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Monthly Archive for: ‘January, 2014’

  • Your Water Main Shut Off Valve – Where Is It?

    Article by Jasmine

    Webmistress The Majickal Garden

    I had an incident with a leaky pipe in my garage recently while my man of the house was gone overnight. As soon as I walked in I saw a puddle next to the door on the floor I traced to a dripping pipe under the counter. Immediately the thought popped in my head a dripping pipe could turn into a gusher so I set about dealing with this matter – by myself! My answer was to turn the water off and not take any chances.

    Now,  I knew our main shut off valve is in the driveway, off to the side, close to the road covered by a concrete square with a removable lid. I also knew that was where the water company reads our meter. I had never looked under the lid. Other homes might have theirs in a basement or an outside wall in a utility area of the house. These types could have a vertical handle shut off or a knob.

    I  understood there was a special tool required to turn off the water and that it looked like a “T”. No idea how large it was but I set about the hunt in the garage for it. My back up plan was in understanding this might possibly be done with a wrench but was hoping for the proper tool. I’d heard that if not done properly a wrench could possibly break the valve. A quick scan of tools hanging on the walls took me to the door where lo and behold it hung proudly on a couple of nails behind some cords and shovels just waiting for me. Credit due to my husband for his foresight for its place! It’s about 25 inches tall made of metal with a single handle running across the top. They can be purchased at hardware stores.

    It was around midnight and raining pretty well when I trudged out with my flashlight and proper tool in hand. After lifting the cover I could see the clear domed meter with dials on it. A quick brush of the dirt that had accumulated over the valve exposed it and I was able to easily align the bottom of the metal rod with the U shaped opening and turn it clockwise until it was shut off.

    Potential crisis averted! No one wants the damage that a broken pipe can bring but with this knowledge it can be simple to stop it quickly. It pays to be ready and know where your shut off valve is and how to do it. I read that it’s possible that the type we have could have been so long without use that it has become “frozen”. That information would be useful to know before there was an emergency as well as the location of yours.

  • Q&A: Books on reality and consciousness?

    Question by hardstone86: Books on reality and consciousness?
    I like the topic of reality and consciousness. Although i know like nothing about all thin but i like this subject very much any way. Are there any good books from renowned authors that may provide me the basic knowledge about phases of reality and also it must be interesting!

    Best answer:

    Answer by Island Spirit
    I really like the book “The Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer. It’s about living in higher consciousness to help everyday life. You can read lots of reviews about it on Amazon.

    Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

  • Password Smarts

    Written By Jasmine

    Webmistress The Majickal Garden

     

    We live in a world of fast moving technology and it’s become such a part of our everyday lives that for most of us we are never without one of the many options of nifty gadgets. Unfortunately technology is progressing for those that want to steal our vital personal information that is stored on them.

    It’s too easy to be complacent with a false sense of security in thinking “I am safe behind my screen. Those things only happen to someone else.” It can happen to anyone. There are hackers with progressive software that run them constantly to find places to get into others computers. However, there are things we can do to help protect ourselves.

    It’s surprising the number of passwords used for ease of remembering them that make the users such a target. “12345” is the most common numbers used. “Password” was high on the list as well along with “admin”. Common words found in a dictionary (foreign included) are easier for hackers to crack. The names of family, girlfriend, pets, hobbies, graduation date, etc. can be found on many social networks or other sources.

    A good password would be eight characters in length and use lower-and-upper-case letters, numbers and keyboard characters (&%! #, etc.) If the password length required allows it could be longer.

    *Don’t use birthdates, Social Security numbers or addresses, or company names.

    *Don’t use the same name as your log-in name or a variation.

    *Don’t use passwords with double letter or numbers.

    *Don’t leave it blank…that is an open invitation for the bad guys.

    *Don’t use one password for all your accounts. Using one password makes it easier to grab all your accounts in one fell swoop.

    You want a password that is easy to remember and difficult to guess. It sounds ironic but easier than it sounds.

    *Do substitute some letters with characters and numbers.

    *Do remember a long password is much more difficult to crack, if the site allows.

    *Do consider creating a random password by turning a sentence you can easily remember into a password by using the first letter of each word; maybe substitute some numbers as appropriate. For example: The best way out is always through- Robert Frost  becomes Tbwoiat-RF. You might also add or substitute a number to that (no, that is not mine! : ) ) What counts is that a computer program trawling for passwords can’t discern obvious or personal patterns in it. It is wise to change passwords periodically if not the whole thing at least a variation of it.

    *Do use separate passwords for different accounts. Using one password makes it easier for the bad guys to grab all your accounts in one fell swoop. If one account is compromised at least all won’t be affected.

    *Do change your passwords regularly. A long standing password decreases the odds that you won’t get hacked.

    I am not a qualified tech person however as a computer user I have learned a few things along the way. I do think it’s a good idea to make sure you have virus protection on your computer as well as consider spyware protection and a firewall.

    There is no guarantee you will never have your details compromised by hackers however taking steps to create “safer” passwords is something you can do to lower your risk.

  • Find Time To Meditate

    Written By Jasmine

    Webmistress The Majickal Garden

    yoga-meditation outline

     

     Meditate Regularly

    At the mention of meditation some people might bring to mind a vision of monks spending the day in austere meditation in a trance like state. For most this is not the case to be able to reap the benefits of a regular practice. A few minutes a day is all that is required however the key is to try for a consistent routine and preferably at the same time of day.

    Manage Your Time

    Most people’s lives are a checkerboard of schedules, appointments and commitments. What can be helpful is to view it as a commitment to you for the health of your mind, body and soul. Your time spent in meditation is entirely for you alone and everyone deserves to look forward to at least a few minutes spent on you each day.

    Making an effort to organize your time a bit more efficiently can benefit in other ways. By reducing pressures more time can be found towards leisure time. The result is finding yourself a bit more relaxed; this will help for concentration on meditation and a calmer you at the end of your time spent with it.

    Saving Time

    It does not have to be as difficult as it might sound. Begin with a list of all the things you do on a regular basis, including work and travel time, kids to school or scheduled activities, or you’re shopping day. Include your average bedtime and block time out for that.

    Next, make a list of things you normally do but might miss out on sometimes. This could include gardening, filing paperwork, etc. Apportion enough time for these tasks. You may want to allow 2 to 3 hours at a certain time each week as they may vary as to what you might do in this time and not allow them to get out of hand. Take a look at both lists. You might be pleased to find you have more time than you might have thought.

    Now, to see where the rest of your time is being spent. Perhaps more time is spent watching TV than you might have realized or doing things for others that they might do for themselves with little problem. If you find there is a blank spaces that you can’t justify it might help to keep a diary of your activities for a week. It could take longer for some things than was projected in your lists. This could help locate those openings and allow them to be closed up. In the process you will be allocating enough time for a particular chore ahead of time and will allow you to be more relaxed in your activity.

    Make Priorities and Delegate

    Now make a list of all the things you mean to get to but just have not found the time for like a phone call to a friend/relative, fixing a loose or squeaky hinge or the like. Include everything no matter how small. Next, prioritize by numbering each one in order of importance. Go back to your timetable and assign a period of time to deal with these tasks. Remember to check them off as you do them and add new things. (Renumber when necessary.)

    Now it’s time to see where your meditation will fit in. If work is bogging you down then perhaps you could make a list for that as well and prioritize it.

    If after this you find you’re still overloaded then it might be a good time to take pressure off of yourself and delegate to others! Ask for help and motivate others into action. Sometimes it is required to be firm, especially at first. Children can learn to feel pride in a job they have done well and contributed to the family in the process.

    By changing old habits with refreshed ones you can stay on top of things easier and see how much time can be saved.

    *Dealing with mail on a daily basis by disposing of junk at the time. If possible, answer letters on that day.

    *Control the amount of time spent on the phone where a shorter conversation would work just as well.

    *Limit TV watching by choosing your programs and turning the box off when it is over.

    *Be aware of others unloading jobs on you that they could just as easily do themselves.

    This is a great start for finding meditation time for you and fine tuning your days in general for a less stressful life. There are other things you could try but for now…it’s a good start for your plans to begin meditating and enjoying the benefits that a regular practice will bring.

     

  • Meeting My True Self

    Summer Update 2013

    Meeting My True Self

    Written by Jasmine

    Webmistress The Majickal Garden

     

    I am sitting on my patio this fine sunny summer day tapping away my thoughts on this laptop. The scent of my just watered flowers treats my nose with the breeze that dances around my body and tickles the wind chimes occasionally for the pleasure of my ears. Right now there is no other place I would rather be and there are no problems that can touch me. Sara McLachlan’s smooth music rounds out my scene with her lyrical inspiration in the background.

    My chickadee bird’s drop in for their baths and drinks of water when they choose; apparently without fear at my presence. Yes, they are my birds. : ) Animals are free of emotions and thoughts. They rely solely on instinct where there are no words.

    I have spent this summer focusing on “living in the now.” I am finding much comfort from the need to dwell in the past that include regrets, guilt and wonder about roads not taken. With regards to those roads, I have come to the conclusion there are no wrong ones only different with unique lessons to learn on the path of life. Regrets and guilt are useless in wasted energy as what brought them about cannot be changed. That simply invites the negative which tends to breed more; spilling over into other situations and emotions. The choice is to remain attached to them or release them for the health of my soul.

    I have also found relief from lamenting at what I have not been able to accomplish at the end of my day. The day ends and whatever I did do was it. Tomorrow is another day! At the end of my day when it is all done, I now am able to appreciate the moment and short of plans made for the next, I am able to enjoy where I have found myself, at that moment.

    Two years ago I wrote about a book by Eckhart Tolle: “The Power of Now”. He invited me to ponder concepts that my past literary roads had spoken of in bits and pieces. I read it twice and had begun a third time when my last repeated check out from the library expired. (Me, who has never read a book more than once!) From that point I continued to sporadically practice what he had taught me. He stilled my ongoing search for finding just the right book to help me on my desire to strengthen the health of my soul. His message was clear; the answers are already inside of us all. Somehow I already knew this.

    I was so enthusiastic about what I had read and come to understand deep inside myself but when I tried to explain it to a few close to me I found it extremely difficult. This place where he teaches to focus on has no words. There is only knowing, understanding and peaceful comfort.

    Then, late this last spring a treasured friend mentioned a book called “The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself” by Michael A. Singer. Intrigued because she brought it to me I hurried out to get it. It grabbed me just as Eckhart Tolle had and in the same spirit and message. The only difference was his writing seemed a bit more accessible to my literal mind.

    Half way thru the book I realized that I had read it about 11 years ago during a very turbulent time in my life that was a beginning of a painful end to a very long relationship. It had helped me during some conflicts with this person but somehow my focus was lost in all the drama of the time. However, I did retain some bits and pieces. It had come back to me thru my friend at a time that was just right and I was listening.

    I have accepted the fact that there are two of me living in this earthly body. No, I am not a dual personality. ; ) There is my functioning self that includes my ego, id, emotions, heart and brain. I need them all to go about living life. However, I have also discovered they do not need to rule me.

    The other is my higher self, my conscious self or my soul that relies on none of the above. Some beliefs call it spirit or chi. My true self is not my thoughts, emotions, actions, or even my job or other labels. My true self is that which watches and observes with no words or judgments. It knows who I truly am. There is only true love, acceptance and freedom there.

    Once the realization is there that there are two, there becomes a choice in living life and in what type of outcome will happen as a result. This comes about by observing yourself in any given situation. It starts by being aware of any emotion that is triggered in a situation. As soon as an emotion erupts, such as anger, embarrassment, jealousy, pain or fear and you are aware of the point where you feel it, acknowledge this to yourself. It is obvious to the observing mind, your higher self. A feeling of pressure appears around the heart and in your chest. This is where emotion lives.

    At that point your mind will begin to swirl with all kinds of words telling you what you want to say and you will become defensive. You can feel it expand inside you as the emotion begins to get bigger. Just at that point, know that this is not the true you, but if you let it continue you will become a party to the drama that will unfold between you and the other person. (This can happen when you are alone and your mind and emotions begin to take you to an emotional situation that can quickly evolve into others.) Your ego and mind will take over and this is the point where you become “unconscious.” Your conscious mind will recede to the background and it is easy to lose control of the situation as well as the outcome.

    This might sound difficult to imagine but when one practices it, it becomes easier. As soon as you feel the emotion well up inside you, observe it, and acknowledge it. Know that your higher self is watching it, your true self. Take a deep slow breath and let your body relax. Feel the emotion and go right thru it. It’s not easy and it will be uncomfortable but you need to let it pass thru you. You mind will be poking at you with words and indignation or defense; let them go. You do not have to listen. Once you arrive on the other side you can objectively decide what really needs to be done and what you can do.

    I can give an example on a small scale. The other day, a good friend came over to visit. We were in my back yard visiting my efforts in the garden. There was a planter with healthy petunias in it and as she pinched a few dead ones off it she asked me if I knew that if I kept them pinched off that it would make the plant healthier and promotes new growth.

    At that moment I felt a swell around my heart of indignation and defense. What I wanted to say was if I did not know it before, I knew it every time we visited my garden together because she has frequently informed me of this fact. I did not say this because I was emotional and would have sounded defensive as I felt and cause hurt feelings between us. Instead, I had observed my reaction and took a deep slow breath and let it out. I walked thru my instant defense and came out the other side. I felt an immediate relief from my reaction of emotion. As I did this, I realized her intentions were good and she was merely trying to help me with her knowledge, once again. I knew I had nothing to gain by defending myself to her. : )

    I calmly smiled and nodding, told her that yes, your right, I need to keep up on that. We moved on to the next section and enjoyed each other’s company.

    One of the things mentioned in “The Untethered Soul” was to picture sitting on top of the world, all alone, and staring out into the big vast space of the universe. What I took from this visual was, how really small we really are and what is really important in the whole grand scheme of things. That picture has helped me thru a few times where I might have lost track of my higher self and remembered to take a step back and just observe what is going on inside my “unconscious” self, taking time to remember where my true “higher self” lives.

    Once you learn how to do this, you can find so much peace, love and comfort from every day distress. Any time and any place. I know I have only just begun and it can only become better.

    Eckhart Tolle mentions in his book that grasping the concept of what he speaks about is beyond words. The mind wants to reason with words in the head and by doing that it’s easy to miss the answers that are already inside and get lost in questions. What I discovered was letting go of the reasoning mind and letting the “knowing” surface of what he spoke about freed me to experience it. It was a very enlightening experience, and that is what this is all about.

    Meditation and yoga helps me to expand my connection with my center. It is also highly recommended by those that follow this practice. You can’t buy what this has to offer for your own well-being of the soul and no one can give it to you. To discover inside you the capacity and ability to attain it is priceless.

    I am but a student in the light of life and I am part of something far bigger than me. As I mentioned before, sometimes the more time and words spent on explaining something as deep and personal as this is difficult at best. My explanation might perhaps loose something important in the translation however my passion for the knowing, peace and comfort I have found in going to this place inside is true.

     

    I wish you much love and light on your own path. : )

     

  • Does anyone have any scientific evidence supporting alternative medicine?

    Question by daniel: Does anyone have any scientific evidence supporting alternative medicine?
    Please, do no tell me anecdotes, personal stories, or anything like that. The last thing I want to hear is about how alternative medicine worked for you. I think that is wonderful but it hardly serves as proof. I want to see some sort of hard evidence. The ideal would be a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled trial. Any trial or study would suffice. I am looking for some websites or something to read to supply me with evidence. Thanks for your help!

    Best answer:

    Answer by Az R
    You can look at the NCCAM division of the NIH (http://nccam.nih.gov/), which funds research on alternative medicine in the United States. They’ve run multiple double blind placebo controlled on some of the more popular alternative methods.

    Though in the 18 years they have been running, and despite near a billion dollars spent, they have yet to come up with one useful treatment, or come up with evidence supporting one.

    EDIT: I think the two sites below speak to a lot of the problems in trying to do any research in this area, and are a testament to the veracity of altmed in general.

    We have conspiracy theories, outright hallucinations, beliefs that Russia and China have armies hiding in bunkers under British Columbia.

    And shameless fellation of Ron Paul, who’s ideas on healthcare come from an organization(The American Academy of Physicians and Surgeons) that is involved in HIV denialism, removal of laws protecting patients from exploitation and scams, and outright racism.

    Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!