monthly musings - april
notes on healing
Happy Sunday everyone! I’m happy to say April was a month of small, but continuous improvements on the health front. I like to think this is partially due to the fact I’ve been more open to the powers of healing on an energetic and spiritual level.
As someone who’s healing from chronic Lyme disease, my day-to-day world revolves around self-care, with a particular focus on the physical body. While healing on a physical level provides us the foundation for recovery, attending to our energetic, mental and emotional needs are equally important. Remember, you don’t have to be spiritual to benefit from energy healing. Energy healing can be as simple as taking a 20-minute Epsom salt bath, burning sage, or getting a massage. Other types of energy healing include acupuncture or reiki.
For me, energy healing has lately consisted of trying to become more conscious of my unconscious thoughts. By meditating, practicing slow, mindful yoga at home, and taking a few moments throughout the day to embrace stillness and silence, I’m becoming more intentional with my thoughts and desires. I believe our intentions are the energy we send out into the world. They’re the vibrations of what we feel, desire, and are capable of manifesting. So these days I’m manifesting a future when I am happy, healthy, and living wholeheartedly.
A visit to Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe is an unusually magical town. It’s difficult to put into words exactly how and why Santa Fe is so special, but believe me, spending a weekend here might have you daydreaming about moving to this community full of experiences that heal both the body and spirit. The pueblo-style buildings, centuries-old churches, a vibrant plaza, Native American markets, and local hiking will captivate you from the moment you drive into town (we also enjoyed dinner followed by an incredible flamenco performance – a breathtaking dance of passion, power, and joy).
While visiting the Native American markets, I purchased a little carved turtle as a reminder that just because I’m moving slowly, doesn’t mean I’m not going places. Later I read that turtles bring the energies of self-pace, patience, and protection as well as the magic of serendipity and intuition.
My first cryotherapy session
While I hit up infrared saunas on a frequent basis, the owner at Revitalab in River North finally convinced me to try cryoptherapy. Honestly, standing naked (except for socks and gloves) for three minutes while being blasted with liquid nitrogen somewhere around minus 200 degrees F was not appealing, but the benefits are apparently worth the discomfort, so I went for it. Originally used in Japan to treat rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia, cryotherapy is a powerful treatment to reduce inflammation related to autoimmune disorders, physical injuries, and muscle and joint pain.
Other benefits include:
· The immediate release of endorphins to help with insomnia, fight depression, and decrease stress;
· Boosting the immune system;
· Increasing the production of collagen to improve skin elasticity and texture; and
· Burning 500-800 calories from the body’s process to warm itself up.
Final takeaway: I was on cloud nine after my session. It was super cold, but as long as you’ve got someone to distract you, it’s not unbearable. After my session, I had the energy to walk home (a 30-minute endeavor that rarely happens due to fatigue), run errands, and just felt happy, healthy, and alive.
You’re supposed to experience that sort of “high” for one to two days after your session. Unfortunately, I felt miserable the next day. This is probably because any extreme circumstances push my body (which is already in overdrive from trying to heal) over the edge and eventually requires a recovery period. I doubt normal folks would experience this crash, so don’t let my experience dissuade you.
what I’m reading
I met author Nikki Novo last month at the good fest. She’s an author, intuitive dating coach, and total sweetheart. While I didn’t mention I was single, she thought I might enjoy reading her book. I was skeptical, but reminder myself that I’m trying to be open to new energies and opportunities, so I read it. And let me tell you, it was such a heartwarming read. Yes, it’s about dating, but at its core, it’s about acknowledging beliefs, releasing them, and getting clear on desires. For example, I’ve definitely been guilty of saying I don’t believe there are any good men in Chicago (lol). However, if I change my perspective and instead say “this city is filled with so many different kinds of people, surely I’ll meet someone who is perfect for me,” I’m instigating new beliefs and opening new doors of opportunities. Our minds believe what they see, so start replacing those limiting beliefs with heartfelt desires.
infrared sauna sessions
Detoxing by sweating it out has been around for centuries, but infrared saunas take it a step further by heating up your body on a cellular level. For those of us with Lyme disease, brief episodes of elevated body temperature can diminish microbe reproduction, reduce joint inflammation, and enhance the effectiveness of other therapies. However, just about everyone can benefit from these sessions since they’re a wonderful form of detox and stress relief. It’s 30 minutes all to yourself to just chill out in a toasty little box. You can read more about my infrared sauna experience here.
Oh my gosh, where do I begin? My parent’s friends came up to our cabin one weekend last fall and brought a beautiful, 1,000-piece puzzle. The rest is history. Puzzles are kind of like life – there’s all these little pieces we’re trying to connect with each other to make sense of the big picture. I find the process a soothing and welcome break from my habit of watching TV when I’m tired and bored (especially at night). Sure puzzling requires patience, but the satisfying feeling when you put that final piece in the puzzle is worth the time commitment and effort. Some of my favorite puzzles can be found here, here and here.
this delicious banana bread
Over Easter weekend, I made a gluten-free, dairy-free, banana bread with chocolate chips and pecans. My grandfather is a bit of a picky eater, and he even approved of it! #winning. Here’s how to make it:
Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a 9x5 loaf pan with parchment paper.
Combine 2 cups gluten-free flour (if you’re using gluten-free flour, make sure it has xanthum gum) , 4 teaspoons baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, then set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together 4 - 5 ripe, mashed banana, 1/2 cup maple syrup, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1/4 cup melted, raw coconut oil, and 1 teaspoon vanilla, until emulsified.
Pour the wet mixture into the dry, and fold together.
Add in 1/2 cup toasted pecans and 1/2 cup chocolate chips and mix gently until fully combined. Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes.