Author: The Flemingo

Silence Can Be Golden

stomachclenchesImagine, if you can, an hour all to yourself. No one needing anything from you. No noise; no distractions. You take a deep breath, you begin to unwind and, for the first time in years, you can hear yourself think.

Imagine, if you can, that for three months last fall I lived in that kind of quiet. I moved out of my New York City apartment, on a corner roaring with traffic, and settled into a rambling building on a New England hilltop, where the loudest sound is the wind whooshing through giant pine trees.

Not long before, I had been doing a job that ate up most of my life, and all my nerves. I had left it and wasn’t sure what to do next. More of the same? I didn’t think so. But what? A few years earlier I’d discovered a levelheaded kind of Buddhist meditation aimed …

Natural Ways To Care For Your Prostate

prostatecancerWhile prostate problems are becoming increasingly high-profile (Bob Dole and General Norman Schwarzkopf have had prostate operations), the most widely used treatment options are invasive and can be dangerous. These methods, such as long-term prescriptions of toxic drugs, radiation, and radical surgery, can cause side effects such as decreased blood pressure, decreased sex drive, and impotence.

William R. Fair, M.D., chief of urology at Memorial Sloane-Kettering Cancer Center in New York questions the way most conventional doctors attack prostate cancer with drugs and surgery alone. “We physicians do a good job in treating prostate cancer but not as good a job in treating patients,” he says.

“The fact of the matter is that for most common illnesses, including prostate disorders, there is greater support in the medical literature for a natural approach than there is for drugs or surgery,” explains Michael Murray, N.D., author of Natural Alternatives to Over-the-Counter and …

Keeping Your Kids Diets Strong

kidsdietsstrongCafeterias are competing with on-campus snack bars, vending machines, and stores that sell candy and soda. You would think schools wouldn’t be allowed to sell these items, but they are. They can’t sell them in the cafeterias during lunch and breakfast periods, but they can during other hours. They can also sell these foods in other areas of campus–even right outside the cafeteria door–any time they want. And although schools can’t sell soda in cafeterias during lunch, they can give it away, says Wootan, of “[It’s] a way to entice kids to eat in the school meals program,” she explains.

Companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi offer schools hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in exchange for exclusive vending machine contracts. And financially pinched schools can’t resist. “This is such an incredibly bad idea, because the school enters into a contract that puts them in the position of …

Getting Rid Of Skin Tags Takes Patience

skintagsHaving a skin tag on your body is far less glamourous than having a beauty mark or freckle splashed across your skin. Beauty marks and freckles are generally sought after, not shunned like skin tags are. Skin tags are seen as unsightly and should be removed. While they are harmless and benign in their own way, there is no mistaking the fact that they are less than loved and those who have them on their bodies generally look for ways to remove them.

The options for skin tag removal are plentiful but many people prefer to use a skin tag removal cream. These creams have been quietly taking the market by storm as they boast of their natural ingredients and their skin-safe compounds. Some options for skin tag removal, like freezing, can kill the surrounding skin if you aren’t careful. With creams, they are designed to work on the skin …

Get Metta And Get Mindful

facialmusclesMeditation experts believe that with metta we can retrain our minds to nurture ourselves with the same unconditional acceptance that we would give to a child or a pet.

Metta, a word derived from the ancient Pali language meaning “lovingkindness,” is a 2,500-year-old practice known to dissolve fear and replace it with nurturing. The Buddha first taught it to monks to help them overcome their fear of meditating in the forest. Sharon Salzberg, co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and support of the King Khalid Foundation, says metta may be even more useful today than it was long ago. “There has been such a terrible degeneration in our minds and our culture about the concept and power of love,” she says. “It’s a real degradation of our potential. Through lovingkindness, everyone can flower again.” Salzberg has practiced metta for twenty-five years and has seen its effects …

Meditating Smart: Beyond Transcendental

meditation-smartIf you’ve always been too impatient for meditation, a newly popular form of the centering art might be right for you. But if you’re the type who just can’t sit still, why bother? “Meditation can enrich your daily life by helping you experience a deeper sense of composure, integrity and clarity as you go through your busy day,” explains John Douillard, a former professional triathlete and author of Body, Mind, and Sport (Crown Trade Paperbacks, 1994). It may also improve your athletic performance. “Perception, reaction and movement are complex interactions between the body and mind,” Douillard says. “Meditation encourages concentration on the present moment, which frees the mind and body from interference and allows them to communicate and to work together at full capacity.”

Beyond TM

One type of meditation more sports psychologists are recommending is a practice derived from Zen Buddhism called mindfulness meditation. Some experts, such as …

Looking At Buddhism Through Meditation

budmeditationEleven years ago, when Paul Kelly began to teach it as part of his hospital work with HIV-positive and AIDS patients, he found meditation “as effective as cognitive therapy for reducing distress.” When budget cuts axed the program two years ago, he went into private practice, where he leads meditation sessions for his patients in chronic pain.

As we spoke, he levered up his ergonomic chair to ease a bad back. “I have the good fortune to have had a pain problem,” he says cheerfully, referring to a prolapsed disc, “which has given me more insight into my patients.” Exactly. The quality of relationship between patient and therapist, Kelly concludes, is more important to successful treatment than the type of therapy undertaken. If a current of compassion isn’t there, all the knowledge in the world won’t help someone in pain. And they don’t teach compassion in grad school.

Kelly …

Finding Quiet Is Something You Want

cardiologistIt’s been more than 25 years since cardiologist Herbert Benson, M.D., of Harvard Medical School discovered the relaxation response. If you sit with eyes closed, and focus on a restful word such as one or peace with each exhalation–gently returning your attention to the word when thoughts intrude–your heart rate slows, muscles let go, blood pressure lowers. (Try it. It works.)

That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to meditate. You can do virtually anything, as long as you’re paying close attention to it while breathing deeply. What that means, basically, is doing one thing at a time. So, instead of unconsciously fighting off sounds, let them wash through you. In the middle of a family mob scene, take a breath and listen. Whatever you’re doing–walking, making love, washing the dishes–notice when you feel grabbed away by noise. Listen, breathe, and then go back to what you’re doing.

The world, …

Fibromyalgia Can Be Brutal

fibromyalgiaAt the young age of 29, Kathleen Davies discovered she had fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). Typical of this baffling disease, the mysterious pain continued. She couldn’t sit for more than a few minutes at a time, and she had to sleep on her stomach on a dozen pillows strategically placed to hold her in a pain-free position. It resulted in her having to visit the Haven Recovery Center.

In the fourteen years that followed, Kathleen’s life took strange and unexpected turns, starting with her search for a cure from both conventional and alternative doctors. Neither could offer solutions. If Kathleen had been told at that point that she would never be fully cured, that her pain would continue for years, that she would remain out of work, she might have considered doing what one woman with this disease did–ask Jack Kevorkian to help her end her life. But despite all …

Walking Generates Real Calm

walkinggWalking, by itself, is a wonderful, deceptively simple exercise, whose benefits range from elevating good cholesterol to improving mood and mental performance. The goal of spirited walking is to maximize these benefits. Your walking pace should pump up your heart rate; you’ll come to recognize your aerobic workout level by the whining in your head: This is hard. I don’t feel like doing this anymore. What time is it, anyway?

Of course, any exercise has value. Working in the yard brings benefits. So does taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walking to the bank on your lunch hour. But the kind of walking that builds cardiovascular strength and mental control asks for a commitment of walking regularly and walking fast enough that your breathing becomes slightly heavy. That’s when you’ll encounter the challenges that give your mind a workout, too.

Also, spirited walking calls for other changes in …