December Health Newsletter

Simple & Healthy Holiday Appetizers
Lee Petrie, NTP

The holiday season often means several invites to celebratory events, which leads to the question "what do I bring?" Here are a few simple AND healthy suggestions that your hostess and fellow guests will love! You can find all the ingredients at your local Trader Joes!

  • Endive Leaves filled with:
  • Goat cheese and topped w/pomegranate seeds
  • Pesto and topped w/pine nut or almond
  • Dates filled with soft cheese and chopped nuts, wrapped in prosciutto
  • Bite sized tapas of polenta, artichoke heart bottom, sun dried tomato and topped w/pesto & pine nut
  • Hummus and veggie plate

Achieving a State of Harmony
Augusta Swift, N.D.

Trying to slow down and find balance in life is a common theme I discuss with my patients, friends and family. We live in a time in which we are constantly multi-tasking. We are inundated with information and technology. We are regularly connected to the internet, email, text message and cell phones, and we are expected to be. Sometimes it just becomes too much. We strive to maintain balance between our jobs, family, faith, and fun. Oftentimes it becomes overwhelming for people. Rather than feeling fulfilled with any of them, we feel mediocre about all of them. As we near the end of 2009, I challenge you to slow down and reflect on your life and determine how you can achieve a more harmonious state within yourself. It is remarkable how this can be achieved by simply being in the moment. Rather than multi-tasking all the time, devote yourself to one thing at a time. Be here now! Live in the moment and do what you are doing well. Structure your days so that you have time for all of the important things in your life and dedicate yourself 100% to one thing in that given time period. May you have a happy and harmonious holiday season!

Let Go Of Holiday Stress with Acupuncture
Mae Costello, L.Ac.

The Holidays bring us countless blessings: time spent with friends and family, celebrations, and excitement for the New Year. And along with the festivities of the holiday season come numerous stressors. We stretch ourselves thin to attend many gatherings, spend time and money on gift giving, and travel long distances to be with loved ones. For most of us, stress causes headaches, neck and shoulder tension, and mood, sleep, and digestive disturbances. Acupuncture is an amazing and effective treatment for all of these symptoms.

Acupuncture works in three ways:
It stimulates the release of endorphins, causing you to enjoy a sense of calm and relaxation
It increases circulation to painful areas that need healing
It supports the body’s natural ability to heal itself.

As you experience the holiday season, remember to give yourself the gift of self-care. Use acupuncture to let go of stress and welcome a New Year of improved health!

For appointments, call Rayna at the front desk at 503-808-9145.

Releasing the Judge
Michelle Garnier Winkler, Reiki Master

We are all hearing the call of forward movement. Although job loss, relationships faltering and institutions crumbling may not feel much like progress, they are all ways in which we are being propelled toward our individual and collective truths. We are also evolving as we forge ahead. Many of us are being released from judgment in response to all these significant changes. If you’re feeling the tug to let go of judgment, you might discover that you’re no longer viewing many actions, behaviors or events as either right or wrong. They simply are.

The natural first step is to apply this perspective outward. For parents, caregivers, bosses and teachers, not judging allows us to see those in our charge as their own individuals instead of being reflections of ourselves. It also enables us to reframe what we consider to be their motivations and not make assumptions. We are freed to approach them with empathy rather than be authoritarian. This then leads them to grasp that any consequences are a result of their behavior instead of a punishment or reward. Our hearts are filled with ease.

In relationships, no matter the stage or status, non-judgment makes it possible for us to not take fluctuations in mood personally. It further gives us the ability to recognize that, like us, our mates are changing. We understand that we can’t assume all behaviors and reactions fit past patterns. We see our loved-ones with fresh eyes and possibly our excitement and curiosity are rekindled.

The Business industry is remarkably altered when judgment is no longer present. There is a sense of abundance and acknowledgement that there is room for everyone, while abandoning the concept of fearful competition. In this new climate, success carries a different meaning.

Whereas it might be fairly obvious that feelings of hate, malice, resentment, anger, jealousy, envy and contempt are judgments, other emotions and responses are slightly less so. For example, pity would seem caring, kind even. When examined more closely it is actually a projection of your values onto others. Similar are expectation (even when it is for high and for good) and intolerance (despite it being used for high standards—i.e. improving health through non-smoking). An important distinction to make here is that this standpoint is not a total rejection of morality or ethics. Rather, it is honoring others while realizing we are all connected and being aware that everyone’s path is sacred.

While looking at others non-judgmentally may be the primary approach, the potentially more spiritually challenging one is to focus that same attitude internally. Unconditionally accepting traits that we’ve thought of as negative is illuminating. By embracing these "faults" as part of your identity, you can not only perceive them more objectively, but also gets to the heart of what drives you. Apprehending what the underlying issues are provides us with the opportunity for conscious choice. Do you want to change that aspect or were you just being too hard on yourself?

It may appear as though little collective harm is being done when we heed the inner critic, but how we view ourselves has a great impact on us all. Shame, regret, worry, and self-doubt can be paralyzing. They affect the quality of your life and how you interact with others. Importantly, these ways of looking at yourself and your overall faith in yourself is sometimes passed onto the next generation. Children will take on these traits. Imagine the impact of breaking the chain.

Ridding yourself of the concept of "should" as it applies to obligation to one’s self is liberating. By consistently relying on your own intuition, you create a life in stark contrast to the one inspired by self-judgment. You joyfully exist in a state of faith, trust, gratitude and peace knowing that your inner wisdom is a certainty.

Indeed, just as we are transforming as a result of these major life events, our internal shifts will force more external reform. We will stop buying products we don’t need. We will quit our unfulfilling jobs and follow our passions. These actions will cause more businesses to close their doors, while others will flourish. We will end some long-standing relationships and begin anew. Following our truths does and will have a potent effect. The release of judgment is a powerful and peaceful force to be embraced.

Michelle of Create Healing is a Reiki Master/Teacher in private practice in SE Portland who embraces "everyone’s path is sacred" as a personal motto. For more information call 503-453-5487 or

Simplicity in Life
Rayna Schaefer

"I want the new Ipod….I want the new Harry Potter game….I want new shoes…I want! I want! I want!" Does this sound familiar to those of you with children old enough to realize holiday time is the time to ask for things? My husband and I both were growing tired of hearing this and decided to make a change. We also wanted to get away from the "commercialism" of the holidays and wanted our children to become aware of others in the world who had so little. We started small at first. We made the "special gift form the man in the red suit" a gift of donation to Heifer International. Our daughter and son received notes telling them ducks, bees, rabbits, or chickens, etc. were purchased for a family in another country in their name. They both thought this was the greatest and were very excited every Christmas to see what they were GIVING to a family less fortunate. This tradition we began about six years ago when our kids were 11 and 8 years old. We decided to make an even further change away from "commercialism" about four years ago. We sat down with our kids and had a family meeting about Christmas and gifts. We all decided we would each MAKE one gift for every person in our immediate family. We set ground rules of you could purchase supplies, but the actual gift must be made by the individual. We all worked secretly on each other’s gifts and we worked together to help one another when needed. I don’t think I can remember a Christmas morning when our kids were as excited about opening gifts, as they were that first ‘hand- made’ Christmas. Handmade gifts, to us, say so much more than buying something from the store. So now, every year we will sit down with one another and brainstorm what we can make and what we need for the project. Our family doesn’t do the "holiday grind" of shopping. Our small, whimsically decorated tree is not piling with gifts, yet our kids are thrilled every year. Last year we were forced to celebrate Christmas without power and still I heard my kids telling their friends the "cool presents" their parents made them. They don’t ask for things from stores anymore. They ask for things to be made. This is my family’s way of having "Simplicity in Life". This change in tradition has done wonders for my kids. They are aware that family, love and happiness are not in multiple pretty boxes, with ribbon and bows, under the Christmas tree. They are with you every day. This change in our family is one I hope others will adopt and reap in the benefits it will give your family. Happy Holidays to you and yours!