Tag Archives: shannon williams

The Benefits of a Bilingual Personality

Diversity quiltSince living in Brazil and regularly writing and speaking in Portuguese, I’ve noticed my English speaking and writing personality (the one I’ve had my whole life) isn’t the same as my Portuguese personality (currently in the terrible two stage). I started looking into this more and actually discovered that this is super common for multilingual people.

I’ll share with you my experience having dual personalities and tell you why I think speaking 2 + languages is good for the soul!  Plus, it’s just plain cool to have more than one personality and not be hangin’ out in a psychiatric hospital!

  • You connect with others from the heart

I love using words to connect with others, but it’s nice and refreshing when the connection is based from a place of oneness. When you’re speaking your non-native language people focus more on the energy you give rather than the actual words you use. I think this is cool and it shows that while our minds are amazing tools that allow us to do so many great things (like your ability to read this right now), it’s great to just connect on a heart to heart level. The words, phrase structure, and exact understanding is secondary.

  • You face constant vulnerability, but discover refreshing freedom

Letting go of the need to control that you’re saying what you mean to say (in the way you hope to say it) makes you vulnerable. There is a huge opening for miscommunications (both small and large – and sometimes funny). But at the same time, you gain an exhilarating sense of freedom. My analytical English personality goes out the window. The most important thing to me, in that moment, is having a conversation and connecting with another person. What the person I’m talking to or someone around us thinks about me (based off my word choice, comprehension, or strong American accent) is none of my business.

When you 100% believe that , you easily see that the same principle translates into any language and any person you talk to in your life. That’s freedom baby! This reminds me of a popular affirmation, “The good or bad opinion of others doesn’t affect me”. Speaking another language can help you grasp this idea so much better – and as a result, you’ll be so much happier, at peace, and love yourself unconditionally!

  • You become more direct

I didn’t realize how non-direct I can be in English until Portuguese came into my life. I don’t play word games (not really sure how) or beat around the bush in Portuguese.  I say what I’m thinking and don’t hide behind being appropriate or polite (of course I’m never rude and my body language supports that), and I don’t phrase my words in a sly attempt at achieving the result I secretly hope for (come on, we all can be a little manipulative sometimes). I’ve discovered that I love being direct and it’s translating to my English personality too!

The real you has nothing to do with your job, language skills, where you live, how much money you have in the bank, what type of car you drive (or if you drive), or any other material and ego centered status. Your second language personality helps you see this more clearly. You realize that who you are truly is something beyond what you typically spend you days worrying or thinking about. The real you simply hangs out inside you, waiting for you to connect with its awesomeness.  It doesn’t have any problems, complaints, concerns, or worries. Connecting to the “real” you allows you to experience a more peaceful and rewarding time in the material world – regardless of your circumstances.

  • You have another avenue of self expression

After you realize that your personalities are not the real you (the real you is spirit and is innately connected to everyone and everything in the whole universe), you can choose to use your ability to communicate in more than one language as another avenue of self expression. This allows you to connect with more people, express yourself in different ways according to languages and cultures, and simply learn more about the depth of life.

Do you have multiple language personalities?  Can you relate to my experience? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.  

photo by: OregonDOT

5 Natural Remedies for Your Medicine Cabinet

powdered-ginger

If you consider yourself health conscious, you’re probably fed-up of using pharmaceutical medicines to ease every little ache, pain, or skin issue. In addition to all the chemical ingredients that make up conventional medicines (good luck trying to pronounce the names, let alone spell them), using lab created remedies leave you open to a plethora of unpleasant side effects. The most common, and dare I say “most pleasant” include nausea and vomiting, allergic reactions, drowsiness, and insomnia. It doesn’t end there, some of the strangest drug side effects include (brace yourself) inability to hold bowel movements, amnesia, vision changes, compulsive behavior, and birth defects. Seriously, that’s just not right.

Besides the possible side effects, most chemical-based medications only treat one symptom, so you’re stuck buying a ton of medicines and hoping they react OK together. Then they sit in your medicine cabinet for who knows how long and the next time you think about taking one they’ve already expired (has anyone else frantically researched drug shelf-lives at 2am?). All this adds up to a lot of wasted money, overflowing medicine cabinets full of chemicals, and the increased risk of side effects when you mix medicines together.

The great news (that we often forget about) is that Mother Nature has always had our back when it comes to combating many common health issues. While you might not be able to replace all your pharmaceutical meds right away, there are many easy, affordable, and all natural (really natural, not natural flavoring natural) remedies that can help you clean up your medicine cabinet. And the best part is that most natural remedies treat more than one ailment – so you’re not buying one remedy for every symptom (plus natural remedies often smell good, taste good, and are less expensive than the factory made medicines).

Lucky for us, there are many natural remedies available, but the following are my top 5 picks you need to know about:

1. Ginger

Ginger is a natural remedy powerhouse. This root plant boosts immunity, relieves nausea and motion sickness, has anti-inflammatory properties, increases metabolism which assists weight loss, aids in digestion, improves circulation, increases insulin sensitivity, and opens up the sinus passages. Ginger is available fresh, in powder, and pill form (such as Wakaya Perfection’s Ginger-Eze.) You can make a simple ginger paste to apply directly to your skin, take a daily pill (a homeopathic doctor prescribed this to me years ago to improve my circulation), or try some delicious ginger recipes (ginger tea and cookies perhaps?).

2. Bee Propolis

Propolis is a sticky resin used by bees to keep their hive together and protect it from outside dangers. Because of its function, bee propolis has strong anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties and is rich in flavonoids. Typically honey has trace amounts of bee propolis, but you can buy pure propolis as a liquid to ingest orally or directly put on your skin to treat minor cuts or sores. If you choose to take it orally (that’s how I always use it), it does have a strong taste so you might want to mix it with quality honey. I don’t travel without bee propolis and I always take it at the first sign of a cold.

3. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus is one of my favorite refreshing scents. Of course, it made the list because it’s a powerful sinus and chest decongestant, encourages breathing by opening up airways, and relieves achy and sore muscles. It’s easy to use and available fresh or as an essential oil. You can simply smell the oil, make a homemade vapor rub (minus the petroleum), massage the essential oil into your legs or sore areas, or add it to a hot bath. One of my favorite ways to enjoy eucalyptus is a drinking a fresh eucalyptus martini (I told you natural remedies could taste good too)!

4. Dilo Cream

If you haven’t heard of dilo cream, you’re not alone. Dilo cream is made from the oil of the dilo tree – called the tree of a thousand virtues – which only grows close to ocean water in the Pacific and tropical regions of Africa. Dilo cream is becoming a popular natural skin remedy because its magical ingredient, calophyllic acid, is only found in dilo oil. Calophyllic acid enhances your skin’s own repair system – this means better hydration, firmness, elasticity and less appearance of lines and wrinkles. It also soothes sunburns, rashes, insect bites, and various skin irritations.

5. Garlic

Garlic makes the list because it’s easily available worldwide, full of natural healing properties, and it’s really had my back the last couple of years. Garlic strengthens the immune system, fights colds and infections, treats hypothyroid conditions, combats bad cholesterol, provides a good dosage of B6 to create new cells and ward off mood swings, regulates blood sugar, and keeps mosquitoes away. Garlic is available in pills, powders, and fresh. It’s great to cook with and you can use it directly on your skin.

Have you tried these natural remedies before? What other ones do you swear by? I’d love to have a conversation in the comments below.

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The Secret to Sticking with Anything

Pedra do Bau [Climb]How many times have you started something new (exercise routine, meditation schedule, writing that book, a new project), got pumped and excited about it, and then within a few weeks or months it slowly faded into a faraway memory? It’s normal and happens all the time. Gyms plan that every January 1st memberships will soar due to New Year’s Resolutions and then by March and April it’ll be back to mostly regulars.

It’s not that these people are slackers or don’t care about their body. What’s really going on is their level of commitment isn’t high enough. That’s because any goal, intention, or desire takes time to evolve into something that you care enough about to make the required level of commitment.

So what’s the required level of commitment? The secret to sticking with any goal is having a solid 100% commitment. (I would say 110% to emphasis how big this level of dedication is, but doing that has always been a major pet peeve of mine.)

It’s very important that your commitment isn’t 99.9999999%, but it’s 100%. Why? Because, even with a 99.9999999% commitment, you still have a little opening to rationalize and talk yourself out of the action. This is not because you’re a bad person, it’s because all change involves some discomfort. If given even a slither of space to choose comfort over discomfort, you’re more likely to choose comfort.

That little .0000001% of space allows for talk like this: “I don’t feel like it today”, “I’m so busy with work ”, “there’s just a lot going on right now”, or my personal favorite (because I’ve it used for years) “I’ll just do it tomorrow and get back on track then.”

When you have 100% commitment to something, feeling like doing it has no importance on whether you do it or not. There is no option; it’s in many ways liberating because you make it a non-negotiable. You don’t give yourself the burden of having to choose every day. Then one day it’s become a habit that moved from your non-comfort zone to your comfort zone!

To make a 100% commitment, it’s important to always focus on the WHY of the commitment. Why do you want to commit to having some discomfort for a while? It’s the why that will get you to a place where you can be 100% committed to something. And it often takes a little time (or a lot) for everything to click and your why to become so clear and strong that the required 100% commitment is there.

For example, I’ve practiced meditation on and off for almost 15 years, and while I always ended a session feeling amazing, I couldn’t seem to stick with my commitment to do it daily. It was only when I was ready to eliminate all excuses (and this came after something “clicked” inside and I knew I needed it every day to express my highest self, which became a priority), that I could make the 100% commitment.

Don’t put yourself down if you haven’t been able to have the motivation or commitment to stick with something, but examine the WHYs. From that awareness, you can make 100% commitments to things that align with you and your unique values and path.

In what areas do you want to be more committed and why? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.  

The Best Way to Detox After Swimming in a Hotel Pool

keep cool on the swimming poolWhether you’re going on a quick getaway, a fun family vacation, a sightseeing adventure, or visiting family or friends, traveling can be both fun and therapeutic. If you’re staying at a hotel with a pool, it might seem as if the pool is calling your name. While lounging at the hotel pool can definitely be a form of mental detox (no meetings, no computer, no deadlines), it’s important to remember that your skin and hair aren’t feeling that same relaxation.

It’s essential that hotel pools are kept disinfected and clean; we’re all grateful to not share a stranger’s germs or be exposed to harmful bacteria. However, to keep water born bacteria and germs out, most hotel pools rely on chlorine (as well as monitoring PH levels, which affect the disinfecting power of chlorine). If this makes you think of household bleaching products known for “whitening your whites”, you’re on the right track. An active ingredient in both chlorine disinfectant for pools and bleach for household use is sodium hypochlorite. However, they are not interchangeable (they contain different amounts of sodium hypochlorite and pool chlorine contains calcium). While the Health Department regulates the amount of chlorine allowed for use in pools since it is a toxic chemical, many people still experience negative effects of the chlorine after only a short time in a swimming pool.

The most common effect of pool water is drying of the skin and hair. Since water itself is drying on your body (as it evaporates it takes with it your natural oils), when your skin and hair absorb the chlorinated pool water, your body hydration really takes a hit. You’re likely to notice itchy, dry skin and hard to comb, dull looking hair.

Some people also experience skin rashes, eye irritation, the lingering “pool smell”, and increased acne (although other people claim their acne clears up due to chlorine’s drying effect). Pool water can also get into your hair shaft and cause changes in hair color. This can be especially noticeable if you color your hair – think the greenish or brassy look. Nobody wants that! But if you’re like me and have a lot of hair coloring experience (I’ve been almost every shade in the book), you can probably relate to this one.

Now that you know the not so pleasant side effects of chlorinated pool water, you might be surprised to know that the best way to detox after swimming in a hotel pool is very simple: thoroughly rinse your whole body (skin and hair) immediately after getting out. This rinse washes away the chlorine that is stuck on your skin, eyes, ears, and hair so less gets absorbed by your body.

Have you noticed that some hotels have freestanding shower-heads by the pool or a changing room with a shower? It’s for you to rinse off both before and after swimming. If your hotel doesn’t have a shower by the pool, go directly to your room for a shower. Don’t make your shower steaming hot though, as too much steam can open your pores and let some chlorine into your body through your skin.

vitamin-cSome hotels are even utilizing Vitamin C showers to help wash away the chlorine on your body and remove any chlorine in the shower water. Delos Living, a new company that’s combining cutting edge discoveries in medical research, engineering, and technology to create a new standard of “wellness real estate,” recently partnered with MGM Grand Hotels in Las Vegas to offer a number of Stay Well rooms. These rooms have shower water infused with vitamin C to neutralize chlorine and promote healthy hair and skin, as well as a number of other amenities designed to promote personal health and wellness.

I experienced the dreaded hotel swimming pool effects first hand last week on vacation. The hotel I stayed at had a roof top pool with a bar (see how pools can call your name), so I had to check it out! While I only stayed in the pool for a short time and didn’t get my hair wet, I immediately noticed when I got out that my skin was dry and I had a bit of the pool smell. My hotel didn’t have a shower by the pool, but I quickly went to my room to rinse off and apply lotion.

Besides detoxing with a thorough rinse immediately after you swim, shower with a natural soap, be sure to put plenty of conditioner on your hair, use a moisturizing lotion on your body, consider showering or rinsing off before you swim (this creates a protective barrier from the chlorine), and always, always stay hydrated with good quality water.

Now that you know how easy it is to detox after swimming in a hotel pool, go enjoy that much needed (and deserved) vacation!

 

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photo by: Julien Haler

Dreaming of My Dad Years After His Death

HeartLast night I dreamed of my dad. I wish I could say I remember all the details, but what I remember is enough. I woke up with a smile. Since my dad died 4 years ago from pancreatic cancer, I’m always happy when I dream of him.

I feel his energy and presence around me all the time when I’m awake: writing, reading, crying, laughing, walking on the beach, driving, meditating, and, of course, during savasana. Oh, sweet savasana! But when I’m asleep and I dream of him, those times take me by the biggest surprise because it’s normally unexpected (I’m not thinking about him when I go to bed or asking for him to show up in my dream).

I always wake up from one of these dreams thinking how normal it felt, as if the dream scenario was 100% real. Of course, it is real – real in another dimension than the physical plane we occupy now. I guess that’s what makes it so difficult to understand, because there are no big “aha” moments in these dreams. We are normally just hanging out as we did when his physical body was still here. Sometimes he is healthy, other times he is sick, but the dreams typically feel ordinary.

I have to admit, one thing that always nags at me the next morning is why. Why did I dream of him? What does it mean? I’ve always been a curious person, and I wish I knew why I dream of him sporadically and if there is a deep meaning behind it.

There are many schools of thought regarding the meaning of dreams. Dreaming of him could be a survival instinct to refocus on cherishing the physical realm relationships I have now. I could unconsciously be thinking of him more than I realize, and that’s why he shows up in my dreams. Of course, it could be Dad just dropping in to say “hello”. Or, it could mean nothing at all (although, that would admittedly be a downer).

I guess regardless of what it means, I am happy when he is in my dreams. Yes, sometimes it may make me sad and miss him, but I know I’m lucky to even have these dreams. I cherish them.

Years ago, I eagerly visited a shaman to ask him some deep, life questions. I was at peace when I left, but not because he answered my questions. Turns out, he told me I simply ask too many questions. I’ve always remembered that and understood what he was teaching me: There are many ways to “know” things, and they don’t always appear in ways our brains and minds can understand. My dream questions remind me of this. Of course, I am still intrigued with the why and what, but for now, I’m just happy to “see” my dad in my dreams.

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