Friday, August 16, 2013


Yesterday I was thinking about the importance of our surroundings. Not just our furniture and home, but the people we allow into our lives. Family, friends, and spouses become our focus, and we get lost in the daily motion of the everyday.

We become friends with people for different reasons, and unlike those in our families, it is easier to allow these folks in, or to keep them out. When relationships don't work out we feel bad. If we stay in the relationships it can even be worse for us.

Many studies have shown that being in bad relationships not only makes us sad, but can make us sick. We think of our emotions as completely separate from our bodies; but we are starting to realize that our thoughts can and do influence how we live our lives. Each of our subtle thoughts send a series of hormones and energetic impulses through us; if they are bad we can become depressed in body and mind. Our systems slow down and we do not work properly. If this happens over and over, a negative event does not  have to happen, we can THINK it will and we will have the same response.

Some people are said to be sensitive to electrical fields and feel poorly when subjected to them. In one study these sensitive individuals were connected to MRI monitors and given cell phones and asked if they felt anything when they held them to their ears. They reported feeling headaches, sharp pains, dizziness and blurred vision. The pain centers in their brains did indeed light up on the MRI showing they were experiencing pain. Interestingly, these were NOT cell phones, and there was no electrical field. The pain was real, and in the future these people may experience the same types of pain when exposed to cell phones again. (Deepak Chopra)

A similar thing happens with our emotions. If a relationship is negative, we are already expecting a bad experience and start to respond before a heated situation starts. Inversely, if we are in a happy situation, our bodies and mind are saturated with a different energy, we feel strong, confident, and able. When we are in love it feels as if we can survive on water and air, and sometimes we do.

If we concentrate on something that truly makes us feel good, our bodies start to produce dopamine which makes us talkative and excited, serotonin to make us happy, and several other "drugs" that alter our sense of well being. Low levels of serotonin are linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.  Our nation spends billions of dollars on pharmaceuticals to relieve these symptoms of hopelessness and gloom.

Many self help books speak of affirmations or smiling even if we are feeling low. This may help certain individuals feel better, but it does not work for all. Negative thoughts can creep in, or our minds repeat our worries to us. Most of us can conjure a thought or image or idea that is heartwarming, peaceful, or brings us joy.

If we can hold this image long enough, our bodies respond as if we are experiencing the happy moment again. Like the sensitive people in the electricity experiment, we begin to experience changes in our bodies from thinking...but these are positive. We don't have to force a smile because we actually begin to feel better.

We are used to separating our bodies from our emotions. We go to the doctor to get treated for high blood pressure or headaches, and we expect to leave with a prescriptive quick fix. We are given different medications for our skin rash and our stomach aches, and another for our anxiety or depression. Most likely all of these symptoms are related, the result of a negative situation or circumstance.

Maybe our bodies are a storehouse for our spirit or soul. If we are feeling poorly, could it be from a disharmony in our lives? If have repetitive thoughts, is it our soul trying to tell us to fix this?

I realize what I have written is a simplification of a far deeper subject. I have just stumbled upon this idea personally, and for some reason it feels extremely important to me, and I will do my best each day to focus on something that brings me to a really good place mentally. 

Suddenly I feel we DO have a soul, and we should start paying more attention to it.


Friday, August 9, 2013


Flowers are lovely, and almost everyone loves to receive them. Daisies are bright and cheerful. They remind us of a summer's day  and represent friendship. Roses are elegant and beautiful and are given to our true love. As children we picked tiny yellow buttercups and put them under our chins; if our friends saw a yellow reflection they knew we were fond of butter.

Some of us like the darker, or more morbid versions of flowers.

We can find black versions of tulips, irises, roses, lilies, and many more. We can grow them in our gardens and listen to the Oooos and Aaahhhs from the neighbors who are unfamiliar with these unusual blooms.

I have seen black flowers in wedding bouquets and gracing the wedding cake. They are a favorite at flower and garden shows, and simply fun to grow and look at.

Odessa Calla Lily

Morticia Addams cut the bright heads off her roses so she was left with the lovely thorns.

Rick Moranis fed the Venus fly trap unspeakable meals in Little Shop of Horrors.

Not all flowers are pink or yellow and bring back sweet childhood memories.

Some have thorns, some eat protein, and some can kill.

Hidden behind Blarney Castle in Cork, Ireland is a poison garden that contains plants that are so toxic and dangerous that some need to be behind a cage like structure. Wolfsbane, Mandrake, Opium, Ricin, Aconitum, and Belladonna are some of the beautiful yet deadly flowers you can view. Some of these plants have been used as herbal remedies in the past, and many are still used in homeopathy today.

is a beautiful plant with a color range from light green to black. It blooms in the winter and can cause burns on the hands if not picked with gloves. If eaten it is highly emetic and potentially fatal. Years ago parents used to treat worms with this plant. It is said if you step on a Christmas rose you will become invisible.

Another poisonous plant is Belladonna, which means 'beautiful woman'. This name came from a troubling practice in Italy where a woman was given Belladonna and her pupils dilated, giving her a very striking and lovely appearance. But ingesting this plant not only causes dilated pupils, but increased sweating, rapid heartbeat, hallucinations, and even death.

It is used as a homeopathic remedy, especially for children with fevers that make the child look red, feel hot, and experience throbbing in the head or anywhere else.

Severus Snape made Aconite, or Wolfsbane a household name when he stumped Harry Potter with a poisons question in his stressful class in the book Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

Aconitum is known as the queen of poisons, and was once used to kill wolves years ago. It is said that those in 'an aconite state' are filled with fear, feverish, and can predict the hour that they will die. When ingested it will cause nausea and vomiting, slowing of the heart and respiration, an unpleasant tingling of the limbs, and eventual death, usually within the hour. Poisoning can happen from a skin prick also. In 2004 a British actress poisoned her lover with an Aconite laced curry dish. She is currently serving a life sentence for murder.

There are hundreds of other deadly and beautiful plants.

Although not a flower, a mention of the Manchineel tree is warranted.

The Manchineel tree (Hippomane Mancinella) is so dangerous, it’s often marked with warning signs. Its leaves and small green fruit resemble those of an apple tree, hence the name – which is derived from “manzanilla”, meaning “little apple” in Spanish. But in Spain, this tree is more often known as “little apple of death”. All parts of this tree are so toxic that if you burn it and stand near the smoke, you can go blind.
Stand under this tree during a rainstorm, and you’ll get a nasty surprise in the form of blisters all over exposed parts of your body caused by contact with a white milky substance that the tree secretes when it rains. The Caribs used Manzanilla sap to poison their arrows and even tied captives to its trunk to ensure a slow and painful death. (From WebEcoist)

Interesting that Harry Potter's awful caregivers lived on Privet Drive. Privet is an innocuous looking bush with yellow berries, but the result of ingestion is terrible. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and cold clammy skin are the result. Horses are especially susceptible to the poison, and riders should avoid at all costs.

With lovely names like Fairy Bells and Heart of Jesus you would think these plants would make lovely tea or decorate the prettiest cupcakes...but NO. Heart of Jesus will set your mouth and tongue on fire and send you to Hell, and Fairy Bells, or Foxglove (Digitalis) will cause nausea, vomiting, convulsions, cardiac arrest and finally death.

I always hear people say to listen to Mother Nature because it is the most gentle method of healing. I think she is the most fierce and ruthless Mother I've ever met. She takes no prisoners and does not care who you are when she takes a stand.

Certainly plants and flowers enhance our lives with their beauty and medicinal uses...but beware, things are NOT always as they seem. :)