Hurricane Sandy is relentless. The only good that could possibly come of this super storm is the cancellation of Jersey Shore.
I’ve been checking in with my family to make sure they’re doing okay. Thankfully, they are. One of my cousins has moved in with her sister due to a power outage at her apartment, but I think it’s good that in a time like this, they are all together--especially with a baby in the house.
Emergency situations like this always remind me of emergency drills back in grade school. At the beginning of each school year, each student was required to turn in an emergency pack, which was then stored in a giant trash bin until the end of the year. The typical emergency pack included: a small emergency kit (Band-Aids, Neosporin, etc.), granola bars, canned tuna, a small blanket, an extra change of clothes, a small flashlight, and you cannot forget…the canned Vienna Sausage. Come to think of it, props to our mothers for super packing all these things into a small package for us. At the end of year, if we had not faced any emergencies that required use of these emergency packs, sometimes we’d have a little Vienna Sausage, granola bars party in class. Really exciting, I know. Good memories!
In any case, whether you live in the land of earthquakes, tornado territories, hurricane harbors, or what have you, it’s always good to keep a small emergency package at home, in your office desk, and even in your car. Make sure you have bottled water, some canned foods, a flashlight, a lighter, a small blanket, and an emergency kit with Band-Aids, Neosporin (or the like), wraps, rubbing alcohol, etc. These days, I skip the Vienna Sausage, and pack some healthier options in my emergency package ;)
Do you have an emergency package at home? In your car? In your office?
Do you have an emergency plan?
Stay safe everyone! Lots of prayers to all those currently affected by Hurricane Sandy!
BIG LOVE & HUGS
When I came home Friday, I found a big box of wine and a bigger box containing my new Balance Ball Chair at the front door. Can you guess which I was more excited about? I opened up the box with my Balance Ball Chair and tackled it like a fun sized IKEA puzzle ;).
This may be the best purchase I’ve made all year. It’s fun, it’s fitness, and I don’t think I’ve ever sat so diligently at a table or desk studying. It’s FANTASTIC. It’s a smart way to keep someone like me in one spot. I just sit there with my laptop open, my books and study materials all laid out, and I sit there bouncing for hours just studying and working...not to mention getting a nice little ab work out.
On top of that, it’s structured in such a way that it is remarkably comfortable, and incredible for your posture. If you’ve been following my posts, you know that I’ve been dealing with some shoulder/neck pain. Physical therapy and acupuncture have helped some, but have mostly just shifted or spread out the pain. Some days the pain is so severe my headaches are searing. While it’s only been a couple days since I’ve had the Balance Ball Chair, I’ve had minimal pain and discomfort in my shoulder/neck area, and no headaches. Before the chair, even on my best days, there was still an annoying soreness. However, I intensified my workout this morning, to progressively get back to my normal pace of working out, and I’m happy to report that the sun is starting to go down and I am still pain free. I swear, it’s the magic of this Balance Ball Chair!
I LOOOOOVVVEEEE it. Seriously, it’s a must have. It even comes with a booklet of exercise moves you can do with the chair. If for no other reason, get it for your posture. So many of us spend so many hours sitting because our work requires us to, which is quite hard on our health in various ways—posture, and restraining us to minimal movement. Bottom line, this chair is a great investment for your health.
I ordered mine from www.gaiam.com, but you can also find it on Amazon.
BIG LOVE & HUGS
Today I had one of the most rewarding experiences EVER. I went into a couple of seventh and eighth grade classes to do my very first T.A.L.K. (Talk About Love Kindly). At first, I was a little nervous about talking to teenagers—in fact, in the first class I could feel myself sweating a little and getting flushed. Were they going to care about anything I said, or were they just going to be happy that some strange girl was taking up their entire class time and they didn’t have to do work? I’m happy to report that the students were a real delight, and I loved all their questions! All in all, it was very interesting being back in a middle school setting, and trying to remember what it was like being twelve, thirteen, and fourteen. Their classrooms are colorful and they have windows, unlike my law school classrooms that are very bland and windowless. And I also really enjoyed being called Miss. Justine ha.
Getting to the real point of this post though, it was their “College T-shirt/Sweatshirt Day,” so I decided to show a little Gaucho pride and wore an old UC Santa Barbara shirt. That made it a little more fun, and even though I’m ten to twelve years older than these students, I went in there as their peer, really. I wanted them to see me as a peer, or as a big sister, because one of the main reasons for my even talking to them was to make sure they know that they have someone to turn to if they ever feel like they don’t have someone to turn to, or know whom to turn to.
The main focus of my talk, was to discuss abuse warning signs, how to take care of and look out for themselves individually AND for each other, and the importance of TALKING. Each of the students received one of my brochures, which has two lists—the warning signs, and how to help yourself and your family/friends. So, because these students are at the age where some of them are starting to date, or at least explore puppy love, I focused on dating abuse. I went through all of this by discussing my own story of abuse. However, I kept reminding them that abuse could exist at school amongst peers, outside amongst strangers, or even within their inner circles. I encouraged them to learn how to talk nicely and respectfully with one another, because words are far more powerful than we realize; and I also talked to them about how important it is to be able to be the greatest person you can be, and do so freely—it’s a blessing really, because sadly, not everyone in the world is so fortunate.
It was great. Through their questions, we talked about going forward in their education, and what I did when I was in grade school to get to where I am now. In one of the classes we even talked about fitness and health, traveling, and living your dreams as I feel like I’m doing now.
I made it a point to show them that no matter what big or small mishap happens in your life, nothing should ever stop you from being great—if you’re not making mistakes, you’re not moving forward.
I really hope all the best for these students, and children and teenagers alike around the world. There’s so much opportunity in this world, it makes me sad and frustrates me when someone tries to get in the way of another person taking advantage of those opportunities—especially in those as young as these students are. I also hope that, even if they didn’t get what I wanted them to get out of the talks today, that somewhere down the line they’ll remember something I said and it will help them in some way, or allow them to turn an opportunity into something great for themselves.
BIG LOVE & BIG HUGS
My fab mother bought a couple of these "Go Picnic Ready-to-Eat Meals," and at first I thought what the heck kinda junk is this? Then I read the box carefully like I do with everything I eat, and while it's not the "cleanest" thing you can consume, it's not all that bad--not a box of chemical shit. And the entire box was only 300 calories, with no trans fats, no artificial coloring or flavor, no high fructose corn syrup, no MSG, and this particular one was gluten-free for anyone on a gluten-free diet. They have several options for special diets--vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, all-natural, and even kosher--and each item in the box is individually wrapped. It was also pretty tasty--like eating a healthier adult version, gourmet Lunchable; but kids will love it too :). I felt like a really happy kid eating my lunch, sitting in a circle on the grass with my friends...except, it was just me sitting in my car, temporarily escaping the musty air of law classrooms. I give it bonus points for being time friendly, too--excellent those on the go! And apparently, you can even find them in the Nashville airport...yippee!
BIG LOVE & HUGS
I’ve never had a fear of needles. In fact, when I was a kid I always got really excited going to visit the doctor whenever it was time to get a shot. I also quite enjoy donating blood every chance I get, although, that pleasure is derived solely from the goodwill of donating.
Acupuncture though, has never intrigued me in the least bit, and I was surprised when my doctor recommended it, along with physical therapy, to help me with my neck and shoulder. I think my vivid imagination was not keen on the image of multiple needles sticking out of my body.
So, I went in for my first session this morning, and my body and mind seemed to be in disagreement. While my mind was curiously apathetic, my body was slightly nervous as I lay on my side awaiting each minute prick. Although, I suppose that means subconsciously my mind was more nervous than I realized.
The needle pricks along my neck and shoulder, and even the one at the top of my head were virtuously painless. The electrolytes attached to the needles created a strange sensation, but once the infrared light was shined on my back, I was quite comfy. The warmth of the light and the soothing spa music nearly put me to sleep. I probably would have fallen asleep if the specialist and her assistant didn’t keep coming in to check on me.
After twenty-five minutes of laying there in relative peace, they came in to remove the needles and rub a mixture of Chinese herbs on me. This concoction of herbs is the most sensational thing I’ve ever felt on my body. The aroma of it immediately pierces your nostrils like a blend of Tiger Balm and flowers, and it feels like what I imagine the spring Arctic air feels like—cool, fresh, light, and clean. I was told not to wash it off for a couple hours, but I don’t think I want to wash it off at all.
Alas, the magic Chinese art was an overall delightful experience. I think it would be even more wonderful if it were in more of a spa setting, and less of a doctor’s office setting, but either way it is all the same.
I scheduled a few more appointments to go along with my physical therapy, and I think after I take care of my neck/shoulder area, I may consider exploring the many other benefits that acupuncture has to offer.
If you have any issues with allergies, addiction, injuries, PMS, headaches, asthma, stress ,or weight control, just to name a few, I encourage you to check it out.
BIG LOVE & HUGS
Unlike a lot of people I know—especially guys, for some men are from Mars reason—I’m such a morning person. I LOVE mornings. The smell of fresh, clean morning air and a brand new day just makes me happy. Even when I’m so tired, I want to stay in bed all day, once I finally do get up I feel great, peppy even. So, despite the horrible sleep I got last night, I was really excited when it came time to wake up.
My alarm went off at 7:13 (I just like having my alarm at an odd time like that, weird I know), and I got up and got dressed for a beautiful Southern California autumn morning. I walked to my local farmer’s market, which is about a mile and a half away, to meet up with an old friend. I want to say I’ve known her since I was about ten or eleven, when she was my tutor. It’s funny how some of my former teachers have come back into my life and have become great friends. I will never forget people who have been great influences on me, because kids really need that. Having great teachers who inspire in others a love for learning and growing, and to always strive to be the best person they can be, is an incredible blessing. These teachers can be found in the classroom, in an out of school activity, or amongst peers—I was very blessed to find them in more than once place J.
Anyways, we met up to catch up, because it had been such a LONG time since we had talked face to face. Facebook definitely has its perks ;). That’s how we initially reconnected, and eventually I had inspired her to get on the Shakeology train, through all my health and fitness posts. We also, talked about my new program T.A.L.K. (Talking About Love Kindly), which I will be bringing to her seventh and eighth grade classes in a couple weeks. They will be my first audience, and I am so excited, because the program is talk to students about dating abuse and bullying. At that age, they are starting to get into dating, and it’s important to recognize what is and what isn’t a healthy relationship. It’s also important to know how to help a friend out, and to know how to T.A.L.K., whether you or your friend is the victim of abuse. Break the silence to end the violence.
We had such a great time catching up we did four laps around the park, which is almost four miles. And we even stopped in the farmer’s market for some cucumber lemonade, and walk through the hustle bustle of everyone doing their Saturday morning farmer’s market trip.
I think it’s such a beautiful blessing, the way some people come into our lives, and stay, even through an extended physical absence. People like this friend of mine, never truly leave my life, because the value they’ve added to my life always remains. I’m so happy we’ve reconnected, and it’s because of her that I get to put feet to a certain dream, by allowing me to bring T.A.L.K. to her students.
BIG LOVE & BIG HUGS
I don’t know what it is about certain doctor’s appointments, but they sure have a way of making me vulnerable. It turns out I didn’t need someone to dig into my muscles to bring back trauma to me. (See http://www.lovejustine.com/4/post/2012/10/o-me-o-my-you.html).
I went to get a second opinion on my shoulder today, and even though I was reluctant to because Integrated Bodywork just sounded so intriguing to me, I’m really glad I did. So, I’ll have to retract a statement from my previous post regarding my shoulder—x-rays show that my first rib is not out, and I am not going to argue with an x-ray. I still need an MRI, but the doctor prescribed acupuncture and 2-3 times/week of physical therapy. I’d tell you the diagnosis of today’s appointment, but I can’t read his writing haha. Although, both the doctor and the assistant were really impressed with my strength :) I’m actually quite relieved, because at least insurance will cover both of these prescriptions. There’s no way a law student like me could afford the Integrated Bodyworks sessions.
Back to the trauma part though. I was totally fine in the waiting room, I even laughed while filling out the forms. I think I started to get a little emotional when went to go take the x-ray, but it wasn’t until I was brought to the room where the doctor would see me, that I kind of just fell apart. I didn’t start bawling or anything, but as the assistant questioned me I started fighting back tears as I was to tell him that I was formerly in an abusive relationship. Then the doctor came in, and I had a to let a few fall. I just couldn’t hold them back anymore.
I always feel embarrassed when this happens, because it totally catches me off-guard. This never happens to me when I see my girl doctor. It didn’t happen to me when I saw the Integrated Bodyworks specialist, or the iridologist. It doesn’t even happen to me when I talk to my friends, or strangers, IN DETAIL about what happened. I’m really not sure what sets off this kind of emotional reaction, because it’s not like suddenly memories are resurfacing. The memories are there…everyday.
It’s funny though, when I saw the Integrated Bodyworks specialist she said, “we never completely heal.” When she said that to me, I didn’t know if I agreed with her. I felt like I’ve healed quite well and in all the important ways. I still think that, but after today I think I can agree with her statement. And even though she was wrong about my rib, there’s still a benefit to Integrated Bodyworks if you’re interested, and if you truly are the kind of patient who will benefit from it. After all, she has pro-athlete clients, so I’m sure it’s good in a lot of ways.
Lesson of the day: second opinions are always worth it, gives you a better second option or reaffirms your first opinion.
Reminder of the day: I’m not invincible. (…but I’m still fabulous! Ha)
Bonus lesson and reminder of the day: PMS can turn me into a baby. I really think PMS enhanced my emotional reaction. Still, there’s something about particular doctor’s appointments…
BIG LOVE & HUGS
Finally found my favorite brand of granola, and the ONLY one I will buy, because it’s not only made only with ingredients I know and trust, but it also tastes magnificent. It’s difficult to find both a clean and fabulous tasting granola, but Love Grown does it.
The granola comes in sizeable chunks so along with having it with milk, you can snack on it like a little kid eating cereal as a snack, top your yogurt with it, top your oatmeal with it, top your salad with it, or even make no bake energy bites with it. There’s really so much you can do with it, and you can find all you need and want to know on their site.
If your grocery store doesn’t carry Love Grown granola, you can request that your grocery store carry Love Grown by going to their site (http://lovegrownfoods.com/contact-us/request), and printing out form to take to the manager at your grocery store. You can even request that Love Grown be served to your children at their schools, or have someone from Love Grown come to your child’s school to talk about the importance of eating breakfast and eating healthy.
Beware though; avoid overconsumption—it’s easy to over consume something so delicious as Love Grown granola. As with any granola, it’s still high in calories no matter how clean the ingredients are. So, enjoy in moderation J.
Start you day off with Love ;)
BIG LOVE & HUGS
For a while now, I’ve had some discomfort in my right shoulder, which I’ve been passing off as soreness from my workouts and from sleeping weirdly. At times I’ve even asked people if I look crooked, because that’s how I feel. When I went to see my iridologist, she pointed that out to me, which I was surprised about, because she saw that by looking at my iris—and that’s when I knew I could whole-heartedly trust her. She then referred me to someone who could possibly help me out through Integrative Bodywork, so I made an appointment to go in for a consultation. As I was filling out the intake form, I was suddenly enlightened and a little pissed.
One of the questions was “Have you ever been abused?” For those of you who have been following “Love, Justine” since before it became “Love, Justine” know this, but for those of you who don’t, two and a half years ago I got out of an abusive relationship. On the back of the form, where it asks for your John Hancock, it also asks, amongst other things, that you understand “emotional memories are often stored in body tissues, and that the process of Integrative Bodywork will sometimes bring those issues to [your] awareness.” As I learned in the consultation session, this can range from you falling of your bicycle when you were a kid, to something much more traumatic.
So, I was enlightened, because I didn’t know this before and thought it was very interesting. I was pissed, because the first thing that came to my mind was that I should’ve thrown the son of a gun in jail and filed a criminal and civil lawsuit against him. Long after forgiveness has been given, and happiness achieved and locked down, it seems I am still paying for the physical and emotional abuse in ways I had no idea about. Don’t worry, I wasn’t pissed for long, as I reminded myself just how happy, blessed, and beautiful my life is right now. I mean, I seriously couldn’t have dreamt it better. I don’t think anyone could have.
Anyways, I had a great consultation meeting with the Integrated Bodyworks specialist, and was further enlightened when I learned that some of the issues that my iridologist has helped and is helping me out with are very much correlated with the shoulder discomfort. She also answered another question I’ve been having problems with, but didn’t think it was something to ask her about. Sometimes, I have trouble breathing, as if all the air is in my chest, and I can’t get any air down to my diaphragm. It’s become worse lately, to the point where sometimes I catch myself not even breathing at all because it takes too much effort to have to take such deep breaths, for every breath, in order to feel like I’m properly breathing.
What I’ve learned is that the shoulder discomfort goes much deeper than just in my shoulders. In fact, she said it’s my left side that has the problem, which is causing discomfort in my right side. Apparently, my first rib is out. I’m not really sure how that happened, but the imbalance in my body is affecting my adrenal glands and kidney—the very things that, if you read my “BIONIC Woman” post (http://www.lovejustine.com/4/post/2012/09/bionic-woman.html), are what I’m currently taking care of as instructed by my iridologist—and thus my breathing is also affected.
Different from a physical therapist, integrative bodywork is “a form of manual therapy that incorporates various facets of healing w/ Structural Integration… Structural Integration is a somatic practice utilizing fascial manipulation, awareness, and movement education.” Basically, it is designed to restore balance and functionality, by aligning and integrating the body in gravity. Therefore, instead of just working on my shoulder, where I am feeling discomfort, she will work on my whole body to help me get my body back to functioning properly, because there’s a relationship between the connective tissue and the other structures that, when in alignment, brings balance to our entire body. As she explains it in her brochure, if you have neck pain, and you’re only “fixing” the issues in your neck and upper back, you’re not really solving the issue, because “ your head needs to come into alignment with the rest of the body to ease the tension on the neck, which unfortunately is caught in the middle. Of course, that means the torso needs to rest on the pelvis, and the pelvis needs to be balanced on the legs and feet. Therefore, healing the neck usually starts in the feet.” Integrated Bodywork, is great for athletes!
So now I’m even further excited about having answers to my problems, and even more excited about having a way to fix them, and get my body entirely back in order. It’s amazing the toll stress can take on our bodies.
I thought this was important to share, because I think it’s important to understand the dynamics of healing, and also body awareness. Sometimes, we ignore or pay little attention to “minor” injuries, but in reality they are not so minor. In my former relationship, I was left with bruises, but no broken bones—and I went to therapy to help me take care of the emotional and mental harm done—I just never thought that all of these bodily issues I was and am now experiencing can all be traced back to a common denominator. It’s just something to keep in mind. Also, if you or someone you know has gone through a traumatic experience, there’s a lot more to healing than we sometimes think about and realize. I think people tend to focus on, or give greater weight to, just the physical or just the emotional and mental healing, depending on what the trauma was, and forget that both are often equally important. I thought I was done healing after almost a year of therapy, and then finally being able to give forgiveness; but apparently there’ still some healing to be done, hiding in my body tissues.
As I’m always telling people who come to me for fitness and health advice, pay attention to your body. Body awareness is so important. We’re such incredible machines, and it’s a shame not to allow ourselves to move at our full potential. Remember the bigger picture in anything you do. And remember to take care of your body, mind, and soul as a whole, for there are few things we can function without, and still be whole and well.
As a complete side note: This may sound weird, but I’m actually really curious to see what memories Integrated Bodyworks will stir up in me. It’s completely fascinating to me.
BIG LOVE & BIG HUGS
I’m bionic! That is exactly what my iridologist told me yesterday. I think she also wanted to set me up with an athlete, which I think maybe is just as bad as dating musicians. Ha. Or maybe she just thought he’d be a good person for me to get to know and befriend. Either way, I was very flattered, because she had such nice and impressive things to say about him.
Anyways, I went to see her at the recommendation of a good friend. This iridologist had tremendously helped my friend’s daughter, when after five years of serious stomach pains and no doctors with solutions to those pains, the iridologist looked at her iris, and said “You need to get off wheat, right now.” After about five to six months my friend’s daughter was finally 100% pain free.
For about two to three years, maybe longer, I’d been having various annoyances, but the most bothersome one has been excessive bloating, and it has progressively become worse. At first, I just thought it was PMS and stress. When I asked my girl doctor and several general practitioners (because I moved around quite a bit between undergrad and law school) none of my doctors were ever able to help me out with it. The most anyone would say was, “it could be IBS, so just cut stuff out of your diet.” Cut what out?? My whole diet? It wasn’t like I had a poor diet to begin with. Even when I told them that there are nights I look like a malnutrition baby, the most anyone ever said was "Yeah, that's not normal." When I talked to my girlfriends about it, we’d all joke about having food babies every now and then; but still, no one had the slightest clue what I should do. Lately my symptoms have been more irritatingly aggravated—even to the point of having difficulty breathing.
So by now, you might be wondering, if I’m having all these problems, how am I bionic? Well, after she took a picture of each iris, she said, “You are very low on minerals and extremely fatigued…but you’re glowing and your immune system is incredible.” Basically, my parents passed down to me great genes. Still, thinking out loud, I wondered how I would compare next to other law students, as far as fatigue goes. I was curious as to whether this was a normal amount of fatigue for law students. Well, I didn’t have to wonder too long, because she told me she’s had law student patients in the past, and they too tend to be fatigued, but nowhere near as fatigued as I am. So, apparently I hide fatigue really well. Thanks mom and dad!
To be honest, while I don’t "feel" overly fatigued, and my spirits are consistently quite high, I’m not surprised she would say that. It’s certainly no secret that I keep myself very busy. The more I’ve thought about it, the more it makes sense. The last two years have no doubt been a whirlwind of events and projects; but the year and/or two before law school matriculation were also an incredibly stressful time for me. So, the timeline matches up. It really all makes sense now.
I sense that some people may be skeptical of iridology, as I was too, when I first figured out what it was. Thankfully, I was so desperate for answers and solutions, that I was willing to give it a shot regardless. What made me really trust my iridologist was when she pointed out something I hadn’t mentioned to her; however, I had noticed this quirk along time ago, but shrugged it off as stress from my workouts and sleeping weirdly. I’ve complained about feeling crooked to various people, and have even asked them if I look crooked. Thank goodness you can't actually tell I'm slightly crooked. What I learned today is that my right shoulder is slightly higher than my left—it could be from injury, or maybe one of my hips is slightly bigger than the other. I know for sure that I don’t have scoliosis, so like I said, in the past I just figured I was sleeping weirdly and my shoulder muscles were stressed from my workouts. So, when the iridologist said this to me, I think my eyes bugged out a little with amazement, and then I put all my trust in her expertise.
Now, back to the issues that brought me there. I won’t bore you with all the little details of why my body is not absorbing minerals properly, and why I’m so fatigued; but I will tell you this much: my adrenal glands aren't functioning properly, and I have what is not yet a kidney stone, but more like kidney gravel. I am too young for a kidney stone! Or gravel! If I remember correctly, this is due to the condition of my adrenal glands, which is the result of the amount of stress and fatigue my body is and has been experiencing from my crazy train life. It sure is fascinating…a little shocking, and definitely worth a hallelujah. I mean, it was amazing how much she could tell me just from looking at my irises, and knowing my blood type. For the first time someone actually has answers AND a way to proactively fix my issues. After she explained everything that’s going on in my body, she helped me set up a general meal plan and list of herbal and natural supplements. It basically comes down to clean eating—the very thing I am always stressing to all of you! I just need a little more help right now with getting extra minerals in my body, and getting my body to properly absorb all the great minerals, hence the supplements. You have no idea how excited I am to get my body back to functioning at its most optimum level. She told me that if all things go accordingly, I should feel a whole lot better within four to six weeks, and then once I'm back to normal, I won't need the aid of the supplements, and my body will be able to function properly on its own. I’ll keep you posted on how things go :).
So, the two lessons for you to keep in mind here: Get SLEEP, and eat CLEAN!
Thank the Lord! And thank you to my parents for the blessing of incredible genes, because minus the stress and fatigue interrupting the normal functions of my body, I am BIONIC :D.
BIG LOVE & HUGS