New Beginnings

Written By Jasmine – Webmistress of majickalgarden.com

Warm Greetings! I have left my treasured web site alone for far too long. Writing is one of my passions. Having found myself focusing on other creative projects…I have been sidetracked with frequent intentions of fitting it back into the picture. The thing about not beginning is that nothing gets done and the days, months and years fly by!

So many excuses and things to be done before I could allow my indulgence in what I would really like to be doing raised a wall between myself and the words building up inside me.  Today I found out that wall is made of paper and all I had to do is walk thru it! I have begun, once again, on this day.

The Majickal Garden website is still under re-construction. There will be much work in the weeding and re-planting and I am looking forward to the journey. I hope you might bear with some confusion along its path as it evolves.

Headlines and Toilets

Written by Jasmine-Webmistress of majickalgarden.com

I had a spare 10 minutes before it was time to walk in the door to work. So, as a full-fledged affiliate of modern tech I chose to take a quick poke around the headlines on my trusty cell. You know, to make sure the bottom half of earth had not broken evenly away at the equator to be never seen again as I slept peacefully through the night.

I find in these unsettling disturbing times that, frequently, the headline of an article is as far as I will allow myself to go. I remind myself that this is not some random clip from the National Enquirer but it’s actual real-life stuff and currently happening! O.k. just to clarify, I am referring to the news from reputable sources. Wading into these particular patches of the newest happenings tend to feed the head shaking confusion as to why it’s all such a mess that began with the headline.

Then I remembered a piece on the local news the other day about a new and “improved” design for a toilet. Yes, a toilet! The company that came up with the idea are targeting employers who might feel their esteemed employees are spending far too much time sitting on them; doing apparently all the many things that one might do on one…besides the most obvious that this seat was created for. Included in their vision are the public toilets that attract large groups of visitors.

Their reasoning is that from its invention some 400 years ago it has remained the same comfortable style that has allowed the average person to be able to sit for an extended amount of time. Their answer is to adjust the even horizontal flat surface to a version that is tilted toward the floor at an approximate angle of 11 to 13 degrees. This would require the occupant to slide the lower legs back to accommodate the angle and thus create an increasingly awkward sense of a position that will encourage vacating the seat after a few minutes.

Now, I know I was not the only one stunned with this bit of information because I witnessed my local newscasters respond with the same reaction albeit with a subtle professional delivery.

I listened to the rain beat heavy rapid pulsating thumps over my head and watched the result cascading down my windshield; distorting the visuals in front of me. From headlines to toilets pretty much summed up my feelings about the news today and I could not help myself from smiling and chuckling out loud as I dashed to the door to start my shift.

Do Women Care More About Their Health Than Men?

Written by Jasmine…Webmistress of The Majickal Garden

My loved one has left me with the impression that on occasion I might be a minor hypochondriac.  This has been done with a particular “look” with  a flavor of thoughtful doubt and sympathetic dismissal, in silence. Of course, that is after I have presented a “brief” thesis of symptoms , research findings and summation of possibilities!

It got me to wondering why he would come to this conclusion when I am clearly focused on my subject matter. I think foremost on his mind is that he does not want anything to be wrong with me. If he dismisses my health concerns in the moment as being perhaps overly paranoid then I will be alright. I get that. I don’t want that any more than he does honestly! For me it’s more of reading my body and assessing what is going on, why and if I need to take any action, i.e. research, natural medicine sources or a doctor visit.

I took a look at the women in my life and how they are tuned into their bodies. We share information about what we have found to work for this and that; being tuned into the natural side of healing and boosting our health or discovering answers. Then I thought about the men around me and the differences became more apparent to me.

Around this time I came across an article about the differences between men and women regarding their health. It prompted me to dig a bit deeper. According to many sources that learned through research that there are differences between the sexes when it comes to health and seeking medical care.

Men who hold traditional views on masculinity are less likely to get consistent health care. There appears to be a connection between believing that men should be strong and self-reliant (and slow to show emotion) and resisting routine exams.

Fear of diagnosis is another concern for men. Although I might add here that it’s a serious concern of mine as well. It might hold me back from quickly seeking medical help but not finding out what the problem might be. Unfortunately, waiting on symptoms to become acutely painful or otherwise unavoidable is not a good health plan.

Another concern that holds men back is fear of certain personal invasive tests.  It is reported this issue could also be tied into the idea of traditional masculinity views as well. Some intimate exams make us all feel vulnerable. What I can tell you is by the time a woman has birthed a baby, whatever modesty she entered the pregnancy with will pretty much be shattered by the time that happens!

According to the World Health Organization: “Women generally live longer than males – – on average by six to eight years. This difference is partly due to an inherent biological advantage for the female, but it also reflects behavioral differences between men and women.” 

O.K. This is what I think after reading the research results and mulling this subject over.  It’s not that men don’t care as much as women are conditioned by nature to do so.

Both sexes go thru puberty. At that time we didn’t question the changes going on in our body as basically worried how the heck we were going to make it thru it!

Girls start their monthly cycles which will continue on into menopause. Believe me, it’s a big deal to wrap our young heads around the fact that we will have to deal with this monthly thing “forever”! We learned to read our bodies/emotions and be aware of any changes from “normal”.  The week before our bodies are getting ready to shed and “normal” is knowing this as we might begin to become uncomfortable. Then the week of…well…it’s not pleasant and varying degrees of individual discomfort, pain and throw in wonky emotions for fun.

Pregnancy is a true physical, life altering state of being. From the very first symptoms with the discovery of new life all the way to the other side of nursing, our bodies change so much physically, emotionally and mentally. We are caring for another life and are required to keep as healthy as possible. Every change in the body is noted and evaluated. The odd (and some majickal wonderful) sensations, twinges as wells as pains accompany a broadly changing body that at times feels almost alien.

Then baby arrives and we are constantly monitoring their many needs. There is an instinctive awareness of using our bodies sensitivity to the temperature of the babies’ environment to gauge what they might need for adjustments in it.  We are also aware of how tired and run down we are as we heal up and take care of everyone; as our bodies return to a new “normal”. In general, perhaps, it might stem from having a maternal instinct.

The summation of most of my reading seems its best to look after our manly men and with love, compassion and care to make sure they are looking after their health well.

Zen And Chocolate Chip Cookies

Written by Jasmine

As a young teen, on those nights when dinner was unappealing too my “refined” taste buds, I would eat as little as possible of the offending dish. Sometimes after dinner I would offer up my services to make chocolate chip cookies. I figured I could eat cookie dough to fill the gap left over from a skimpy dinner. The (un)rational thinking of youth, right? It appeared I was trying to be helpful. The fact I pleased my mom in the process was a bonus; however I craftily failed to mention my true reason. She had taught me how to make Nestle’s chocolate chip…and I loved them. (This was a time when it was not considered a health hazard to eat raw cookie dough, the good old days!)
 
Fast forward to the time when I had my own kids diving around the kitchen as I baked my double batch, for them of course! Actually, it became a labor of love for me because they were met with such approval that they would ask for me to bring them out when they had their friends over. I had altered the original recipe to get the taste and consistency that I wanted and I have continued to make them exactly that way for decades. Thin, soft and chewy.

The day came when we moved away from the neighborhood to faraway places. I returned to live back home after 12 years away. We were at a welcome home gathering with the family that had lived next door to us for 20 years.

Their kids had become adults with their own. One of them brought up coming to our back door for fresh baked cookies with enthusiastic memories of how good they were. During the next Christmas holiday season I decided to bake some for each of their families. My efforts were met with the same enthusiasm they had voiced at our gathering. It’s become a tradition every year since. Yes…it does jack up a person’s ego to hear such things!


Today I was getting the ingredients out to make some “love” cookies for hubby. I put my Pandora music list on Shuffle. I do this when I am feeling edgy and adventurous because it’s a pot luck for great music I have “liked”; which ranges from New Age to blues to country to trance. I found my music groove and was totally in the moment in front of me weaving my love into the ingredients.

My mind was blank with focus on my task. All of a sudden it snapped me back to a time in my life where I had a very difficult interaction with someone very close to me that I handled badly. The kitchen dropped away. Remorse and sadness filled my body; it hurt bad. As quick as it came on…it went with the awareness I did not have to stay there and I was back…with much thankfulness that I was.

I continue to practice focusing in my moments. More often than not I experience a peaceful calm deep inside. My mind will try to take me to the past (or worry about something in the future) away from my center but knowing it’s my choice is comforting indeed. I have increased my pleasure in accomplishing simple everyday tasks and in gratefulness for being fit to do them the best I can.

Written by Jasmine, Webmistress of https:majickalgarden.com

Keep Moving For Healthy Balance

Written By Jasmine – Webmistress of majickalgarden.com

I recently accompanied a friend to a class for back problems. The speaker was a physical therapist that specialized in sports injuries. It was, for me, a good reason to catch some girlfriend time over a meal and I hoped to hear something of interest.

Although the speaker was good with just the right level of enthusiasm for his subject matter, I found myself listening out of one ear as my thoughts kept tugging me away. Then he switched gears and started talking about his 5 year old son and how he is always moving his body about even when he was standing in one place. He would be wiggling, standing on one foot, making faces, or jumping up and down, etc. He told how in observing the physical actions of the boy and how he decided to do a study of it in relation to adults. His conclusion was that the older the body the more important it is to keep moving. O.K…this is not new! However, he did have my attention if nothing more than curiosity as to how this observance of his active child was going to translate to be of interest to me.

I am now expecting him to go into a new presentation of a “new exercise regime” that would naturally be difficult to maintain…or something like that! I was wrong. He did say that exercise in any form is very good and spent a few minutes speaking about a few of them including Pilates and Yoga. Then he got to the point.

What he was referring to was conscious movement in everyday life. He asked us to become aware of how we were sitting in our (folding) chairs. Were we leaning back with shoulders hunched or maybe slumped a bit with an elbow thrown over the back of the chair? He mimed how some of us might be sitting in our recliners or couches at home where some might be hunched, slumped and draped almost becoming part of the furniture.

I noticed in the class some of us were sitting upright with our backs straight. This was the position he said we should be sitting in. I must admit with the past back problems that brought much pain, and many years passing with it; was exactly the way that became my habit. I could not sit back on any couch let alone slouch! Consciously thinking about proper posture had become my normal.

Good posture contributes to a healthier spine, better digestion and circulation, and helps bones and joints in correct alignment so our muscles are used correctly.

The speaker talked about using our muscles all the time…with awareness in different activities. When we get up out of our chairs we should use our leg muscles to lift us up instead of heaving ourselves up with the arms off the furniture or using our arms to press up. The thought being the more it’s consciously practiced the easier and beneficial for body strength. Almost sit on a chair and use thigh muscles to stand back up; repeating throughout the day.

While standing, bending down, or reaching up high, being conscious of our posture…shoulders back, butt and stomach tucked a bit enables better muscle control and awareness of the body.

He also encouraged practicing standing on one foot frequently. Stand with weight balanced evenly then lift your foot a few inches off the floor with arms to your side. Hold this position for 5 secs., if you can, and work towards 30 secs. Repeat with other leg. Repeat 1 or 2 more times, if you can.

As you do this exercise, focus on a spot straight ahead. Try to maintain good posture throughout by keeping your chest lifted, your shoulders down and back, and your abdominal muscles braced. And breathe comfortably. You could also use a chair or counter for balance if its too hard. Hold for up to 60 seconds if its too easy. Lifting leg to the front or side could be a variation if its comfortable for you.

This exercise is easy to incorporate into each day (multiple times) and it will get easier with time. This is of course for good balance as well as using muscles to maintain this pose for any length of time! The older we get the more balance can become a big issue. He noted many falls with the elderly are caused by this. It also helps strengthen the ankles which is important for balance as well.

If you are young and maintain an active lifestyle you can make sure some type of balance training is added to your activity of choice. You are never to young or old to benefit.

Is Your Body Wash Products Killing Marine Life?

goldfish-public domain


Written By Jasmine

I’ve got this nice line of body wash I use with lovely exotic scents, exfoliating and moisturizing properties. I knew they contained tiny round “micro-beads”. I figured this is where the exfoliating properties are. I honestly had given thought to these beads and reasoned they must dissolve when mixed with heated water. Great…how could my personal choice of body wash I choose to indulge in possibly affect anyone or anything else?

I have recently been hearing in the news that these “innocent” plastic micro-beads ingredients are affecting marine life in a very bad way. My assumption that they dissolve in water were dashed with this new knowledge. Fish and smaller organisms are surrounded by food available in their own food chain but they are attracted to these tiny beads as a food source. The damage continues up the food chain and is magnified by the compounds they have absorbed. Fish, mollusks, turtles and birds think they have eaten food instead of the plastic with no nutrition and it clogs up their digestive system. A disturbing fact they discovered is the marine life can lose their appetite for what they should be eating.

Scientists first discovered this by studying the Great Lakes in 2012 for plastic pollution on a larger size scale. They found over half a million perfectly formed multi colored micro-beads per square kilometer in Lake Erie alone. It took time for them to discover these tiny plastic micro-beads because they don’t float to the top like larger plastic like water bottles. It was a massive discovery by volume. They also discovered the micro-beads are small enough to pass through wastewater treatment facilities and pass through into lakes, rivers and oceans.

These plastic micro-beads are also found in facial cleansers, soaps, sunscreens and even toothpaste.

I got to thinking about how on Facebook I see many postings of the “good old days…if you remember doing this or that or not caring about certain things then “like” this posting.”  It was also a time where we did not think so much of what exactly was in our food, body products, washing soaps etc. Why would business/corporations put anything in anything that could possibly be hazardous to animals, humans or the environment? The truth be told it was a time when huge corporations were doing just that and we gobbled them up with our hard earned cash! Slap a “New & Improved” on it and it had to be true with no question as to what was added to make it so.

They still are but the difference is we know the list of chemicals, additives and colors are dangerous to our health and the runoff affects nature in its many forms. There is a growing trend today for these companies to answer to this dilemma and slowly they are beginning to respond by taking things out that don’t need to be there in the name of shortcuts to make the big buck $’s. The only reason they are doing so is because they have been found out!

Up to this point The Body Shop, L ‘Oreal, and Johnson & Johnson have agreed to discontinue the use of the micro-beads.

In many ways I am still “old school”. The difference is…it’s time to take responsibility for myself and the effect these products are having on our environment.

“What is the answer to this huge problem?” I have asked myself. We can choose to remain ignorant in the name of convenience, accustomed taste, economy, etc. Or we can begin as a collective to refuse to buy their products that should be unacceptable. Our children need to be educated as well about the harmful effects of chemicals and additives are to our bodies and the world we live in so their own won’t be faced with the same problems.

From now on I won’t be buying these products with plastic micro-beads and I am eliminating one less contribution to the pollution of our planet!