"A revelation of insight into the foundations of human suffering & transcendence. It not only lays out essential steps for inner freedom and joy but illuminates the way to true human potential." Paul Rademacher, author: A Spiritual Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe

"The masterwork of a profoundly gifted healer of the soul. Dazzling, challenging, wondrously useful." Peggy Rubin, author: To Be and How To Be, Transforming Your Life Through Sacred Theatre

"Rewiring the Soul is one the best introductions to the spiritual life I've ever read. Not esoteric but real-world and practical. The implications are profound." Peter Shepherd, author: Daring To Be Yourself

Monday, June 30, 2008

World-wide Happiness Is On the Rise

An article was published by Reuters today about a recent study about the rise of world-wide happiness, indicating the following:

Denmark, with its democracy, social equality and peaceful atmosphere, is the happiest country in the world, researchers said on Monday.
Zimbabwe, torn by political and social strife, is the least happy, while the world's richest nation, the United States, ranks 16th.
Overall, the world is getting happier, according to the U.S. government-funded World Values Survey, done regularly by a global network of social scientists.
It found increased happiness from 1981 to 2007 in 45 of 52 countries analyzed.
"I strongly suspect that there is a strong correlation between peace and happiness," said Ronald Inglehart, a political scientist at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research, who directed the study. Read more
In another related article on MSNBC, this was stated:
The Happiness Index
The results of the survey, going back an average of 17 years in 52 countries and involving 350,000 people, will be published in the July 2008 issue of the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science. Researchers have asked the same two questions over the years: "Taking all things together, would you say you are very happy, rather happy, not very happy, not at all happy?" And, "All things considered, how satisfied are you with your life as a whole these days?"

A Happiness Index created from the answers rose in 40 countries between 1981 and 2007, and it fell in the other 12.
Scientists had thought happiness is stable over time when looking at entire societies. "Most previous research suggests that people and nations are stuck on a 'hedonic treadmill,'" Inglehart said. "The belief has been that no matter what happens or what we do, basic happiness levels are stable and don't really change."
So Inglehart's team was surprised that happiness "rose substantially." They speculate reasons for the sunny outlooks include societal shifts in recent decades: Low-income countries such as India and China have experienced unprecedented rates of economic growth; dozens of medium-income countries have democratized; and there has been a sharp rise of gender equality and tolerance of ethnic minorities and gays and lesbians in developed societies.
Previous research has found that happiness is partly inherited and that money doesn't buy much of it.
Yet the new survey finds people of rich countries tend to be happier than those of poor countries. And controlling for economic factors, certain types of societies are much happier than others.
"The results clearly show that the happiest societies are those that allow people the freedom to choose how to live their lives," Inglehart said. Read more
Photo: Gaucin, Spain

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tony Robbins & Why We Do What We Do and How We Can Do it Better

I ran across a great video by Tony Robbins on TED called Why we do what we do, and how we can do it better. In the video he discusses the "invisible forces" that motivate everyone's actions.

TED is a truly great website with a lot of free material to view and listen to ... remember what I am always saying to encourage you to keep your energy high. Click here for more posts on this blog about energy.

If you are unable to watch it, click here to go to the original website.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Puritan Work Ethic, Wu-Wei, and is Life Really Meant to be a Struggle?

Work hard and you will succeed.
Little by little does the trick. (Aesop)
Do every act of your life as if it were your last. (Marcus Aurelius)
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. (Aristotle)

Sound familiar?

Work Hard to Succeed

Many of us were taught sayings such as these and others along similar lines from early childhood. We know we have to work hard in order to succeed. We know that the hardworking ant will be able to survive the winter, while the grasshopper will not (and might try to scam the ant in order to get some free “stuff”). We know we will sow what we reap, and in order to reap a good harvest, we have to put in a hard day’s work.

Or do we? Maybe we’re just looking at the whole thing through a pair of smudged glasses.

Puritan Work Ethic

The Puritan (or Protestant) work ethic is a work ethic that was based on the moral values of hard work. It meant that working hard entailed giving service to God. It implies, albeit by inference, that the harder one works, the more moral one is. Hence, having been raised to believe this, some people feel guilty if they are not working hard all the time. It is as though hard work were equated with being a good person, and furthermore, if one works hard enough, one will in all likelihood have a positive result not only in the moral arena, but also in the more mundane, worldly one.

This can play havoc with the manner in which people deal with their vacation or free time, as during such a period, theoretically, one is not working, And yet we’ve all seen people working on their laptops at the beach, or reading a heavy business tome or corporate financial statement on a pleasure cruise. Are they all workaholics, or simply people who feel guilty if they aren’t working most of the time?

This can also confuse your sense of self esteem and accomplishment, because evidently many people work very hard, and are very good people indeed, and yet they are nowhere near financial or professional success.

Thinking Out of the Box

Far be it from the purpose of this article to convince you to slack off and become successful by lounging in a hammock on a palm-studded beach as you sip a piña colada. My intention is not to separate you from your hard-working self. It is simply to help you think out of the box with regards to how you look at hard work. Perhaps hard work is not all it’s made out to be. Perhaps we need to focus on working less in order to make our hard work bring greater success. If that sounds like a conundrum, read on.


Wu-wei is a term from Taoist philosophy meaning “non-action” or “non-doing”. In Fritjof Capra’s Uncommon Wisdom: Conversations with Remarkable People, it is referred to as ”not working against the grain of things, of waiting for the right moment without forcing anything unduly.” Capra speaks of remaining alert and focused on one’s purpose in order to achieve success in one’s endeavour. You might say that wu-wei refers to working hard at going with the flow, or simply, at going with the flow.

An example from everyday life might apply to someone who is starting a business. Working hard in the Puritan work ethic sense would be to start early every morning and work until late every night, going down every possible road, and if pitfalls arose, to batter through them, to break down any impediment, and to keep on until every avenue were explored. Hardships would be endured, obstacles annihilated, no stone left unturned in order to find the way to make the business a success. Should, despite such hard work, success still be elusive, one might say “well it wasn’t for lack of trying”.

Going With the Flow

Here’s how the wu-wei alternative might play itself out: the same person is starting a new business. Working hard would not necessarily mean the long hours as much as long thinking and being alert to opportunities. Realizing that when one avenue gets blocked, rather than trying very hard to break up the blockage, it might be wiser to go down another, more readily flowing and open avenue, in order to find a potential benefit there. It might mean working hard at becoming aware of what was playing itself out around one, in order to flow with those particular circumstances and benefit from them, rather than going against the flow and having to work so hard to break down obstacles and barriers. Remaining aware of the focus; remaining aware of the intention, and being open to whatever may open up at any given moment seems to make much more sense than to blindly “plug on” simply because hard work reaps success. The next time you are out in the countryside, watch a leaf floating down a stream. What happens when it gets stuck in some rocks? It allows the current to left it off the rocks, away from the obstacles, and continue down where the water runs smoothly, where it can travel more easily, because it is going with the flow.

Is Life Really Meant to be a Struggle?

Stuart Wilde wrote an extraordinary little book in the 80’s called Life was Never Meant to be a Struggle. In it he extols the virtues of understanding that if most of your life you have been told, and then continue telling yourself that life is meant to be a struggle, you will most definitely end up believing that. So then, if something works easily for you, you won’t want to believe it’s for real…you will mistrust the ease with which you accomplished it, and hence, needing to feel that in order for you to accomplish something worthwhile, you have to work hard for it, you will sabotage your easily won victory. Why? So that your outer life conforms to your inner expectations or beliefs.

Sound familiar? Apply this to business, money, love and relationships, spirituality, health, keeping age at bay, body weight, and any other area of potential struggle you care to name.

So what does Wilde suggest?

Inner Freedom

Identify the causes of struggle in your life, and recognize that struggle is actually a programmed response. Struggle is akin, in many senses, to anguish about the area of life in which you are struggling. Whenever there is a programmed response – in this case struggle - it will take some time and practice to re-program yourself – in this case to a more flowing response. Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now) writes “Accept – then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life”. (See also my January 2006 Newsletter: Living in the Now: Use it to Enrich Your Life).

Going to a state of instant peace whenever you feel anxious, worried, angry, or afraid moves you from your body to your mind and emotions, and finally to your spirit. (See also my article Entering the Now Moment by Leaving Unawareness Behind). Similarly, Wilde says that in order to achieve freedom from struggle, you just need “the ability to place yourself in a non-confrontive mode” with all issues in your life, both internal and external to yourself. As you become more and more positive and balanced, struggle begins to give way to inner calm. “Inner calm allows you to pull more and more opportunities to yourself because energy seeks its own kind.” See also my March 2006 Newsletter: Intentional Focus: Your Happiness, Your Success, and the Law of Attraction). James Allen (As A Man Thinketh – click here to get free e-book) says “All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts”.

Imagine dealing with life and all you do in it as though you were a child playing a game. Is there any reason it can’t be like that? Any reason it shouldn’t be like that? Imagine if your work; whatever it is you do in life were like an enjoyable game. That every day when you got up, you would be looking forward to playing this game again. And imagine furthermore, that this wonderful game were what gives – in part – meaning to your life! (See also my article Finding a Meaning For Your Life).

So it stands to reason that keeping your thoughts balanced, positive, and energetic will go a lot further towards bringing you that which your strive for, rather than arduous struggle. Achieving inner freedom by getting such a handle on your thoughts will go a long way towards achieving the outer freedom for which we all yearn.
Photo: Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Monday, June 23, 2008

Midsummer Night's Eve or Noche de San Juan

Tonight is Midsummer Night's Eve in Spain, called Noche de San Juan, and it is always celebrated June 23rd, no matter when the exact summer solstice falls in the calendar.

It's a night of long pagan, historical and mystical traditions, a night that is currently celebrated with bonfires on the beaches ... bonfires in which wooden or paper maché dolls are burned for good luck ... bonfires that some people leap over in order to cleanse and purify themselves ... bonfires that others use to burn paper on which something from which they wish to become purified has been written ... a night that some walk into the sea in order to purify themselves that way ... a night during which something that no longer has a room in a person's life can be released in order to give start to the new.

Here is a brief video from this website that writes much about the southern part of Spain called Andalucia. In the video some of the typical festivities that take place can be viewed. If for some reason you can not play the video, click here to go directly to the website where it is located.

Watch More

I enjoy this night every year. I enjoy the manner in which it unites me to beliefs from other epochs, I enjoy the pure joy of the people on the beaches celebrating this night with their entire families ... don't forget that the bonfires are not lit until midnight, and hence, even small children are there until well into the morning hours.

Normally much music is also being played to celebrate the occasion, typically flamenco music, sometimes special horses who are trained to move to the sound of flamenco music are also on the beach. Believe in all these things or not ... it is a special night that is embued with the flavor and mystery of other times. It is also a time for contemplation and reflection on what has been and what no longer is.

The Four False Mood Types

I've written about Julia Ross before ... her book The Mood Cure is worthwhile mentioning again with this, taken directly from her website:

The Four False Mood Types

Each of the four mood engines in your brain, as represented above, needs a different amino acid fuel. The lower your access to amino fuel, the more False Mood symptoms you develop. The four emotion-generators in your brain are actually called neurotransmitters. Each one powers a different emotional zone in your brain and each has a distinctly different effect on your mood:

The Dark Cloud of Depression

If you’re high in serotonin – you’re positive, confident, flexible, and easy-going.If you’re sinking in serotonin – you’ll tend to become negative, obsessive, worried, irritable, and sleepless.

The Blahs

If you’re high in catecholamines – you’re energized, upbeat, and alert.If your catecholamines have crashed – you’ll sink into a flat apathetic funk.

Anxiety and Stress

If you’re high in GABA – you’re relaxed and stress-free.If there’s a gap in your GABA – you’ll be wired, stressed, and overwhelmed.

Oversensitive Feelings

If you’re high in endorphins – you’re full of cozy feelings of comfort, pleasure, and euphoria.If you’re near the end of your endorphins – you’ll be crying during commercials and overly sensitive to hurt.

You can replenish any deficiency in your own neurotransmitters using the amino acids as described in The Mood Cure.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Gratitude and the Family Bring Happiness

Harvard, Stanford and Cornell studies have shown that the factor that most increases a person's happiness is whether or not he spends a few moments each day contemplating whatever it is he is grateful for ... maintaining, in other words, a gratitude journal.

Read more posts on this blog about happiness here.

Now researchers at the University of Texas have come up with data indicating that it is also the family that is a great predictor of happiness. CBS News brings this story:

For Happiness, Seek Family, Not Fortune

Money might buy happiness for some, but for most people having strong family ties is a much bigger predictor of contentment than income, a new study show.

When researchers analyzed data tracking married people over a decade, they found that while income did contribute to happiness up to a point, the quality of family relationships was much more important.

The study is one of the first to examine the impact of economic and family changes over time. Read more.

Photo: Cape Verde

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Bruce Lipton, Fractal Wisdom & Bliss on Earth

This three minute video by famed cellular biologist Bruce Lipton shares great esoteric wisdom, based on pure scientific fact ... please take the time to watch it.

Click here for previous posts about Bruce Lipton.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Books and The Kindle

This (see below) is today’s posting from a blog I read occasionally (scroll down my right side-bar to see more blogs - and a portion of their latest posting - that I read when I have time). The author of the article I partially reproduce here, Seth Godin, writes a lot about technology, the internet, etc., and has written a number of books about those subjects as well.

In this article he writes about the Kindle, a reading device available from Amazon for some time already, that allows you to store and read books via the device rather than actually buying the book.

The notion has always been anathema to me, but reading this article today, not only from the point of view of an avid purchaser of books, but also from the point of view of authors, I am no longer so certain.

What do you think?

Random thoughts about the Kindle

Might be of interest to investors, readers, writers, designers, marketers, etc. Or not...

Two months ago, I got a Kindle. It's a fascinating device, unlike almost any other launched by a significant tech company. Here's why:

1. It's for women and women are buying it. The bestseller list of Kindle titles is much less tech-heavy than Amazon's list was in the early days of the web. An Oprah book is #1. And the colors and feel of the machine don't feel like the current uber-geek tech dream device. barnacles

This is a fascinating strategy. It means that typical technology marketing and adoption strategies aren't in play, since most tech devices go after nerdy men. It means a slower start (since paying $400 for technology is a stretch unless it's your passion) but also possibly a much bigger finish.

2. I just got rid of 3,000 books in preparation for an office move. That's two decades worth of reference books. I realized that most of the books I bought I didn't use any more (thanks to wikipedia and google) and that buying books in anticipation of giving them to someone else was generous but not actually happening in practice. For the tiny slice of readers that account for a huge pile of book sales (300 books a year adds up), moving those purchases to the Kindle is smart for Amazon and smart for the reader. read more

Thursday, June 19, 2008

As Wars Go, This One Is Not Very Important ... Or Is It?

Women of a certain age dye their hair. Hence we have generations of women looking much younger than our grandmothers and mothers did.

Not particularly transcendent.
Or is it?
Some advocate that it is not authentic. That by dying our hair we become less real. And certainly, by dying our hair we encourage future generations of women to concern themselves with the evanescence of youth as much as those women who snip away at, botox, and collagen their faces, and have annual sessions of lipsosuction.
Time Magazine did an excellent article on the subject:
Identical twins Mary and Alice Lieberman have been zygotically close all their 55 years, even as adults living hundreds of miles apart. Two years ago, they were especially excited about seeing each other: Mary, a social worker, had moved to Poughkeepsie, N.Y., from Austin, Texas, and she hadn't seen Alice, a social-work professor at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, for more than a year.
As the sisters approached each other on a street in Lawrence, Mary stopped dead in her tracks. Seven months earlier, she had stopped coloring her hair, but only now, seeing Alice, did she fully register what she had done: "I saw my brunet twin coming toward me and had the uneasy feeling that she looked like me, only five or 10 years younger. After I saw her, I hated my hair." read more
Photo: Roman Bridge, Guadalquivir River, Cordoba, Spain

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Marriage in the 21st Century: Could Cutting-Edge Spiritual Psychology Make it Viable Again?

Who isn’t familiar with the continually escalating statistics about marriages going sour? They seem to last less and less time, and families appear destined to suffer the trauma and pain of break ups and divorce. Obviously we are concerned about the effect of this on our children, but the original partners of the relationship clearly bear many painful consequences as well. And as we see the numbers rise, and watch our friends and family go through the depressingly familiar process of splitting in two, the question whether anything can be done about it makes itself heard more and more loudly.

History, Religion, Sex and Money

Historically, and particularly in the 1960’s, as society moved gradually from a patriarchal position to one that we might call slightly more egalitarian, divorce figures began to creep up as more and more women found themselves being able to get an education and have careers, or even just “jobs” outside of the home.

Along with patriarchy, organized religion suffered a blow as well, particularly in the western world, as growing numbers of people began rejecting the norms that had once held them safely within the confines of holy matrimony.

In addition, as the women’s movement gained momentum, biologically, and hence, sexually, women were further freed up from remaining with only one man with the advent of the pill during approximately the same timeframe. The double standard began declining in power, and with it, women took off on a run, intent on proving to the world that they could live as freely as men.

In the mid- to late 1970’s women also slowly began earning salaries that made it feasible for them to care for themselves and their children if need be without necessarily requiring the help of a male. (Before you send off indignant emails, please bear in mind that I am merely sketching in the broad outlines of a painting here…clearly, many women are still not in such a position, because salaries are still not balanced on the scale that lies between the genders, but for the purpose of this article, let us say that for some women it has become possible.)

Mass Media

Mass media played along as well in the two decades spanning the 70’s and 80’s, by showing us Sex and the City, rather than the home-spun down to earth sitcoms of the 50’s. In cinema Kramer vs. Kramer moved us to tears, quite removed from familiar, old standards such as High Society. Glossy magazines such as Cosmopolitan advised young women how to have orgasms in one night stands rather than how to organize a wedding reception, and books were published by the dozen with the central theme of women free from the constraints of a male-dominated society. And later, in the film When a Man Loves a Woman Meg Ryan and Andy Garcia showed us co-dependence, and the recent film Closer with Julia Roberts and Nathalie Portman made us look more closely at relationship triangles.

Finally, we were shown on a large scale that among prominent people, whether politicians, or celebrities from the world of cinema, art and high finance, women could marry and re-marry, or not marry at all and have children on their own, with one or several men, or even adopt children without the benefit of marriage.

Old Marriage – New Marriage

In a word: the old idea of marriage clearly no longer works, mainly because it no longer fits into the manner in which the world has changed and evolved, but no new ideas for marriage have emerged, at least, not any that show any real signs of working.

Gary Zukav (The Seat of the Soul), a proponent of spiritual psychology, suggests that one of the main reasons relationships, partnerships, and marriages are no longer working, is that although we try to put our new-found ideas into them, in the hopes that with these ideas, relationships will once again work, the minute we actually marry again, we fall back into our old patriarchal patterns in an almost undermining fashion, as though these patterns were inherent to the very institution of marriage. How many couples have not expressed the sentiment that their relationship was fine while they were living together, and only went down the hill when they decided to get married?

Zukav is not facetiously recommending that we do not marry, and hope that by just living together all will be well. Far from it. He is suggesting however, that the old institution of marriage is invested with some very profound patterns, and that in order to remove these patterns and put others in their place, we have to look to the very foundations of what we believe a marriage to be.

Partnership for the Purpose of Growth

Partnership for the purpose of survival in which the two parties do not necessarily see themselves as equals is a way of describing the old pattern. Partnership for the purpose of getting love and being happy is another way of describing the old pattern. The great mythologist Joseph Campbell (An Open Life) said that people think that relationships are about happiness. But they're not. They're about transformation. “It’s through the relationship that the development of each is taking place”. (The Hero’s Journey).

Gary Zukav suggests that the new pattern be partnership between equals for the purpose of spiritual growth. What this really means is that you start realizing that what is important to the well-being of your relationship is exactly the same as what is needed for your own spiritual growth. Each partner holds the pieces that the other is missing. If you are angry, suspicious, or jealous, for example, then these feelings bring up something in your partner that needs to be healed, and it is precisely that which is being mirrored in you. So you begin to see the importance of your partner’s interaction with you for your development (and vice versa).

So spiritual growth does not mean going to church or praying (although you can certainly do that, if you wish), nor does it mean that the importance of physical togetherness and contact is minimized. Quite the contrary. It enhances it. (See my article Sexual Energy). Spiritual growth does mean, however, that the common denominator of the relationship becomes the idea that both partners are in the relationship to grow (and love, and trust, and enjoy, etc., but with a continuous eye towards growth).

Eckhard Tolle (The Power of Now) puts it in slightly different terms. He says that when a relationship is not working, what was not conscious in each of the partners is being brought out into the light. He essentially means that by knowing (being consciously aware of) what is when things are difficult, the relationship becomes your “spiritual” practice, and through your knowing, you begin to react differently (i.e., consciously), and therein lies growth.

From Conflict to Transformation

Nick Duffel and Helena Lovendal (Sex, Love and the Dangers of Intimacy) and Eva Pierrakos (The Pathwork of Self-Transformation) make similar suggestions. They refer to the somewhat esoteric concept of relationship as teacher, or spiritual path which eventually leads to a process of transformation for both people. This gives the relationship a sense of purpose that differs immeasurably from the patriarchal or organized religion model. Duffel and Lovendal believe that a couple comes apart (with conflict) for a very specific purpose, so that they can build up a strong charge for the alchemical coming together again, physically, psychologically, and on all levels, as the relationship grows.

Can you do this in one day? Of course not. First you have to be willing to even look at a relationship as something more than a way to have another person so you can be happy (see my article Committed Relationships..). Then you would need to have a conversation with your partner to see what they feel about some of the ideas expressed herein. Then you can get to work. You might start by reading some of these or similar books, attending some workshops, seeing a therapist, learning how to become aware, and learning that you always have choices (see my article: Making Choices: Taking Responsibility for Our Lives).

What if you are young, have never been married, and dislike what you’ve seen out there? Your parents, your friends’ parents, you see so many other people who are in unhappy marriages or divorced. You may find that the ideas expressed here give you new insights. Marriage isn’t just to be happy, have the house, 1.85 kids, and live together happily ever after. There is a so much farther reaching purpose. Clients who come to my private practice and tell me they are not in a relationship, but are considering one, because they have met someone, only get encouragement from me. Why? Because being in a relationship is the second quickest way to grow. Being in a committed relationship is the quickest way.

Inner Life in Constant Flux

If you are in a marriage that is floundering, you might want to consider the ideas pointed out in this article. Don’t forget that your inner life is continually in flux, including the way you think about relationships. People don’t mature once, and then remain that way the rest of their lives. Likewise, they do not get married or get into a committed relationship and then maintain it exactly the way it was the day of the wedding or the commitment. Therefore, there is no reason why you can’t evolve your ideas of partnerships and look in new directions within the parameters of your current relationship along with your partner. Imagine getting a new set of stronger contact lenses or glasses. Imagine how they help you see the world more sharply, more clearly. So too, can you get another perspective on the real purpose of your marriage by considering the material in this article. The deep intrinsic satisfaction and happiness that come from psychological, emotional, and spiritual growth have few parallels.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Human Ovulation Captured on Film

In this very brief historical video, Belgian researchers have been able to capture the moment of human ovulation on camera for the first time.

New Scientist has this to say about the event:

"Following the publication last week of the best ever photos of the ovulation of a human egg, we now go, Fantastic Voyage-like, to the first video footage of the moment itself.

To record the sequence, Stephan Gordts and Ivo Brosens of the Leuven Institute for Fertility & Embryology in Belgium performed transvaginal laparoscopy, which involves making a small cut in the vaginal wall and observing the ovary with an endoscope.

"This allows us direct access to and observation of the tubo-ovarian structures without manipulation using forceps," says Gordts.

For the photos of ovulation, which only accidentally captured the critical moment, Jacques Donnez at the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) in Brussels, Belgium, used gas to distend the organs for photography. However, Gordts and Brosens planned the procedure to coincide with ovulation and used saline solution to "float" the structures." Read more

If you experience and difficulty viewing the video, please click here to see it directly on YouTube

Monday, June 16, 2008

Hormones, and Your Body's Balance - Yet Again

I wrote about Dr. Vliet back in October, saying this:

Dr. Vliet is a member of the International Menopause Society, the International Society of Gynecologic Endocrinology, American Society of Reproductive Medicine, the North American Menopause Society, and the American Medical Association. She is on the advisory board for The Alliance for Better Bone Health. Read her newsletter about this topic here.

Today I bring her to you again, due to her informative radio show about hormones and health.

The show is available via the Internet and there is no cost. Although it airs at a specific time, you can easily listen to archived shows.

Please, inform yourself!

Here are some of her latest topics (click on any of the live links below to go directly to the specific show, or, to download the MP3 file for any of the shows, to listen to at your leisure, click here):

Photo: Guipuzcoa, Basque Country, Spain

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Palm Tree Grown From a 2,000-year-old Date Stone

The Guardian recently published an article about a palm tree that is growing from a 2,000 yar-old date stone (pictured here in its current state).

Palm tree grown from 2,000-year-old date stone

An ancient seed that germinated after being recovered from the rubble of King Herod's pleasure palace has been dated as 2,000 years old, smashing the record for the oldest seed ever grown.
The seed was among three recovered during excavations at Masada, an imposing 2,044-year-old clifftop fortress on the edge of the Judean desert overlooking the Dead Sea.

Researchers planted the seed three years ago after treating it with hormone-laced fertilisers. To their surprise, it germinated and began to grow. The plant, dubbed the "Methuselah tree" after the oldest character in the Bible, now stands 1.5m tall.

Dates were such an important export from ancient Judea they were depicted on coins and came to symbolise the region. According to the historian Josephus, miles and miles of hand-cultivated date forests stretched from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea. Read more

A team of researchers led by Sarah Sallon, director of the Louis Borick Natural Medicine Research Centre at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem wrote about this in the journal Science.

Listen to an interview with Sarah Sallon on the germination, genetics, and growth of this ancient date seed here. This interview goes to the medicinal use of historical plants, as in the case of dates for their anti-biotic and anti-cancer, etc. treatment properties.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Radio Program July 2008

Once a month I will be posting the current list of topics for my weekly radio show.

This is what the July 2008 schedule looks like:

July 2: Using Technology to spy on your kids: Is there a better way to monitor what they are doing?
July 9: Being Compassionately Detached
July 16: The Purpose of Relationships
July 23: Shoes & Perspective
July 30: What does forgiving have to do with healing?

Click here for radio show archives from 2004-2008 (not all are up, but you'll find more than 100 different radio shows!).

The show airs weekly on Wednesdays from 11 – 12 noon CEDT (Central European Daylight Time) which is 6 hours ahead of New York, one hour ahead of London, the same time as Paris or Berlin (except at the end of October and March, where there tends to be a week of confusion, as not all countries change to daylight saving and back, and those that do, don't always do so on the same day).

See below for equivalent times in other locations.

Ways To Listen

1) LIVE on your radio dial OCI FM 101.6 (Costa del Sol) or FM 94.6 (Costa Blanca)
2) LIVE on the web Onda Cero (Once there, click on “Internacional” on upper right)
3) Listen to over 100 archived audio files on my website

Equivalent Times in Other Locations: (Locally: CEDT: Central European Daylight Time)

or go to http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html to convert from your time zone (some of these times may not be correct at certain times of the year):

11 pm – 12 midnight: Honolulu (locally Tuesday evening)
5-6 am: New York City, Miami, Montreal, Toronto, Nassau, Santo Domingo, Barbados
6-7 am: Rio de Janeiro
9-10 am: Reykjavik, Casablanca
10-11 am: London, Lagos
11-12 noon: (LOCAL) Madrid, Rome, Berlin, Paris, Warsaw, Tripoli, Harare, Cape Town
12-1 pm: Bucharest, Riga, Istanbul, Cairo, Amman, Kuwait City, Addis Ababa, Nairobi
12:30-1:30 pm: Tehran
1-2 pm: Moscow, Dubai, Baghdad, Seychelles
2-3 pm: Islamabad
2:30-3:30 pm: New Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai
4-5 pm: Hanoi, Bangkok
5-6 pm: Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Manila, Bali, Taipei, Perth
6-7 pm: Tokyo, Seoul
7-8 pm: Sydney
9-10 pm: Auckland, Fiji Islands

Digg! Add to Technorati Favorites

What Are Your Addictions?

I can just hear you saying: I don’t have any addictions. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t snort cocaine, and I certainly don’t shoot heroin. I don’t have any eating disorders and I don’t gamble.

Good. Glad to hear that.

Addictions Go Down Many Strange Byways

How about work? Have you ever had your partner complain that you spend too much time there?
  • How about shopping? Did you ever cringe when the credit card bills came in at the end of the month and you realized that once again you had spent far more money than you have?

  • Now how about judging other people? You do that more than just a bit? Like quite often? So that’s an addiction. Judging other people is something we can get addicted to. If you try to stop you will notice that it is almost as hard to do as saying good-bye to your cigarettes.

  • Then there’s criticizing others.

  • And stereotyping others.

  • And being a fitness buff way beyond just being healthy about your body.

  • Making money is a good one. There’s an addiction that masks as something totally different … perhaps even being responsible …

  • Socializing to the point of not wanting (or being able) to be alone.

  • Being a news junkie.

  • Remaining young … better said: wanting to remain young. So the addiction is going after whatever it is you believe will keep you young: creams, clothes, injections, surgery, retreats, sports, etc. None of these things by themselves are wrong, it’s the desperate and continued and addictive search to remain young that keeps you from your life. (see also these posts on my blog about this topic)

  • Complaining? (You might like to listen to my radio show about the subject … note that this particular audio clip will be up about the second week of July 2008)

  • Feeling blue … now how’s that for an addiction?

  • Feeling like you are a victim.

  • Not letting go of old wounds. (Check out Caroline Myss’ Woundology and my blog article about it Woundology).

  • How about being addicted to another human being? Can’t be without them? Need their presence? Feel like something is terribly wrong when they are not totally happy with you? This generally means someone we think we are in love with, but it could also be a child or a friend or anyone…stalkers of celebrities are an extreme example of this type of addiction. (See also my July 2006 Newsletter: I Need You…I Need You Not)

  • Blaming others. Uff … that’s one to write home about. You are allowed to get off scot free, as long as you have someone to blame. And as long as you do, you don’t really live your own life. (See also my November 2007 Newsletter: Grow in Richness: Stop the Blaming).

  • Living at any time other than the now; always moving into the past or the future in your thoughts (See also my January 2006 Newsletter: Living in the Now: Use it To Enrich Your Life and my May 2008 Newsletter: Where Are You Now?)

  • Addicted to hanging on to bad feelings

  • Being addicted to gossiping.

  • Social power. Being addicted to someone else’s social power. Being in the reflection of their sun. Rubbing shoulders with them, their social contacts, and the remainder of their entourage.

  • Not forgiving. (See also these posts on my blog about this topic)

  • Excusing others for their bad behavior. Not calling the shots when you should. Having unhealthy boundaries (see also my October 2007 newsletter: Finding it Hard to Love Yourself? Check Out Your Boundaries and my July 2007 Newsletter: Emotional Unavailability: An Introduction).

Not Me. No. Definitely Not Me!

No, no, you say to me. Those things you’ve been writing about in this article are not addictions. Now look here … if I judge or criticize another person, I have a good reason.

  • Look at those racists in that African country.

  • Or look at the lack of humanitarianism in the members of the regime of Myanmar after the cyclone hit.

  • Or look at my boss … he is so unethical … he simply takes all the credit for work we’ve all done as a team

  • And what about my daughter? She’s nuts … taking drugs and going out with those tattooed guys that wear earrings

  • And speaking of earrings … what about those teenage girls that get a diamond inserted into their belly button?

  • And don’t get me started on those women that let themselves go after they hit menopause
    And the pastor at my church! He has such an ego. All he wants to do is hear himself speak, so his sermons are far too long, And so boring.

  • So you can see I have very good reasons to judge others … I certainly don’t do any of that stuff!

Right. I’m sure you don’t. But you judge others for doing those things. And furthermore, you don’t seem to be able to stop doing so. All I’m trying to point out to you is that you have an addiction to judging other people.

Ok, you say, maybe you’re right. Since I have read what you wrote, I actually tried to stop judging or criticizing people – even if it was just in my mind, and I realized that it would be quite hard to do.

So what??
you ask.

Here’s what…

Becoming What You Truly Can Be

As long as you are addicted – to anything – you will not be able to become what you truly can become. You will be a splintered personality, as Gary Zukav called it in The Seat of the Soul. And the reason is because as long as you have addictions – of any kind – you are using the addictions to live your life for you. You use them to cope. You use them to cover up any difficult feelings. You use them to soothe yourself. You use them, in other words, to live your life for you, because without them, you are not able to. See also Making Choices: Taking Responsibility For Our Lives from my February 2006 Newsletter)

There is some analogy here to Eckhart Tolle’s pain body, or Chris Griscom’s emotional body, insomuch as they speak of the pull, the attraction, the seductive lure of that part of our life that causes us pain, because we know that place so well.

Your Addictions Live Your Life for You

Your addictions live your life for you because they make choices for you.

Here are some examples:

  • You send a letter or email via your assistant. Something is written incorrectly and you don’t catch it. It means a big loss to your bottom line. You rage at your assistant for his carelessness. By being addicted to blaming, your choice is to not take responsibility for your own part in the mess (the buck stops with you). Hence you have no insights about yourself and do nothing differently. And nothing changes.

  • Your partner is not pleased with the fact that you have an opinion that does not coincide with hers. She gives you the silent treatment for a week. You suffer abjectly. The pain is horrendous. You don’t know what to do to make your partner be nice to you again. Finally you apologize, even though you know you did nothing wrong, and a while later, life is good again. By hanging on to your addiction to feeling bad, your choice is to not take responsibility for your own part in the mess (your unhealthy boundaries). Hence you have no insights about yourself and do nothing differently. And nothing changes.

  • You wake up on the weekend you were planning to drive to the country for some down time. The weather has turned overnight and it’s raining and dark out. You phone a friend and begin to complain about the unfairness of life and you complain about the fact that on those rare occasions when you decide to take a few days for yourself, something always goes wrong. Then you complain about the fact that on top of everything else, your hot water heater broke down and you can’t have a hot shower. By hanging on to your addiction to complaining, your choice is to not take responsibility for your own part in the mess (your attitude). Hence you have no insights about yourself and do nothing differently. And nothing changes.

There is an excellent section on this whole topic of addictions by Caroline Myss on her CD set called Advanced Energy Anatomy.

How Can it Change?

This is not rocket science. If you’ve been following these articles I send out every month, you’ll know at least one or two of the steps: Become aware of your addiction/s. Make the choice to make different choices each time you become conscious of falling back into your addiction/s. In other words, you make the choice to become responsible for all of you. Becoming responsible for all of you literally means owning all of what you think, feel, say, and do. Owning it, means you deal with it as you think, feel, say, or do it, rather than using an addiction to deal with it.

Let me say that again: Owning it, means you deal with it as you think, feel, say, or do it, rather than using an addiction to deal with it.

By applying some will power to this process, you will become stronger and stronger in this department, and then you will do it automatically because the addiction will no longer be controlling your choices. And then you are on the road to self responsibility and above all, inner freedom

Friday, June 13, 2008

Mindfulness, Stress Reduction, And Healing

Jon Kabat Zinn, author of "Wherever You Go, There You Are" gives a talk at Google about mindfulness, stress reduction and healing.

Jon describes the revolution in medicine that has occurred over the past 30 years that has integrated the mind back into the body and developed a remarkable range of practices for integrating one's experience, reducing stress, healing the body, coping more effectively with emotions such as anxiety, anger, and depression, and cultivating greater well-being and happiness.

His work has been instrumental in bringing Buddhist meditative practices, as he likes to say, "without the Buddhism", to full acceptance within the mainstream of medicine, psychology, and health care, and has shown them to be effective in people suffering from a wide range of medical conditions.

Watch this video (1h 15m) here of Jon Kabat-Zinn addressing this hugely important issue.

If you have any difficulty viewing the video, please click here in order to see it on YouTube.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Eating Raw Food: Cancer Free

I've long been a proponent of a raw food diet, and although I can't say I'm totally there, I can say that I am on a journey there. The reasons are varied, and have to do with my intuitive sense of what health truly is for my own body, my lifelong interest (thanks to my mother) in eating healthy food in a healthy way, the results I have seen when I have actually gone totally raw (weight loss, deep sleep, incredible energy, both physical, psycho-emotional, and spiritual, and true joy in life).

I recently read about Brenda Cobb who founded and directs the Living Food Institute after having overcome the early stages of breast and cervical cancer without the use of drugs or surgery by following the simple principles of detoxification and nutrition. She also got rid of allergies, acid reflux, indigestion, arthritis, obesity, age or liver spots, and gray hair. Her eyesight even improved! She looks and feels 10 years younger than she did 10 years ago. Brenda now devotes her life to educating others in this wonderful truth.
Click here in order to listen to an audio (30 min) by her describing how she came to cure herself of cancer about nine years ago by switching to a raw food diet.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Moments That Take Our Breath Away

George Carlin - comedian of the 70's and 80's - wrote this very eloquent ... and so very appropriate article after the death of his wife.

A Message by George Carlin:
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints.

We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less.

We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time.

We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laughtoo little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up tootired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. Wetalk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.We've learned how to make a living, but not a life.

We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor.

We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things. We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul.

We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less.

We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait.

We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big menand small character, steep profits and shallow relationships.

These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes.

These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that doeverything from cheer, to quiet, to kill.

It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom.

Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.
Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.
Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.
Remember, to say, "I love you" to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.
Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.
AND ALWAYS REMEMBER: Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
George Carlin
This IS Society but we can BE the change if we choose! It starts from within ...

Sunday, June 8, 2008


I received this in my email INBOX the other day ...

A successful and ethical business man was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business.
Instead of choosing one of his directors or his children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young executives in his company together.
He said, 'It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you.
The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued. 'I am going to give each one of you a SEED today - one very special SEED. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO'.
One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed. Everyday, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing. By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn't have a plant and he felt like a failure. Six months went by-- still nothing in Jim's pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim didn't say anything to his colleagues, however. He just kept watering and fertilizing the soil.
He so wanted the seed to grow.
A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection. Jim told his wife that he wasn't going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick at his stomach, it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the board room. When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful--in all shapes and sizes.
Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him! When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives. Jim just tried to hide in the back.
'My, what great plants, trees, and flowers you have grown,' said the CEO.'Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!' All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot.
He ordered the financial director to bring him to the front. Jim was terrified. He thought, 'The CEO knows I'm a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!'
When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed - Jim told him the story. The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, 'Behold your next Chief Executive! His name is Jim!' Jim couldn't believe it. Jim couldn't even grow his seed. How could he be the new CEO the others said?
Then the CEO said, 'One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead - it was not possible for them to grow. All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it.
Therefore, he is the one who will be your new Chief Executive!'

If you plant HONESTY, you will reap TRUST
If you plant GOODNESS,you will reap FRIENDS
If you plant HUMILITY, you will reap GREATNESS
If you plant PERSEVERANCE,you will reap CONTENTMENT
If you plant CONSIDERATION,you will reap PERSPECTIVE
If you plant HARD WORK,you will reap SUCCESS
If you plant FORGIVENESS , you will reap RECONCILIATION
So, be careful what you plant now; it will determine what you will reap later.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Your Life Purpose

The meaning of your life is a subject I write about a lot, and it is a core point of all of that which I say to the clients who walk through the door of my practice.

In this video, Greg Mooers, a best-selling author and inspirational speaker, gives step-by-step instructions to finding your heart virtue and living your life passionately.

See also these related posts and articles:

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Criminalizing Natural Health, Vitamins, and Herbs

The website from which this video is taken is Health Freedom. I believe the topic is important enough for those of us who value freedom of choice in natural healing and alternative medicine and nutrition.

The Codex Alimentarius is a threat to the freedom of people to choose natural healing and alternative medicine and nutrition. Ratified by the World Health Organization, and going into Law in the United States in 2009, the threat to health freedom has never been greater. This is the first part of a series of talks by Dr. Rima Laibow MD, available on DVD from the Natural Solutions Foundation, an non-profit organization dedicated to educating people about how to stop Codex Alimentarius from taking away our right to freely choose nutritional health.

Quotes from this video:

what we’re talking about is waking up one morning and being very surprised to find that high potency therapeutically effective clinically significant nutrients are now illegal in the way that heroin is illegal. Not available with a prescription…illegal.”"we have recombinant bovine growth hormone and now we can choose milk with it milk, without it butter with it; butter without it…not under Codex. Under Codex every dairy cow on the planet must be treated with Monsanto’s recombinant bovine growth hormone. Furthermore, under Codex, every animal used for food on the planet, whether it has fins feet or feathers, must be treated with subclinical antibiotics.”

Codex requires…mandates that all food be irradiated. Unless it’s eaten locally and raw. All food including organic food of course. So is it organic afterwards? Well of course the organics standards incredibly are low. The organic standards allow a farmer to use veterinary drugs including growth hormones, antibiotics etc…on animals and then at his whim reclassify them as organic…

This video is 40 minutes long.

If you experience any difficulty viewing this video, please click here to go to the original website

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Taking Responsibility For Your Unhappiness


That is not a fun title.

Taking responsibility for your unhappiness sounds like there's no one and nothing left to blame. And that - of course - is what this is all about.

When you are unhappy, it is because you have chosen to be so due to someone not behaving the way you wanted them to, or something not turning out the way you might have it expected to. So life did not go your way. Things simply weren't the way you wanted them to be.

  • your partner forgot your wedding anniversary
  • your boss did not promote you
  • you wanted to go to the beach and when you opened the curtains, you saw it was raining
  • you expected to be able to find the car of your dreams for the budget you had stipulated, and then realized it would cost much more. So now you have to make do with a lesser car
  • you thought the person you had dinner with the first time two nights ago would call you by today, and they have not done so
  • you expected your son to help you with the garden this weekend and he went out with his friends instead
  • you expected your best friend to help you set up your party, and it turns out she forgot!
And so - understandably - you are unhappy.

And of course you believe you are unhappy because of what the other person did or did not do, or because of the situation that did not turn out the way you would have liked it to.

And that is precisely where you need to begin to take responsibility for your unhappiness.


By taking responsibility for your happiness. So if you are unhappy about something, you are the one who can change how you feel. Either by choosing to change how you feel about something. how you think about something, how you view something, or by choosing to do something that will raise your energy to levels where you are able to once again feel happy.

Your happiness is in your hands. If you leave it in the hands of the acts and deeds of others, or in the manner in which situations in your life turn out, you are not free.

Freedom implies being in charge of your happiness.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Hunger: UN Food Crisis Summit in Rome

The Secretary General of the UN stated this just moments ago at the Food Crisis Summit in Rome:

There is nothing more degrading than hunger, especially when it is man-made.

He also spoke of the 100,000,000 (one hundred million) persons globally suffering from hunger.

He said food production will need to increase by 50% by 2050 to keep up with need.

And he requested that nations who are limiting exports (to protect their own economies) should stop doing so, as this mechanism only serves to artificially increase food prices.

We are all one ... as long as one of us suffers, we all suffer.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Gandhi on Changing the World (and Yourself in the Process)

The Institute of Noetic Sciences, a web link I have had up for some time, offers a monthly ezine called I-Shift. By following the link you can sign up to receive your own copy.

In the June edition a timely précis of a longer article taken from the Positivity Blog is offered:

"This month we link to a beautiful Top Ten Fundamentals for Changing the World derived from study of Gandhi. We list the ten principles here, but you can follow this link to a longer article with full explanation:

1. Change yourself.
2. You are in control.
3. Forgive and let it go.
4. Without action, you aren't going anywhere.
5. Take care of this moment
6. Everyone is human.
7. Persist.
8. See the good in people and help them.
9. Be congruent, be authentic, and be your true self.
10. Continue to grow and evolve. "

Sunday, June 1, 2008

FDA Wants to Leave Hormone Replacement in the Hands of Major Pharmaceutical Firms

Wouldn't you know it!

Now it really looks as though major pharma might win this battle. Please make yourself aware of what is going on and why. If we - the consumer - don't do something about it, we could lose our possibility of purchasing bio-identical hormones.

Would this happen if a bio-identical viagra were available??

Critics say move would leave drug firms in charge of hormone replacement


Posted May 31, 2008 @ 09:10 PM

Peoria Heights pharmacist John Preckshot and compounding pharmacists across the country received a "warning" from the Food and Drug Administration to stop working with physicians on individualized formulations of bioidentical hormones using estriol.

The warning was in the form of an official letter to seven compounding pharmacists. Preckshot did not receive a letter, but the message clearly reached him and his entire industry.

Preckshot will be in Washington, D.C., this week visiting U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood and others, calling these letters a political move to squeeze compounders out of the market and leave hormone replacement entirely in the hands of major drug companies.

Dr. Jill Carnahan, one of a number of Peoria-area physicians prescribing bioidentical hormones, said she "absolutely" will continue to prescribe them.

"Certainly, politics is involved here. Since the Women's Health Initiative, more women and their doctors have been concerned about hormone replacement therapy," she said.

"Bioidentical hormones give women more options, and they are no more dangerous than what is already out there. I believe they are much safer. Pharmaceuticals are already using these compounds, and they just don't want the competition."

The FDA letters came after the pharmaceutical company Wyeth filed a petition with the agency asking that compounders be prevented from using estriol.

Preckshot said the issue is not a question of drug safety or effectiveness, but a move by major drug companies to maintain market share in the face of increasing numbers of women who are switching to bioidentical hormones.

Compounded bioidentical hormones cannot be patented, so there is little incentive for major pharmaceutical companies to market them, Preckshot said, noting that Wyeth, a leading manufacturer of synthetic female hormones, instigated this latest move against compounders.
Wyeth spokesman Doug Petkus said his company filed a petition requesting the FDA restrict estriol because it is not an approved product.

"It's the craziest thing," said Jeff Robins, a registered pharmacist and compounder with Preckshot. "Wyeth has sold estriol in Europe for years and years and knows it is safe. This is all about market share."

Petkus said the company sold estriol in Germany for a short period of time.

Robins said hundreds of local women who use bioidentical hormone replacement could lose that option if the FDA is not pressured to reverse its position.

LaHood spoke from Dubai, where he was on a Middle Eastern trip focusing on oil prices. He expects to be back in the capital Monday.

As a member of the House agriculture committee that has oversight over the FDA, LaHood is in a strong position to weigh in on this debate.

"John (Preckshot) has made a difference over the years, and I'm looking forward to talking with him about this. I'll be taking a careful look at what he tells me," LaHood said, noting that members of Congress are generally not experts on compounding pharmaceuticals and rely on credible experts like Preckshot.

Elmwood compounding pharmacist Cathy Windish estimates the number of central Illinois women potentially affected by this FDA position is in the thousands.

"This is ridiculous. It's the stupidest thing, and it is not based on science. Our position supporting estriol and bioidentical hormones is science based," she said, noting that Wyeth uses horse urine in its synthetic formulations.

"Look at the studies of the major drug manufacturers. They have the money to pay for many studies and then select only those that support their medications. As a scientist, I've seen how they shape their message," she said.

Windish believes the current move is in reaction to the growing demand by women and their physicians for bioidentical hormones.

"It's growing exponentially, everyday," she said.

One Peoria woman who switched to bioidentical hormones is Camy McLaren, who said her mother developed breast cancer after using a synthetic hormone replacement.

"She took Premarin for over 25 years. I knew I wanted to avoid that, but when I went to my gynecologist, she gave me Premarin when I hit menopause," McLaren said.

She switched doctors, and her new physician prescribed bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.

Ursula Schulz, a Peoria woman who has used bioidentical hormones for years, said, "I think this situation is awful. This is about a woman's right to choose."

In agreement is Peorian Susie Hall.

"This is about access to a customized bioidentical hormone made specifically for your needs vs. synthetic, one-size-fits-all hormones. It's really terrible, the government is trying to eliminate choice," Hall said. "It's all about money."

Robins said the FDA gets a large percent of its funding from leading drug manufacturers.
"The reality is, the majority of FDA funding comes from the manufacturers ... the people the FDA is supposed to be policing. That leaves the door open for a conflict of interest," Robins said. "What the FDA has done is not an official stance, but they've sent out letters of warning. It's basically a threat."

Preckshot left for Washington on Saturday on a lobbying trip planned by an organization called Patients and Professionals for Customized Care. He said he is looking forward to speaking with LaHood, who has a record of supporting small compounders.

LaHood was in the Middle East recently and could not be reached for comment.

Preckshot also will visit the offices of U.S. Sens. Barack Obama and Dick Durbin.

"Once again it's government intervention into what should be the right of patients and physicians to practice individualized health care," said Preckshot, who has worked in the pharmaceutical field for more than 30 years and has compounded for more than 20 years.

"Compounding is more responsive to individualized care. We have run into loggerheads with Big Pharma before. The big companies are watching the growth of compounding."

About five years ago, compounding represented just 1 percent of drug sales, but that has grown to 3 percent now as more doctors and patients demand alternatives to standardized commercially produced drugs, Preckshot said.

Clare Howard can be reached at 686-3250 or choward@pjstar.com.