All posts by Eve Soldinger

I don’t want to be your mother but..

 

This summer has been  the fourth hottest summer ever.  Everyone is aware of this.  But people I see walking in the street behave as if they are in denial.  Now before I start on this diatribe I have to confess that I grew up in Florida.  And while I do have an olive complexion, my mother had freckles and was very aware and protective of her skin.  So I learned early that there needed to be a limit of exposure to the sun.

 

But first things first- a couple of week ago, I was going to work and while waiting for the walk sign a younger person next to me said, “God why did I wear these pants? It’s so hot.” And just to be nice I asked what’s the problem?  And she said, “These jeans are too tight and heavy. I feel just awful. I should be dressed like you with loose fitting light clothing.”

 

I thought yes, you should. But I don’t expect a 24 year old to be dressed like a 64 year old. Even if you were wearing shorts and t-shirts though, they should fit loosely. Do I know this from growing up in Florida? Maybe.  So rule number 1 of thriving in hot weather requires you wear loose fitting clothing.

 

Rule number 2 involves the need for a hat.  A wide brimmed hat protects your face and eyes from the ultraviolet light.  Now we need sun exposure to get a proper amount of vitamin D3, but no one knows the exact balance between the healthy and unhealthy amount of sun exposure.  But we do know that excess sun exposure contributes to skin cancer. And you may not know that skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S.  One in five people will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.  Ultraviolet light causes the cell mutation to occur. The threat applies equally to exposure in tanning studios.  Apparently incidence increases with blistering sunburns during your teenage years.  So you can protect your skin by wearing sunscreen, which I never do; or you can wear a hat.  Also, the location of many skin cancers is on the face and scalp. Wide brim hats are great protection as well as shade in the summer or winter.

 

Additionally, ultraviolet rays affect the eyes contributing to cataracts, growths, and cancers of the eye. So rule number 3 is to wear sunglasses that protect against the ultraviolet rays even if it’s a cloudy day. The best is if you already wear glasses have them made into transition glasses so that the lens turn dark outdoors.

 

And last but not least, surviving the remaining hot days requires that you pay attention to hydrating all the time.  Notice it is the one thing missing in the photo above.  This just proves that we all have room for improvement.

 

Please enjoy the rest of the very warm days left in summer.  And please take care and love yourself.

 

Eve

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Finding the Sacred Earth

When I was in my mid-forties, and as I remember it in the midst of a small mid-life crisis, I began to study with a Mayan Elder in Guatemala. Over 10 years, I visited when he traveled to the States, but more often I went to Guatemala or Honduras to take spiritual walks with him. He was the head of the Mayan Council of Elders and was a major spokesperson for the indigenous peoples of Central and South America. He was a keeper of Mayan wisdom, history, legend and philosophy, and a man of integrity and a force for good.

 

But, for me, I found something amazing that I hadn’t known I needed. I found a grounded honoring relationship with the earth and all the creatures of this earth. And from this I awakened how Chinese medicine needs to be understood as the sacred movement of the elements and their movement between heaven and earth. I could feel this through my bones. I would keep going back to gather more energetic understanding. At the time I knew that this relationship was to be a huge influence in my life. I began to sponsor trips bringing other people to Guatemala to experience the beauty of this place, and to expand their consciousness, change their sacred relationship with the earth and to meet this holy man.

 

Long after I stopped these journeys, I found the study of medical Qigong added another piece of this sacred inner cultivation and the relationship to the earth.

 

For the two decades since that time I would experiment teaching many classes attempting to imbue participants with this same kind of expansion. I offered classes on the Shamanic Approach to Bodywork, or Qigong classes, or Elemental Explorations.

 

This past November I found the missing pieces. I offered a workshop at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, entitled Qigong and Sacred Renewal.  My idea was that we would practice Qigong and meditation and take advantage of the sacred cauldron of energy that circulates through this high desert land. Georgia O’Keefe brought it to life as she captured the power of this landscape in her many paintings. But usually when I take a class in a gorgeous powerful setting I spend the majority of time in hotel rooms or classrooms at schools. I chose to have no more than 4 hours a day in the classroom. And we all took advantage of the offerings of services or the land.

 

We came to know the sky, and the healing of the elements within the earth. I managed an introductory class on the healing power of crystals one night; and another we did a full moon meditation on the clearest night one could imagine.   There was a day for soaking in a natural hot spring. And there were tours of the land, as well as horseback rides. And there was Qigong. Maybe it was a little less than what I do in a day, but for many of the participants it was more than what they had a habit of doing.

 

The result was that every person was able to conquer some place of healing in themselves. For one, they were able to find themselves being present. And for others it was the moment of discovering some blocked part of themselves to release and to find a new behavior. For some, their Qigong understanding advanced.  For others, it was just plain bliss.

 

For me, I found the spaciousness that always allows me a sense of freedom that I forget in my mundane day-to-day life.   After all these years of trying I think I found a model that seems to work for each person who came on the trip. But I’ll have to repeat this to truly test this hypothesis.   Right now I’m setting the schedule for early next November. So stay tuned for the 2018 version.

 

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The Winter’s Aha Moments

I love the long nights of winter. I assumed that it was a response to the promise of longer days coming soon after. And who wouldn’t love those long days when you awaken to the light? I even enjoy the very long days in Alaska in the summer.

 

In the last several weeks, through the Winter Solstice and the holidays, I experienced this time differently. I savored awakening while the darkness surrounded me. I didn’t jump out of bed to embrace the day, as would be my normal. Instead, I turned over to embrace the same spot where I was in the dream revealing itself. Would I land in a bed of leaves as I stumbled down that cliff? Would I remember the sweet fragrance of spices in a friend’s kitchen? And all it took was turning over and embracing the dark of the cold winter’s night.

 

The metaphor of going deep in the abyss isn’t a dream I remember during the summer. Somehow in this winter moment, the Water element supports us taking a deep dive into hidden territory. It is a natural cycle of winter that supports movement into these parts of our consciousness.   In the past I thought that the darkness meant joyless or fearsome, but now I see that it holds the key to some of our understanding.

 

Chinese Medicine honors this part of your receiving depth that comes with this season. Here are a few suggestions for this time. Take it easy. Go slower. Savor your stillness as you follow your breath. Try doing Qigong very slowly. And if you can, turn over and continue with that dream. It might lead you to a new discovery.

 

Happy New Year

 

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A Perfect Day

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

I find that when I go to a seminar in an idyllic country setting during the summer, I hope and expect that it will be accompanied by weather that allows an array of hiking, kayaking and other outdoor delights. However, being at Omega Institute in Rhinebeck this week has been an opportunity to appreciate the days with clouds and rain. On a positive note, I am less distracted and able to absorb the information that Master Robert Peng presented.

Today though on the third day of class, I managed to come without putting on every piece of clothing that I brought with me. Someone didn’t give me the memo to prepare for 60-degree rainy weather. In this  age when we are all so computer attached, I am embarrassed that my expectations didn’t include poor weather.

But today was different. The sun managed to slip through this constant rain. And Master Peng took all 80 of us outside where we spent over 2 hours doing Qigong on the grass taking in the plants, trees, mosquitoes, butterflies, sun, sky, and the soft earth beneath our feet. It is one thing to imagine the earth and heaven within it but it is a different reality to feel them all around you. It becomes the most invigorating thing that you can give to energize and cleanse the body and soul doing this work in such an idyllic setting. Just being outside and breathing puts the cycle of healing in motion.

And while this particular class with Master Peng is an introduction to his teachings, the emphasis this glorious day was on how to work on nourishing all aspects of the person, whether it is the mind, the emotions or vitality.  As I looked in the vibrant eyes of everyone in the class I found that we were open and genuinely more interested in each other than the day before. Clearing the energy fields through Qigong was totally amazing.

I feel a great sense of appreciation for nature and for the people I’ve met. This makes it a great day.

Be sure to enjoy these last days of summer indoor and outside.

 

 

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The Taste of Summer

 

Growing up summers were filled with pleasures. We would take long trips to see the rest of the family to Arizona or Ohio that defined the highlights of summer vacation. But there was also the day-to-day living with the slowness of the summer and the enjoyment of the outdoors. There were endless times in the water and that would tend to be the ocean or the lakes nearby.

And along side all these memories of summer vacation are the tomatoes that you could pick right off the vines. I don’t know whether it’s an individual thing or genetics, but I love tomatoes. At the Farmers Market today the tomatoes are back. These aren’t the ones that are genetically altered so that they grow all year long. These are the large juicy red tomatoes that only appear once you find yourself hot and sticky enough to remember to keep drinking water.   Summer is here.

From a nutritional perspective tomatoes are high in lycopene, which reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer. As well, it is a source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K. Lycopene is a super antioxidant that protects cells from damage. It is thought to help prevent prostate, breast, lung, bladder, ovarian, colon and pancreatic cancers. Eating your tomatoes is like sending loving kindness to these organs.  Using them in sauces, soups, or as ketchup puts them in a form where your body can absorb the lycopene more easily. My great pleasure is just to eat them with a little oil and salt, sliced on a plate with nothing else.

And tomatoes are a vegetable that you can preserve through canning or dry freezing. So you can remember that hint of summer throughout the year. But nothing compares with the memory of being a child and taking it off the vine with a little salt. The memory stays with you forever. As the tomatoes we also can guarantee the presence of cucumbers, squashes and soon eggplants. And we get to experience it every year.

Enjoy the taste of summer. And eat your fruits and vegetables.

 

 

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