Collaborated on a seasonal holistic wellness book to support nourishment on all levels, body, mind and soul. This included managing publications deadlines, an eagle eye for editing, and motivating a diverse group of authors. ▪ Compiled and documented research for book ▪ Wrote book proposal and conducted market research for book ▪ Collaborated on writing, editing and proofreading each chapter ▪ Created and executed successful marketing strategy for book ▪ Helped design storyboard and co-styled photos for book
Chapter 19. Twilight: Walking Your Boundaries
Walking in the half-light, where the last of the sun’s rays cling to the edges of the land, a burning ember against the inky curtain of the night sky softly lights your truth. In this place you gaze on the great mystery of transformation, and Nature is the greatest wisdom keeper of this knowledge. Transformation is a gateway from one state to another—Spring unfolds into Summer, Summer shimmers into Fall, Fall cocoons into Winter’s dark magic and Winter emerges renewed as Spring. Each day passes through liminal alchemy as night becomes day, sun chasing the moon endlessly through the heavens. Each year we see children return another year older and wiser to the studies of school, humans shift through rites of passage. Each month your body cycles through times of creativity and times of rest. You hear the siren call of the shape-shifting season. Follow it. Being able to cross thresholds, weave the threads of your life, intricate interplay of moods, expression, ideas, stories. You are dreamer, weaver, creator, alchemist, shapeshifter. Transformation is as natural as breathe, as common as the ebb and flow of your cells. Whether reinventing yourself for a new job, new relationship, or swimming through the purifying fires of loss, or cutting away your ego as a sacrifice to compassion and forgiveness, you are a keeper of transformation.
Family Wellness: Nourishing the Mind
Brain health is essential no matter what your age. Caring for concentration and memory is important not just for school children but also for adults, especially over the age of thirty. The easiest way to stimulate health in a brain is to use it; challenging yourself to engage with life, learn new information, try novel activities, and develop fresh skills creates new neural pathways and changes old patterns and connections. This ability of nerve tissue to adapt is called neuroplasticity.[i]
Worry and Overthinking In Traditional Chinese Medicine, worry and overthinking are causes of disease. This connection is backed up by recent research indicating that chronic stress actually destroys brain cells and damages the hippocampus (the part of the brain that holds memory).[ii]
The antidote is reducing stress, and we have already explored many tools for this including meditation, nutrition, and self-care. One promising piece of research has also shown that having an active social life with strong supportive relationships slows memory decline and improves emotional well-being.
Nutrition plays a crucial role in brain function, too. Eating real food such as whole grains, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and lean proteins has been shown to improve memory and brain function. Omega-3 fats are a well-researched ally in long-term brain development and health.[iii]Green tea has also been shown to enhance memory and mental alertness.[iv]
Another key to brain health is reducing inflammation. As inflammation around the nerves can cause damage to the brain, it is best to eat a healthy diet, reduce your contact with allergens, and make sure your gut is functioning well.
5 tips for study time
Glucose improves memory. Take it in the form of a light snack, for a boost that will not drain your energy with a lot of digestive demands.
Hydration improves all body functions, including that of the brain.
Some people learn by reading, others by writing or hearing, while others need a combination of inputs. Be creative with this.
Learning requires your attention—and your intention.
Rehearsing information as you learn it, either by retelling it to yourself or explaining it to someone else, helps you make an experiential connection to the material. Space this practice out at intervals during the study time, to build layers into your learning. This technique has been shown to work better than cramming.[v]
Spiritual Application: Times of Transition
Autumn is the season of exhalation—the release. By exhaling and other forms of letting go, you are making space in yourself for something new, for something different, for the magic of transformation. You can support this energetically by having a good ol’ material and emotional clear-out. Be fierce, and really let go of what you no longer need. Gift what you can to charity or friends. Give your home a smoke cleansing-(see Global Apothecary, this chapter) and make space to be empty and still, a blank page, full of potential.
Grief is one particularly appropriate emotion to tap during this time of gentle release. When you allow the stir of uncomfortable feelings to swirl around inside, you are able to bring them to the surface, to acknowledge them, thank them, and then release or integrate them as needed.