Sunday, December 21, 2008

Movies That Touch Our Lives

Every once in a while, a movie comes a long that touches you to the core of your being. I’m talking about message movies. They come in all varieties: drama, comedy, dramedy, sci-fi, and horror. Movies are my passion anyway, but as I get older and wiser, I am finding that the movies that I enjoyed yesterday are not necessarily the movies that I enjoy today.

I used to love action films. Still do to a certain extent. Recently, I have found, though, that the extreme violence is a bit boring and unnecessary. I find that I now prefer to rent the action films so that I can fast forward through the violent scenes, yet still get the gist of the movie.

I have seen many message movies over the years, probably too many to mention. The first one that I saw that had the most impact on me was “Billy Jack” (and later it’s sequels). It influenced me so much that I lived on an Indian reservation in British Columbia for a summer and made many life-long friends (though I’ve always called them my family). (http://www.billyjack.com/)

Another movie I remember that really affected me was “Pay It Forward.” For a school project, a young boy develops a system of kindness. If you perform a kindness for someone, then rather than them paying it back to you, they would pay it forward to three other people, who would pay it forward to three other people, and on it would go. There are now countless “Pay It Forward” groups across the world. (http://www.payitforwardfoundation.org/)

I also really enjoyed “Bruce Almighty” starring Jim Carrey, and “Evan Almighty” starring Steve Carrell. I just love Morgan Freeman as God. If I could imagine God looking like any human, it would be in the persona of Morgan Freeman. He makes a great god (if I could imagine what God would look like and how he would act)! (http://www.brucealmighty.com/ & http://www.evanalmighty.com/ )

Two movies I saw just recently were “Seven Pounds” starring Will Smith, and “Yes Man” starring Jim Carrey.

“Seven Pounds” was a very sad, feel-good movie. Every scene was like putting together the pieces of a puzzle, and you didn’t see the whole picture until the very end of the movie. Therefore, I cannot tell you what it was about or it would spoil the movie for you. What I can tell you is that it has to do with one man’s struggle with the meaning of life, and how he found the compassion to help other people, while being a very tortured soul himself. (If you cry easily at movies, you might want to take a box of Kleenex.) In a recent interview with Oprah, Will Smith said that "if you’re not making someone's life better, then you’re wasting your life." In the same interview, he said "the difference between depression and joy is purpose." (I think I'm going to start calling his quotes "Willism's.") (http://www.sevenpounds.com/)

After I saw “Seven Pounds,” I immediately went in to see “Yes Man.” I did not want to go home feeling so sad (though a good sad), and thought a comedy would do the trick. I really enjoy most of Jim Carrey’s movies, but I’m just not into what I call “silly comedy” movies (his or anyone else’s). Some of his are quite thought provoking in a funny way, and this was one of them. Jim’s character spent his life alone and miserable because he was always saying no to people’s invitations. One day, he went to a seminar where people are encouraged to say yes to anything and everything. Of course, Jim’s character pretty much at first tosses common sense out the window to do so, but as the story unfolds, he realizes that the real motivation is to say yes to life. It really makes us think how we pass up so many opportunities in our lives, and how our lives might be different, even better, if we did say yes to life more often. (http://yesisthenewno.warnerbros.com/)

There are many, many more movies out there such as “Forrest Gump,” “Star Wars,” “What Dreams May Come,” “Field of Dreams,” “Joe Somebody,” “Tears of the Sun,” “Hotel Rwanda,” “Beyond Borders,” “Radio,” “Mr. Deeds,” “The Terminal,” “Click,” “K-Pax,” “What the Bleep Do We Know,” “The Secret,” and countless others. You can add your own favorites.

As more and more actors (as well as producers, directors, etc.) are finding themselves on their own spiritual journey and finding their purpose in life as a life of service, they are making more movies with messages. Movies that touch people’s hearts, and may even have a hand in changing the collective consciousness of the world for the betterment of humanity.

Movies can be inspirational, informative, entertaining, thought provoking, and heart wrenching. Some of the most popular movies today are the animated movies, made for children, including the children in all of us. They all have positive and empowering messages, too, which are great for anyone of any age.

Therefore, for the critics out there who think that all movies are destroying our world….think again. If you look for the good movies, you’ll find them. And they can influence people for the better and change lives.

For a list of message movies, I found a good site at: http://www.plannedlegacy.com/newsletter/movies-with-feeling.html

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Spectacular Awakening

Wow! There sure is a LOT going on in the world lately! It boggles the mind! I really believe that we are going through a spectacular awakening and a thorough spiritual and earthly cleansing.

In an earlier posting, I mentioned that we have been going through a spiritual awakening for a while, and are continuing to do so. People all over the world are coming together in love, peace, and harmony. Thousands of websites, organizations, charities, and blogs will witness to this. People all over the world are reaching out to each other in a collective consciousness for the greater good of all. There are countless speakers who travel the world over spreading their message of a better humanity and a better world.

We are also going through another kind of awakening; this one being a national / global awakening. You can’t help but notice the chaos that is occurring the world over. The economy is in great turmoil and not just in America. The banking, housing, health, and government agencies are in great distress. Thousands of jobs are being lost, with businesses cutting back and/or closing. The health industry is a complete mess.

There are so many people who are going through the most awful ‘stuff.’ They are having serious health issues, and many have lost their jobs or their companies are cutting back their hours. People are losing their homes and many have to forgo health care in order to just be able to pay for other necessities. It just wrenches my heart!

I have also said in past postings that I really believe that good comes from everything if you just look for it. So, what good can come of this? Our new President is taking charge and working hard to find solutions to all of these problems. Corruption in countless corporations and agencies is rearing its ugly head and the corrupt are being weeded out. It is coming to light what isn’t working, so that we can find answers to what will work.

Health care is finally having to answer for its history of greed. There is no reason for anyone in our great nation not to be able to have health care without having to go broke to do so, or to not be able to have it at all. The medical and pharmaceutical industries have become so greedy that they care more about money than people’s health. How many people have had to suffer with illnesses and or even died because they couldn’t get the health care that they needed?

The auto industries are being forced to come up with the newest technology and to keep up with the times by offering an energy efficient vehicle. Banking industries are being forced to clamp down on giving loans to people who cannot pay them back. (Some people file for bankruptcies, right after the other, and they still get loans!)

The oil companies have also been greedy by continuing to make billions of dollars in profits at the expense of the American citizens. They have way too much power, and I really believe they are part of what’s keeping us from moving forward with the technology to break us from our dependency on oil.

Again, there are always exception in everything, so I want to honor those who do not take part in the greed and corruption, regardless of where it is found, and who are honestly trying to do good.

Personally, this all has been a great wake-up call for me. When I look around me and see how bad so many people have it, including people who are close to me, it makes me count my blessings. I have a lot to be thankful for. Sure, I could make a long list of things that I am not happy with, but it wouldn’t do me or anyone else any good. Besides, I prefer to focus on the good and the positive (but I do have my dark moments!).

There is a great website called Totally Unique Thoughts (TUT.com) and every day, “the Universe” sends out a motivational message. The one I recently received seemed very fitting. It said: “I can imagine that from your perspective, it must seem like some truly awful things happen in time and space. So if you wouldn't mind, I'd like to weigh in. You live in a world of illusions. A world that springs from a much deeper and far greater reality. And while at times the illusions are indeed ugly, with your physical senses you only see the tip of the iceberg. If you could see the whole, you'd discover that the unpleasantness was only the tiniest piece of a most spectacular puzzle that was created with order, intelligence, and absolute love. You'd see that contrary to appearances, in the grandest scheme of things, nothing is ever lost, no one becomes less, and setbacks are always temporary. And you'd understand that no matter what has happened, everyone lives again, everyone laughs again, and everyone loves again, even more richly than before. Hubba, hubba - The Universe”

There are countless websites where people are doing what they can to bring people together all over the world. A great website that a friend recently sent to me really impressed me. It’s at: http://www.playingforchange.com/ . A gentleman by the name of Mark Johnson created “Play for Change.” He believes that people all over the world can be brought together with music. What he did was so amazing. Please check out the website and offer them your support.

Even Will Smith (actor) gets it. He was on Oprah recently and I was so impressed with him. He said, “I've made a decision that nothing in my life is going to be without purpose. I've grown to a place where I realize the only way to really be happy is to live in service to humanity." I agree. We’re here to be happy, enjoy life, and be of service to our fellow beings. I really believe that this will be a part of the awakening. People really are starting to awaken to the idea that we really are a part of each other.

If all this chaos had not happened, would there have been any change? Or would we have stayed on the path to continue to destroy ourselves and our earth? Louise Hay says, “All is well.” No matter what happens from here on out, all is well.

We have a great, wonderful, and exciting future in store for us if only each and every one of us will do our part. Don’t wait for someone else to do something good. YOU can make a difference right where you are. Please join in the collective consciousness for a better tomorrow for everyone the world over. Namaste’.

Friday, December 5, 2008

To Be Healthy, Or Not to Be Healthy…That is the Question.

I received a call from a good friend of mine this morning. Her dad, who is also a very dear friend, just found out that he has a tumor in his colon (I think it was his colon). Last week, we found out that my mom has to have back surgery. Another good friend of mine is sick with some infection and came close to having pneumonia. And another friend of mine had to fly out west because her son was in the hospital and is in intensive care.

Richards Simmons and me on a Richard Simmons cruise. He really does care about people's health and is one of the kindest, sweetest people you could ever know.

It seems like so many people are having really serious health issues around the holidays. I notice this every year. My theory is that the stress of the holidays, all the junk food we eat, and the weather getting cold plays havoc with our bodies. This year is especially rough because of the economy and other national/world issues that have people worrying.

The past couple of weeks, I have really been trying to work on my own health issues and it’s been rough. Getting that phone call about my friend just really, really got it into my brain that taking care of your health is serious business. But how many of us really do care for our own health? It’s said that we take better care of our vehicles than we do our own bodies.

There’s a saying… “Eat right, exercise, die anyway.” Some people will say that eating is too much of a pleasure for them, so why give up their favorite foods? We’re going to die anyway. Except I would invite you to think about something. Very few human beings do NOT die of old age. We die of age-related illnesses such as heart attacks, cancer, diabetes, and the like. Dying of a heart attack is not dying naturally. Dying naturally is your heart just stopping on it’s own because it was too old to carry on. Not because the arteries were so clogged that the blood couldn’t do get the flow to the heart. Or because the body was going through so much stress that it couldn’t take it any more. Deepok Chopra says that if we could live to a healthy old age, we would live on average to 120 years old. On top of that, we are taking way too many prescriptions. The number of people who die from prescribed medicine is an outrage! (I’ll make it clear… I am very thankful that we have the medicines and medical technology that we have, but it would be so much better if we could find an alternative way of health first. Very few doctors are knowledgeable about nutrition. It’s not even a required course in most medical colleges, and if it is, it’s very short. We should be focusing on prevention, and not giving meds just to treat symptoms.)

The question comes down to when we die, do we want to die peacefully and in good health? Or do we want to suffer for days, weeks, months, or maybe years with some debilitating illness or disease? Personally, that’s not the way I want to go, and if that means giving up my favorite foods such as chocolate, then so be it. I know some people will argue that chocolate is good for you, particularly dark chocolate. I would argue that it’s not the chocolate, but an ingredient in the chocolate, which you can just as easily get elsewhere. I don’t know about you, but I can’t have just one piece of chocolate. I’m like an alcoholic when it comes to sugar and chocolate. There’s no eating in moderation. (Also, when it comes to these kinds of studies, we really need to follow the money and see who sponsored the study. You would be surprised how studies can be manipulated.)

I never understood that moderation concept either. Not too many people can eat in moderation. I think it’s just an excuse so people can eat their favorite junk foods. Can an alcoholic drink in moderation? Can a drug user use in moderation? Can a smoker smoke in moderation? I think not. So why should people be expected to eat in moderation when it comes to food that isn’t healthy for them.

I read a LOT about health. I am a vegetarian and about 90% vegan. I rarely, if ever, eat canned foods, processed foods, animal products (with the exception of eggs in baked goods), and I watch the ingredients in what I do eat. I also try to eat products with the least amount of preservatives as possible. Once in a while, I do have to have a small, low cal pizza (like Lean Cuisine or South Beach) or a small ice cream, but not very often. And I’ll be honest. Right now, I still eat too much sugar and chocolate. I wish I didn’t and I’m trying to get it out of my system. Sugar is very addictive and is considered an actual poison by some in the health communities. Hearing about my friend has made me much more determined to succeed. And I need to exercise more. Okay, I just need to exercise; still working on that part. Part of the reason I haven’t been is because I am so fatigued from the sugar!

There are so many wonderful books to read on health. I really like the “Fit for Life” series by Harvey Diamond; “Quantum Wellness” by Kathy Freston; and any health books by Dean Ornish, Marilu Henner, Richard Simmons, Jack LaLanne, and Paul and Patrician Bragg. One book that really made an impression on me was “The China Study” by T. Colin Campbell. You would be shocked to hear the differences between the Chinese’s health and ours in America.

So, it really comes down to this: You either care about your health….or you don’t. If you care about your health, you will do whatever necessary (as long as it’s healthy) to get healthy. I’m not saying it will be easy and it may even be a life-long struggle for many, but at least you’re trying. That also doesn’t mean that because you are doing everything right to be healthy, that you will never get sick. There are also a lot of other factors out there. The water we drink, the air we breathe, the toxins we breathe or consume, stress, and genetics. Know, too, that just because you have someone in your family that has something, does NOT mean that you’re going to get it. You can still avoid it by living a healthy lifestyle.

I like to think of this way. Playing with our health is like playing Russian Roulette. Every single thing you put into (or on) your body is like putting a bullet into a gun. The trick is to having as few bullets in the gun as possible. So think of that the next time you go to consume something unhealthy.

The foods I find the healthiest and safest are foods from Mother Nature herself. Foods that are not messed with by man. Organic if possible, though organic can be expensive right now. Mother Earth knew what she was doing when she knew what our bodies needed.

One more thing… Stop taking diet pills and eating diet foods. I have wasted more money on this junk and hold them partly responsible for my body being so screwed up (even though it was my choice to take them). Look at the ingredients on the diet foods and you will be shocked. Some of the “health” bars are full of sugars and preservatives.

As the holiday season comes to a close in a few weeks, I would really like to invite you to seriously think about your health and how you take care of your body. (I’m including myself in this…believe me.) The saying that we should “eat to live, not live to eat” really is true.

I wish you the best of holiday seasons (regardless of your beliefs) and wish you the best, and healthiest, of new years!