Transformations: Scars Graced By Art

 

Line drawing, Left Hip Scar

Transforming Adversity into Opportunity is Liberating.  This is the magic of the human spirit. In this forum we can come together globally and share our journey providing inspiration and support.

Don Petersen,artist and owner of www.newworldsamurai.com  encompasses qualities of brilliance and a compassionate heart.

Dr. James Powell, from the Alberta Hip and Knee Clinic in Calgary, AB is my biggest fan of this project.  The jaw dropping beauty of Don’s work graced many eyes in the O.R.

Richard Brown, www.richardbrownphoto.ca in Canmore AB had the insight and talent in creating the perfect look inspired by Marilyn Monroe’s, Red Velvet Calender, 1949.

I invite you to submit your before/after photos in the comments with  a brief word of inspiration.

Celebrating Life!!!

Line drawing Poster, Left HipKaren

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Journey into a Healthy Lifestyle from Sedentary Surgery

Saying “YES” to Life.

My Journey of cultivating a new body by releasing the surgical sedentary habits from the last 4 years

It demands compassion, patience, and daily diligence, willpower, challenging old habits by planting new seeds, watering them, and celebrating the growth.

It can feel all encompassing breaking old comfortable habits.  I correct myself by clarifying  not comfortable habits but necessary ones I had to accept in the lack of movement and all the trimmings that come with recovery.  Choosing to slow my psyche down enough so I can accept staring out the window for 6 -8 weeks, resolved to the slow moving at the pace of a turtle and the inevitable gaining what I call “surgical fat”.  Not unlike a pregnant woman who knows it may take 2 years to rebound from the experience of creating a new life.  The outcome is worth it, it is perfect.

Where did I begin?

Choosing different is the first step.  Acknowledging that the slow way served me and now I am on the path of recovery and ready to cultivate the new rhythmns in me.

Breaking those thought patterns that were necessary in the slow mode of healing and recovery were a challenge.  To rise above an old way and experience the new exhilaration of my heart rapidly beating out of my chest, enjoying the” rain-on” sweat of the workout and sauna.  In this town, everyone takes their dog to the Dog Park.  I take my heart for a run at the gym.  This is something I tell myself.

Deadly Honest:  I asked myself how I envisioned this new process unfolding as I wanted it to be graceful and successful.  I knew if I went to fast I may scare myself away. So I started at an easy pace, always checking in to see if what I was doing was giving me the “Yes feeling”.  I started with buying a monthly membership at LifeWorks Gym in Canmore to use the infared sauna on a daily basis.  Checking in, that was a “Yes” Feeling.  According to my reading, I knew I my heart rate was up therefore increasing circulation, promoting tissue healing and great for a detox from the anesthetic and drugs.  I flushed my system with ample amounts of great water and silent Qi Gong. I made it a point to go everyday or 5 times a week.  Honestly, what else was I to do?

When I was felt stronger I climbed upstairs to where the familiarity of the weight machines beckoned me.  I integrated some repetitions of the pec deck, lat pull down and transverse press.  I felt right about doing 3 sets of 10 and then off to the hot sauna.  There was a period in my life where I spent hours in the gym “pumping up” before my daughter was born.  That  was over 20 years ago. My new perception: I was connecting with some old friends in a new way.

Every day, I walked by the elliptical machines to get to the change room.  When it moved me, I finally inquired how to use one.  I kept checking in daily and I knew the day would come where I would step onto one.  With low impact I felt like I was flying through space, effortlessly. My arms were engaged and I knew if my legs were tired that my trusty strong arms could take over the remaining time that was set at 15 minutes.  I would gently walk and increase my speed, if it felt right.  I knew 15 minutes would go by quickly and it did.

As weeks went by, I started to see results in strength and tone.  I increased the elliptical by 5 minutes and started doing some interval training where I walked for 30 seconds then went as fast as what left comfortable for 90 seconds. I definitely could feel the sweat roll down my back and face.  I was beginning to accept that this was a great feeling.  The panting of my breath was making me feel alive.

Some days were difficult to complete the allotted time.  I would tell myself it was only temporary that it would be over soon.  I started to meditate and do visualizations which added a new level to the workout.  I would process and balance frustrations or negative thought patterns that were haunting me.

Time passed and presently, I am up to 25 minutes which Dr. Mercola says is a optimum time to work out in this interval way.  Free weights for 20 minutes then off to the sauna.  I am devoted as a daily practice to show up 5 days a week.  This is a commitment I have made to myself for my physical and mental health.  It is a conscious decision.  The results are: I feel like I can fit back into my clothing, I am stronger physically so my energy is also reflective of that. I sleep the best ever and I am joyful.

When times are challenging, I am off for “Me Time” at the gym or a walk.  When I engage in physical activity it moves the energy of congestion, stagnation or frustration. Physically, if we get the flow happening then trust that on an emotional, mental level it will occur as well.  As a colleague of mine states, “We are a bag of hormones” and he is right.

I do practice the intermittent fasting Dr. Mercola refers to, fasting for 12-16 hours then eating between a 6-7 hour period.  Ideally, I work out in the a.m. preferably then eat by noon to 7 and challenge myself to stay away from the “carb pig out” at night.  A glass of water by the bed helps as many nights I reach out in hunger.  This is an old eating habit and if I fall off the wagon… oh, well tomorrow is another day…to get it right. My adopted philosophy; “Tomorrow is another day”.  Self forgiveness and self love, is the practice of compassion for the “oops” I choose to make in my life. That gives me permission to move forward.  Rather than the unhealthy decision to get into some self flogging and spin my proverbial self judging dialogue.   The “should a, would a, could a”, spin in my head.

Here is where I sit now…In reflection: Cultivating a new body is like tending a garden: planting the seeds with a vision, nurturing them with self love, compassion, patience, gentleness, trusting that one’s daily practice with will power will create a beautiful harvest.  There will be thunderstorms and drought but with forward positive movement it will give you the “Yes Feeling”.  Lovin’ the good stuff!

Permanent link to this article: https://karenbarker.ca/journey-into-healthy-lifestyle-from-sedentary-surgery/

Gems for Healthy Living: Updated Jan.2017

As time goes by, new research comes forward where we, as humble practitioners, have to open our minds and embrace new findings.  This is lovely for it allows us to explore new concepts.  I see my body/life as a research station allowing me to explore what works and what doesn’t.   I set the intention to be the best I can in reaching my full potential so why would I ever settle with complacency.

Clients of mine keep asking me,”What do I do to be so vibrant and positive. Can you write it down for us”. This is how I began sharing it with them. “Gems for Healthy Living” an ebooklet free off my website.

Here’s the new stuff:

Please keep drinking great water which less than 100 ppm.  Get your heart rate bouncing 20 minutes a day or at least 4-5 times a week, and cultivate a positive perspective everyday of your life.

Vitamin B-12 and D sprays from www.mercola.com are very effective.  They work together to make Melatonin in our bodies that help induce sleep.  When we become 45 years plus it becomes a valuable commodity let alone blissful, when we can sleep through the night.  I used the spray for 3 months then got my blood palate done.  It reflected that I was at a maximum for Vita. D and my vita.B 12 count was normal. This has been something I have struggled with for years.  B 12 shots can help with energy and vitality.

Coconut oil is still proving the wonder of all.  As a medium fat chain getting digested in the stomach provides and ease in our digestion.  Supports flexibility in the skin, tissues and helps counteract inflammation. I buy mine at  www.alphahealth.ca. A Vancouver company who has great integrity. Their MCT/Coconut oil formula has globally been recognized with its effects on Alzheimer and the brain.  Oil Pulling with DME coconut Oil from Alpha Health.

Fermented Food is a great way to replenish the good bacteria in your digestive system.  Kimchi, Sauerkraut, salsa are a few.  

Squatty Potty.com is a site providing us with the science why squatting is still the best position to be  in when having a bowel movement.  You still are seated on the potty but you place feet on a step stool which brings the knees up to your chest. Watch the 4 minute video and you may have an “AHA” moment.

Intermittent Fasting and Interval Training is some new concepts to explore for rebooting your system to burn fat. Research articles at www.mercola.com

Earthing endorses  the positive aspect to our deep need to walk barefoot, bobbing in the ocean.  It reconnects out magnetics helping reduce inflammation which is the culprit to many diseases. Research articles can be found on Mercola’s site as well.

The concept of Healing Water is defined as Liquid Crystal by Dr. Carla Nubay and myself.  Structured Water and Phase 4 Water are other names for it. Dr. Pollack, Dr. Patrick Flanigan and Water Liberty.com.  It supports Dr. Emoto’s work that water is a consciousness that is responsive on many levels.  Please research.       

Oral health is a new horizon for me.  www.youngliving.com has an oral health program with essential oils that is effective.  The magic of swishing with Magnesium oil is worth it for me. I had some teeth root pain and within 24 hours it was gone.  Harvested from deep within the Earth it targets calming the nerves.  Great for muscles that jump in the night. Spray it on or swish it. Baking soda rinse at night will restore a healthy alkaline PH balance in the night when mouths acidity can have adverse effects on teeth health. Coconut Oil pulling for 10-15 minutes has its benefits.

“Gut” Health is vital.  Research shows that our immunity depends on a healthy digestive system supporting serotonin production.  Findings are linking some psychological disorders as well as physical to poor digestive health. I take a Complete Probiotic in the am.

Please do your own research on the www.mercola.com site.  What I admire about Dr. Mercola is that he has devoted his life to what works and is open to evolve.  Our bodies are changing like the stressors/enviroment we live in.  He gathers and hosts ground breaking individuals from around the world and shares their information.  You may want to entertain his articles on intermittent fasting.  His team have discovered that 20 mins. a day with interval intensity training is all one needs with a light weight workout 3 times a week.

Regarding food, I have been doing the intermittent fasting, have become vegan, and limit my grains intake.  Reaching for a  protein source will curb the sweet cravings with some yummy sauteed veggies in coconut oil atop of some fresh organic greens. Fermented veggies as sauerkraut, salsas, chutneys, Miso, pickles, etc. are great for digestion. “Hungry for Change” a movie available on Netflix is a great education.  Validating the harmful effects of processed food: white sugar, white flour,fat free syndrome and the obesity/disease issues our population is facing.

“When in doubt drink water”, is still a mantra of mine. It supports hydration  detoxing, and I feel lighter within myself.

In Reflection: How much time do you spend goggling the “good” stuff?  Spend a few minutes a day and you may realize your choices change.  Gift yourself! 

Permanent link to this article: https://karenbarker.ca/gems-for-healthy-living-updates/

Divine Soup and Wine Series: #10 Roasted Jalapeno, Butternut Squash and Yam in coconut milk

Roasted Jalapeno, Butternut squash and Yam Soup with Coconut milk

Inspiring Dinner

Roast the Butternut Squash face down in a pan of water, Poke the Yam with a fork a few times and 2 Jalapeno Green peppers at 350 degrees F for one hour.  Check and extend time if squash and yams are still hard.

Sauté in a tall soup pan 3 T. coconut oil with 1 white onion

Add roasted veggies and heat with a low temperature for 30 minutes. This allows the heat and flavors to come together. Cool and blend in a blender returning to the soup pot.  Add salt, pepper and one can of coconut milk.

If is a bit too spicy I treat it as a concentrate and add water when I want to reheat it for dinner.

I am excited to share that a dollop of green Mexican salsa or a few Falafel balls make it sublime.  Sour cream would also cut some of the heat.

Enjoy paired with a lovely South African, Chenin Blanc, 2010 the den, from Painted Wolf.   The Painted Wolf, also known as the African Wild Dog is one of the most social animals. The Den forms the heart of the pack. Often to be found in the dappled shade of the African bush.  The den is a place to feel secure, relax and bond with friends and family.  It is vibrant zesty and full bodied.

The expansive fruit cuts some of the heat.

Enjoy!!

Permanent link to this article: https://karenbarker.ca/divine-soup-and-wine-series-10-roasted-jalapeno-butternut-squash-and-yam-in-coconut-milk/

New Year Blessings for Brilliance and Joy

The natural spiral of Love

As this year comes to an end my mother passed peacefully in her sleep December 30.2012.   She battled with Parkinson’s for several years.

Many conversations were about embracing the transition of death.  As those transitioned around her it opened a doorway to discuss her fears around this natural process.  I knew that the birth process was possibly the most difficult and that in death there was a ease and grace.

When I was birthing my daughter, I had the experience of rising out of my body and feeling the intense love and enveloping of peace…I was thrown back into my body to greet the pain and contractions of labor.  Received as a blessing I knew it was not time to exit this world.

The early hours of the morning when my mother passed I had intense throbbing pain in my heart.  I did what I knew and breathed into my heart in hope to relax it.  As I expanded the breath in my heart it expanded to what I felt went on forever.  The vastness was something I had never experienced before.  My body, as I checked in, did not feel like my own.  Thin and tiny is what I felt.  As I continued to breath, with that focus of expansion, I felt a cool wind at my side and a touch of a hand on my forearm.  It surprised me.  In reflection, I wish I could have stopped and talked with her. The experience was enough.  I gently fell back into sleep at 4:45 am until I was awoken by a phone call from my father that My mother, Helen had passed in her sleep. It all made sense to me.

I made my way to my parents home, where my mother was still lying in bed until all the siblings arrived.  The physical was no representation to who she was in my life.  As she was removed from her home, by the funeral home, a circle of love was made by joining hands and saying a gentle prayer.  It was very moving.

The following night a slight ache in my heart arose me at 3 am.  I acknowledged it and asked her to fill me with support.  I have continually talked with her and do feel her energy in communion with me. The energy that fills me is almost intoxicating.  A new journey with her has begun.  As she birthed me,  it feels I have helped birth her in some way. Magic is afoot and I am open and ready to embrace it. So may this New Year grace you with continued brilliance and joy.

Love you Mom.

 

In Reflection:  How often does fear stop the beauty and magic of life from filling our lives.     

Permanent link to this article: https://karenbarker.ca/new-year-blessings-for-brilliance-and-joy/

Stepping out to make “Dreams Come True”

 

Transformations:scars Graced with Art

Transformations:Scars graced with Art

A letter to Leonord Nimoy via his art gallery manager….

I am a single mother,therapist,writer,actress…but I write to you in celebration, as a woman, whose 52 year journey of being an orthopedic patient has come to a close.

I was born with congenital hip deformities.  At the age of 5, I had my first operation.  Severe osteo-arthritis at the age of 14 then its affects were accelerated after the birth of my one and only child Alycia. I was cripple within 2 years, using 2 canes to get me down the block.

The upswing to this story is that I found a brilliant compassionate orthopedic surgeon who gifted me with 2 new hips in the year 1996 at the age of 36, three years after Aly was born.  I rejoiced in the celebration of movement and the freedom of discovering what it felt like to walk effortlessly.

Since then I have had another 6 operations that revised the old hardware after mishaps of falling and breaking bones.

At the age of 52, I am 1 year out of my last operation and feel like a new woman.  I know now that the journey of 52 years as an orthopedic patient has come to an end and I celebrate every day.

As a therapist/artist I put together with Don Petersen, owner of One World Samurai Tattoo, a presentation in artsPeak 2011,  “Transformations:Scars graced with Art”, with the intention of holding a light for others in the journey of adversity.   It includes photos of breakage in a light box of X-rays, the scars, and then the beauty of artwork, tattoos, gracing the physical site.  After interviewing each person in the exhibit, I shared their insights into life in a short poem format.   Our models were a 24 year old man who had open heart surgery, hip replacements, extreme mountain biker/artist who severed his creative arm and a cutter.  We created a 20 page I Mac Booklet as well.

This project, I truly feel is moving and joyful.  It has the potential to reach out globally.  In sharing my idea, Leonard Nimoy’s name came up a few times.  I finally went onto his website and all that rang true in my heart was “Yes”we have a synergy and similar purpose.

I want to co create this piece, “Transformations, Scars graced with Art” with Leonard.  I feel bold in saying this, but it would be a dream come true for me.

In Reflection: This letter was written in a inspired moment.  It is about worthiness.  Embrace your guidance with trust and know that we are all human beings who suffer and that our compassionate true nature drives us to make our dreams come true.  I hope that my stepping forward allows you to do so in your life.         

Many thanks to Richard Alan Brown Photographer: www.richardbrownphoto.ca

 

Permanent link to this article: https://karenbarker.ca/stepping-out-to-make-dreams-come-true/

You are the Universe: Let your Heart be your Guide

In these times of adversity to keep an open heart requires diligence and daily practice.  Releasing the forces that keep us in old patterns is liberating and gifts us with the freedom to make our soul sing.

Please only accept what is acceptable to you and embrace the space to create and allow more divine love and joy to radiate within your being for that is truly who you are.

 Life is a series of heartfelt connections. My purpose is to make a heart connection.  Very often theory lies in the way of truth and holds us back.  As I refer to in “Spiritual Stretches”, if it gives you the “Yes feeling” go with it.  If you feel confused in your heart or it doesn’t feel right, let it go.  It is about finding the way that feels right in your heart.

“As The Buddha shared there are many roads that led to the same mansion.”

Co-creating with the Universal Heart

With your partner, your pet, or your child as you hold each other heart to heart in an embrace, breathe in and out being present and aware of the energy of your heart and its chakra. Extend your consciousness out to feel the heart energy of the other that you are coming into union with. As you hold your attention to both of you, wait and gently breathe with the intention of love, that universal unconditional love you are experiencing, in safety, with this being.

In this moment if you are drawn, give voice to “I Love You.”   It will start to shift the energy; in my experience an encompassing beautiful energy surrounds my partner and me.  Be in this as you focus on the breath you both create.  Open your heart so that it unfolds uniquely every time you engage in this exercise.  Allow the growth to blossom for both of you.

The truth lives in your Heart

Be assured if you go into your heart you will discover what others are saying have or have not the grounds of truth.  Believe in yourself is the gift you give yourself.

Your inner warrior is being tested.  Know without a doubt that you are the light of the universe.  Shine your light so you may light or enlighten them to the truth within themselves.

excerpts from ” The Joy of Being” copyright 2007 at www.karenbarker.ca available on Amazon.com 

In Reflection:  How do you create new connections in your life.  Do they have integrity? 

Permanent link to this article: https://karenbarker.ca/hello-world/

Calm Mind – The Beating Heart Meditation

Beating Heart Meditation

Allow yourself to find a quiet peaceful place.   You may want to lie down or sit up in a yoga or meditation stance.  Take a deep breath in and exhale a few times.  Place your hand over your heart.  Allow your hand to feel the beating of your heart.  With your eyes closed, allow yourself to feel inside the beating of your heart then the space that the heart occupies in your chest.

Focus single mindedly on the beating of the heart.  Allow the beating to take you deeper into the energy of your body.  Allow whatever thoughts or images that come through to be like clouds floating across the sky without judgment.  You are not resisting any images or thoughts let go of them and just be.  Follow the beating of the heart and go into those places in your chest where you feel an opening, tiredness or heaviness.

As you breathe in, plant that seed of the sun.  Extend the beautiful rays of golden white light of the sun.  Allow for them to grow so that your heart becomes the sun extending its energy out in all directions.

We can extend this meditation out to any of your beautiful friends, pets that come and want to lie on your chest, as Angel is lying on mine, or your dog.  Allow yourself to extend the rays out so you can feel their heart beat on your chest.  Tune into their beating heart.  Allow whatever insights come.  A few that I will share with you is that I felt that I was my cat, Angel.  I yawn, and feel energized, quiet, the verge of sleep and awake. Enjoy the beating heart meditation.



In reflection:  How do I connect with myself effectively?  This connection does not come naturally for many of us and cultivating it is a daily choice.   Gift yourself.

This is an excerpt from “The Joy of Being” Infinity Publishing, copyright2007 Available at www.bbotw.com

Permanent link to this article: https://karenbarker.ca/calm-mind-the-beating-heart-meditation/

Divine Soup and Wine Series #9 Marsala Roasted Butternut Squash, Yam and Sweated Leek

Marsala Roasted Butternut Squash, Yam and Sweated Leek

Roast at 350 F:  Cut in half aButternut Squash and place face down in a pan with an inch of water

Roast a large Yam in a pan that has been poked with a fork several times.  Leave both vegetables in the oven until soft to the touch which is approximately one hour.  If you have an orange or red pepper put it on a baking sheet and roast it as well for garnish.   Once it turns dark and wilts remove from oven.

Stove Top on Low:  Cut a largeLeek in thin slices in a soup pot with Organic Virgin Coconut Oil and Marsala spice approx. 2-3 T.  Sweat the leeks until they are wilted , may take 30-40 minutes.  Leave to sit on stove top until other ingredients are ready.

Combine cooled squash and yam with leeks.  Fill with good quality water approx. 4-6 cups and add Vegetable Knorr’s soup bouillon to taste.

Stove Top on Medium Heat:  When it comes to a boil turn the element off and place in glass jars.

To serve : Pour soup over a Falafel Ball which acts as a protein course and crouton.  It will soften and augments the Indian Marsala spice in the dish.  You can garnish with slices of the cooled orange pepper.

I will add Brendan’s Glass wine pairing April 13th.

In Reflection:  Do you make time to explore some new taste sensations to spice up your life?

Permanent link to this article: https://karenbarker.ca/divine-soup-and-wine-series-9-marsala-roasted-butternut-squash-yam-and-sweated-leek/