The importance of our senses!

With the holidays upon us, and with that often comes traveling – long hours spent in airports and on the road; I am reminded of the importance of our senses and why we need to practice not using our devices as much.  Okay, it’s not like I’m bossy or would ever tell you what to do but LISTEN UP (ha!).

You have an oculomotor system!!!  It’s super important!  I was driving around Pike Street today, and as usual, dodging pedestrians GLUED to their phones, their necks edged forward (you might be doing this right now at your computer trying to read this), eyes squinted, thumbs typing frantically, and not paying attention at all to anything around them except their phone.  Some even had headphones in AND were texting.  Recently there have been white silhouettes placed at crosswalks across the city where people have been hit by drivers (over 240 in the last year) – I imagine it is the fault of both pedestrians and drivers not being fully aware of their surroundings.

A person came to the clinic recently who was riding their bike and had to stop suddenly, flipped over their handlebars and broke several ribs.  Why?  Headphones.  These things are tiny foreign objects which block off one of your very important senses to interact with the world around you.  We have to train ourselves to use all of these senses, or we don’t!  And you lose that ability slowly over time with repetition.

Looking at your phone all day keeps your visual system/nervous system only focusing on a tiny screen, which means that our eyes are only paying attention to a tiny 4 by 4 monitor, and NOTHING else around it.  That means your organism stops interacting with its environment; you are training yourself to not be aware of things around you.  Whoa.  If you were conscious of this, would you continue doing it?

Sometimes as I’m writing to you, I’m sitting on the couch, half-writing, half-watching a movie, and I’ve realized over time how my capacity to focus on one thing has changed.  I have gotten so “good” at multitasking, that my performance on each task has depleted.  I have begun to work on isolating different tasks, so that I type on my computer for a while at the desk and shut off my phone, or put on a movie and leave other devices in the bedroom, essentially training myself to unlearn multitasking and stop being distracted by every text or the next thing.  I also almost never wear headphones anymore outside, and find it interesting how I now experience the world again.

There is a man who has walked by me on my street for years, almost the same time every day (around 3 PM) to go get a coffee at our local coffee shop.  I always see him taking photos of leaves and birds and yesterday he was just standing in front of this beautiful tree at the end of our street.  We often wave or nod, and I know what he is experiencing by being aware and open to sights and sounds and smells and other people.  It’s truly wonderful.

Now go get off your phone and experience some stuff!!  Wishing you love and happiness this Winter.

xo WitchDoc

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A story of wheatgrass: choosing what’s right for you.

I confess that sometimes I ask Google for help.

I browse the internet looking for what people are writing about herbal remedies, and I find these funny websites where I see things written that look like a little cut and paste: “Want to know how to heal IBS?  Top 10 herbal remedies!”  I actually had a couple friends who would get hired to write these things, and they were actually paid to cut and paste from other sites (and free-write)!

Recently I came across this forum where a woman told her story about wheatgrass.  She had started drinking wheatgrass shots daily, sometimes twice, because of the advice of a friend because it’s a “superfood”.  She started breaking out in this horrible skin rash that wouldn’t go away, experiencing nausea and digestive upset.  After elimination of the shots and going to the doctor, the skin cleared up, but the woman’s question on this forum was, “How can I continue to drink the wheatgrass shots without having this horrible side effect?”  In other words, how can I continue to do this thing that I think is so good for me even though it’s causing harm to me?

I had a friend whom whenever I would go to their house, they would show me all the supplements they were on.  Dr. Oz or Oprah or someone told them about XYZ, maybe that week they learned that everyone was Vitamin D deficient, so they ran out and bought some Vitamin D.  Or probiotics – probiotics are all the rage right now!  I asked, well what are you eating?  (And if you’ve read any of my other entries, I of course asked about exercise, sleep, water, etc.)  And they weren’t really doing any of those things.  Not sleeping, never going on walks, digestion was poor, and so on.  My point is that sometimes what we think is universally good, actually is not for us as individuals at that time.

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(A swirly universe inside my Watermelon juice with wild blue-green algae, served up at the lovely Wendy Green’s Casa Verde Raw Yoga Retreat in Ecuador)

So my answer is: Listen to your body!!!  The above photo is a great example – these green superfood powders like Spirulina, or Blue-Green Algae are so great for you, right?  So is watermelon – it’s a fruit!  But together, this is a very cold combination – if it’s middle of Winter in Seattle, you probably shouldn’t be drinking this everyday (and the quality of the product too is extremely important).  Not everything is good for everyone all the time.  Ever heard the phrase, “Even moderation of moderation is good”?  I have tended towards food sensitivities most of my life, so I understand this.  The first Naturopathic doctor I ever saw said I had a wheat and dairy allergy, which at the time I had a sensitivity (probably just like everyone else), but I held onto that diagnosis for a long time.  Sometimes those things can change, and you sometimes can make them change.

What if you let go of the wheatgrass for now (or whatever your “wheatgrass” is)?  It doesn’t mean forever, and maybe it does.  If you could never drink those wheatgrass shots again, don’t you think it’s possible that you could find that “superfood” and those “super nutrients” in another food or get those in another way?

It’s worth a thought!

Decluttering and the Ripple Effect

The holidays are upon us and I have been thinking a lot about CLUTTER.  Right before Thanksgiving, I was thinking of a game plan and rereading some old notes when I was last working with a nutritionist.  She said, “Think about removing the clutter foods.”  What did that even mean?  For me at the time, it meant coffee without an accompanying cookie, less post-dinner chip & salsa binges, a few tablespoons less dressing on my salad – things like that.  It wasn’t a lot, actually it just helped me realize that I didn’t need a lot of these extra things I was eating that were upsetting my digestion.  I was just eating to eat – out of boredom, sadness, or whatever it was at the time.

This became a good life mantra – being mindful to keep the clutter down.  A few years ago, my family decided to stop buying each other gifts for Christmas.  Part of it was a financial decision, but mostly it was because we all started realizing that our “It’s-the-thought-that-counts!” gifts were piling up in our closets.  In fact, these “thoughtful” gifts were mostly our own shopping & consuming addictions – we would find something cute, buy it, and save it for someone, maybe without them really in mind at the time.  A couple of years ago, I realized how stuffed my closets (yep, plural) and storages (yep, again!) had become.  That nutritionist friend told me to check out this blog, Live Simply by Annie – a Seattle-based organizer, designer & decluttering specialist.  I started reading the blog and was hooked!  She made everything seem so easy and streamlined to start getting rid of things and organizing, and I had never been good at that.  That Christmas, instead of giving gifts, I gave things to Goodwill – I started getting rid of things, and started to stop feeling anxious about receiving gifts from others that were causing me guilt and anxiety because I didn’t want or need them.

Other things in my life started changing once I started simplifying.  I didn’t need two curling irons, eight wine openers, four extra pillows when I only slept on one, and so on.  I piled bags and bags of crap out.  I started feeling lighter, sleeping better, and no joke – I lost weight.  Once the burden of clutter started leaving my life, my spirit became lighter, my room more spacious, and there was a lot more room for other good things.  It really has a ripple effect in your whole life – to live more simply, needing less “things” and replacing that with more self-care, time with family and friends, exercise, and nature.

Maybe you’ve heard of this idea, and maybe you haven’t.  If you haven’t, check out this book.  It’s a really simple, beautiful way to teach you to let go of things in a step-by-step way.

You could also try this article on shopping alternatives – for those of you that just love to shop (like me!) you might find this interesting.   Browse around Annie’s website too and see if any other articles sprout interest.

Think about what’s important to you this month.  Prioritize those things and spend time with those people.  If you happen to find something you know they’ll love, maybe gift them that, but be mindful of where you’re putting that energy.

xo WD Renzetti