Learning to be Self-Aware

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Today I would like on the one hand to remind you to think for yourself and otherwise underwrite the good sense you have.

Noncommunicable diseases (NCD’s) and lifestyle related health conditions have burgeoned in the last 50 years. Civilised communities have become sedentary, dazzled by food choices that inflate appetites, and working practises heavily influenced by technology, demanding continual attention, have raised unavoidable stresses to unhealthy levels. We can be tempted and easily succumb to screen time over the need of sleep -the mind remaining alert to receive calls, texts, and things to do reminders.

We might be living longer,

assisted by medications and supplements, but are now far more likely to die from non-communicable diseases like cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and organ failure, than we are from contagious diseases. Having said that vaccines, antibiotics, and antidepressants have impinged upon our natural immune response to such an extent, we either have to take more to get well or counteract them with some other form of medicine to maintain a healthy balance.

COVID -19 reminds us that infectious diseases can severely impact our immune systems

-and be reminded yet again, Flu is a virus, and were we to count up the number of people affected by Flu yearly -that too can be statistically classified as a pandemic. Worldwide and upwards of half a million deaths are attributed to Flu. While COVID -19 grabs our attention, guidance (which is by no means new) to take care and strengthen our immune system has been pushed into the background by the media noise championing the need for vaccination. Science does not claim complete protection from vaccines -it’s impossible for any vaccine to 100% protect because viruses mutate faster and more unpredictably than we can re-engineer and test.

There are four types of vaccines.

Live attenuated vaccines use a weakened form of the virus which still grow and replicate but does not cause illness, inactivated vaccines contain live viruses whose genetic material had been destroyed by heat, chemicals or radiation so they cannot infect cells and replicate but can trigger an immune response. The other three are Nucleic acid which uses genetic material from a disease-causing virus to trigger protection, Protein subunit vaccines use fragments of protein from the virus to give immunity, and lastly Viral vector-based vaccines which use a harmless virus to smuggle the instructions for making antigens form the disease-causing virus into cells and thereby triggering protective immunity against it.

The current batch of vaccines are all trying to achieve the same thing

– immunity to the virus, and some might also be able to stop transmission. They do so by stimulating an immune response to an antigen, a molecule found on the virus. In the case of COVID-19, the antigen is typically the characteristic spike protein found on the surface of the virus, which it normally uses to help it invade human cells.


The last three vaccine types mentioned above are currently rated for emergency use only -the earliest of them, the AstraZeneca and Pfizer are not due to complete their verification for general use until 2023. Governments worldwide have taken the view -emergency use is justified to slow and eradicate the pandemic. Just how they reach a consensus to declare the pandemic is over and can be classified epidemic I really don’t know.

Voices at the up-and-coming G7 are proposing to jab the world.

Infectious diseases and noncommunicable disease are not mutually exclusive. NCD’s are a leading risk factor for becoming seriously ill if you do catch an infection. And the waves of death associated with both infectious pandemics and other seasonal (flu) infections are often followed by an increase in the average annual death rate, due to other causes, notably heart attacks and strokes -indirect consequences caused by our immunity’s inflammatory response.

We have around 25’000 genes in our body -we each have a similar set of these genes but those that vary from person to person are our immune system’s compatibility genes.

This makes the immune system almost as specific to each individual as our fingerprints!

What this means is we all have different reactions to viruses -and for that matter, vaccines. There is no magic ‘pill’. So, governments reaction to the Covid pandemic and the millions of permutations of ill health the virus could produce, is to roll out vaccines that can minimise the effects of Covid and lock everyone down until the death rate eases. As some might say they are using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

What else could they do? Faced with the impossible task of having scientists create millions of individual ‘nutcrackers’ -it was Hobsons choice.

However…. We are said to learn as we make mistakes, or to put it another way, as we find results are not meeting expectations, so what are we learning?

What are the two-common links between all pandemic and epidemics?

Believe it or not, we’ve known what they are for centuries -but just try putting that question into Google and you won’t get it answered. The answer is massed population and sanitation.

Whoa! Sanitation may have been a major cause of the Black Death -but in 21st century??

This is why medical authorities advised at the outset of Covid-19 to wash your hands. But it’s more than that -we don’t have open sewers anymore, leastways we don’t in most countries. No. the sanitation problem is much more than personal hygiene. The open environment, especially in towns and cities the air is far from clean. Add to that the chemicals we ingest in our 21st century food chain (which stays edible for longer because the distances food has to travel before it gets onto your plate), you yourself can become immune suppressed simply by eating the wrong stuff and walking about in unclean areas.

And all fresh food is not equally nutritious.

For example, the soil in Denmark has been so overworked it lacks in magnesium and B6. Result? They have a high rate of kidney stone infections. Is your water clean -well of course it is, water companies treat it with chlorine or chloramine which they add to kill parasites, bacteria, viruses and germs -how naturally clean is that?

The second thing we were told at the outset of the pandemic was to socially distance and wear masks, mostly interpreted to mean keeping a two-metre distance from others in shops and open spaces, whilst this may be said to help, it does not address the root of the problem.

There are many areas in our cities and towns where living accommodation is closely packed together.

High rise flats where all must use lifts to enter and exit mean there are spaces continually shared. Build-up of carbon dioxide from expelled breath and a lack of cleansing air conditioning make these viral transmittable areas. Add to that large families sharing space where the bread winners must enter and exit on a regular basis, and you have the likelihood of the majority living there catching the virus. Masks may protect you from coughs and splutter from someone who is infected but at the same time they create a catchment of carbon dioxide and thereby reduce oxygen rich air from reaching your lungs and needlessly overwork the immune system.

Restricting the movements of peoples also disrupts mental and emotional attitudes which can lead to overindulgence of sugars and alcohol -both of which hasten the transmission of viral infections.

For all these reasons and because your individual immune system can never be entirely protected by restrictions of movement or by vaccines, viral infections will always be present in our communities.

Your saviour is your own immune system -properly managed it will prevent death and serious illness, which means you need to be more self-aware, not only what you eat, combating unhealthy stresses, and exercising, but also as I’ve been advising over the last year -the need to question your lifestyle and make changes accordingly.

Happiness and contentment are our purpose -BodyMind harmony.

The poem I’ve written for today is a reminder that the natural world still has much to teach us…

The Rook

In the stone-hard furrows
of a winter fallow field
head down
pecking the ground
the rook -knows a lean meal
when he sees one.

With a non-stop brain
in the belly unlike you
-‘I’ brain conscious,
his beak keeps pecking
burning calories
getting little and less.

Until slowly
little is no more
and weakness halts him.
Observer and naturalist
take note
the rook has no name.

This bare faced
creation of feather and bone
constant host
of protozoa
is an avatar
not found in your books.

His smallest parts
are self-known
unicellular kingdoms
unbounded by form and time.
He knew that before
his face was feathered.

The half-closed eyes
have no regrets
as he caws
the one last time.
What does
your looking tell you?

Do you suppose learning
comes from observing,
dissecting, magnifying?
Can you rise above sympathy?
If so, why can you not
reveal the mystery?

He caws not for bread
or his mate
long since dead
he caws for his life
that bounds
from his head.

See –now
the wings
no longer lift
the legs do not move.
The order to rest
is final.

Perfect.

Learn from that
if you can.
The rook who didn’t need name
whose belly forever guided his brain
shows you life’s three-fold harmony
how life transforms without pain.

Wheeling as you do
caged between
Earth and Heaven,
what release
does your harmony bring
self-appointed surrogate King?

How to maintain daily a healthy Immune system

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Whatever your lifestyle might be, wherever you live, whoever shares it with you, the BodyMind is subject to natural influences we do not control -forces external. In essence this is the influence of the Sun and Moon. Sunlight is essential for human health and well-being. The health benefits of sunlight include generating the production of vitamin D, supporting bone health, lowering blood pressure, preventing disease, and promoting good mental health.

The morning sun kickstarts the body clock and during the forenoon hours of daylight it strongly stimulates all BodyMind functions. During the afternoon and evening the sun’s stimulating influence lessens hour by hour, gradually giving way to lunar energies. The natural effects on our physical, mental, and behavioural nature in the 24-hour cycle, known as circadian rhythms, are fundamentally important to the maintenance and development of good health.

The moon’s radiation of mineralised energy, comprising largely of oxygen, carbon, and water, not only influences the movement of tidal flows, but it also directly affects our physical, mental, and emotional behaviour, the daily cycle of natural life. The sun’s rays stimulate and interrelate with the moon’s natural energies, and you the movements of both heavenly bodies are a governing influence upon our body clocks.

We are biological timepieces!

Nearly every tissue and organ in our body contains biological clocks. A master clock is situated in our brain. Some of the most important genes in this process are the Period and Cryptochrome genes, which build up in the cell’s nucleus at night and lessen during the day. These proteins help activate feelings of wakefulness, alertness, and sleepiness. However, signals from the environment also affect circadian rhythms. For instance, exposure to sunlight and moonlight at a different time of day and night can reset when the body turns on Period and Cryptochrome genes, as can the timing of your own lifestyle.

Circadian rhythms can influence important functions in our bodies, such as: hormone release, eating habits, digestion, and body temperature. For example, in the morning body temperature naturally rises, alertness and sharpness increases, in the afternoon (from approx. 1.00 – 3.00 p.m.) your energy dips and you may crave food, ongoing to about 7. 00 p.m. your energy output rate slows down -you have to work harder to maintain waking purpose.

However, most people notice the effect of circadian rhythms on their sleep patterns. The master clock in the brain controls the production of melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy. It receives information about incoming light from the optic nerves, which relay information from the eyes to the brain. When there is less sunlight—at night, the master clock tells the brain to make more melatonin, so you get drowsy.

To practically maintain and develop good health on a daily basis -these are the right things to do..

  1. Sleep before midnight and rise early. You need approximately seven to eight hours sleep -if it’s less over two to three days, not a problem, but if it extends beyond this the body will become unduly stressed, and mentally emotionally alertness and the ability to coordinate thoughts and action will be adversely affected. If you rise late and sleep after midnight, body clocks will adjust, but there will be a time lag in benefits and overall reduce waking time efficiency -or to put it another way, you have to work harder to utilise your BodyMind energies.
  2. Eat a nourishing breakfast. How big this meal is will depend upon the ‘burn’ capability you have. If your daily activity is not physically demanding, energy ‘burn’ will be slower in the morning than it can optimally be. If work is mentally and emotionally demanding, the ‘restful’ balance between the physical and mental counterparts of your BodyMind becomes stressed. You are overeating if your body feels it wants to sleep after the meal. A stimulating non-alcoholic drink is okay provided you also eat as well.
  3. Move the bowel after breakfast -this is the best time to do so, however if you are a late sleeping and rising person this might not take place until later in the day. Some exercise will promote it and getting out in the open air for 30 minutes sometime between 8 a.m. and noon will stimulate weight loss.
  4. Eat a small lunch, anytime between mid-day and 2.00 p.m. depending on how early or late you rise. Sugar snacks are best avoided, best are foods carbohydrate, protein rich, and as fresh as possible. Weight watchers do well with salads. A balance of soluble and non-soluble vegetable, e.g., celery is good. Again -if you feel like sleeping after eating -you are eating too much.
  5. Exercise. Dependent upon your lifestyle this could mean a five ten-minute walk in the morning -and again ideally in the afternoon after lunch. If you get exercise by working, nothing additional is required. As little as 15 minutes of sunlight is beneficial to get vitamin D input, strengthen the bones, and synergise calcium in bones and blood. Exposure to sunlight will increase the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin, which boosts mood and feelings of calm and clearness of mind. At night, darker lighting triggers the brain to make another hormone called melatonin. This hormone is responsible for helping you sleep. If you enjoy exercising you are further benefited provided your ‘workout’ doesn’t leave you feeling the need for rest. The need of rest after exercise is a sign the BodyMind it has been overstressed.
  6. Evening meal best before 7.00 p.m. the later you eat the more you will disturb body clock cycles. You may be mentally and emotionally more active in the evening, largely due to the lunar influence, but physiologically you will be slowing down. If you feel like exercising or moving about -don’t push yourself, take it easy.
  7. Plenty of liquids. What you need varies between man and women and age. In general terms something between 3 and 4 pints (1.7 to 2.3 litres). Some of this is absorbed from food. Whilst drinking clean water is best the body can also meet its quota from other types of drink.
  8. During daylight the sun’s influence regulates your circadian rhythm by telling your body when to increase and decrease your melatonin levels. So, the more daylight exposure you can get, the better your body will produce melatonin when it’s time to go to sleep. Being stuck in an office or under rooves limits what you can receive. If your lifestyle limits exposure to sunlight -then ensure you include fatty fish in your diet, as that will give you vitamin D

Some general pointers:

Eat slowly consciously aware of what you masticate. Having conversation or watching TV whilst eating takes away from the full benefit food can give. The more conscious you are of eating and drinking the easier will you be aware of how much food and drink you need to ingest. And more -you consciously live the energy food and drink gives.

When walking, project yourself about 3 body shapes ahead -this helps you clear your mind and will make you aware of the momentary nature of life. Share yourself with the environment.

If you are watching TV before bedtime this will disrupt your hormones, decreasing melatonin which will mean it takes longer to go to sleep. If you are working on a computer or a phone visually, the blue light will mess with your circadian rhythm sleep cycle. It signals your brain to wake up when it should be winding down. If you must -read a little in bed, drinking something warm -that will help reset the body clock, and is a better way of regulating and increasing the input of melatonin. Even better, stress busting melatonin increases when you project your thinking mind positively sending compassionate loving feelings to someone else who you know needs support.

The circadian rhythm cycle repeats approximately every 24 hours.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circadian_rhythm

The poem I’ve written for this week is a take on reality. Ask yourself this question -is love binding -or is it blinding?

Love is not Blinding

What does a man do when cloven in two
and love calls unite to his separate hearts?
Does love call out the timorous priest
and strip him of cassock and coat,
regal him with poems that are sweet on the ear,
perfume his hair and bedeck him with silk?

Or is love blind to the uniformed man
confessed of itself in the warmth of deep eyes,
a sensuous mouth… and words?
Unaccustomed words from a liturgical throat
making the blood hot and the heart keen.
But I do not think that love is blinding

a force separating priest from poet
or poet from man. Gentleness is the hallmark of Love
natural as the blossom on the apple hung bough,
strong as the oak root and powerful,
formless like water that runs through our hands
to cause each voice make the same sweet prayer.

Lover of my poetry, stand from your skin
Love is ubiquitous, the air of the firmament,
The dream of animals and the reality of Man.

If we cannot see this we are not in Love
And Love not us or ever will be ….

Senilità

Feel free to just listen, or listen as you read!

Senilità
(As a man grows older…)

Cold turn my putty blue
and let me leave
my sorry self-appointed imposition
state of Senilità,
this shadow of my footstep fear
Frankenstein of my conceit
of whom I aped in sweeter note
as the satire sword
when I was prentice of this night.

Tis the bruise upon my apple fallen,
Brutus to my Caesar,
the malformed child made conscious.
And by my expertise
I have the life-long-game of chess
made stalemate
whose colours now reveal
no substance fiction
belly laughing shallow truth.

All my fear is Senilità
a thousand-tickling tales of doubt
the smallest part of virile statement
easy come by.
The battery of baseless facts that made me man
are the powdered leaves
of a selfish summer.
Now the water of my close
is mixed
the question of you do after death
has burnt this mess of pottage
and shaped me as the begging bowl.

Senilità
You shame of all the Y man sought
accepted scar
and the weeping priest
mortal made immortal bishop,
Pharisee of double mean-less vision.
To the monastery of children
there confess with ease
nonchalance of being server
to the weeping priest
of being Senilità.

Here by the speak of unripe fact
sick the swelling puffing yeast
the husk of all your learning
home to Babel
and name it
grandeur of the Pharisee.
Let your toothless cringing face
be the symbolled skull
cross-boned school of level thought
and one horizon.

No -never
I cannot as tears
as negative I am
the six-aged one life yes man
cry wolf again,
charge the greater part of me
to war.
I be the autumn of the shortest summer
making where to start
my cyclopaedic book of error.

© TonyAshenden