Health

Bite the Big Apple

Sandra Keros

One year ago

I packed up my belongings 

inside my NYC apartment

with not even the slightest whiff of a plan

for the complete unknown.

I was scared as hell

Shaken down to the bone.

Dreams shattered, 

It’s like Mick Jagger said…

“Don’t mind the maggots”

Every step after that that 

Seemed farther from safety

Too many bloody knuckle stories to name…

Eventually I came to find that 

Your life is bigger than any one moment.

And that despite what anybody 

Says or sees as failure

Especially that pesky little voice inside your head -

Something bigger than you is 

Guiding you perfectly 

Down your path 

Back to yourself.

I learned that if things are too too hard

Then they probably are.

So lay off.

Go a different route.

Don’t just stay the course to prove anything to anybody

Just because you don’t want to be seen as a “quitter”

Life is showing you the way.

Pay attention to your intuition.

Don’t question your self worth

Or your ability to judge. 

When it’s time to move on

You will feel it.

Just like when you’ve found a place to stay

You will know it.

Even if you might not stay forever. 

Follow your gut.

We’re all here to live and learn.

Trust yourself.

You can’t make any mistakes.

And if you find yourself living with maggots

Get the hell out!





One Love for All

Sandra Keros

I remember when dad came to visit me in London during the first Iraq war.

I was a student, a "Young American", waiting by the school's front door 

at 8 a.m. for my dad to join me in one of my classes.

He never came.

He was in Victoria Station when a bomb went off.

He didn't run out because he thought another one might be outside.

That's what he learned when he fought in Korea.

But when I found out from the school's front desk that a bomb had gone off

And he was in the very station that he would have needed to be in to take a train to come see me, 

I froze.

I don't remember details after that, 

How I eventually got in touch with him.

But I was lucky. I did.

Living in London during those times, I learned to take bomb threats at our school and in the Tube (subway) in stride.

Crazy, right?

Most Americans then had no idea what it could be like to live in fear like that.

And since 9/11, and even the Paris attacks, many of us have forgotten.

And even though it came really close to home for me, 

Most of the time, when I'm caught up in my day-to-day, 

I forget.

For those who live in Europe, 

terrorism is right there,

it can happen 

anytime,

anywhere

to anyone.

Right in anyone's back yard.

On anyone's way to work,

To see loved ones,

To go the store.

With hope for all the people and forces wanting to

overcome this horrific trend of violence, I turn to music...

"One" by U2

Is it getting better

Or do you feel the same

Will it make it easier on you now 

You got someone to blame

You say...

One love

One life

When it's one need

In the night

One love

We get to share it

Leaves you baby if you 

Don't care for it

Did I disappoint you

Or leave a bad taste in your mouth

You act like you never had love

And you want me to go without

Well it's...

Too late

Tonight

To drag the past out into the light

We're one, but we're not the same

We get to 

Carry each other

Carry each other

One...

Have you come here for forgiveness

Have you come to raise the dead

Have you come here to play Jesus

To the lepers in your head

Did I ask too much

More than a lot

You gave me nothing

Now it's all I got

We're one

But we're not the same

Well we 

Hurt each other

Then we do it again

You say

Love is a temple

Love a higher law

Love is a temple

Love the higher law

You ask me to enter

But then you make me crawl

And I can't be holding on

To what you got

When all you got is hurt

One love

One blood

One life

You got to do what you should

One life

With each other

Sisters

Brothers

One life

But we're not the same

We get to 

Carry each other

Carry each other

One...life

One

‪#‎stophate‬
#‎onelvveonelife

#‎carryeachother






Vacation With Meaning

Sandra Keros

We all need a little R&R from time to time. When I spent two months in Belize this past summer, I was able to catch up on some much needed downtime with a little adventure touring exotic sites steeped in ancient culture. 


Connecting with the gentle spirit of people who were so kind and giving made the whole experience unparalleled. I wanted to give back to the community who had welcomed me and shown me such kindness, especially the beautiful children, but I didn't know how. 


When my friend, Sallie Fraenkel, former COO of SpaFinder, told me about her new company, Mind Body Spirit Network, which combines exotic travel, self-care, and giving back, I had to spread the good word. As mentioned on her website, all events and trips are thoughtfully designed for women to "come together to expand their minds, engage their bodies, and enrich their spirits."


Check out Sallie's website, MindBodySpiritnet.com and peruse the descriptions of upcoming trips to beautiful Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Mexico. The one in Guatemala on January 15-20, 2016 has me particularly piqued. I've heard firsthand about how stunningly gorgeous Lake Atitlán is  (first picture shown above) and the remarkable quaintness of the colonial town of Antigua. 


Not only are you drenched in breathtaking scenery and ancient culture, you get to visit to a local women's textile cooperative, explore mayan shaman healings and help an indigenous town rebuild a school with recycled materials. And don't forget the amazing food! It's thoughtfully prepared by local women using local ingredients with handed down recipes way more delicious than any common restaurant. Yum! 


If you decide to go, let me know! No doubt it will be the kind of experience you will want to share with friends, family and soon wish to repeat.





Quote: Stephen Hawking on Curiosity

Sandra Keros

Especially for people in chronic pain, curiosity is the bridge to the path where you envision yourself going. Keep an open mind and find ways to inspire yourself along your journey. There is no 100% guarantee that you will stay in pain forever, or know the answer when you see it, so stay curious and open to possibility to greater your chances of finding what you seek. #chronicpain #fibromyalgiafree #attitude #curiosity





The Impossible That Became Possible: 9/11 Remembrance

Sandra Keros

Most everybody has a story about 9/11 and I want to honor all of you whose lives were permanently affected today 14 years ago.


Only two months before the attacks, I lived in Tribeca just blocks away from the WTC; I looked up at those tall, bold buildings - which can never be replicated in grandeur and beauty - every morning on my way to work. 


When I turned on the TV in San Francisco that fateful morning, I'd wished I could've been there to help those down in the smoking rubble. Instead, I watched on like most people in our country, transfixed by the impossible that had become possible. 


Thank you to the many, who through acts of courage and bravery, lifted the damage, debris and spirits of people during that time. Your heroism will be in our hearts and spoken of for many years to come. 

‪#‎neverforget‬ ‪#‎endofanera‬ ‪#‎wordscannotexpress‬






Don't Overdo It, Groove It

Sandra Keros

What's not to love about a good, long run, hike or bike ride? The freedom of the great outdoors, the let-go of catharsis, and flow of endorphins can be exhilarating. I learned the hard way, unfortunately, that regular pounding exercise routines, especially when overly tired and majorly stressed out, can seriously backfire in injury or even lifelong disease. 


When you are intense about your movement routine, you have to balance it out with other fun, easy-going activities.


So much of our waking hours we have to be "on" with competing demands for our attention and time; we multi-task most hours of the day without break or worry we're not doing enough when we're not. This constant, low-level stress takes a toll on our health in ways that add up. A popular solution: Exercise. But too much too often can wear us down when we're already worn down, even if we don't think we are.


How much exercise is too much? One red flag is overwhelming fatigue. Symptoms of overtraining are evident when you wake up with bleary eyes or have pervasive sluggishness, dark under-eye circles, insomnia, mad sugar and carb cravings, depression and moodiness, just to name a few. "Just Do It" or, "No pain, no gain" can be intoxicating mottos, but regularly pushing yourself when you're over tired can lead to injury and exacerbate commonly unknown conditions such as thyroid disorders and auto-immune diseases that can contribute to fibromyalgia or chronic pain. (See this article by Dr. Mercola.)


"No pain, no gain," right? Wrong. Pain is the second red flag of overdoing it. On one hand, a day of soreness from building muscle strength is normal with above average exertion, but when pointed soreness in a certain area, like the hip flexors, happens regularly with or after exercise over a period of months, you should either stop immediately, change your method and intensity of movement or both before it progresses any worse. 


Remember: You alone are your body's expert. Learn your body's energy cycles and listen for cues, especially if you're going at your exercise punitively or obsessively to deal with stress, overwhelm or low-self esteem. If I hadn't been guilty of these things myself, I wouldn't be where I am now, learning after a hard-fought journey back to health. Moderating demanding exercise programs with plenty of rest and fun, light-hearted activities can give you more of a sense of ease, connectedness, and well-being in your body and your life. 


Hard-Learned Tip: If you have a really stressful job, eat a lot of processed or prepared foods, and wake up feeling "wired and tired" (one sign of thyroid disease) while routinely pushing yourself too hard, it's better to sleep a little longer in the morning, dial back exercise intensity, dial back dubious foods and see an integrative physician to have your thyroid checked out. If not, you could seriously open the door to chronic pain or life-long health conditions that need treatment before they head to anything worse. If you love a good physical challenge, do it gradually - especially if you're just starting out or suddenly under a lot of stress - the tempered pace may seem way too slow at first, but you can build up from there knowing you're doing it safely and easily. Always monitor your body for any sharp pains, overwhelming fatigue or insomnia - ways that your body is telling you to ease up. If under emotional or physical stress, add in more fun activities - rather than pavement pounders - to balance things out. Your body will thank you for years to come. 


"The day you stop racing is the day you win the race."

– Bob Marley



Next blog: Groove: An exercise trend gaining popularity in Europe and the U.S. that's really a lot of fun. 





Keys to Healing

Sandra Keros

Doctors hardly address one of the most important aspects of healing: Attitude. 


During my days of fibromyalgia, when getting rid of the pain was truly beyond my best efforts to find the right doctor, let alone get a diagnosis for my pain, I felt like there was little I could do. Only until I was on the brink of giving up - seeing how often doctors had failed and I couldn't make my body heal - was I able to pause and reconsider my approach. 


It's not a new concept that change - whether physical or circumstantial - starts in your mind. If we want something better and different, how open are we to changing our routine thoughts and ideas of what should be? And where do we begin? We have to start somewhere, and although many things could be added to this list, here's a place to start:


1) Wake up in the morning and be thankful for the simple things. The sun shining outside. The quiet or the bustle of activity. Your breath, your eyesight, your sense of touch, your ability to smile reminiscing about fun times with old friends who love you without your having to be anybody else. Make a list of ten things that come to mind when you first wake up every morning for a week and you'll start seeing a shift after the first day or so. 


2) Look for things that are going right. Once more, keep it simple. You are alive and breathing; you can see, smell, touch and hear - basic go-tos when things get really bad. For a little more feel-good, recall someone remembering something touching that you told him or her when you thought they weren't listening. Or when someone lets you into their lane or opens the door for you serendipitously. Although sometimes it feels like things can hardly get worse, it can be very helpful to remember the many things that are going right to diffuse momentary grief and shift your focus.


3) When you're having a bad day, just have it out. Emotions are our barometer for how off center we are from who we are, what we value, what we want, what we think we deserve. Not everyone is nice, and we don't always feel our best. Let heavy emotions have their way for a while in a way that informs you of what's going on internally and then sit back and observe. Like trying to stifle a child's cry when he's fallen down, let out the difficult and uncomfortable so you can clear the air; when the storm is over, see what really is the issue that has you upset. 


4) Talk to people who "have your back" and are positive. Sometimes people who know us well can lend an ear at difficult moments and give us the reassurance we need to get through a bad moment. We are not alone and we need to be heard and valued; good friends can do this for us, as we can do for them. It's feeling like our pain is separate from others' that compounds our despair. So connect with someone who cares and it can make you feel like you're not so alone.


5) Speak up for yourself and don't let anyone belittle your emotions, goals or dreams. What could cause more distress than being around someone who doesn't let you be yourself, let you want what you really want, or see your side as valid? This kind of stress wears us down and ultimately affects every cellular interaction in our bodies. (See Candace Pert's book, Molecules of Emotion) Negative/downer people can tempt us to change who we are when we are around them just to "please" them when really we're not being ourselves with the implication that we're not enough. Dismiss the diss; be yourself or "dis-ease" will perpetuate. 


5) No one is going to help you as much as you are able to help yourself. Why is this so? Some people have been sick for so long that they've become accustomed to being treated for their condition as a way of wanting special consideration from others, while others disdain this kind of attention. Only you feel the pain the way you do and know how much it costs you in your life, your relationships, your career. Maybe you were like me for a very long time and you don't know the answers. Once hitting a wall, I stopped thinking I could solve all my problems using logic and kept asking questions and talking to people. Eventually, I found my answers and you can too. With your skin in the game and ego checked at the door, you can find the answers you need.


6) Help that's beyond you is above you. This is a good thing. When I felt like my arms were too tired to swim against the harsh current of reality, I finally let go of trying to figure things out and asked myself what I hadn't tried. Answer: praying to God. It seemed abstract and I had resistance because of my über religious mom, but it was the only unchartered course. The consequence: humility and receptivity. I said a simple prayer asking for help, even accepting that the pain might be something I'd always have to live with, but that it was beyond me and I was willing to follow the Universe's lead. Result: my attitude shifted. I kept talking to people and listened. Within months, I was finally lead to the right doctor who lead me on a program that lifted a fog in my life and lead me to a life-changing body/mind healing.


The above are things that take time and usually don't result from will, just experience of appreciating what good is around us and dropping walls of resistance. Having hope, being yourself, staying connected with people, and looking for answers outside your comfort zone may just help you make the shift that leads to healing.





TedxManhattan: Changing The Way We Eat

Sandra Keros

Healthy food shouldn't be a luxury. Hear leading voices in the food movement at TedxManhattan on March 7, 2015. Viewing parties are gathering and growing. Watch live from your computer via webcast. More details at http://www.tedxmanhattan.org






Gluten & Putin: Know Your Facts!

Sandra Keros

What was once an esoteric health condition has since become a diet fad hitting the late-night comedic circuit. Recently, Jimmy Kimmel did a hilarious skit on people who go gluten free without really even knowing what gluten is. Do you?


Source: FoodMattersTV

In case you're scratching your head, gluten is the protein in grains that makes dough stretchy and cooked spaghetti stick to the bottom of your sink, otherwise known as the gliadin protein. Your gut may reject it because of how it's processed, structural alterations due to genetic modification, if there's lack of variety in your diet (i.e., you eat it all day long), lack of diversity in the wheat varietal (thank you, agribusiness monoculture) and other reasons scientists are still discovering.

For others, including myself, going gluten-free can be a game-changer. Check out this story in The Huffington Post.






From Tedious Lawn to Lush Garden

Sandra Keros

By design, nature intended us to build thriving communities around growing fresh, quality food. Just look at what one family did below. Wouldn't you want to be their neighbors?


If you’ve ever grown your own food like I have, you realize pretty quickly – sometimes even with only one plant – what a "bumper crop" means: you have to start giving food away. And what cooler gift to receive than homegrown produce?


The benefits of growing and sharing food brings people together in a way that requires little explanation. When I think about it, if my ancestors hadn't cultivated their own sources of food and bonded with their communities, where would my family be? Would I even be here? It's over food that we feel that connection with others, our world, even ourselves. We enrich our lives, our earth, our sense of community and give life to generations to come.


I'm inspired by this family who started with simple boxes to transform their front yard into a masterpiece of beauty, creativity, ingenuity and deliciousness. Heck, I'm hoping they'll see this post and invite me for dinner! Feast your eyes on their pictures and comment below with your stories. 


If your a city dweller, like I am now once again, what are some of the cool gardens you've seen or been a part of? 


http://themetapicture.com/he-started-with-some-boxes-60-days/



Do you live in New York City and want to dig your hands into the earth? Check out volunteer gigs at New York Cares - www.newyorkcares.org





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