Poetry Mondays – On my mind by Not the First, Not the Last (BLW Contributor)

Robin

Mind over matter,

Is that not the saying?

I’m trying to get this,

Constantly praying.

Right now I’m lonely,

And everything hurts,

My mind takes the matter, 

Can’t get any worse.

The matter goes through me,
My bones start to shiver,

My mind takes more matter,

And I start to quiver.

That sadness I’m feeling,is slipping away… 

Along with my mind, in the matter..

Ok.

I think I now get this.

It’s easy to see,

My mind is against me,

It won’t set me free.

So the matter- it helps me,

It makes me feel whole,

My constant delusions,

are taking their toll. 

On my mind.

A few years ago, I did a personality test and found myself in the ENFP box – along with Robin Williams.

All my coworkers were with President Obama and Oprah, so they laughed at me. I didn’t get why? I was with one of my heroes, so I was honoured.

When I heard about his death, I wrote this poem.

I wish he was still here. Yup.

Check out other great articles from Not the First, Not the Last

 

THIS IS YOUR CHANCE TO POST ON BLW!!! – SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS, STORIES & IDEAS WITH US!!!

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WE AT BE LIKE WATER BELIEVE THAT WE ARE ALL PART OF THE LEARNING EXPERIENCE, SO WE WANTED TO REACH OUT TO OUR FRIENDS & FANS TO SAY WE APPRECIATE YOUR SUPPORT

AND WE WANT TO GIVE BACK BY SHARING YOUR OWN THOUGHTS, STORIES OR IDEAS ON OUR SITE.

SO, IF YOU HAVE A STORY OR TOPIC YOU WANT TO SHARE WITH US, JUST LEAVE IT IN THE COMMENT SECTION WITH A LINK TO YOUR TOPIC AND WE WILL POST IT ON BLW,

OF COURSE THE TOPIC HAS TO BE SHARED WITH OUR OWN PHILOSOPHIES. THANK YOU AGAIN!

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Survival of the Fittest: How the Color of your room affects your Mood?

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The colors of the rooms within your home need to bring out your personality. While most of us may not spend a lot of time thinking about room color, it affects every day of our lives. Room color can influence our mood and our thoughts. Colors affect people in many ways, depending upon one’s age, gender, ethnic background or local climate. Certain colors or groups of colors tend to get a similar reaction from most people – the overall difference being in the shade or tones used. So when it comes to decorating, it is important to choose wisely.

In order to have a beautiful home, you do not have to worry about trends. Color trends will come and go. The people who live in a home make it beautiful by choosing colors that reflect their likes and their personalities. The trick is to blend those colors you like into a pleasing combination. Choosing color combinations is one of the most intimidating steps for beginners. Color has the power to change the shape and size of furnishings as well as the shape and size of the room itself. Selecting colors is not difficult if you equip yourself with some basic information about color and its effects, so let’s find out more about room colors, and how these influence your mood.

Choose Wisely!

Keep in mind that each color has a psychological value. Think about how those colors make you feel- they can influence any feeling from tranquility to rage. So when trying to create peace and harmony in your home, choose your colors wisely. Some colors in large amounts will have just the opposite affect on you and your loved ones’ moods.

      What mood do you want to create? Which colors will help you achieve that mood?

Find clear answers to these questions. If you find this task difficult try to look at magazines, decorating books, blogs and websites for ideas, or let your fabric be your guide. In fact, this is a good approach to take even if you’re starting from scratch. Fabric, carpeting, furniture and tile are available in a more limited range of colors than paint, so choose them first and then decide on your paint color. Once you find something you like, limit the number of colors in a room to no more than three or four. Too many colors can make a room look busy or cluttered. Paint is fairly inexpensive and transforms a room more quickly than anything else, so you can afford to experiment a little.

Room Colors and Their Effects

Understand that colors behave in three basic ways : active, passive, and neutral. You can easily match every room’s colors to your personal desires, to your taste taste and to the room’s purpose. Light colors are expansive and airy, making rooms seem larger and brighter. Dark colors are sophisticated and warm; they give large rooms a more intimate appearance. Now let’s find out more about colors and what they can do to a room:

Red

Red raises a room’s energy level. It is a good choice when you want to stir up excitement, particularly at night. In the living room or dining room, red draws people together and stimulates conversation. In an entryway, it creates a strong first impression. Red has been shown to raise blood pressure, speed respiration and heart rate. It is usually considered too stimulating for bedrooms, but if you’re only in the room after dark, you’ll be seeing it mostly by lamplight, when the color will appear muted, rich, and elegant. Red, the most intense, pumps the adrenaline like no other hue.

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Yellow 

Yellow captures the joy of sunshine and communicates happiness. It is perfect for kitchens, dining rooms, and bathrooms, where happy colors are energizing and uplifting. In halls, entries, and small spaces, yellow can feel expansive and welcoming. Even though yellow although is a cheery color, it is not a good choice to use in main color schemes when it comes to designing a room. Studies show that people are more likely to lose their temper in a yellow interior. Babies also seem to cry more in a yellow room. In large amounts, this color tends to create feelings of frustration and anger in people. In chromotherapy, yellow is believed to stimulate the nerves and purify the body.

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Blue 

Blue is said to bring down blood pressure and slow respiration and heart rate. That is why it is considered calming, relaxing and serene, and it is often recommended for bedrooms and bathrooms. Be careful, however: a pastel blue that looks pretty on the paint chip can come across as unpleasantly chilly when it is on the walls and furnishings, especially in a room that receives little natural light. If you opt for a light blue as the primary color in a room, balance it with warm hues for the furnishings and fabrics. To encourage relaxation in the social areas ( family rooms, living rooms, large kitchens) consider warmer blues, such as periwinkle, or bright blues, such as cerulean or turquoise. Blue is known to have a calming effect when used as the main color of a room. Go for softer shades of blue. Dark blue has the opposite effect, evoking feelings of sadness. So refrain from using darker blues in your main color scheme. Stay with the lighter shades of blue to give you and your loved ones a calm effect.

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Green

Green is considered the most restful color for the eye. Combining the refreshing quality of blue and the cheerfulness of yellow, green is suited for almost any room on the house. In the kitchen, green cools things down; in a family room or living room, it encourages unwinding but has enough warmth to promote comfort and togetherness. Green also has a calming effect when used as a main color for decorating. It is believed to relieve stress by helping people relax. Also believed to help with fertility, making it a great choice for the bedroom.

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Purple

Purple in its darkest values (eggplant, for example) is rich, dramatic, and sophisticated. It is associated with luxury as well as creativity, and as an accent or secondary color, it gives a scheme depth. Lighter versions of purple, such as lavender and lilac, bring the same restful quality to bedrooms as blue does, but without the risk of feeling chilly.

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Orange

Orange evokes excitement, enthusiasm and is an energetic color. While not a good idea for a living room or for bedrooms, this color is great for an exercise room. It will bring out all the emotions that you need released during your fitness routine. In ancient cultures orange was believed to heal the lungs and increase energy levels.

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Neutrals 

Neutrals (black, gray, white, and brown) are basic to the decorator’s tool kit. All-neutral schemes fall in and out of fashion, but their virtue lies in their flexibility: Add color to liven things up; subtract it to calm things down. Black is best used in small doses as an accent. Indeed, some experts maintain that every room needs a touch of black to ground the color scheme and give it depth. To make the job easier, you can rely on the interior designer’s most important color tool: the color wheel.

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Color Effects on Walls and Ceiling

The ceiling represents one-sixth of the space in a room, but too often it gets nothing more than a coat of white paint. In fact, for decades, white has been considered not only the safest but also the best choice for ceilings. As a general rule, ceilings that are lighter than the walls feel higher, while those that are darker feel lower. Lower” need not mean claustrophobic: visually lowered ceilings can evoke cozy intimacy. As a general rule, dark walls make a room seem smaller, and light walls make a room seem larger.

Conclusion

These general guidelines are a good starting point in your search for a paint color. But remember that color choice is a very personal matter. You are the one who has to live with your new paint color, so choose a hue that suits you, your family and your lifestyle.

Credit: freshome.com

Thank you for Angels by Mselyse (BLW Contributor)

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Thank you for angels

“I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would not be one cheerful face on the earth. Whether I shall ever be better I cannot tell; I awfully forebode I shall not. To remain as I am is impossible; I must die or be better, it appears to me.

                                                  -Said by President Abraham Lincoln while suffering depression

I have often wondered how this great man could have got this country through a civil war, and reconstruction, the awful years of war and healing he lead this nation through… and to do it while suffering from a mental illness. And depression at that. A disease that takes away all will, indeed any inertia what so ever. 

I know this feeling he describes. For me, when it is at it’s worst, it is not the miserable moments of hopelessness, or even the days of crying jags that rack my body with sobs. The worst of it is when I feel nothing. Anything that I have found enjoyment in before, does nothing to move me. If I can muster a small spark of energy to go through the motions of something that I absolutely must follow though on, if it is done, at its best, it is with a zombie like presence. And quite often very quick to snap. 

These are the days I remove myself from people. Alone upstairs, if my husband is at home. He especially I don’t want to cause any hurt. He is not the most compassionate person, and that is difficult, even painful to experience, I admit. Yet, if he did process emotion to that depth, I don’t believe we would still be together after all these years. I don’t want this to be misunderstood. Mark is a wonderful man, he has been a good husband to me. He isn’t cruel, or uncaring. He is just not  one to express emotion for the most part. He is a ‘shake it off,’ ‘suck it up,’ type of man. His father was raised Amish until adulthood, and his mother raised in foster care. From there I will leave the reader to draw their conclusions.

How this has played out in my own life has been to my benefit. It forced me to take responsibility for my own emotions, and the consequences of acting on those emotions. For my own emotional well-being. I had to learn to fight through the foggy haze of depression, and find words to tell Mark what I needed. He would never be able to empathize with me to such a degree, that he would be able to articulate from my disoriented state how to respond to me, or even what to do, sometimes. Because of this, I began to remove myself from people when extremely irritable, or easily wounded mental states had me in their grip. Both of these states can easily be escalated into far more dangerous situations. Learning to do this, allowed me to eventually understand the difference between ‘reacting,’ and ‘responding’ to a situation. Those who have Bipolar disorder typically react to emotionally stimulating events, and if any higher cognitive processing happens of the event, it is an after thought. 

Those two changes in how I handle my life now, have changed my life for the better. Removing myself when highly vulnerable to being hurt, or doing the hurting, and not reacting, but pausing, thinking, and then responding. Seems so simple just to read it here. It wasn’t. It isn’t. Some-days, it isn’t even possible. There also was a book I read years ago that was a big help in doing both of these, and more. Don Miguel Ruiz’s “The Four Agreements.” I won’t spoil it, and summarize other than to say- it’s a very small book that packs a punch. It really is about just four agreements, decisions you make about how your going to live from then on. It is a life changer. I reread it yearly.

The biggest life saving tool in my arsenal however, is writing. Journaling, and when I can reach through the fog well enough, writing poetry. For me, poetry brings something beautiful back from the depths of a dark and debilitating depression. My father use to say, “but its so sad…” Well, I was depressed, that was kind of the point??? He still doesn’t totally get it; someone who hasn’t experienced depression to that degree, won’t. He does somewhat understand what it means to me now, to have something to show for it all. After coming back from that place.. And I have come back, time, and time, and time again. I hope that I always will.. And in those moments when sadly, I am hoping the opposite- I have been blessed that lost deep with in those dark, empty and lonely times, earthly, and heavenly angels have been there to pull me through.

Check out other great articles from Mselyse

Exclusive BLW Interview w/ VH1 Couples Therapy star, Jenn Berman talking about Love & Success

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Dr. Jenn Berman is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice in Los Angeles. She is the host and lead therapist on VH1’s Couple’s Therapy where she does intensive therapy with celebrity couples. She has appeared as a psychological expert on hundreds of television shows including The Oprah Winfrey Show and is a regular on The Today Show, The Early Show, and HLN. She hosts a daily call-in advice show called “The Dr. Jenn Show” on Oprah Radio. She is the author of the LA Times best selling books SuperBaby: 12 Ways to Give Your Child a Head Start in the First 3 Years and The A to Z Guide to Raising Happy Confident Kids. She is the co-author of the baby board book Rockin’ Babies which she wrote with Grammy award winning songwriter Cynthia Weil. Dr. Jenn is also on the Board of Advisors for Parents Magazine. She is the creator of the No More Diets iPad app which is based on her doctoral dissertation using the non-diet method for weight loss and eating disorder treatment. In addition, Dr. Jenn has an eco-friendly clothing line for adults, children and infants called Retail Therapy. All the tees and onesies have positive “feel good” messages and are made of organic and recycled materials. Dr. Jenn lives in Los Angeles with her family. For the latest information about Dr. Jenn follow her on Twitter at Twitter.com/DrJennBerman and www.Facebook.com/DrJennBerman.

Ryan Fu:  What do you do/what are you famous for?

Dr. Jenn:   I am a licensed therapist in private practice but I am probably most known for being the therapist and host of VH1 Couples Therapy where I provide intensive psychotherapy for five celebrity couples every season. We are currently airing our forth season. I have a call-in advice radio show called “The Dr. Jenn Show” on Oprah Radio which is on Sirius XM. I am an author and have written three books: SuperBaby: 12 Ways to Give Your Child a Head Start in the First 3 Years, The A to Z Guide to Raising Happy Confident Kids and, the children’s book, Rockin’ Babies. I have a weight loss app called No More Diets that is based on my doctoral dissertation about eating disorders, yo-yo dieting and weight loss. I also have a clothing company called Retail Therapy that has eco-friendly tee shirts and onesies with positive “feel good” messages.

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Ryan Fu:  When did you decide you were going to be a therapist?

Dr. Jenn:  I was a journalism major in college and for my final project in class we had to write about a significant issue. I chose rape on college campuses. A student on my campus had raped four women and went to prison. He was going to be getting out and I was concerned that he would have access to the campus again and students didn’t know what happened. Two of the women granted me interviews. After speaking to them and doing the research on the topic, I began to realize what a huge problem acquaintance rape is and became obsessed with the story. As word got around campus that I was writing the piece, women started coming out of the woodwork and telling me their stories. It wasn’t just students, it was teachers, administrators, people I worked with. I have a real activist background and I felt I had to do something. My story became so big that I got calls from other mainstream papers wanting to cover it and, ultimately, it changed campus policy about rape. My last semester in college I volunteered for The Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women (now called Peace Over Violence) as a rape and battering hotline counselor. As I was going through the intensive training, I realized that I had found my calling. I applied to graduate school shortly after.

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”  – Maya Angelou

Ryan Fu:  What do you love about your job?

Dr. Jenn:  I have a few different jobs and I love them all. My primary work is in private practice. I love that I get to help people and see them evolve over time. The cool thing about private practice is that I have the luxury of being very patient and watching people change and develop over time. I have been working in the field for over twenty years and I have had the privilege of seeing clients through many of their biggest life events- births, deaths, marriages, divorces, career changes and so much more. Watching people evolve over the years is truly amazing.

On Couples Therapy, I get to take therapy to a whole new level. It is very deep. Because I have the couples in the house with me for weeks with cameras on them all the time, I get to observe everything. I my private practice, people report to me what happened when they have a fight. On Couples Therapy, I can watch it myself or even play it back to the couple which is such a great therapy tool. Because the couples live in the house for an extended period of time, is gets really intense. I also have resources that I don’t have in my private practice. In my office there are times where I want to bring in an ex-boyfriend, a family member or a significant person from my clients past but I can’t. On Couples, I have the resources of my producers and can usually get that person in so I can provide my clients with the healing they need. It is an amazing experience. I love that not only do I get to help my celebrity clients, but the viewer as well.

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On the radio I have a short time to get to the core issue. I usually only have a few minutes to assess what is going on, provide tips and tools and motivate my caller to make significant changes in his or her life. I have to think quickly, trust my instincts and inspire in a brief period of time. I love that I get to reach people that might not have access to me otherwise because of distance, time or finances.

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I really enjoy writing. I am an obsessive reader and can get lost in research for days. I love collecting information and then breaking it down into more manageable and interesting pieces that people can use. When I write a book, it is like giving the reader a piece of myself. I only write about things that I am really passionate about. I try to share my excitement and passion with my reader. I always strive to educate but entertain at the same time. My goal is always for the reader to be better off after having read one of my books.

jennifer_burman_2012_03_21Jenn Berman goes to her office in Beverly Hills

At the core, what I love about all my jobs is that I get to help people. I feel really fortunate to have such an amazing platform that has allowed me to bring therapy into the mainstream and get people talking and thinking about things that they might not have thought about before. I love when fans reach out to me to tell me that my work has changed their lives for the better. That is really why I do what I do. It is my reason for existing here on this planet.

Ryan Fu:  What is your proudest moment?

Dr. Jenn:  My proudest moment on Couples Therapy was at the end of season 1 when DMX thanked me and told me that no one else had ever fought him to help him the way I had. It meant so much to me because I could see that he understand how much I cared and that I was able to provide him with a reparative experience with a female caregiver. I was so impressed with his courage and his willingness to embrace the therapeutic process. It was an honor to go through that with him. We spoke recently and he told me how much our work together has helped him.

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My proudest moment on the radio was a call I got from a man who was deployed and got called home because his wife and two daughters had been killed in a car accident. As you can imagine, he was beside himself in his grief. I had a very emotional conversation with him. I was haunted by the call. The next day he called me back on the air and told me he had a gun on his lap when he originally called me and had been planning to kill himself when we got off the phone. He said that our call made him decide not to do it and that a friend, who he didn’t know listened to my show, heard him and came running over. She stayed with him and the next day he vowed to follow my advice and be open to therapy.

Ryan Fu:  What advice can you give to couples who are in a rocky point in their relationship?

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Dr. Jenn:  Do something different. Break your patterns. Be willing to take responsibility for your part in things. Have compassion for your partner. Fight for your relationship, especially if kids are involved. Get couples therapy.

But if you have given it your all and it is no longer working, know when it is time to move on and do that in a way that honors your history together. I don’t believe that any relationship is a failure. I think every relationship provides us with gifts and new insights that we get to keep forever. We have a responsibility to ourselves (and our future partners) to use that new found wisdom.

Ryan Fu:  What are you passionate about?

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Dr. Jenn:  I am a pretty intense and passionate person. I am a vegan and a big animal rights activist. I am constantly amazing by the cruelty and suffering in this world. Knowing that the choices that I make- not eating meat or dairy, not buying leather/fur/snakeskin, not paying for entertainment where animals are used (like circuses, Seaworld, etc.)- feels great. I love knowing that I am not contributing to the suffering of animals on a day to day basis.

Check out our article on stopping the Dolphin Killings in Denmark

Ryan Fu:  What makes you so successful?

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Dr. Jenn:  I am extremely passionate about the work I do. I believe that when I am doing therapy, writing books, and helping people I am doing what I am meant to do… fulfilling my mission in life. I am very non-traditional in my methodology at times and am always willing to do what I believe will provide my clients with the most healing, within ethical limits. I bring who I am to the therapy- for better or for worse- and I think my clients and now my viewers and listeners, sense my authenticity. I am always in the moment with the client. I guide my clients and sometimes I yell, scream or even cry, but I am always there with them in their pain.

Want to call in Dr. Jenn’s radio show or just find out when the next VH1’s Couples Therapy starring Dr. Jenn Berman or buy her books?

Check out her website @ http://www.doctorjenn.com

50 Shades of Stupidness by A Momma’s View (BLW Contributor)

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shades of grey

I tried! I tried so so hard not to write a post about ’50 Shades Of Grey’. I tried so hard. But I just can’t do it. There is this urge in me to get it all out. Just so you know, I have not read the book, nor will I ever read it. And I will for sure not watch the movie. I am actually really surprised and upset that this story has such a huge success and I am so so happy for the author. I truly am. I’ve heard that it is not really well written but you know what… so what, especially given that I’ve heard that EL James apparently wrote most of it on her phone in the sub on her way to work. So kudos to her. It would drive me nuts to write a long text on my phone…

What makes me mad is that this story is wrong in so many ways. I am not prude. Not at all. Although I am not the type to enjoy SM games, I still like a good little play with my husband (if I am not too tired… sorry my love…) and I can totally talk about all kind of stuff related to sex. I can even write about it.

What I struggle with in this case is that it is so wrong on so many levels. And what is even more wrong is all those women who run after the book and read it and think it is the most amazing story ever. What this tells me is that the story itself apparently pleases a lot of women, wives, moms. The ladies I talked with about the book think that the story is great and that although ‘they would never like to get involved in SM’ kind of appreciate what is happening. What?

What are we doing to ourselves?

Here is what I know about the book. It’s about this young woman who falls for Mr Grey and eventually gets drawn into SM games. Short version and so far I don’t really have an issue with it.

But… (takes a breath)… for the ones who have read the book: Do you remember how she gets there? Well, I did some research (still refused to read the book) and apparently he gets her drunk and then makes her do all that stuff.

Now lets just talk about this one thing here. If a guy gets a girl drunk and then has sex with her while she is kind of switched off we all scream ‘bad boy’ as loud as we can. We don’t agree with something like that and some would even go as far as calling it rape, depending on the circumstances. As I have not read the book I just assume that in this case she would have not said no. Or did she? Anyway…

And then… (takes another breath)… again for you guys, who have read it, do you remember that they agree on a safe word? As you apparently do in the SM world. The safe word is there for you to signal your partner that it goes to far and that you don’t want to keep going. It is the STOP sign of this game. So apparently in the book they have a safe word as well, which he then decides to ignore and just keeps going. And there it is. Now you tell me: What does that mean? For me this is rape. Relationship or not, if you tell your partner to stop and your partner does not listen, it is rape. No matter if you are in a relationship or if you are out there with a guy you only just met. But in this case this little fact seems to get lost.

Afterwards she tries to hide and get away from him but kind of doesn’t manage with in the end is a good thing because he magically changed and turns into a good guy… And of course gets away with all of it… Oh holly fantasy…

I am so torn here. I know it is a story. A story made up by an author. A story that sells well. A story like so many others out there. But I am still trying to kind of make sense out of the fact that so many women all ages seem to be so crazy about it. Is it the ‘let’s have a peek of a world we don’t belong in and don’t want to be in’ effect? Is it the fact that it is about a sexual practice most of us have no clue about? Is it about the fact that it seems dangerous?

Why do I call this post 50 Shades Of Stupidness? Because I feel there are so many layers of not thinking in the trilogy. So many dangerous layers. And it for me the development of the story is stupid. I was trying to find another way. But I can’t. Something is lost or better not considered here. And it is stupid to not consider it.

In any case, what is it doing to us? What picture are we painting here? Maybe because I am already thinking like this a blog post caught my eyes recently which then lead me to this blog. And I couldn’t agree more. The books romanticize the abuse happening over and over again. And I am not talking about the SM techniques. That is something you choose as a couple and you agree on it and hopefully both of  you enjoy it. It is the fact that there is one part involved that does not enjoy it really and does not want it and is getting run over and controlled by the other one. For a lot of women this a daily battle they fight. Something that is not fun and glamorous and more like a fight for survival.

Check out other great articles from A Momma’s View

Poetry Mondays – The Journey by Mary Oliver

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One day you finally knew

what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you

kept shouting

their bad advice

though the whole house

began to tremble

and you felt the old tug

at your ankles.

“Mend my life!”

each voice cried.

But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations,

though their melancholy

was terrible.

It was already late

enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen

branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do

determined to save

the only life you could save.

CARNISM by Good for Nature (BLW Contributor)

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Wow… I just watched the presentation of this smart woman (Melanie Joy) and I think it makes perfect sense!

The majority of people on earth eats meat and fish and I agree with her idea that denial and intransparency cause this to be seen as normal, natural, neccessary .

Please watch the video and let her tell you the truth.

Survival of the Fittest: List of Common Chemicals That Are Making You Fat & Depressed

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We’ve all heard that if we eat too many calories, we’ll get fat. But there’s more to it: it’s not just the calories, but the chemicals, in our food that contribute to obesity.

Some of these chemicals — called “obesogens” — trigger our bodies to store fat even though we might be restricting calories. The effects are complex: some of these chemicals increase the number of fat cells, others expand the size of fat cells and still others influence appetite, cravings, fullness and how well the body burns calories. In addition to obesogens, other synthetic food ingredients have been shown to help us pack on the pounds and leave us feeling depressed, even when when we think we’re eating healthy.

To stop feeling that way, here are the top five chemicals to avoid in food.

  1. Growth Hormones & Antibiotics

Several drugs, growth hormones, steroids and antibiotics are routinely given to conventionally raised animals to fatten them up on less food. Residues from some of these drugs have been found in meat samples, so you very well could be eating these growth-promoting drugs every time you eat a steak. These drugs are believed to contribute to the obesity epidemic and are poorly regulated in the U.S.

How to avoid: Choose only certified organic grass-fed meat and dairy products (preferably local). Treatment with growth hormones and growth-promoting antibiotics isn’t permitted in organically grown animals. As an added benefit, organic grass-fed beef has been shown to contain more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which may actually help you lose weight.

  1. Artificial & Natural Flavors

All of the chemicals that make processed food taste good — monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial flavors and natural flavors — are just cheap replacements for the real thing and can cause you to eat more than you would otherwise.

With the innocuous-sounding term “natural flavors,” companies can put whatever they want in your food that’s generally recognized as safe, including naturally occurring glutamate bi-products like MSG, known excitotoxins. These excitotoxins cause your taste buds to experience irresistibility when it comes to food.

How to avoid: Steer clear of processed foods, particularly those that have artificial flavors, natural flavors, monosodium glutamate or other “processed free glutamic acid” additives like autolyzed yeast extract and hydrolyzed proteins.

  1. Artificial Sweeteners

Think you’re going to lose weight by switching from regular soda to diet? Think again. Researchers have discovered that artificial sweeteners like those in Diet Coke, can affect gut bacteria, leading to more weight gain. If that isn’t bad enough, the artificial sweetener Aspartame has been linked to mood swings and depression.

How to avoid: Don’t eat anything with artificial sweeteners (sucralose, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, saccharin) in the ingredient list. Limit your sugar intake overall, but choose unrefined sweeteners such as coconut palm sugar, maple syrup, raw honey and dried fruits such as dates.

  1. Pesticides

Out of all the common pesticides Americans are regularly exposed to, the majority of them are “endocrine disruptors“, making them obesogens. Even in tiny amounts, endocrine disruptors have the ability to disrupt major weight controlling hormones (catecholamines), interfere with the natural hormone systems that regulate metabolism and lead to weight gain.

How to avoid: Minimize your exposure to pesticides by choosing certified organic produce and products. (Synthetic pesticides are prohibited in organic farming.) If organic isn’t available, choose fresh produce that’s on the Environmental Working Group’s “Clean 15″ list of produce with the least pesticide residue.

  1. Plastics

Whether it’s a bottle of salad dressing or container of leftovers, most of us are exposed to plastics on a daily basis. Many of these plastics contain substances such as phthalates or bisphenol A (BPA), known endocrine disruptors that have beendirectly linked to increased fat storage. These chemicals have the ability to leach into food and have infiltrated our society so much that they’ve been found 93% of urine samples tested in America.

How to avoid: Choose your water bottles, storage containers, straws and eating utensils wisely, and stock up on those made from glass or stainless steel instead of plastic. Glass jars make an affordable option for storing food.

Credit: Mind Body Green

She’s An Eagle When She Flies by I’ll call it like I see it (BLW Contributor)

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Dolly Parton was born January 19, 1946 which means she turned sixty-nine this week.  Unbelievable.  From the time she became famous when she teamed up with Porter Wagoner on his television show in 1967, Dolly has been a permanent presence in the musical minds of the Baby Boomer generation in this country and around the globe.  She is the definition of a legend in her own time; a woman who for the past fifty years has been a songwriter, entertainer, musician, singer, actor, business entrepreneur and philanthropist. She has received more awards and honors than she can shake a stick at and is a bona fide survivor of the vicissitudes of life, as my daddy used to say when he described transitional life events that had no apparent rhyme or reason.

She was born in Sevier County, Tennessee and was the fourth of twelve children in a family that was, in her words, “dirt poor.”  Her story is the classic American dream that offers a pot of gold to the pilgrim brave enough to travel through a kaleidoscope of colors in a very long rainbow that requires dedication, persistence and talent to reach the end.

She has sung duets with a multitude of singers including Linda Rondstadt, EmmyLou Harris, Queen Latifah, Shania Twain, Kenny Rogers, Chet Atkins – but not Elvis Presley who she refused to let cover her “I Will Always Love You” because he wanted half the publishing rights.  Whoa, Dolly…no duet with Elvis, but along came Whitney Houston and Bodyguard and Dolly will always love that business decision.

Good business decisions allowed her to establish the Dollywood Foundation which has a subsidiary called the Imagination Library that distributes one book per month to children who are enrolled in the program from their birth to kindergarten.  According to Wikipedia, this is an average of 700,000 books monthly across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.  Her commitment to literacy is a fraction of an amazing legacy.

I saw Dolly Parton in person many years ago when she was touring with Kenny Rogers and their hit “Islands in the Stream,” and she was all I hoped she’d be.  She was funny, full of herself – but connected to her audience and sang her heart out.  So many songs of hers are favorites, but the Number One Hit on my personal Billboard goes to  “Eagle when She Flies.”  It’s an oldie, but a goodie.

She’s been there, God knows she’s been there

She has seen and done it all…

She’s a sparrow when she’s broken

But she’s an eagle when she flies.

YouTube videos of Dolly’s songs are everywhere, but this one is too good…

A belated happy birthday wish to you, Miss Dolly…you’re an eagle in my eyes.

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