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World Smokefree Day. Let’s Stop Kids From Starting.

31 May

World Smokefree Day, that falls every year on May 31 is a chance to celebrate and work towards Smokefree/auahi kore lives for New Zealanders.

It happens to coincide with the release of a Government proposal in which the Ministry of Health have proposed a ‘grandfather’ policy, to progressively prohibit the sale of smoked tobacco products to a new age group each year. It would gradually increase the age of purchase restrictions by one year every year, so eventually it would be illegal to purchase if you’re under 25. Hooray.

The same proposal wants to limit the level of nicotine in cigarettes and put more investment into smoking cessation services. This is great for our future generation. Ask most smokers when they started, and they’ll say, ‘When I was a kid.’ And none of those kids realised they could get addicted to nicotine within days of first using it. Why? Because when they smoke, the nicotine goes to their brain. In 10 seconds. Straight to the part that controls feelings of pleasure and releases dopamine, a chemical that tricks them into thinking a cigarette equals pleasure. Then within a few minutes, the pleasure is gone, and the craving for a cigarette begins a new cycle.

There is no better time than now to really wake up to the fact that smoking around kids influences them to smoke, and is harmful for their health. Kids don’t always have the choice or ability to be able to get away from the toxic poisons of second and third hand smoke. You do. You can quit. You can do it. With a plan and behavioural support, it’s easier. If you’re over ok and smoke could it be good to consider vaping? Vaping isn’t smoking. It’s a MOH recommended, humane and harm reduction pathway to help you quit cigarettes. It delivers a controlled dose of nicotine with 95% less toxins than burning tobacco. You get to stay social, spend less, smell better, and satisfy both the cravings and the hand to mouth habit. Don’t vape if you don’t already smoke.

Here’s the thing. Kids learn from what they see, more than from what you say. Kids who have friends and whanau that smoke are more likely to become smokers. That’s one of the reasons why the new proposal wants to restrict the sale of tobacco products. To get them out of the 5000 to 8000 places kids can see them, to 5% of that. To get them into R18 specialist stores. I’m all for it. Let’s get cigarettes out of sight, out of mind and out of reach.

Stopping kids from starting to smoke is the best form of protection. I would like to see proposed ad and social media campaigns include a harder hitting style of delivery about the harmful health realities of smoking, the risks, the dangers, the costs, to shock and influence kids to be non consumers. I loved that stuff when I was kid. It made me want to quote the facts and figures and write speeches and debate about it.

How many kids really know that there are 4000 chemicals in cigarette smoke, and that 60 of those can cause cancer? Or that every cigarette smoked harms nearly every organ and system in our body? Or that in NZ about 13 unlucky people die every day from smoking related diseases? Or that cigarettes contain arsenic which is used for rat poison? Perhaps funding for documentaries and competitions that creatively involve our youth would help us raise Smokefree eco and wellbeing warriors?

(Photo credit. Laura Garcia.)

13 Simple Ways to Relieve Overwhelm.

12 May
Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

“You can’t calm the storm, so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass.”

Timber Hawkeye

Overwhelm can arrive when something triggers a powerful emotion in us; especially fear, which can then flood our mind with paralysing negative thoughts and emotions, and change our posture, breath and ability to cope.

It’s really important to be curious about our thought patterns, and to claw back some control because once negative thoughts overly take hold in our mind, they’re likely to distort the severity of our situation and have us focusing on dramatic consequences.

Emotional overwhelm occurs when the intensity of our feelings outmatches our ability to manage them. It can come from a single big stressor, like a pandemic. Or financial issues. Trying to make ends meet is probably number one in the list for tipping many people over the edge. Others find that overwhelm sweeps in like a tidal wave, brought on from a bunch of challenges like life transitions and losses that come at us one after the other.

Continue reading

Tend and Cherish.

27 Apr

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As the sorrow of sickness and silence spread, the stop sign rose and asked us to sit, together but apart, to be guests of nature and lend our ears to the birdsong, chirping crickets and intuition, instead of the usual roar of engines and economic hum.

We were asked to sit until remorse replaced restlessness so we could thrust aside mountainous obsessions of waste, and refuse to be swallowed up by inexhaustible convenience, coveted commodities and take aways that take away deeper nourishment, and to wait for the rise of bread, instead.

Sit they said, with blinders off as industry cools and hearts and homes are warmed. Wait until expectation is traded for appreciation so it becomes easier to undertake a scaled back, survival stock take, where love and local livelihood is supported and we embrace the significant and sustainable.

Sit and replace swelling fears of toils and troubles with soap and bubbles. Then with lion heart courage, forge forward, with fragility, onto the path of goodwill, into a morally determined destiny and consciously cultivate kindness for all of us endangered ones, here upon our enchanted earth. 

Poem Tend & Cherish by Leanne French as I contemplate the last day of Level 4 Lockdown in New Zealand and somewhat lament the loss of the quietest earth day experienced in my lifetime.

Thanks so much to my beloved husband Wolfie for the fabulous daily graphics he’s made for me.

Let’s All Be Better Humans.

26 Apr

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Beyond thinking about how to stop microbe movement and economic downfalls, will we also think more about respect and empathy? Can we create a new vision of a better world, for ourselves, our community, our environment and for our beautiful earth? My hope is that we will mindfully pay more attention to the wee glimpses we have of a future where we know what we want and need, and then work towards making many tiny incremental changes so all creatures can flourish. Let’s make our future ancestors proud.

 

 

 

 

Same Storm. Different Boat.

22 Apr

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While Mahatma Gandhi once said Dignity of human nature requires that we must face the storms of life, this present storm, the way we face it and the impact it will have on each and every one of us, will be incredibly diverse. 

In the midst of disruption, there are commonalities. Heightened reactions, moments of confusion and clarity, and concern for safety and security. Human nature dictates we do what we can to save ourselves and then look around to offer a (socially distanced) helping hand. 

We react in a thousand different ways because how we think, feel, act, need, want, hate, love and believe, stem from a huge variety of factors from our past experience, our resilience, the extent of support we have available, the size of our bank account, to where we’re positioned physically, socially, economically and emotionally.

While some may have anchored calmly, and others adjusted their sails towards rainbows and pots of gold, we cannot underestimate the emotional gale and financial swirl that this storm has brought upon many. Continue reading

Believe In Magic.

17 Apr

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Wisdom whispers calmly. It sometimes appears as emotional or physical sensations in our body. When we purposefully look and ask the universe for guidance, answers can show up as synchronicity and co-incidence. Whispers speak from our unconscious and they surface in our nightly dreams. Whispers contain solutions to our questions and they allow our daydreams to bubble to the surface.

Throw all of those meaningful messages into a cauldron. Mix in a dash of intuition, add a dose of practicality, and stir well until clarity appears. Boil down until decisive choices that stem from a deeper knowing emerge, and you will Continue reading

Hang in There.

7 Apr

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Most of us have had a time or two or three in our lives where a situation bought us crashing to our knees, and everything changed in an instant.

When we couldn’t calm the storm, it passed. When we thought the fear and the flow of tears would never stop, they actually did. When our castles crumbled, they got rebuilt. When our scars healed, they were stronger than skin.

Events may differ, but those that hold the potential to disrupt life as we know it, need acceptance and require us to control the parts we can and let go of what we can’t. 

Hanging in requires time to pass. For patience and co-operation. For feelings to be Continue reading

The Super Blood Wolf Moon.

20 Jan

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Art by Neal Sutton.

In New Zealand, Monday morning, at 12.16am the moon eclipses while the sun is in Aquarius and the moon is in Leo. 

I like to try to research what this might mean and come up with a simplistic version that gives a little direction to those of us interested in personal transformation. Whilst we won’t be able to see the total eclipse in this part of the world,  the moon is 15% larger and 30% brighter so we are more likely to feel the power of the moon and the speeding up of change.

It’s the last of five eclipses in Leo that take place that began in February 2017 and end now in January 2019. Something that you may have started two years ago, can come to a close now.

Tonight is a great time to step away from distractions and tune in to your deeper intuition and if you’re so inclined, angel guidance. Questions around major life lessons in the area of our astrological chart that contains Leo can be answered.

The sun and moon make a T-square to the planet Uranus which can bring unexpected opportunities and the possibility of breakthroughs, bringing those a-ha now I get it moments.

Tune in and allow answers to surface around

  • what do I know I have to clear away
  • what do I want to release that no longer serves me
  • what do I wish to move forward into that actually would allow me to live to my full potential?

 

 

 

 

 

How to Beat Back to Work Blues.

13 Jan

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Forget the dread of “having” to go back to work, and instead say to yourself that you “get” to. Turn dread into gratefulness. Feeling gratitude for the time off you were able to have, increases feelings of happiness.

Reframe the first day back into it being just another day, and think about how good it’s going to be for your brain to sink its teeth into future challenges. 

Be sure to get plenty of sleep, not only the night before you start back, but all week. Being refreshed is important to help you cope with an added workload. Remember to avoid bright lights and technology for at least half an hour before you hit the pillow, and make sure your room is dark.

Pack a healthy, delicious lunch, one that gives you enjoyment. Think about changing out your water for sparkling water at least for the first week. If you eat lunch out, feel grateful that you have the finances to do so. Savour each mouthful and make sure what you read or the conversations you have over lunch are joy filled. Continue reading

7 Ways To Begin To Renovate Your Life.

14 Mar

 

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Circling Horses by Cassia Beck

If life feels stale around the edges, a lot of stuff is going wrong, others are being critical and competitive, friendships seem to be falling to the curb like flies, and normal activities begin to feel like swimming through thick fog, it could to time to change things up.

Often people will grin and bear it, grit their teeth, grind their teeth at night, and push on regardless, which is fine for a short time, just not a long time as it can compound the difficulties. Sometimes what we resist persists. When negativity outweighs positivity and it’s closing in on you from the outside and you have taken personal responsibility, searched deep within and tried many things that just aren’t working, or no one is listening or supporting you, or worse still blaming you, close the door and open another. Sometimes it’s actually not your fault. Sometimes you wake up and realise that you aren’t surrounded by your tribe. Or you realise that your shine and sparkle is being dulled in order to make someone else feel more adequate. Step away from determination and move closer to joy.

  1. Face up to the discomfort. Is the negativity in your situation beginning to change who you are or how you sound? Are you getting tired of not having your feelings and experience validated? Chances are you aren’t around the right people or you aren’t where you need to be, to shine.
  2. Don’t wait for permission. You always know deep down what is best for you. What other people think about you, is of no concern. Everyone has their own agenda. People may want to keep you close for many reasons that have no positive outcome for you.
  3. Look to nature for inspiration. Stop and breathe and know that there are dark times. Those times nurture new beginnings and allow inspiration to rise.
  4. Trust that something better is around the corner. Adventure is exciting. It’s good for your brain. Opportunity exists. Destiny calls.
  5. Celebrate all your victories. Remember all the good stuff you have done, the fabulous connections you made and the lives you changed for the better.
  6. Concentrate on gains rather than losses. Try not to fret or regret. If for example you have to sell a property you love, pat yourself on the back for all the hard work you put in and know that’s why you are reaping the rewards.
  7. Feel the fear, have faith and do it anyway. Make plans to get on a new merry go round and have faith that everything will turn out fabulously.