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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ginger Tea and Ginseng Tea

Hi Everyone,

During my sojourn in the Philippines, I was introduced to Ginger Tea in powder form.  I have often made my own ginger tea by grating about 1 table spoonful of fresh ginger root then add 1 cup (8 oz) of water and a lemon wedge then bring it to boil.  

Ginger root extract is one of the more popular substances in the world of natural foods and herbs. It has multiple uses that are considered safe because it is an all-natural product. Many cooks also use organic ginger root in their cuisine.  Ginger roots are also used as medicinal purposes. Perhaps less common but also regarded as herb with healing properties is Panax Ginseng.

Some of the common health benefits of ginger and ginseng include:

1.  Helps clear sinus
2.  Helps overcome nausea and motion sickness
3.  Helps with muscle and joints  inflammation
4.  Help relieve headache
5.  Helps absorb and assimilate essential nutrients in the body
6..  Helps reduce flatulence.
7.  Helps clear your throat
8.  Helps clear your nose and chest
9.  Helps increase your body heat
10.  Helps prevent chronic fatigue syndrome

CAUTION:  As with any herbal medicine, be sure to consult your doctor or health provider to make sure taking these would not cause any bad side effects.

Enjoy!  Cathi

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Equanimity Quotes

"Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions."
- Albert Einstein

"When force of circumstance upsets your equanimity, lose no time in recovering your self-control, and do not remain out of tune longer than you can help. Habitual recurrence to the harmony will increase your mastery of it." 
- Marcus Aurelius

“First, we must see that our negative actions arise due to prejudice and erroneous judgments. The discrimination that labels some as 'friends' and others as 'enemies' must be perceived as the root of our problems. We need to see that we label people and things in terms of our own desires, our own wishes. These wishes are transitory. The labeled objects are, themselves, impermanent. Such labeling is therefore very confused and false, yet it persists, and we continue to create suffering for ourselves. To avoid this, we need to develop equanimity for all beings suffering in samsara, tossed to and fro by their fleeting delusions, just like ourselves.” 
- Zongtrul Losang Tsöndru, Chöd in the Ganden Tradition: The Oral Instructions of Kyabje Zong Rinpoche

“Within the depths of authenticity lives integrity; waiting for our return. When we arrive, we are met with effortless joy, abundant living, peace and wholeness--nothing lacking, nothing broken. This is soul equanimity, the state of pure alignment with will of Source and will of self.” 
- LaShaun Middlebrooks Collier

“Perform all thy actions with mind concentrated on the Divine, renouncing attachment and looking upon success and failure with an equal eye. Spirituality implies equanimity.
[Trans. Purohit Swami]” 
- Anonymous, The Bhagavad Gita

“Patience is the antidote to the restless poison of the Ego. Without it we all become ego-maniacal bulls in china shops, destroying our future happiness as we blindly rush in where angels fear to tread. In these out-of-control moments, we bulldoze through the best possible outcomes for our lives, only to return to the scene of the crime later to cry over spilt milk.” 
- Anthon St. Maarten, Divine Living: The Essential Guide To Your True Destiny

“The meditative mind sees disagreeable or agreeable things with equanimity, patience, and good-will. Transcendent knowledge is seeing reality in utter simplicity. (146)” 
- Jean-Yves Leloup, Compassion and Meditation: The Spiritual Dynamic between Buddhism and Christianity

“A modern definition of equanimity: cool. This refers to one whose mind remains stable & calm in all situations.” 
- Allan Lokos, Pocket Peace: Effective Practices for Enlightened Living

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Marcus Aurelius quotes

"Treat with utmost respect your power of forming opinions, for this power alone guards you against making assumptions that are contrary to nature and judgments that overthrow the rule of reason."
- Marcus Aurelius

“Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.” 
- Marcus Aurelius

"Observe constantly that all things take place by change, and accustom thyself to consider that the nature of the Universe loves nothing so much as to change the things which are, and to make new things like them." 
- Marcus Aurelius

"The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature." 
- Marcus Aurelius

Let it be your constant method to look into the design of people's actions, and see what they would be at, as often as it is practicable; and to make this custom the more significant, practice it first upon yourself." 
- Marcus Aurelius

“You always own the option of having no opinion. There is never any need to get worked up or to trouble your soul about things you can't control. These things are not asking to be judged by you. Leave them alone.” 
- Marcus Aurelius

"When force of circumstance upsets your equanimity, lose no time in recovering your self-control, and do not remain out of tune longer than you can help. Habitual recurrence to the harmony will increase your mastery of it."
- Marcus Aurelius

"He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe."
- Marcus Aurelius

"How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it." 
- Marcus Aurelius

"If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment." 
- Marcus Aurelius

"Because your own strength is unequal to the task, do not assume that it is beyond the powers of man; but if anything is within the powers and province of man, believe that it is within your own compass also."
- Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus; (26 April 121 AD – 17 March 180 AD) was a Roman Emperor considered one of the most important Stoic philosophers. Marcus Aurelius was also the last of the Five Good Emperors and ruled as co-emperor with Lucius Verus.  Meditations, written in Koine Greek while on campaign is believed to be written for his own guidance and self-improvement on numerous topics including how to find and preserve equanimity in the midst of conflict.  Text version on 12 books of Meditation is available for download

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Yoga and Its Healing Power

Aloha Everyone,

I've often meet people who tell me that they are too busy to do yoga.  They have too many things to do, too many places to go. Some people say that they are dealing with too many issues and don't have time left for yoga. They have physical issues, financial issues, relationship issues they are trying to solve. Their intention is that one of these days, when they have resolved their current challenges, when they can find some free time, they will try yoga.  The reality is that as long as we are alive, we are always dealing with different challenges of life.  Life is like the weather, there are sunny days and rainy days.  When you are too busy, this is when you should do yoga.  Yoga will give you more time in life and help you navigate the life's challenges..  

We know that yoga practitioner gain physical, emotional and mental benefits.  Yoga's physical benefits include your body having more energy, give you strength more flexibility and improve balance.  Yoga's healing power goes far beyond the physical benefits.  Yoga helps you ride the  Yoga's emotional benefit include enjoyment of peace and compassion thus you can have better sleep at night and feel more relaxed.  Yoga's mental benefit is being fully aware of the present moment.  

The Patanjali's Yoga Sutra we learned that the basis of the yoga philosophy we all should live by. This is a scientific, holistic approach to living healthy physical and spiritual life.  

Practice of Kundalini Yoga we combine pranayama, meditation, mantras and mudras to develop mental, physical and spiritual awareness, strength, compassion  and consciousness.   Kundalini, the yoga of energy and awareness, when we evoke the Kundalini's untapped energy and more and more flow of energy is allowed throughout your body,  Once both physical and emotional granthis (blockages) are removed, the body will nourish, rejuvenate and heal yourself as well as others.. 

So don't put it off until tomorrow.  If your life is too stressed with too many problems, jump into yoga practice and enjoy just be in your body.  Learn to foccus and see the mind, body and emotion of your true self.

SAT NAM -- Cathi

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Being in the Moment and practicing Non Attachment

Aloha Everyone,

During my stay in the Philippines, I had a chance to get acquainted with two people who are so different from one another that they might as well have come from two ends of the world.  Yet, they are both Americans whose personal circumstances have transported them to this part of the world.

David, not his real name, is a retired U.S. military.  He has fought in Vietnam and has had a chance to mingle with those in high society of his host countries in the South East Asia to those who are making living off the streets.  David is street wise.  He does not trust anyone as he does not trust himself.  He told us that he has done drugs, taken marijuana and cocaine as well as has been witness to human trafficking.  He has seen the good, the bad and ugly and has an intimate knowledge of the suffering of those who fell in the cracks of the society. David told me that if I know a half of what he has done, I would not want to be in the same room with him.  However I also learned through several conversations we had that he has "changed his ways" and made a pack with the maker that he is allowed to live 15 good years, he will be a reformed man.  "I owe my life to no one," as he put it bluntly.  From his birth, David somehow carved his life, was able to overcome his shortcomings and determined to make something of himself.  He acts like a "tough-guy".  Yet, David has an open heart.  Behind his caustic facade, volatile personality, it's not difficult to see his honesty and vulnerability.  I do not believe that he is an immoral person but rather he hides behind a shell.  He is afraid of more rejections.  He is afraid to be judged by others.  But who is to say one is virtuous. 

David lives by clinging onto his past or dreaming of a better tomorrow. Whenever disappointment occurs in his life which seems to be constant, the way David cope is by reacting in anger and looking for someone or something to blame.

James, not his real name, also lives in the past or in his future.  James is young, attractive, has a beautiful wife and three little boys.  He appears to be a model of a happy man and a happy father.  However James' moving to this part of the world happened not by choice.  Rather than looking at this period of his life as an adventure which many would dream of, he is thinking, "I am not happy and I must get back to my old life-style which I once thought I enjoyed while I was living back in a small town in Tennessee."  James is not happy with not understanding the language, he is not happy with the weather.  Perhaps someone should gently remind him that it get very humid and hot in Tennessee in the summer months, too.

When one is dissatisfied and not being in the moment, even little things can become a big deal.  

Basic practice of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation teaches us to know what is happening in your mind.  Whether you are happy, angry, sad, attached or detached, if you can accept your ife as is and being in the moment, you will learn to let go of the fear of the unknown, let go of cringing to the past, let go of the pains of desiring something that cannot be attained, let go of finding blames to others and enjoy being in the moment.

We can practice non-attachment by practicing the following techniques:

1)  Mindfulness - be in the moment, aware of that which is occurring mentally, emotionally and physically without judgment

2)  Law of Karma - whatever comes let it come, whatever goes, let it go

3)  The neutral mind, the yogic mind to maintain equanimity and composure.  Whenever you are faced with the fluctuation of life, treating the ploarities equally, favoring neither one or the other

May all Davids and James in the world find peace and happiness and learn to live in the moment and let go of attachments.

SAT NAM -- Cathi

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Life is an Aventure

Namaste Everyone,

Living in a foreign country, one must learn to become flexible and practice patience and having no expectations.  This is incorporated in our daily living.  For example, your daily activities are heavily depended on your support network starring with your driver.  When miss communication occurs, which is often enough, you have the option of getting annoyed and try to set the record straight or regard this as a learning opportunity and just simply let go and move on.

Having small children who are living off the street beg for money by tapping on your car window, how do you react? What should you do? What can you do These are daily encounters which allows me to practice yoga and meditation even as we ride in the comfort of our air-conditioned car. Away from the routine set in Hawaii, we are living everyday as an unique adventure.

In the Pocket Pema Chodron, entry #15 is "A more adventurous way to live" she writes:

"There is a common misunderstanding among all the human beings who has ever been born on the earth that the best way to live is to try to avoid pain and just try to get comfortable.  You can see this even in insects and animals and birds.  All of us are the same.

A much more interesting, kind, adventurous, and joyful approach in life  is to begin to develop our curiosity, not caring whether the object of our inquisitiveness is bitter or sweet.  To lead a life that goes beyond pettiness and prejudice and always wanting to make sure that everything turns out on our own terms, to lead a more passionate, full, and delightful life, then that, we must realize that we can endure a lots of pain and pleasure for the sake of finding out who we are and what this world is, how we tick and how our world ticks, how thing just is."

Sat Nam -- Cathi

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Dental Tourism

Namaste Everyone,

As with many Americans, J.J. and I do not have dental insurance.  Therefore just to maintain our oral health by regular visits to dentist -- including twice a year cleaning and examination cost us conservatively $300 per person.

About six months ago, I began developing tooth ache with pains radiating to my jaw, neck, shoulder, and arm and to nose and to the temple on the one side of my head. My return visit to a dental clinic in Kahala on Oahu resulted in taking x-rays, a root canal and a replacement of an existing crown. After all that was said and done, it cost me nearly $5,000.  I was also given an estimate of $4,000 to install a bridge to remedy a small gap I have which occurred when one of my molars were extracted when I was a child.

Metro Dental clinics are located in some of the top shopping malls throughout the Philippines.  Their primary market is business executives and their families.  They offer convenient location, clean, sanitary, safe and professional environment to their patients. 

My personal experience with Metro Dental far exceeded my expectations.  On my first visit, I was greeted by one of the dentists interviewed me as I completed the form with my medical and dental history.  I was then introduced to the doctor who came from another clinic to see me as he is more familiar in taking care of patients that are cancer survivors. The doctor personally cleaned my teeth as he examined them and we discussed in detail what needs to be done and what are some options.

Based on our conversation that my gum bruises and often bleeds whenever hard plastic forms are inserted to take x-rays or to inject Novocaine and work in the back area of my mouth, he decided not to use any Novocaine and proceeded to work.  He replaced discolored fillings of 4 teeth, repaired and replaced one of the missing fillings which was a candidate for a root canal and new crown.  As to the bridge, based on the size of the gap, alignment of my teeth, he suggested to have a mouth guard fitted and customized.

The cost for examinations, cleanings, restoration and repairs of 5 teeth, fluoride treatments, fitting and customized mouth guard plus two crowns for J.J. came out to approximately US $1,500. If you  are coming to this part of the world for vacation, spending a few days to have your dental work done may be a good option.  You can stay in a First Class Hotel, get your dental work done and you might still be able to save money and have fun shopping.  The clinic I went to had three dentists, 3 dental assistants who are all Registered Nurses and a receptionist who is also a trained mid-wife.  To read more about MetroDental, go to 

Sat Nam -- Cathi