worried, we finally exchanged words and she expressed how the symptoms he was showing were all too familiar of those in her family who had diabetes. Oh my...I looked into it. Though I had been questioning Scarlet Fever and others which had popped up when I Googled his symptoms, now that I was looking at Diabetes, it looked all too possible.

Finally, on Saturday afternoon of the 17th we drove with my father (I was carless) to the only Natropath I could find open on that day in the city. After wading through the cold and some snow in the parking lot, with Tage acting weaker and weaker, we got him inside and onto a check-up table. The Natropaths on staff took one look at him and heard my descriptions and had a suspicious look. They asked Tage sweetly if he could get himself to pee in a cup, and after doing so, and looking at the test strip, they sent us right to Primary Children's Hospital without delay.

The rest of the story is history... but when I think back to the hospital room where we spent several nights being "trained" on "how to live with type 1 diabetes" - I shake my head. At least one new child is diagnosed in that hospital daily with type 1 - they told us. At least one per day?

After several weeks at home with insulin shots, and feeding him, what I knew to be too much protein, we finally stumbled onto Dr Robert Morse who recommends fruits only for diabetics to get their blood sugars leveled. After one meal of fruit, I had to back his insulin back and then again the next meal. I reduced it one unit that night, his numbers were so low, and by the next night he was off insulin all together.

No one in the hospital spoke of this.

We got him on herbal formulas for his those I had studied years ago - for the Pancreas, for the Kidneys, for the Lymph, for the Adrenals, ...etc. etc. . . He was drinking Nopal Cactus for balancing blood sugars and Marine Phytoplankton for nutrients. 

I got him a gemstone necklace to help him amplify the benefits of the herbs and to speed healing, as I had studied with crystals after a friend had made him a bracelet to support his organs. We used essential oils on his feet and massaged his acu-points and I had been trained as well. He started with affirmations and yoga and visualizing his organs and glands healthy and strong. - This too, from my years in practice.

Truly, when we talk about "yoga practice" or "practicing herbal medicine" or any other "practice" ...we are practicing for times like this - times when we are needed to take action and integrate all we have learned to really "move the energy" of a thing - and make a difference. It is no longer a theory to me or a study...we are in real-time making progress.

The number of layers I have worked with him in clearing - on the subconscious mind level - is incredible. I had no idea someone so young could have so much unprocessed stuff. It has made me very emotional at times to go through layer after layer and realize there was much more to do. These are the things modern medicine doesn't even address. He had trapped emotions affecting every one of the major organs involved - including Pancreas, Adrenals, Lymph, Kidneys (right and left), the stomach, the colon, the thymus gland and more. I have spent weeks unpeeling the layers and recently I have uncovered miasms and other "trip ups" in his DNA and luckily this is another area of study I have well versed myself in - and I am helping his codes rewrite themselves.

Finally, after a month of raw fruit - which was a definite body-cleanse - I was starting to see that he had leveled out still a bit over the desired fasting blood sugar (FBS) range - which we wanted to be between 70-85. Some mornings he was still waking at 119 FBS. Even though 100-125 is still normal-ish for after eating, I knew we needed to make a change. I could feel it in my heart for several days. 

I started to feel a pounding in my chest that would not go away, plus we had a scheduled doctor visit at the hospital coming up and I wanted to bring great results for. 

That day, I received a book in the mail from a dear friend of mine I used to eat amazing raw food with in Portland. She now lives in Austin, TX (thank you Tashi Rana). The book is by Gabriel Cousens - "There is a Cure for Diabetes" and it outlines a live, raw food diet consisting mostly of vegetables, nuts, oils and seeds and showed people getting their FBS down to 70-85 within a couple of days on the diet. I was ready...but I could feel the "paradigm shift" in my body. It was exactly opposite of what we were currently doing, even though I felt it right, there was a sense of conflict in me I didn't know how to handle. I decided to just be with it and see what would happen.

I let it sit, I let it settle, and when I thought I would know when it was time to use the new diet...Tage got up late and told me he felt weird. I responded with a bowl of nut butter and celery sticks. His eyes widened. He couldn't believe he was being offered this. !! The excitement, the uncertainty. "Are you sure mom?" He had become so compliant, feeling he was getting better. I assured him and began to tell him of the new diet he was going to go on. I let him know all the new things he would get to eat. He was thrilled. 

The next day we did a vegetable juice and a spinach salad early on. I have never seen a kid so happy to eat spinach! By the next day we were leaning into the diet's 1.5 phase which allowed for some grains and low-glycemic fruits. He got cooked quinoa. He was the happiest little camper I have ever seen eating that quinoa with coconut oil on it. I don't think he ever liked quinoa before.

Today, 3 days into the new diet, he is leveled out at a FBS of 70 and a daytime blood sugar around 95-105. It is working. Just as fast as they said. I couldn't be more grateful as we have only 4 days until our doctors visit. 

I have tracked everything. Every bite, every test, every herb, every massage and foot bath and affirmation. Everything. But what I can't help but think of is those other kids at the hospital that day and every other day since...who were not/are not (yet) as lucky as my son...who still could have their life transformed if they only knew. If they could only have a simple protocol given to them that did not allow them to "eat anything they wanted" as the hospital staff says.  They tell you - eat what you want "as long as you shoot up your insulin"...that artificial hormone which disallows for the body to make it itself when given from the outside...but which could be encouraged to produce again if the body were given the chance to heal...if it had the right herbs and foods and attitude and support.

This is the story I want to tell...that I am telling. These are the tales which inspire the story that must be told. The truth is out there. It is right here. It is not hidden, just not known so well. And it works. Our bodies are made to heal. If given the right atmosphere, the right support, the belief and motivation.

I can't help but think back to a friend of mine, who, before leaving to study yoga in India, was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer and given 2 months to live. He refused to be operated on, as they said they could, but it likely wouldn't help. He instead surrounded himself with those who believed in his ability to heal, he ate incredible food, used crystals, meditated, visualized and experienced his emotions. Most of all, he believed he could heal, that he was already whole. And today...over 10 years later, he is still alive and cancer-free.

I am grateful to be walking this journey with my son. Who knows, maybe this is preparing me/us for something bigger. As I look back over our life, over my life - I can see how it was all perfectly orchestrated to bring us here have this experience, to heal grow. 

The nights that we have sat awake crying together, doing Ho'oponopono together - releasing our past and loving each other. The nights my boys have cried for their daddy's and I have cried with them...the healing, the love, the depth, the embrace. If we can only see "disease" as a catalyst for this...then we have won. 

That is all for now...thank you for being on the journey.

And I hope Bliss is in your house, as it is in mine.

Stasia Bliss