Archive for February, 2012

learning

What is learning for you?

Please pause for a second and define it for yourself before reading on. Is it about books?

English was difficult

Let me start with a story. When I was in the secondary school I was poor at English. I could not understand it why. I was very good at math and chemistry, and I was able to understand structures well. Such skills should have helped me to master languages. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Languages posed a challenge for me and I found English especially difficult.

At some point during my study I had to learn the difference between the Simple Past and Present Perfect tenses. This was difficult, despite my best efforts and long hours spent on studying the examples. The teacher made a test and I failed. I was very disappointed because I had the best intention to understand and I put the time into learning.

So, I said to the teacher “I disagree with the note. I have been studying hard for a few days.” Yet, she answered, “Perhaps you have been studying for days, but you have not learned it yet.”

The moral is this:
Learning is more than memorizing. Learning is more than studying examples. Learning is more than understanding structure.

What about a change in your life?

Let me now ask you. What would you like to change in your life?

Do you want to solve your health problems?
Do you want to loose weight?
Do you want to become fitter?
Do you want to start a new carrier?
Do you want to become an entrepreneur?
Do you want to find a mate?

How successful have you been so far?

Let’s say that you want to solve your health problems, e.g. heal from the irritable bowel syndrome.

How much have you thought about it? Perhaps a lot.
How much have you educated yourself on the subject? Perhaps a lot.
How deep is your understanding? Perhaps deep.

Perhaps you have read many books or articles on diet, nutrition, digestion, elimination, stress and so on. Perhaps you have inquired people around, asked for suggestions, listened to seminars, and so on.  Let me now ask you.

How much have you changed as the result? Perhaps not much.

Can you think your way out of poor health? Can you learn driving by reading a book or watching a video? Can you reason your way out of debt?   No.

The moral is this:
Thinking is not enough. Understanding is not enough. They are helpful, even necessary, but insufficient for learning to occur.

As long as you stay on the level of thinking, there is little chance for growth. Why? Because you need to integrate the knowledge into the working of your body. You need a direct experience.

Pattern recognition – how we learn from data

Let me now briefly tell you about pattern recognition. In a basic scenario you want to discriminate between two classes, say apples and pears moving on a conveyor belt. The task is automatic sorting. A camera makes a photo of a passing fruit and the system needs to detect which fruit it is and sort it accordingly.

To solve the problem you first start with the labeled data: a set of raw images with individual apples and pears. They are labeled. In addition, you may be given other measurements such as weight or size.

You start by finding a meaningful representation of the raw images in the form of mathematical descriptors. These are often characteristic features, e.g. related to various shape characteristics. Next, the challenge is to choose a function that will discriminate between two classes based on the extracted features. The task is to learn this function.

There are multiple approaches and models possible and within each approach there are multiple, even infinite, candidate functions. How do you start?

You make a selection of a few promising models based on your experience, literature (what other people reported that worked for them for similar problems), understanding of the problem and initial data analysis. Then, for each approach the labeled data is used to train the related discrimination function, which means that the data is used to define the parameters of that function.

But it is not as easy as it sounds.

Some measurements of particular apples are more important than others as they influence the parameter values more strongly. Perhaps these are examples of typical apples.

Some measurements may also be faulty and lead to poor estimation. Perhaps these are examples of other fruits such as small mangoes that were mistakenly labelled as apples.

Some features may be meaningless (unspecific), giving similar response to both apples and pears.  Ideally, these concerns should be incorporated in the way the parameters are estimated.

Let’s say we have learned the function. Now, it is the test time.

This is often the most time-consuming step as various scenarios, strategies and sub-strategies are tested with respect to a number of selected functions. During this validation time, the function is being tested on the labeled data but unused in the learning of the function. In this way, we evaluate how good the function is at predicting the correct labels for fresh data.

In real problems, the results are sub-optimal, even poor, at this stage. It is just the first reference.

What you do next is to go through a repetitive cycle of small improvements on all levels. You investigate multiple factors. For instance, you look at the data to understand the incorrectly assigned cases. Perhaps these are border cases that need a separate treatment (i.e. another function to be learned).

You also look at the appropriateness of the data used for training, the usage of atypical or problematic examples, choice of discriminative features: adding new ones, extracting better ones or removing some, the usage of multiple functions that focus on specific aspects of the problem and use a voting scheme for the final labeling and so on. Or perhaps you even abandon the model you have chosen first and select another one.

And you test extensively all simple updates made. This all happens because a function can be learned perfectly on the given training data (give zero error) yet behave poorly on new, unseen data.

It is a tedious process in which you go through the cycle of sequential changes to find small improvements at each stage so that the overall performance is greatly enhanced. Yet, this process still requires a conscious human partner – the one to set criteria, observe, make choices and decisions.

If you now think that sorting apples and pears is an artificial example I can assure you that similar tasks are being automated on all levels in real life. These include sorting luggage on airports, detecting faulty planks in a factory, automatic recognition of post codes, computer aided diagnostic for malignant tissues in X-rays or ultrasound, speech recognition and so on.

How do automatic systems learn from data?

The moral is this:
Learning is a process in which informative data is collected and represented for the task (data and knowledge organization), the discriminating function is chosen and its parameters are well estimated such that the whole system performs well on new data, i.e. the discriminating function makes little or no error. This is achieved through a repetitive cycle of improvements.

The development of pattern recognition techniques was inspired by human learning. Isn’t now the time for us to be inspired back? Learning is practised through little updates.

What is learning?

In the light of personal growth, learning is about the change in behavior. We now understand behavior broadly as abilities, skills, habits, practices or actions to be taken.

There is no learning if there is no change in the behavior. We often make the mistake thinking that we are learning when we are reading books, memorizing techniques, analyzing problems or thinking about them. But we are merely collecting information and organizning it into structures or perhaps knowledge. Even understanding complex phenomena is not yet learning.

Learning truly occurs when there is an update or a change. Think about it. We can study all the books on driving and analyze road scenarios, but unless we simply start driving and practice, there is no way to develop this skill. The same principles apply to all areas in our lives. Be it becoming healthy, loosing weight or running a business.

We can understand the problem and know what to do to solve it. But unless we do what needs to be done, observe the results, reflect, draw the conclusions and update our approaches for the better results, our situation will not change much, even though we hold the best intention possible. So, let me summarize.

True learning is about

  1. Information collection. (Data collection)
  2. Observation and thinking. (Visual inspection of the data.)
  3. Understanding and knowledge organization. (Problem understanding. Data representation. Selection of features.)
  4. Action or practice. (Learning the discrimination function)
  5. Reflection. Drawing conclusions. (Testing! Analyzing what needs change. )
  6. Change.
  7. REPEAT the steps 1/2 – 6 until satisfied.

In order to learn we need all the steps above. We may also need to go through these steps multiple times to find a satisfactory change.

***

So, I’ve learned to discriminate between Simple Past and Present Perfect when I started to practise their usage in real scenarios. I’ve learned about the impact of green smoothies by making them and drinking them daily. I’ve learned to listen actively by coaching others especially in conflict situations. I’ve learned cooking simply by doing it.

What about you?

Are you a data collector, knowledge organizer or a learner?

If you choose to be a learner, it makes sense to adopt a practical approach. Select one aspect that you want to change in your life. Choose one book or one idea relevant to your situation. Which one to choose? Take the one which is either the most attractive or the easiest to implement.

Then simply do what they suggest. If there are multiple choices – simplify as much as possible. Your goal is the first direct experience. You will improve later on.

Test the idea and reflect on how it affects you – your energy levels, your emotions, your thinking, your physical being, your relations and so on. See what the results are. Make your best guess how to update the idea towards an improvement in the final result. Apply. Test it. Reflect. Repeat.

If the idea works, improve it further on. If it doesn’t work and you see no way of improvement, abandon the idea and move on to another one. If it works well, make it a habit.

If you want to create a change in your life, learning is the necessary step for transformation.

You need to make the ideas tangible by integrating them with your being on the physical plane. There are so many insights and observations you can gain from a simple application that no reading or thinking will ever provide. Testing gives you the real taste. It is much better to take one idea and test it than staying knowledgable but stuck.

Embrace change. You need to become it in order to be it.

***

Photo copyright by Moyan Brenn. Photo available under the Creative Commons license on Flickr.

***

Learning and generalization posts:

We learn from others.
We have family and friends.
We have teachers, mentors, supervisors, managers or bosses.
We have colleagues, politicians, media people, musicians, and stars.

We observe. We analyze. We model. We emulate.
We compare to others.

Without perhaps noticing, we keep dancing between two worlds.
One world is defined by Similarity or Sameness.
The other world is defined by Difference.

Similarity is Interdependence, Belonging, Sharing and Being a part of a Group.
Difference is Independence, Individuality and Self.

We want to belong to a family, community or a peer group. We want to be with others, share experiences and have fun. We want to be appreciated. And we want to be loved.

At the same time we want to explore the boundaries of Self. We want to mark who we are by the way we think, we look, we walk or we talk. We want to do things in particular ways, choose our likings, make own decisions and create. Above all, we want to love.

So, we need both, Similarity and Difference, Interdependence and Independence, Individuality and Belonging, to live happily and healthy. No doubt about that.

And the middle way is about the flow between these polarities, between giving and receiving, self-focus and focus-on-others, individual thought and cooperation, being an individual and a part of a group.

***

We learn from others. We exist both as Selves and in relations to others.  And we compare.

It is impossible not to compare.

How else can we receive feedback?
How else can we measure progress to a baseline performance?
How else can we evaluate our growth?
How else can we identify the borders we want to transgress?
How else can we test new skills and practices?
How else can we determine which rules or ideas serve us or not?
How else can we define realistic goals?

We look to other people for inspiration, mentoring, help or example. Comparing to others gives us the necessary context  for growth. It also enables us to find out what is possible to achieve or whom we may choose to become. However, it gives us a partial view only. The other important view is to compare to ourselves. In a timeline. And we often forget to do that.

We forget to learn from ourselves.
We forget to measure the progress along our own journey.
We forget how much we have developed with respect to the starting point.
We forget our milestones and achievements on the way.

So, if you are tempted to review your progress, look back at who you were a month ago, one year ago, 5 years a go or 20 years ago. Any progress?

If we are not careful, it is easy to compare to others with a diminishing light, focussing on our inferiority. This may lead to thoughts of jealousy, envy, shame or guilt. And from that place, there is only a small step to unhealthy self-criticism and over-beating. If continued, we will likely pick the fruits of self-devaluation, low self-image and low self-esteem.

Now, imagine this.

Next time when you notice a big difference between yourself and others, just at the very moment you are so much tempted to think how unskilled, untalented you are or how much you suck, welcome and cherish a new thought. Do it consciously.

This thought tells you that what you are perceiving as a difference is merely a distinction.

And this distinction makes you – unique You.

You, who is welcome here, loved and appreciated.

***

Other inspirational or educational posts:

***

The image above shows a beautiful quilt by Inge Duin. See more of her works on www.ingeduin.nl.

 

There are times in life when everything seems to go wrong. And you wonder how to persevere.

Performance decreases.
Miscommunication leads to problems.
Things break in the house and in the office.
Cars need repairs.
Friends leave or die.
Family problems arise.
Health is challenged.
Kids catch bugs and need extra care.
Job is threatened.
Bureaucratic errors occur.
Systems you rely on break down.
Procedures go wrong.
Internet is gone.
Orders go miss.
And so on.

There are mental, emotional and physical challenges. On all levels. And you feel as if run by a truck.

The winds of difficulties blow in your face and they blow strong. There is an emotional turmoil. There is so much work but despite all the work you do, there is hardly any progress. Whatever you touch to manage, correct or handle, things don’t improve and often become worse. You take action but the results are little or even adverse.

And then you begin to wonder.

How am I going to handle this all? How am I going to persevere?

Has this ever happened to you?

Yes?

 You are not alone. Welcome to the Club 😉

Breathe it out and persevere

If sudden events come to your life, the first thing is to pause and breathe. Especially, the out-breath is important. Please follow the Red ribbon exercise. This simple focus on breath forces your Conscious Self to be present in the moment. And this gives you the control back.

The clustering of challenging events has always intrigued me. How is it possible that they come one after another?

Surprisingly, even if I think that I can’t handle them any more, I do. Even when I get kicked-off my balance, hurt, torn and misplaced, I am back to my center. I persevere.

I was originally poor at facing life challenges and my usual tactic was to close down, get depressed, sit in the self-pity pit and complain. With years of my conscious growth, however, I have become better and better at handling life setbacks.

I still get hit. I am still overwhelmed. And I still get hurt. Yet, after the initial shock or surprise, I find my peace and begin action from within. This is because I’ve developed practices that allow me to regain my balance and re-define my center. And I want to share them with you.

There are two main learning points with respect to your calmness and peace in the eye of a tornado. The first learning point is that the overall balance and feeling in control strongly depends on the centering and balancing of your physical body. And you can learn to practise that. Secondly, your mental and emotional balance depends on an undisturbed flow of emotions and practising detachment. This can be learned as well.

Practice I. Physical center and balance

Staying balanced and centered refers to a basic position in marital arts. Balance is attained when the weight of the body is distributed evenly, right and left, forward and back,all the way from head to the toes. Center is practised when the bodily awareness is concentrated at the center of the abdomen, say 2cm below the navel. All movement is initiated from the center.

Exercise. Regain your center and balance.

1. Warm up.

Stand tall, feet parallel, slightly wider than at shoulder width, knees slightly bent. Warm up your body with little stretching exercises. This should take 5min and is not meant as a warming-up to a demanding exercising session.  This warming up is meant for you to 1) bring your awareness to the body, 2) get the feeling of various parts of the body and 3) exercise flexibility of movement. It is not necessary though.

You can choose any warming up exercises you know. For instance, you can do the following:

  • Rotations of joints. Flex, extend, and rotate each of the joints:  fingers, wrists, elbows, shoulders, neck, trunk, hips, knees, ankles, feet and toes.
  • Neck movements. Repeat 3-5x.
    • Tuck your chin into your chest, and then lift your chin upward as far as possible.
    • Lower your left ear toward your left shoulder and then your right ear to your right shoulder.
    • Turn your chin toward your left shoulder and then slowly rotate it toward your right shoulder.
  • Shoulder flexibility. Repeat 3-5x. Raise your left shoulder towards your left ear, take it backwards, down and then up again to the ear. Make smooth circles in both directions.  Repeat it for the right shoulder.
  • Arm swings. Repeat 5x. Swing both arms continuously to a position above your head, then forward, down, and backwards. Then swing both arms out to your sides.
  • Side bends. Repeat 3-5x. With hands on your hips, bend smoothly first to one side, and then to the other. Avoid leaning forward or backward.
  • Forward bends. Repeat 3-5x.
  • Hip circles. Repeat 5x in every direction. With hands on your hips, make circles with your hips in a clockwise direction, followed by an anticlockwise direction.
  • Leg swings. Repeat 5x. Put the weight on your left foot. Swing your right leg forward and backward. Repeat for the other leg.

2. Find your balance.

Stand tall on the ground with a straight spine, feet a shoulder apart, parallel to each other. Eyes are facing forward, shoulders flexible and knees bent just a little bit. You feel connected to the ground. You stand securely imagining your feet being strong as roots of an oak tree. Arms hang loosely at your sides.

Now, distribute your weight evenly. This sounds easy but may be difficult to attain.

Feet. Stand with feet a shoulder apart, parallel to each other. Spread the weight equally between the legs. Keep shifting weight from one foot to the other until you find where the middle point is. Then stop.

Knees. Keep knees bent a bit. You should feel firmly attached to the ground yet flexible, prepared to move if needed.

Head. Keep your head straight, facing forward. Imagine a flexible cord attached to the middle point of your skull. Since the tendency of many people is to slouch or look down, the goal of this imaginative cord is to pull you up. Check that your chin is parallel to the ground.  Your spine needs to be straight and your head needs to be an extension of your spine.  This is where the pull of the cord is.

Why is it important to keep the head in this position?  A head weights usually between 4.5 and 6kg. It is a heavy burden on both the atlas and axis, the first two cervical vertebra of the spine, where the head rests. A misalignment on this level carries on through the whole spine and usually results in various subluxations which lead to misalignments in the body. A proper position of the head can be attained through a conscious practice. Alternatively, you may need a help from an osteopath or chiropractor.

Shoulders. Keep your shoulder blades down. They need to support the spine yet remain flexible. Check they are aligned.

Hips. Imagine your hips are a bucket full of water. Move your hips forward and backward and to the sides. Your goal is to find a position where no water is lost from the bucket.

Being a tree. Imagine yourself as a tree, with strong roots (feet) and branches (your head and spine) extending to heaven. You are like a birch tree, well rooted and still, but flexible.

3. Regain your center.

Bring awareness to the middle of your abdomen. Tap lightly with your fingers on the abdomen. You can place the palm of your hand there to feel how it is rising with your breath. Take an in-breath that begin to feel the abdomen rising. Imagine how air nourishes you through all the organs moving out through capillaries of your limbs. Imagine your out-breath coming from your limbs.

Remain in this position for 5min or as long as comfortable. Focus on your breath.

Practice II. Detachment

I imagine emotions as energy currents or waves.  In the challenging time, emotions come suddenly and in strong waves. There is often disappointment, anger or feeling of injustice. There may be hurt, grief, pain or terror.

The natural working of emotions is to flow through your body. If you maintain the flow, you allow all emotions to be expressed in respectful ways. When the flow is blocked, a tension is created which will seek its own way out in the less convenient way, perhaps as health problems.

It is only holding them back, or riding on them kicks us out of the balance and out of the middle way. We become too much one-sided. We may be swayed by the strong waves and allow them to carry us. In doing so, we become submissive and loose control. As a result, we are weak an powerless.

Detach: look at your life from above

The first conscious act is to say “Stop”. Take the control back. Start thinking about the emotions. Recognize what they are and name them. By engaging your thinking, an emotion looses its strong impact. The next act is to detach from what is happening. It may sound difficult but it is actually simple and working fast when you remember to practise it.

Exercise. Make a break.
Leave your living place for at least a day, possibly a few days or a week. Physical distance forces a distant view on your life.

Exercise. Source.
Find what s the strongest feeling in you in this very moment. Name it. Write it down if you like. Find the though behind this feeling. Which thought gave birth to this feeling? Write it down in one sentence. Now, go another step back. What was the intention behind the thought? What is the source of the though? What was the motivation? What was your need?

In doing so, by the very naming of emotion – thought – intention, you give it a shape and make the generating process conscious. It gives you both understanding and control. Practice it.

Exercise. Football field.
Imagine a football field (baseball, basketball or any other sport game field). You are like a player on the field when  you are strongly engaged with your emotions. You have only a limited view of what is happening on the field, near to you. You are involved in the fight, in the kick, jump or run. You have a partial understanding. This is how your life is int he moment. How does it feel now?

Imagine now that you are a fan sitting on the chair above looking at the game. Now you can see the whole field, where the ball is, who taking actions, who is the best to give a ball to and so on. You gain a perspective. Now, imagine that this is the way you look at your life, just taking a view from above so that you, your house, your work becomes a view from, say, 10-20m from above (the 5-7th floor of a building).  Now you can observe yourself from the perspective of a fan observing the game. How does it feel?

Finally, imagine that you are a commentator sitting at the high, far above the field. You not only see the players and the field but also the fans. There are clear patterns. Actions clusters, behavior is repeated. beautifulYou can observe.

Now take this metaphor to see your life from the perspective far above, say even from an airplane. You become small, nearly insignificant and in one glimpse you see the whole town and your life. There are beautiful colors, patches and patterns, Things happen but somehow slowly. There is peace to it and a higher order. You understand.

Practice III. Enhance flow: release emotions

Emotions need to be expressed. They are our natural meter of what is happening to us. We can feel excited, happy, joyful, or uplifted. Similarly, we can feel angry, fearful, disappointed, hurt, terrified or powerless.

Emotions flow through the body. If you feel happy, you smile or laugh, your eyes are shining, you are jumping around. Similarly if you are disappointed, angry or fearful, you need to express such feelings as well.

We have been made to believe that it is wrong or weak to show feelings, such as anger, hatred, pain or fear. As a result, such emotions are blocked. What’s worse, these natural emotions may be heavily denied that you don’t even know they are there.

It starts with your intent to allow these feelings to surface and to express them as they emerge. It does not mean you should be crying, screaming, or yelling at yourself or people for hours. The idea is to find appropriate ways for the emotional release and in the convenient time, usually when you are alone.

Useful tools for emotional release

No one can tell you how to feel your feelings. It is up to you to learn about your own sensitivity here through effort, intent, and action. Working with others on your emotions may be helpful but it not necessary. Only you can interpret your emotions and connect them to the likely causes as well as find the appropriate release.  Below, I suggest a few tools that I practise myself. Particularly, I encourage you to learn about EFT.

Hurt. Pain. Discomfort. Disappointment. Grief.

  • Pray. This will give you wisdom. Peace. And a solution.
  • Breathe. Breathe it out.
  • Cry. Cry it out.
  • Write about it. Take a piece of paper. Write things down. Jot down how you feel and what is bothering you. Take any time you need.  Burn the drawing and imagine all the emotions being made free through the flame.
  • Draw it. Take a piece of paper. Make a drawing of each feeling you name. Use colorful pencils. Take any time you need. Burn the drawing and imagine all the emotions being made free through the flame.
  • Mix-media. Make an artistic expression of your emotion by using various media such as writing, painting or collage.

Anger and grief (anger also hides behind grief).

When you are angry, you are prone to physical acts. The energy is concentrated and seeks a physical release. It asks for a strong act of hitting, slapping, punching or kicking. The greatest method for the release is to play a sport that requires such an activity: football, baseball, volleyball, etc. If you don’t have such a possibility, take a pillow or cushion and keep punching it until you get tired. It works wonders.

All emotions.

  • EFT. Use EFT, emotional freedom technique, also called tapping. It is a fast and effective tools for releasing emotions of the day. When learnt, it takes only 5min and can also be used to start a day in a good mood. The old (and hidden deep down) emotions and traumas may need a repetition over a period of time.
    Personally, it took me 1 month of 2 x 5 min daily repetition to release a strong trauma. The technique is simple, effective and actually fun. I encourage you to read the EFT instruction booklet, freely available. The best educational videos are these on tapping. Follow them. I recommend you learn the practice from the Tapping website.
  • Physical exercise. Exercise until you are physically exhausted. The best exercise is the one that requires a strong involvement of your limbs. E.g. running, chopping wood, kicking  a ball, jumping on a trampoline, punching in a gym, etc.

If any of the above is a little frightening to you, accept that it feels frightening. Name it. Do the Source Exercise above.

Practice IV. Smile

Even if this sounds ridiculous, smile

Change your posture, stand tall and face forward. Smile. By forcing a change on your physiognomy, new emotions (compensating the overflow you now experience) are likely to follow.

Smile to yourself.

Smile to remember things you are grateful for. 

Smile to this moment of Now.

Practice V. Relax

Find ways to relax at night. The Red Ribbon Exercise may be of help.

You can handle the challenges

This is your life. And you can handle the challenges. It is a choice.

You may choose to persevere and get stronger or not.
You may choose to release your emotions or not.
You may choose to take an effort to get to know yourself or not.
You may choose to learn the practices so that you are well equipped and resourceful when the tornado comes or not.

No choice is still a choice.

You can choose to handle the challenges and grow.

This is your life. Only you can change it.

 

 

healing_tea

This is a post (other than usual, yet) about important aspects of our conscious living. Health.

We usually do not fully appreciate health or well-being until we overdrive ourselves and begin to suffer from some minor or major issues. And then the challenge begins.

Health

Health is the first pillar of wealth creation in your life. It is simple to maintain once you are well, but it is a complex endeavour to pursue in the first place. Why? Because we are individuals with individual needs on all levels of our being.

Multiple factors often contribute to any problem arising in the body or in the mental sphere. More importantly, the most obvious factors are usually not the most influential. For instance, you may think that your flu is caused by bugs you picked up at work, but the truth is that it happened because of your compromised immune system. And the true reasons are overwork, stress, lack of proper nutrition and lack of sleep. If your immune system is enhanced daily, hardly any bugs will catch you.

Know yourself

It all comes down to knowing yourself and finding out what serves you. The choices you make every day influence your well-being.

What works for me, may not work for you. And vice versa. The most successful or logically appealing diets may not help you a bit, and even make you sick. The most advanced training equipment may not help you get fit. The most acclaimed carrier you chose to pursue may put you under constant stress and ultimately lead you to a disease.

And we are often in confusion, influenced by others, bombarded by media or subscribed to strong ideas. It takes time to recognize what is false and where is your potential. But the time is going to elapse anyway, so you can better spend it by taking responsibility for own life and making conscious decisions.

It takes time to get to know yourself, as we usually hold tightly to old or dysfunctional ideas, beliefs or models which stopped serving us a long time ago. Yet, we cling to the distorted image of who we are as we afraid to distort a mediocre yet comforting homeostasis of our being. Step out of your comfort zone and take a journey into unknown. It is worth it.

As a conscious being you need to become a detective searching and analyzing what serves you well and what depletes you. You need to test ideas, approaches or methods to find the ones that support your development and well-being. And, finally, you need to employ discipline to set up health-promoting habits.

Health is a maintenance process

All in all, health is a maintenance process.  It relies on four foundations of physical health, emotional health, mental health and spiritual health. They all are co-dependent and influence each other. In short, health is an act of balancing all our responsibilities and needs.

Health is supported by

  • eating nourishing meals, cooked or prepared from whole foods and high quality ingredients
  • physical exercise
  • loving others and being loved
  • sun exposure (walks, sportive activities, exercise in the fresh air)
  • maintaining personal space for development (journaling, relaxation, thinking, praying, meditation, etc)
  • rest, relaxation and letting go of emotions
  • sufficient sleep
  • good laughter
  • passion and hobbies
  • spending time with friends and the loved ones
  • and living a purpose (pursuing a goal bigger than you are).

Healing teas

There are times we don’t eat the right meals, don’t exercise, spend time indoors, work most days and have no rest, run on empty batteries or lack a good sleep. And, a strike of sudden physical, emotional, or mental challenge may be a drop too much. So, we become ill.

While healing is a process, there are remedies that can help us to function better. One of them are healing teas.

Cold, flu, catarrh, sore throat or indigestion are the usual suspects. While I am not free from them, I generally use home remedies made myself to help me go through such times. Not to mention that I also enjoy them 🙂

Here I present three fantastic teas, easy to prepare at home, given that you have the ingredients. These are the teas that will boost your immune system and help you get back on feet.

I call them killer teas because they are meant for the brave ones only. Just kidding. The metaphor is to “kill the cold or bugs”. To understand why it is so, just prepare one yourself.

Drink the teas always freshly made, 30min before a meal or 1h after the meal. Ideally, before going to bed.

Killer tea no 1: jump-back-to-life tea

This tea prevents cold and flu. It is super hot and you may feel it will kill you at the spot. It works amazingly well and I strongly recommend it.

Great for: lack of energy, lack of focus, cold or flu. It works wonders.

Jump-back-to-life tea (1 person)

1 teaspoon cacao powder
1/2 vanilla pod
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup water

 

How-to:

Bring water to boiling in a heat-resistant glass cooking pot. Add cacao powder, vanilla pod and cayenne pepper. Add more pepper if you like it super hot. Mix well. Cover with a lid. Cook for 3min. Drink it warm.

This tea works wonders. Have I already told you that this tea is great? It is. (Even if you have to summon courage to drink it.)

Killer tea no 2: rebalance-me tea

This is a tea which is strongly warming up. It has a strong anti-inflammatory effects and immune boosting effects. It may make you sweat.

Great for: stomach pain, liver-stomach indigestion (overeating), gases and a cold.

Rebalance-me tea (1 person)

1 teaspoon thyme (wild thyme is somewhat milder)
2 teaspoon liquorice
1/2 cm ginger root or 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder 
1 1/2 cup water

 

How-to:

Bring water to boiling in a heat-resistant glass cooking pot. Cut ginger root into tiny pieces. Add thyme, liquorice and ginger root (or ginger powder). Cover with a lid. Cook slowly for 7-10 min. Drink it warm.

Don’t drink it while taking antibiotics, hormonal supplements and when you are suffering from hot flushes or generally have a tendency for being too hot.

Killer tea no. 3: boost-me-up tea

This is a tea which is strongly warming up. It has a strong anti-inflammatory effects and immune boosting effects. It may make you sweat.

Great for: being over-tired and over-worked, lack of energy, cold and flu.

Boost-me-up tea (1 person)

1cm of ginger root or 1/2 teaspoon of ginger powder
1/2 small lemon
3 teaspoons of raw (unpasteurized) honey
3-4 drops of propolis
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon cloves powder (optional)
1 1/2 cup water

 

How-to:

Bring water to boiling in a heat-resistant glass cooking pot. Cut ginger root into tiny pieces. Add ginger root (or ginger powder), cayenne pepper and cloves powder. Cover with a lid. Cook slowly for 10-12 min. Leave it to rest until the liquid becomes warm, neither hot, nor luke warm. Then squeeze the juice from the lemon, add honey and propolis. Mix thoroughly. Drink it warm.
It is important to add honey and propolis to warm water (not hot) so that the natural healing ingredients are not affected by the high temperature.

Don’t drink it while taking antibiotics, hormonal supplements and when you are suffering from hot flushes.

Final words

The killer teas work wonders because their natural ingredients address your immune system on multiple and combined levels.

So, treat yourself with a killer tea. Your healing is worth it.

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I encourage you to stock yourself up with the basic potent herbs which can be used as an aid in healing or to support your health. These are: cinnamon, curcumin, cloves powder, liquorice, thyme, basil, oregano, black pepper, cayenne pepper, ginger and cumin.

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Photo courtesy Treasach available under the Creative Commons license on Flickr.

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