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Going Green - Message in a Bottle by Nikki Pattillo

On the continued search to help our environment and become greener, I have recently read about bottled water and the impact of plastic bottles on the environment.

Bottled water is not well regulated and a four year study conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) found that 1/5th of the 103 water products they tested contained synthetic organic chemicals and possible carcinogens such as neurotoxin xylene, neurotoxin styrene and acetaldehyde that was leached into the water from the plastic bottles.

Also noted by NRDC was that much of the bottled water didn't come from artesian springs. Roughly 25% of bottled water comes from tap water. Companies such as Coca-cola add salt to Dasani water to make it taste better, just like fast food.

Don't like the prices at the pump? Bottled water is more expensive per gallon than gasoline. It also incurs a huge carbon footprint if transported by train, boat, airplane or truck. A carbon footprint is a measure of the impact human activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of green house gases produced and is measured in units of carbon dioxide.

It takes an enormous amount of energy to haul water around. Manufacturing these plastic bottles takes over 10 million barrels of oil worldwide. The enormous amount energy required to haul water is incredible. Bottled water has to be shipped hundreds of miles and sometimes thousands of miles to grocery and convenient stores all over the country. Brands such as Fiji, are shipped in from overseas.

Pat Franklin, the executive director of the Container Recycling Institute (CRI), says nine out of 10 plastic water bottles end up as either garbage or litter - at a rate of 30 million per day. According to the Climate Action Network, when some plastic bottles are incinerated along with other trash, as is the practice in many municipalities, toxic chlorine (and potentially dioxin) is released into the air while heavy metals deposit in the ash. If plastics are buried in landfills, not only do they take up valuable space, but potentially toxic additives such as phthalates may leak into the groundwater. They can also take hundreds or up to a thousand years to biodegrade in landfills.
I know, you're asking, "but if everyone starts filtering their own water, what will they use to make fuzzy new Patagonia polar fleece jackets?" We'll all have to pitch in and figure that one out.

If you want to carry water with you, get a bottle and fill it. If your water tastes funny, try an activated charcoal filter or a reverse osmosis filter and go green!

Alternative Medicine 101 by Nikki Pattillo

More and more Americans are beginning to seeking complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to solve health problems. According to a survey conducted by The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), 50 percent of U.S. adults age 18 years and older have used some type of CAM. Due to the heterogeneity of CAM, some people may hold misconceptions about the practices of CAM. Here are some basic facts about alternative medicine.

The NCCAM defines CAM as "a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine." David Eisenberg, M.D., Director of the Division for Research and Education in Complementary and Integrative Medical Therapies of the Osher Institute at Harvard Medical School, describes CAM as "practices explicitly used for medical intervention, health promotion or disease prevention which are not routinely taught at United States medical schools, nor routinely underwritten by third party payers within the existing United States health care system."

Some common practices of alternative medicine include energy medicine, which deals with the application of energy fields (such as magnetic field and bio-field) under the concept that the human body holds energy and people interact with each other through energy exchange. Energy is considered as the vital life force under different names in different cultures. Qi is known as energy in traditional Chinese medicine, Ki in the Japanese Kampo system and Doshas in Ayurvedic medicine. The concept says illnesses arise when there is an imbalance of energy in the human body. Restoring the normal flow of the energy helps improve one's health. Qi Gong from China, Reiki and Johrei from Japan, healing touch and intercessory prayer are examples of energy medicine practices.

There is an increasing demand for energy medicine in America in recent years. Some academic medical centers began investigation projects on the subject. However, energy medicine remains very controversial in the mainstream medical field, because the existing scientific technology cannot demonstrate the biophysical means of human energy field, external energy field and their therapeutic effects. Dr. Mehmet C. Oz, Professor and Vice Chairman of Surgery at Columbia University in New York City, Director of the Cardiovascular Institute and Founder and Director for the Complementary Medicine Program at New York Presbyterian Hospital, says "As we get better at understanding how little we know about the body, we begin to realize that the next big frontier … in medicine is energy medicine."

Hippocrates (ca. 460BC-ca. 370BC) recognized the moral and spiritual aspects of healing. He believed that treatments could occur only with consideration of patient's attitude, environmental impacts and natural remedies. Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines integrated the mind healing into their medical philosophies, dating back more than 2,000 years.

In the modern world, mind-body medicine focuses on the interactions among the mind, the body, the effects of emotional, mental, social and spiritual behaviors on a person's health and the empowerment of one's capacity for self-care. Among a variety of mind-body intervention techniques, relaxation, hypnosis, visual imagery, meditation, yoga, biofeedback, tai chi, qi gong, cognitive-behavioral therapies, group support and autogenic training are commonly practiced in the United States.

Manipulative and body-based practices treat the structures and systems of the body, including bones and joints, soft tissues and circulatory and lymphatic systems. Chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation, Massage therapy, Tui na (Traditional Chinese Medicine Massage Technique), Reflexology, Rolfing, Bowen technique, Trager bodywork, Alexander technique and Feldenkrais method are under the umbrella alternative medicine.

In the United States, manipulative and body-based therapies are primarily practiced by doctors of chiropractic, osteopathic physicians, physical therapists and physiatrists. The majority of the research on the cost and utilization of spinal manipulation have focused on chiropractic, which covers 90% of manipulative practice. Similar to spinal manipulation, massage is commonly used for musculoskeletal dysfunctions. However, a significant fraction of people seek massage care for relaxation and stress relief.

Biologically based alternative medicne includes vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids, proteins, botanicals, animal-derived extracts, prebiotics and probiotics, whole diets and functional foods. Increasing use of dietary supplements in the past two decades indicates that there is a strong desire for consumers to promote overall health and wellbeing.Clinical studies find some evidence for the effectiveness of dietary supplements in improving energy level and promoting health.

In addition to dietary supplements, herbal supplements also became popular in recent years. Like over-ther-counter and prescription drugs, they have active ingredients that affect one's physical environment. If herbal supplements are applied properly, they can work wonders. However, the correct application of herbal supplements depends on herbs' properties and individuals' body constitutions.

Alternative medicine follows some basic concepts. First, the body has the ability to heal itself. Taking a proactive role in disease prevention to achieve balanced health is important as well as targeting the root cause of an illness instead of focusing on the symptoms of the illness. Holistic treatments address all aspects of one's life and the body, mind and spirit cannot be treated separately.

If conventional medicine is not working for you, consider alternative medicine for additional support, you may be surprised at the success of these practices on your health.

Our Christmas Lights
by Nikki Pattillo

We all have a light within us and for some reason it seems to shine more during the holiday season. Every day we are provided with experiences and situations to shine our light. Every encounter with every person, every word that we speak and thought that we think is an opportunity to shine this light. There are no insignificant incidents in our lives; each one is an opportunity for us all to express our spiritual growth and understanding and to see others with the compassion, understanding, acceptance and love that the Universe sees us with.

The thoughts that we think and words that we speak about ourselves and others are a reflection of our light. When our thoughts and words are full of compassion, love and understanding, we are choosing to shine our light. When they are bitter, fearful, critical, judgmental or unkind, we are choosing not to shine. Our light is only effective in our lives when we are living through it and are an example of it.

Choosing to shine our light is not easy when we are faced with injustice, others' fears or criticisms. It is often difficult to choose compassion and understanding when someone is not choosing the same when dealing with you. What others choose does not have to be our choice. Each time we choose to shine we are agreeing to light the darkness and this benefits all of humanity.

To have peace we must live peace; to have love we must live love; to have kindness, compassion and understanding we must be those things to ourselves and to everyone around us. The Universe will not rescue humanity from its problems but will support every choice and decision to choose to shine our light by magnifying the energy for all of humanity. Every situation is an opportunity for us to choose to shine. This is how we will create peace, love, joy and abundance in our own lives and for all of humanity.


Shades of Consciousness
by Nikki Pattillo

The purpose of conscious evolution for the human species as a whole is to create a "New Earth." It is more important now than ever to rediscover our oneness, our common humanity. Just by being spiritually aware of living things around us, we refuse to be constrained or enslaved by old and impersonal systems that are wreaking havoc on our earth and the people on it.

Karma is very important when teaching conscious awareness. Every thought that you have, every word that you speak either adds to or takes away from the light of humanity. Everything that you think and say about yourself, whether it is silently to yourself or aloud to others, either adds to or takes away from the light of humanity. Everything that you think and say to and about others, whether it is silently to yourself or aloud to others, either adds to or takes away from the light of humanity. There are no insignificant thoughts or words; each one has energy and an effect.

When your thoughts and words come from a space of unconditional love, which means that they are without judgment, they spread light and increase the light and vibrational frequency on the planet. But when they come from fear or anger, they take away from the light. Yes, your thoughts and words do make a difference and each one is important. Even the smallest judgment thought that you have has an effect. Each person is as important as another is in spreading the light to others.

Just as you are discovering your power to create miracles and manifest your reality, you must also realize that this power extends to all parts of being, including and especially your thoughts and words. You do not have insignificant thoughts, so guard your thoughts and words. We must all release anger, fear, and judgment from our lives. These feelings block our energy and keep us at a lower vibrational frequency, on the old energy grid, and keep us from ascending.

Learning to let go of old, bad energy patterns and adapting to change is also important for conscious awareness. Reaction to change is often tinged with suspicion and caution, or resistance. Adapting to change involves give and take. You have to let go of something to gain something. Holding on to old stuff or old energy can block your aura and slow you down.

This knowledge will raise our consciousness and create a new Earth. This will be a place where every living being can thrive and be respected for what they are and where humans will learn to respect the similarities and the differences between them, and to live with loving tolerance of those differences. In fact, to celebrate the incredible diversity that characterizes our "oneness" and makes life an "adventure" in consciousness. Peace must also be made within us in order to make peace in the world.

You can be a light and spread your own light by focusing your intention on what you want in your life. Those who focus on what others have are seeing their lives from a point of lack. By focusing your energy on what you want, you bring the light into your life and then spread the light to others. Each of you is important to the task that you have come to do. The result of your energy is continuously manifested all around you. Take this power that has been taught to us and use it wisely, for you have come to spread the light to the world. Use it well and create heaven on earth, for yourselves and for all of humanity through conscious awareness.

What's Up - Planet Earth 2009
by Nikki Pattillo

A new year is always exciting with new energy levels, new to-do lists and new years' resolutions to fulfill. As the presidential campaign is off and running I am reminded that we must be able to move beyond dualistic belief systems and keep a perception of oneness and unity in this world. We are one family and one planet.

If I look back at my own life, I would say that the biggest change I have seen has been the movement from a perception of huge distances and separate nations, to a perception of one planet that is in constant connection and movement. I am becoming a New Earth citizen of this planet.

I have met many amazing people in the last year who have all had an urge (or they are guided) to move to other places on the planet, or just to adventure around the world. We are learning to move out of our narrow perceptions of who we are, based on nationality and race, and to begin to see ourselves as citizens of one planet.

In this movement and connection, we discover that we are very much the same, and that we are also unique as individuals, and that these differences can be exciting.

Our work in 2009 seems to be to weave an uplifting light in our hearts and to create peace, harmony and love. I see children who are no longer living old energy patterns that no longer serve the good of humanity. Our children and grand children seem to be "seed-bearers" of a new consciousness to help a new and better earth. Listen to these children as their hearts are pure and not tainted with old out dated belief systems.

It seems like we could all pitch in and help with this process to create a new reality. I have learned this past year that it is really easy to manifest something. This term use to be called visualization. I have tried this many times and it really works. It is just another reminded that it is just a matter of making miracles a way of life. Miracles are happening all around us every day because we the people, are making it happen - we are manifesting the miracles.

In the coming year, we will be working to hold a balance and to keep that balance in our lives. Once we can hold and maintain our inner balance, we can create in a balanced way. Creating with and in balance means that our manifestations will be clear, pure and immediate and miracles will come alive again. How amazing to believe once again in miracles.

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