Is it impossible to relish yourself in high heels and enjoy being fashionable but still be taken seriously? That’s a battle I wage constantly, but I maintain that being true to yourself and how you want to present yourself does not deter from your spiritual journey.
A miracle if we ever heard one: Erica Nigrelli, a high school English teacher, collapsed inside her classroom at 36 weeks pregnant. A school nurse, assistant, and athletic teacher quickly began CPR and used a defibrillator to restart Nigrelli’s heartbeat. She was rushed to the hospital with her husband – a fellow teacher – at her side, and her baby was delivered by emergency cesarean. But Erica was essentially dead; there was no heartbeat.
Watch this video to hear how both mom and baby ended up surviving this horrible incident, largely thanks to the three heroes who jumped to Erica’s aid:
Erica had an undetected heart defect that caused her to collapse at 36 weeks. Though we don’t know exactly the condition Erica suffered from, there are several things to note about heart conditions during pregnancy.
According to Heart cardiology journal, congenital heart disease is the most common heart defect, with roughly 1% of newborns diagnosed with this condition. Thanks to modern methods in cardiac surgery, more infants than ever – over 90% – survive to adulthood. There is a population of at least 1 million adults in the United States living with congenital heart disease. Due to the dangers of this disorder, many patients are advised against pregnancy, altogether, though many are able to carry babies to term. Consider, though, that pregnancy already entails increased heart rate, lowered blood pressure, and increased blood volume – all of which can put strain on the heart and exacerbate existing conditions. The challenge isn’t necessarily insurmountable, but it is definitely something to discuss with doctors and partners.
What can you do to minimize the risk?
- Schedule an appointment with a cardiologist before conceiving (or early in your pregnancy so that you’ll know what you’re dealing with)
- Get plenty of rest
- Minimize stress as much as possible
- Pay attention to any warning signs – shortness of breath, fainting, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, bloody coughing
- Adequately prepare for labor, which might include planning to deliver at a birth center that specializes high-risk pregnancy, temporarily moving or staying closer to your place of delivery (to minimize labor stress), and hiring a doula for extra support
Do you have any experience with heart defects and pregnancy? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!
Every now and then, miracles happen. People recover from debilitating illnesses; communities rebuild after disasters; relationships repair after huge rifts. This week, the country witnessed another kind of miracle, one few would dare to dream of. Amanda Berry and two other women who went missing almost a decade ago were rescued and safely returned to their families. Berry was just 17 when she was kidnapped and held captive, allegedly by three brothers in the Cleveland area. Now a 27-year-old woman, Berry returned to her family this morning along with her 6-year-old daughter, born in captivity.
As if that weren’t enough for today’s dose of inspiration, another intriguing facet of this story is the unlikely hero who reportedly discovered the women. Charles Ramsey is a neighbor of the men who are believed to have kept Berry and the other women captive for nearly 10 years, and he said he never would have suspected that such a crime was being committed so close by. On top of that, another neighbor, Angel Cordero, claims that he was the real savior, and that Ramsey only appeared on the scene later. Either way, this is a remarkable story and one that, regardless of the details, certainly has a happy ending.
Charles Ramsey’s interview with Cleveland’s local ABC news outlet has gone viral on YouTube, and out of this has blossomed an entire series of spinoff videos. These should in no way make light of the amazing power behind the original, but we can’t help but celebrate the amazing creativity people never cease to display on YouTube and elsewhere. Here are three versions of Ramsey’s interview: the original and two re-makes. Let us know which one you like best!
Here’s to Amanda Berry, the other women released from captivity, and their rescuers, whomever they may be!
In my book Spirit Junkie I share the story of my experience visiting the famous medium from Brazil know as, John of God. Yesterday, Oprah Winfrey featured John of God on her OWN TV show, Next Chapter. Oprah’s visit to Brazil inspired me to share my John of God experience with you. In this video I tell the story of how this miracle man guided my spiritual awakening, reorganized my plans and changed my life forever.
Do you believe in miracles? Have you ever witnessed one?
The lines often blur between what constitutes miracle, coincidence, synchronicity, and plain science. There are of course certain scientific principles that govern much of the universe, but even the purists out there can’t deny that life is remarkable and sometimes brings us beyond logic. In this week’s episode of “Holy Facts” on The Chopra Well, Gotham Chopra explores what it means to call something “miraculous,” starting with some bizarre phenomena in recent current events.
Before we go any further, let’s take a look at the enduring role of miracles in human history. Nearly every religious and spiritual tradition known to anthropologists has some kind of origin myth, characterized by a miraculous explanation for how the world and humankind came to be. It could be said that origin myths are, in fact, a defining feature of religion, setting it apart from other communal cultural systems. Whether the land grew off of a turtle’s back or an omnipotent Creator made all of existence in a matter of days, the origins of our world and species are the subject of countless miracle stories. (And that’s not to say that none of them is true, per se, but rather that we are no strangers to the miraculous.)
On a smaller scale, what about extraordinary occurrences in the everyday? Open the newspaper on a given day and you are bound to read about this miraculous recovery, or that unexplained phenomenon, or some synchronistic event, too wonderful and bizarre to even begin to dissect. How did a four-year-old in Colorado fall three stories and land on his feet? How, as Gotham describes, did a paralysed cyclist regain use of her legs after being struck by a car? A strictly science-minded person might say we just don’t know enough yet, but that science will certainly explain away the so-called “miraculous” in due time. Perhaps. But in the meantime, does it hurt to allow room in our worldviews for suspension of logic? By it’s very definition a miracle implies wonder, awe, and marvel. All things we could use more of in this age of skepticism.
As Gotham points out, our very ability to use logic and reason, invent technologies, and be aware of our own awareness are proof enough that the world is full of miracles. Existence, itself, is remarkable, whether we got here on a turtle’s back or evolved over billions of years from a single-celled organism.
Subscribe to The Chopra Well for more strange and miraculous “Holy Facts” every week!
From the confines of a hospital bed, what options do you have to move around? Wires, tubes, sheets, and monitors all conspire to keep the body still and safe, but the inactivity can be agonizing. Many of us take our freedom of motion for granted, and the painful lack only hits home when we are seriously ill or injured and unable to move.
Artist Yuko Kodama found herself in this predicament when she learned she had a rare and aggressive form of cancer in her mouth. The latest episode of The Chopra Well show, Urban Yogis, features Yuko’s story and the role yoga played her recovery. A yogini for over sixteen years, Yuko lay in her hospital bed, desperate to move and stretch her body. In an amazing moment of inspiration, Yuko closed her eyes and began doing her Ashtanga yoga practice in her head. “This is great – I don’t even need a body to do yoga!”
In addition to her other treatments, this imagined yoga practice helped Yuko develop the strength and confidence needed to fight her illness. Back to her paintings, her family, and her regular Ashtanga practice now, Yuko is almost in full remission from the cancer. She credits her yoga practice for why she’s alive today!
Yoga is certainly a physical practice and can be a great way to work on strength and flexibility. But many seasoned yogis and instructors will tell you that breathing and mindfulness are at the heart of the practice. You can deepen your breath, quiet your thoughts, and imagine a vinyasa sequence in your mind’s eye, and the effect might be quite similar to if you were sweating it out on the mat.
So next time you’re sick in bed, cramped in a tiny airplane seat, or feeling antsy on the subway, try Yuko’s method. You may feel stuck and anxious to move, but with a healthy imagination, there is no limit to what you can do.
Read last week’s story about New York teenagers practicing yoga to overcome violence and tragedy.
Subscribe to The Chopra Well and stay tuned for our upcoming interview with Russell Brand on yoga and overcoming addiction.
Bringing an End to Judgment
“When you bring an end to judgment, you bring an end to an entire way of living. This is no small thing. This is a life-changing shift in attitude and behavior. This is a miracle.
But how does one perform this miracle? That is the question to which everyone wants an answer. Please, then, pay very close attention to what I am going to tell you now: The way to move out of judgment is to move into gratitude.”
Happier Than God
Neale Donald Walsch
Humanity’s Team World Wide Coordinating Director
Research shows that if you wear glasses that make everything look upside-down, your eyes will eventually adjust so that everything looks right-side up again. And if you take off the glasses, then your eyes will adjust again.
Research also tells us that you can read words with most of the letters completely mixed up:
“Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a tatol mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.”
Researchers have estimated that the eye can transmit data to the brain at an astonishing rate of 10,000,000 bits per second. Yet the most common remedy for healing even long scratches across the very complex, vital eye is simply to keep the eye bandaged closed for a few days and give the eye a chance to heal itself.
And that’s just the wonder of your eye! YOU in your completeness are a fully formed miracle. As we start a new week, may you treat yourself with the honor and gentleness that such a miracle deserves!
Thank you My God
Thank you my God
To have given me parents
whom give me the life in my birth’s day
And support me and educate me
Even if I don’t respect them,
As well as the values that they inculcate to me
And that work and the love which they provide.
Forgive them, Seigneur
Their incomprehension and their carelessness,
Their impatience, their excesses of protections,
Their angers, their suitability, and their madness.
Thank you my God
To have given me teachers
Even if I do not take account of the councils,
Remarks and methodologies
That they give me for better progressing
Towards my autonomy and my blooming.
Forgive them, Seigneur
Their loss of patience, their lack of pedagogy,
Their absenteeism, their lack of means and tact,
Their awkwardness, their sadisms and their routs.
Thank you my God
To have given me brothers and sisters
To help me on the long road of the life,
To take care on me and my close relations
Even if I cannot put myself at their service,
To listen to and communicate my emotions to them.
Forgive them, Seigneur
Their sourness, angers, their revenges,
Their ingratitude, their fears, their selfishness,
Their intolerance, their ignorance and their brutality,
Their jealousy, their dissatisfactions and their indifference.
Thank you my God
To have given me the life and its plenitude
Because it is the most beautiful gift which you give us
Even if I cannot benefit from it fully,
To thank you for this gift and to find a direction there
By affirming my true personality and my values.
Forgive us, Seigneur
My paralyses, my fears and my laziness,
My selfishness, my opposition to progress, my refusal,
My lack of respect, my indifference
My lack of life and desire and my brutality.
Thank you Lord
To have given me the Earth and its species
To place me, nourish me, equip me,
Me envier, to allow me to develop,
My faculties, my directions, our technology and sciences
Even if we attacking it, pollute it and control it.
Forgive us, Seigneur
Not to respect its biodiversity, its environment,
Its natural character, its calms, its wonders, its softness,
Its plenitude, its charm, its humanity and its authenticity.
Lastly, thank you my God,
To have sent on me your Very Holy Spirit of Love
To be able to fight against temptations
which appease me,
Against the injustices, the intolerance
and the lowness of the world,
Against all the evil which humanity can put in the hearts,
To become each day increasingly
more human and courageous
To face the life, its tests, of the pains
and its misfortunes,
And to give and share all the love
and the happiness which comes from you,
Even if I cannot benefit from it
to make bear fruit my talents
To drive out my demons, to protect the life,
And to give my life and my love.
Strengthen in us, Seigneur
The seven gifts of your spirit
so that we became always better:
These are the seven seeds
that you cultivate in our
seriously soiled hearts
To discreetly try to convert us
of all your forces of Love
Because you loves us so much
and does not like really
to see us destroying us,
Us to divide, us to exterminate,
us to scorn, us to move away,
us to harm,
Us to be unaware of, us to hate,
Us to forget, us to swindle, us to control,
Us to tear, us enter killing, us to avenge, us to relieve and ridicule us .