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There is comfort in knowing that when we are hungry, wherever we may be, we have something uniquely delicious prepared just for us waiting and ready in our cooler or the company fridge or wherever. It gives us roots of sorts in our day, and anchors us in healthy goodness. But I also need to be transparent and real and share my challenges, too. My MS Story My official journey with MS began in 2009--although, looking back, it's now clear to me that this disease began to manifest decades earlier in a series of seemingly unrelated symptoms that make sense only in retrospect. By my mid-20s I had already been hospitalized for episodes of unexplained mental confusion and vomiting. In one of those instances, I was driving a school bus and forgot how to operate the controls. Fortunately, no one was hurt--unless you consider the mailbox I knocked over as I struggled to recall how and where to drive. Despite my explanation of the mental confusion I'd experienced, my doctor concluded that I'd suffered a bout of food poisoning, and he sent me to the hospital for a week. A decade later I began suffering persistent urinary frequency. I consulted both an acupuncturist and a urologist, neither of whom offered an effective treatment. I realize now why they couldn't help me: Neither understood that the issue was neurogenic--meaning that it was caused by dysfunction in the nerves or nervous system--rather than an infection. We want to acknowledge at the outset the challenge we faced in weaving together these different voices, but we feel our efforts have been worthwhile. In our search to understand the new expression of human consciousness that we see erupting in the domains of ecology, spirituality, food sovereignty, the arts, gender, and sexuality and that we recognize as an intrinsic aspect of healing and survival at this time on the planet, we have come to believe that the future is multi-dimensional or as we like to call it, integral. We are moving toward a consciousness that transcends our familiar ideas about time, space, and individual perspective, one that recognizes the uniqueness as well as the interrelatedness of all living beings. In order to bring this emergent consciousness from implicit possibility into manifestation, we must bring fragmented parts together to form a new whole. We need to create new neural synapses, dismantle old structures, trust multiple truths, and see simultaneously from a variety of points of view. The leap to integrality requires the recovery of our natural human affinity for magic, myth, vision, and imagination without sacrificing our hard-earned mental capacity for critical thought and analysis of data. Our goals with this article are not only to share concepts and practices for improving the quality of your life but also to make our contribution to the global project of birthing this new consciousness. This article is a hands-on workarticle for anyone on a path of healing as well as a journey of discovery, a meditation on what it means to live a truly health-filled life.

It is not meant to teach you to become an expert at a specific healing technique such as acupuncture, herbs, flower essence or essential oil therapy, counseling, or bodywork, although all these modalities will be included as useful tools. Instead, it is meant to help you understand and apply, in your own way, the principles, tools, and practices of alchemy and to discover how doing so can help you turn things around in your inner and outer world. Before it was Cool A few years later my parents became the presidents of our local homeschool group. While my older sister and I were the oldest kids in the group and didn't have much choice of friends, we quickly became the leaders of the other children. This instantly appealed to me. I liked being in charge because it fed my need for control and my desire to reduce emotional risk. Our family found other families who were similar to us. Homeschoolers, at this time, were an especially unique group who followed their moral, educational, or spiritual codes to educate their children on their own. It was not popular, accepted, or thought well of by others, yet my parents stood against the norm to follow their conviction. The few friendships we developed helped me begin to find more secure footing in my identity. One thing that surprised me was that I found boys much easier to be friends with than girls. That doesn't mean you don't have choices. One of the most important choices you have to make is how you'll handle situations you don't like. Avoid seeing this as a win/lose situation with the narcissist. You don't lose just because you don't get what you preferred. You lose when you collapse and feel devastated by it. When you let yourself feel defeated by the narcissist, you're moving back into the victim role. You essentially give up your choice about how you'll think and feel to the narcissist's control. Hold on to your right to control your own thoughts, feelings, and reactions.

Go back to your values and your own life goals, and move toward them. That will take you out of the narcissist's control, and you'll find yourself more grounded and strong. However, a particular type of cognitive-behavior therapy has been developed by researchers that are promising for the treatment of the disorder. Cognitive-behavioral treatment for Hrt involves motivational interviews to involve and re-engage the client in the recovery process, cognitive strategies targeting clients' values and expectations about the acquisition and discarding of belongings, behavioral strategies to minimize the emotional reaction of the client to discarding belongings and restricting purchase, and preparation. Usually, counseling is 26-weekly sessions, with a majority of those sessions at the client's home. Despite the availability of CBT for HD, few individuals seek care for the condition and, instead, reject treatment when provided to them. Simultaneously, since they live in an overly cluttered and sometimes unsanitary environment, many of these individuals who refuse care face significant injury or eviction. Also, such hoarding conditions raise public health hazards that precipitate costly and sometimes repeated community responses. For this purpose, societies have embraced harm reduction strategies that seek to fix public health issues while allowing the person to live safely in their home. Harm reduction is a series of proactive interventions to minimize the adverse effects of problem behaviors of high-risk and low-insight and is necessary when the person continually declines treatment for the problem and continues to participate in activities or actions that put at risk his or her health and well-being and others' health and well-being. Harm reduction for HD is not a medication because we generally think of a mental health disorder medication. The aims of harm reduction and recovery are primarily different. He listens and takes my suggestions seriously. Asking closed-ended questions often gets a basic yes or no answer, providing you with very limited information. Think about the questions you ask your customers and prospective clients. Have a list of open-ended questions designed to give you more information and insight into what they do, think, and like. With a list you can better determine how to best pair your service, offer value, and help them with what you both want to accomplish. It amazes me that when some people ask a question, they fail to allow adequate time for a response. They ask a question and almost immediately interrupt the attempt to answer, trying to answer the question themselves, asking another question, or becoming defensive. Always allow the person you ask a question of to think about his or her reply, to mentally digest what you just asked, and to process the information.

Don't be uncomfortable with the silence. If you ask someone a tough question on a tough subject, you might allow 10 to 30 seconds to pass so that the other person can reply properly and confidently. You will never go through life without doing things that wrong people, and often we cause the most pain when we are trying to not to upset anyone. You are going to hurt someone's feelings at some point, and when you do this, you need to learn to apologize. This is one of the hardest things for anyone to do. We want to think of ourselves as good people, and when we have to admit we have done something hurtful to someone else, that goes against this belief. There is also the natural human instinct to self-protect. It does not make you a bad person. Everyone wants to be the good guy in disagreements. However, you will have to move past this if you want to preserve relationships and live with integrity. When we do something wrong, we need to apologize to the person whose feelings we have damaged. There is a right and wrong way to apologize, and it is not about the exact verbiage. And it needn't be difficult or complex: a small piece of baked chicken or salmon in a Tupperware dish, hard-boiled eggs, spinach leaves, leftover vegetables from dinner the night before, carrot sticks, Wasa crackers, nuts, cheese, an apple, spaghetti squash with fresh ginger, whatever our imagination can think of and our body likes. Having satisfying meals such as these prepared in advance saves us time and angst. It is hard, however, and maybe even impossible, to add one more thing to our already full morning routines, so it's much easier on us and everyone around us if we pack our lunch the night before, or our breakfast for the next day, or snacks, or whatever it is. Being Prepared at Home Preparing meals at home requires forethought as well. Frozen dinners, cans of soup, prepackaged meals, deli meats, macaroni and cheese, and options along these lines may be easy, but they may not be our best choice if we want to feel great. We need to remember that the closer we stay to the farm and the fresher our food, the better it is for us and the better we will feel. That being said, we can purchase about a week's worth of meals at a time.

It's helpful to make a list and to know what we are planning to prepare in advance. This may seem overwhelming. During the months that followed, I suffered from sporadic, yet profound, fatigue. I was also attending the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto at the time; Perhaps, with enough rest, I could heal up and move on. Even though I slept for 10 hours each night, however, I still required daily two-hour naps. On top of that, I had suddenly developed unexplained chemical sensitivities. When the family doctor I consulted told me they were due to psychological problems, I realized I needed to seek answers elsewhere. That quest led me around the world, from traditional Shuar healers in Ecuador to Ayurvedic practitioners in India. As I broadened my own learning and knowledge as a naturopathic physician-in-training, I also sought alternative treatments for my urinary symptoms (which, I would eventually learn, were manifestations of undiagnosed MS). In Xi'an, China, I checked into an acupuncture clinic that boasted a 95 percent cure rate for urological issues. I spent a ridiculous amount of money to no avail. Most of all, this article is an invitation to a new possibility and a reminder of an ancient memory--that we, like Alchemical Healers throughout history, have the capacity to imagine realities into being and to call the healing power of the soul into the world on a daily basis. Modern-Day Alchemy Why Alchemy Now? An Alchemical Meeting I discovered alchemy by accident. And yet, I now know that accidents can be the hand of destiny in disguise. At mid-life, I found myself in a trifecta of challenges, reeling from a year in the emotional combat zone of a difficult divorce and the daily breakdowns of an eight-year-old daughter whose family was coming apart at the seams. My former identity as an idealistic, reclusive poet and healer was crumbling in the face of the practicalities of material survival as a single mother and the greed, fear, and cruelty that had surfaced between me and my husband during the divorce process.