Monday, 30 April 2018

Tree Spirit

Tree Spirit.
Sweet spirit of the living tree,
You’ve always stayed so close to me-
Through many seasons we have grown, 
You’re always here, I’m not alone…
I am the tree you shelter in,
Away from all the worldly sin-
When men approach to cut me down
You soon reproach them, with a frown!
They would not dare to venture here,
Your presence is so warm and dear-
A hundred years I now have stood
So tall within this magic wood…
The summer shows my leaves of green,
I decorate this woodland scene-
Then autumn splashes vibrant hues,
And vivid colors do enthuse…
Winter comes on frigid feet,
We both do miss the summers’ heat-
But spring flies in with daffodils
Decorating natures’ hills…
Oh gentle spirit, ever true,
You know I think the world of you-
So shelter here within my cave,
Many a time my life you’ve saved…
Nature’s treasure, oh so small,
I cannot see your face at all-
But your sweet touch is very real-
I love the way you make me feel…

Saturday, 28 April 2018

How Sun Exposure affects Sleep & Melatonin Production—and It’s Not What you Think. Via Dr. John Douillard

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In recent articles, I have discussed the importance of sleeping in a completely dark room with no ambient light to support the maximum production of melatonin.

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland, and it is much more than just a sleep hormone.
Like the janitor who comes in at night to clean the floors and wash the windows, melatonin is the body’s most powerful detoxification and rejuvenation agent.
While the role melatonin plays in our health is still not fully understood, studies suggest that without a good dose of daily sun exposure, we do not produce optimal levels of melatonin. Sadly, modern humans are getting too much light at night and not bright enough light during the day.
In one study conducted in sunny San Diego, California, an average, middle class, middle-aged adult spent less than four percent of their time (or 58 minutes) outdoors—and much of that time was spent in their car. People in less sunny climates generally spend more time indoors. Unfortunately, shift workers are only exposed to the bright light that is needed for optimal health for 2.6 percent of their waking hours.
In the winter, people spend most of their time indoors in front of televisions, playing video games, on computers, or screens of any kind, resulting in a dangerous drop in melatonin production.

Bright Sunlight Boosts Melatonin.

In Dr. Russel Reiter’s book, Melatonin, a Finland study evaluated two groups of rodents who were exposed to either natural sunlight or fluorescent light.
One group received fluorescent lighting, and the other group received natural sunlight.
Both groups experienced the same amount of daily sunlight, and both groups experienced the same amount of darkness throughout the night.
After one week, the researchers measured the melatonin levels of the two groups and came up with a significant finding: The rodents who were given sun exposure produced far more melatonin at night than the ones in the artificially-lit room.
The study found that it was not the fluorescent light that produced some negative or toxic effect on the body. It was simply that the fluorescent lights were not bright enough compared to natural sunlight.
The brightness or intensity of light is measured in lux. For example, 100 lux is the amount of light that would enter your eyes if you were looking at a 100-watt light bulb from a distance of five feet in an otherwise dark room.
The fluorescent lights, during this study, delivered about 400 lux, which is brighter than most indoor environments. The light in the sunlit room varied from dawn to dusk and peaked at about 3,000 lux during the day—which is more than seven times the light brightness of the fluorescent bulbs.
The research concluded that it was the brightness or intensity of the light during the day that delivered a boost in melatonin levels at night.

The Takeaway.

If you are looking for a better night’s sleep, or to boost the benefits of melatonin as an antiaging and detoxifying hormone, the amount of sunlight you get during the day is as critical as the amount of darkness you get at night.
Most people with sleep imbalances put a lot of energy into eye masks or shades that completely block out any ambient light from their bedroom, but they may not be putting the same amount of attention toward getting the daily sunlight they need to produce optimal melatonin levels.
The researchers also discussed that the variation of light intensity during the day from dawn to dusk may also play a role in the circadian release of melatonin at night.
In this study, at sunrise, the fluorescent light switch was turned on and the same intensity of light was experienced by the rodents until sunset, when the fluorescent lights were switched off.
Once again, we are confronted with how our artificial environments may be disturbing our precious circadian rhythms.
In a handful of studies at the University of California, San Diego, researchers found that women with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) had chronically low levels of melatonin. When these women were exposed to just two hours of bright light during the day, they produced more melatonin at night and saw significant changes in there premenstrual symptoms. (1)
In another study, researchers compared the intensity of indoor light to outdoor light during different times of the day. During a sunny day, lux levels reached 50,000, compared to indoor lighting levels, which were consistently in the mere hundreds—suggesting that the amount of intensity of outdoor sunlight is significant in comparison to what we commonly experience indoors. (1)
Once again, we must get outside, particularly during the long, bright, and sunny days of summer.
In a study conducted in Germany, 30 subjects with mood imbalances underwent one week of light therapy. Before the light therapy, only 21 percent of the subjects had a balanced or healthy level of melatonin. After the therapy, 47 percent of the subjects experienced healthy and balanced levels of melatonin.
In another study with folks suffering from sleep conditions, researchers saw a 160 percent increase in melatonin during the night after being exposed to just a half an hour of bright light coming from a light box.
Bottom line: A good night’s sleep may have more to do with what we do when our eyes are open, than when they’re shut!
1. Reiter, R. Melatonin. Bantam books, NY. 1996. P.213
Author: Dr. John Douillard
Image: Emma Fierberg/Flickr
Editor: Leah Sugerman
Copy Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Social Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

The Perfect Autumn Pumpkin Soup. Via María Campos

Staffordshire Bull Terrier qualifies as police dog

PD Cooper
Credit: Staffordshire Police
A Staffordshire Bull Terrier is one of three dogs to complete their police dog training today and begin work with Staffordshire Police.
Police Dog Cooper became the force’s first ever Staffordshire Bull Terrier when he joined in March, after leaving an RSPCA rescue centre in the West Country.
He spent six weeks training alongside Archie and Barry. And of course, his breed is rather appropriate for the county.
Barry, Archie and Cooper with their handlers
Credit: Staffordshire Police
Staffordshire Bull Terriers can have a bad reputation. Initially bred as fighting dogs, they are often thought of as vicious and aggressive. Yet, for every negative view, there is someone sticking up for them as affectionate and loyal - if they have the right training.
The force was keen to show what they're capable of.
Staffordshire Police are leading the way in showing that there’s more to this breed of dogs as Staffies seem to get an unfair reputation.
They’re showing that you really shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and Cooper is a fine example of that, as he has surpassed all expectations with what he has learnt during the past six weeks.
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PD Barry
Credit: Staffordshire Police
Alongside Cooper, police dogs Archie and Barry also passed their dog training this morning.
PD Archie
Credit: Staffordshire Police

Friday, 27 April 2018

The Unicorn Forest

The Unicorn Forest
In the thickets glen beyond the forest wild
Lies the realm of the mystical unicorn,
Beauties elegance in motion, gracefully
Prancing with each delicate gallop forward.
She is queen in this ancient domain
Where man hands have never touched,
This unknown lands sacred soil.
Seasonal change lies beyond these
Pastures woven from purity’s innocence.
Here in the valley of evergreen the forgotten.
Magic still lingers as a whispered promise.
A spell cast unto the four winds long ages past,
By the magi wizard's from the olden times
A sanctuary unblemished.
Never shall it taste winters bitter icy hand.
Forever locked in warmth’s season of renewal
And rebirth.
A symbiotic relationship between mother earth
And this mythological creature.
Shall it evermore be so as long as the unicorn's
Thrives so the world remains spring eternal.
Nay she is sadden for she is the last of her kind
But natures kindness bares witness to a miracle
Growing within her womb.
Immortality's greatest gift to such wondrous
Majesty a colt.
To ease regrets tender heart, alone being
Soon to be no more.
Exhilaration acknowledgments is shown,
Within softness gentle brown eyed mare.
Nobility's royal steed stands tall and proud,
Bowing in respects fulfillment gratitude,
Unto Gaia, this divine gift given unto her.
Enchantments legendary creature raises it's
Golden horn towards the heavens,
It's powerful magic electrifies the sky.
Releasing thunders rumbling, causing even
God's angels to weep
With joys pure happiness crystal tears,
Hitting the ground below.
It's loves truest expression without words emotions spoken.
Two spirits mother and son are now united at last.
Together as one living in the isle of the Infinity.
And these immortals gallop racing against
Destiny’s winds,
Never to be separated or alone ever again.
Copyright © cherl dunn | Year Posted 2016
Art Art by Corey Ford

Thursday, 26 April 2018


I live among the grasses,
And watch them growing high,
And as the summer passes
They seem to touch the sky.
The Spiders are my neighbours,
Busy people they,
I watch them at their labours,
Spinning day by day.
The Earwig comes a-calling,
The Ladybird as well,
And snails go slowly crawling,
And Slugs, without a shell.
The Bumble, fat and furry,
A flying visit pays,
And Caterpillars hurry
Adown the grassy ways.
I am your little brother,
A Mouse in brown and grey,
So if we meet each other,
Please let me run away!
by Enid Blyton
Art Carl Whitfield.

The Full Moon’s Effects on your Health: It’s no Coincidence, it’s Science. Via Jenn Malecha

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You might think this is a little superstitious, but there is something real about how the full moon impacts people, animals, and the things around us.

You can call me crazy, but just hang in here with me for a minute…
Have you ever noticed that there seems to be something cyclical when it comes to being moody and irritable? And I’m not talking about PMS, but a fluctuation in mood that only lasts for a few days for some reason and is unexplainable.
Or what about sleep disturbances—going through periods of time when you have trouble falling asleep or tossing and turning that only last for a few days or a week at a time?
How about your digestion? Do you experience phases of really great bowel movements and then all of a sudden they seem to go on the fritz? And then there’s stuff such as skin rashes or breakouts, teeth grinding, and joint aches and pains. Do those come and go too, every few weeks?
Looking back now, were any of these things—or other ailments that you might suffer from—worse around a full moon?
There are frequently times when I catch myself noticing how my behavior is off, and I feel a little restless or uneasy in a way that I can’t quite put my finger on—until I check the calendar and realize a full moon is upon us.
With myself and in my private health coaching practice, I see these common characteristics all of the time.
It’s not a coincidence, it’s science.
During a full moon, ocean tides are higher than usual from an increase in the gravitational pull from the moon and sun. Considering that the body is 80 percent water, scientists and astrologers have often thought that similar effects happen in the body, almost creating a “human tidal pull” that can affect brain function.
But parasites are more likely to be the real thing driving you crazy or causing suffering during a full moon.
The gravitational pull on water balance in the kidneys causes a shift of movement or an “awakening,” making these little buggers more active during the full moon cycle, which then wreaks havoc on your intestinal health, digestion, and hormone balance. An overgrowth of gut bacteria and/or yeast such as Candida can also have similar effects during a full moon.
Some of the textbook symptoms of parasites include:
>> bloating, gas, fatigue, and/or flu like symptoms
>> low immune function (illness and allergy flare-ups)
>> excessive hunger, constipation, and/or diarrhea
>> grinding teeth, especially at night
>> hives, irritability, and/or rashes
>> sleep disturbances, changes in weight, joint pain, and/or headaches
The most common parasite usually found is Blastocystis Hominis (Blasto).
Blasto can be persistent; it’s commonly correlated with autoimmune issues and likes to hang out with another bacterial gut offender known as H. Pylori. The classic symptoms of H. Pylori can include: heartburn/acid reflux, ulcers, migraines and mid-back pain. But there are a bunch of different species of gut invaders that could be disrupting our balance during the full moon.
We come across gut invaders all the time, and if the gut is already compromised, they move in and take over. Over the years, I’ve had my fair share of gut invaders including Blasto, H. Pylori, Candida, and a few other species as a result of being exposed to toxic mold, traveling internationally, and having Hashimoto’s disease (an autoimmune thyroid condition). Once I eradicated those suckers, my symptoms subsided and I no longer experienced such swings in my health and well-being during a full moon.
If the full moon has you questioning gut bugs, here’s what you should do.
Starting now and for the next few weeks, jot down any symptoms, aches, pains, ailments, or health complaints that you’ve been experiencing on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the most intense or present.
Then, start tracking the progress of those symptoms. You’re looking to see if they improve and/or go away in the coming weeks, especially leading up to a new moon when these gut infestations are most dormant or if they increase in intensity leading up to a full moon.
Based on your tracking, check to see if you notice any trends or if anything seems like it indicates a pattern.
If you notice an increase in symptom intensity around the full moon, this is a sure sign that it’s time to dig deeper. Parasites are no fun, but they don’t have to hold you back from healing or reaching your optimal health.
Once you have a good indication of what’s going on, you have what you need to take the next step. Use that knowledge and become your own health boss so you can regain your health and happiness!
Author: Jenn Malecha 
Image: Adrienne Crow/Unsplash 
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Copy Editor: Nicole Cameron