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Letting Go of Emotional Suffering
“Get over it!” “Let it go!” “Move on!” Easier said than done, right? Emotional suffering is something that we are all bound to experience. Did you know that 1 in 5 adults in America suffers from a diagnosable mental health condition? It is hard to free yourself of past mistakes, feelings of shame, the pain of broken relationships, guilt, and grief. While it’s normal to get upset or have a bad day, you really shouldn’t unpack your bags and live in that emotional space, which, unfortunately, many people do. Holding onto your anger, sadness, or frustration for an extended period of time has many adverse effects on both the mind and body. As a society, we are taught to easily recognize signs of a heart attack or stroke - maybe we need to do a better job of recognizing the symptoms of emotional suffering so we can help ourselves and others before it’s too late. Suicide is now taking more American lives than highway accidents per year, and if we, as a society, learn the signs of emotional suffering, we can do a better job at getting people the help that they need and deserve.
Some of the noticeable physical effects of mental strain that should act as a warning if you see them in yourself or others include:
Everything listed here can negatively affect your overall quality of life and can be long-lasting unless you learn to embrace and address your suffering.
To begin the healing process, one first must invite the pain and welcome it into your world, releasing yourself from fear of suffering. By exploring that emotion, you can reach its source and understand its root cause, a freeing experience. Accept what is, and don’t deny your thoughts and feelings. Allow them to exist and acknowledge them - there is a reason you’ve hung onto them for so long. Once you’ve accepted them, you can move on to getting help, inviting happiness, joy, and satisfaction into your life.
Start by practicing self-love. Speak kindly to yourself and surround yourself with people who also talk kindly to you and others. Engage in relationships that are mutually supportive and sever ties with toxic people who bring out the worst in you or bring you down. You get to choose your tribe!
Don’t isolate yourself from good people. When you’re ready, reconnect with friends, volunteer, and say “yes” to social activities. You can ask for support without having to discuss what’s troubling you. Try to practice mindfulness through meditation, yoga, and deep breathing.
Focus on taking care of your body. Make a conscious effort to get good sleep, eat a balanced diet, exercise, and stay hydrated. Get outside and take a walk or go for a hike! Being in nature is an excellent way to check in and reconnect with yourself. Listen to upbeat, positive music - and dance! All of these things work to repair your nervous system, bringing you an overall sense of wellness.
Above all, remember that you are not alone, and by facing your pain, you’re likely to inspire others to address their own suffering more courageously. You’ve suffered long enough. Don’t allow negativity to hold you back any longer! Use it to propel you in a new, positive direction. Happiness is available if you choose to let go of your past. You are a warrior. Be brave. Stay strong.
“We do not heal the past by dwelling there; we heal the past by living fully in the present.” ~Marianne Williamson
Gold panning has been one of my favorite hobbies since I was a kid! Most of the time, it requires a lot of hard work, but it is easy to learn, and the rewards are awesome - it is also a blast!
Now, you can't just go to any river or area and find gold. It does take a little bit of knowledge and time. Usually, the best places to find information about gold-bearing areas and prospecting in your area is your local and national clubs. You don't have to join a club, but I would highly recommend it. Most of them can offer advice, equipment, and give you access to club-owned claims. They even have monthly outings, which will help you get started on finding gold. So let's talk about the equipment and tools you are going to need to get started. I would consider these to be essential for anyone who is just starting out. You are going to want:
- Gold Pan
- ½ Classifier
- Small Garden Trowel
- Small Prybar/screwdriver
- Sniffer Bottle
- 5 Gal bucket
Alright, so we've got our basics now. I would recommend you start in an area with a stream. Water isn't a necessity when panning for gold, but it makes everything ten times easier. You will also want to make sure that you are not going to be on someone else's claim and/or private property - get permission in advance if needed. Once you get to the water, you will want to scan the stream for areas where the water would have slowed down. Gold is heavy, and when the current of the stream slows down, the gold settles to the bottom. Things I look for when panning are big rocks, eddies, or cracks. Start by digging in these areas or scraping out cracks. What you are looking for is hard, compacted soil, gravel, and clay. This is where your gold is going to get stuck.
Once you find this type of material, place your Classifier over your pan. As you are digging and scraping place material into your Classifier and gold pan. If you want to make things easier, you can put your Classifier on top of your 5-gallon bucket and scoop it into the bucket. I have a rule when I gold pan, and that is to never fill my pan more than two thirds full. If you add too much material, it makes it more challenging to pan properly
and causes you to lose gold.
For a beginner, I would say start with about a third until you get the hang of it. Now that we have some material in our pan, we will want to submerge our pan and Classifier in the stream. Make sure the Classifier is over your gold pan and give it a rough shake. This will cause all the smaller materials to drop out the bottom and into your pan. Take some time after to carefully inspect your Classifier for large nuggets that might not have made it through, and then set it aside.
Now you are going to grab your pan with both hands and shake it side to side. You want to agitate the material so that the gold drops to the bottom of the pan. Slowly tilt your pan forward, allowing the material to slide to the edge of the pan, but not out. Any gold should be at the bottom of the pan at this point. Take one hand, scrape any larger material off the top of the surface, tilt the pan back flat, and give it another shake. Tilt your pan forward once again, this time dip the pan in and out of the water three to five times, allowing the lighter materials to wash off. Repeat this process until you have about half a cup or less of material.
At this point, you should see quite a bit of black sand and possibly some gold. To separate the gold from the black sand, fill your pan with a small amount of water and shake the material you have left in your pan into one spot. Give your pan a gentle swirl, letting the water go over your material. It will create a tail of black sand, leaving your gold at the tip. Grab your sniffer bottle and suck up the gold into the bottle keeping it safe. That's it! It takes technique, but anyone can pan for gold!
The most diverse group among plant classifications is angiosperms. These are plants that produce a flower. There are 300,000 different species of flowering plants. The first flowering plants are believed to have diverged from conifers about 120 million years ago. The reproductive organs of angiosperms are the flowers. For these flowers, the male reproductive element is the stamen, and the female is the pistil. When the two meet, a seed is produced.
Pollinators are the animals that transfer pollen from one plant to another. There are about 200,000 animals that act as pollinators worldwide. They are responsible for pollinating approximately 75% of the plants grown for food, beverages, and medicines. Flowers developed over time to attract different pollinators. For example, Magnolia trees evolved before bees, and therefore depend on a beetle for their pollination. The structure of their carpel is harder than in most flowers to allow it to withstand the damage the beetle’s mandibles could cause. The beetles are attracted to the protein-rich pollen that the magnolia produces.
When you think about pollinators, you probably think about bees. They are by far one of the top pollinators worldwide. The flowers that attract bees are full of nectar. They have brightly colored petals that are often blue or yellow, smell sweet, are open in the daytime, or have a landing platform. You may find it surprising that the largest pollinators (by size) are lemurs! Found on Madagascar, they are the primary pollinator of the Traveler’s Palm trees (ravenala madagascariensis). These trees can be up to 40 feet tall. As they reach in with their face and snout to get the fruit of the tree, they are covered in pollen, which they then transfer to the next flower.
When you are growing flowers, it is essential to know how the plants are classified by their growth cycle. Annuals are plants that only have a one-year life cycle. They tend to bloom longer than perennial plants and go to seed. They can self-seed and come back the next year, but it is not reliable. Perennial plants return more than two years in a row. They are further divided into herbaceous and woody plants. Herbaceous plants have a green stem and die back to the ground each year, while woody plants have woody stems that remain above ground. Trees and shrubs are considered woody perennials. These plants don’t flower as long as annuals, but they can survive for many years.
Biennials are plants that have a two-year life cycle. The first year they are a green plant and the second year they grow flowers and produce seeds, and then they die. Foxgloves and Hollyhocks are examples of biennials. Some plants are perennial in warmer climates and annuals in colder climates. If you live in a colder area, they may come back depending on winter conditions.
Without going into the scientific naming process of plants, many commercial plant growers are cultivating plants that are hybrids, and they are often sterile. In some cases, creating a non-reproducing version has been necessary to allow some invasive plants to be grown in a typical garden setting. However, as beautiful as these are, they could deprive wildlife of some natural sources of food. There has been a lot of push towards growing natives plants for your native wildlife.
Flowers, to me, are the reward of gardening. When I plant flowers, it feels like I succeeded. Hopefully, your plants will reward you with a beautiful flowering this year!
Meditation can take on many forms, from simple Grounding all the way to Transcendental meditation. Every kind of meditation is designed to help you relieve stress and focus on the now. I was always told that depression was looking back, and anxiety was looking forward. That is not always so, but that concept helps remind me to focus on the now.
Grounding meditation is when you notice the things holding you up and the air flowing in and out of you with each breath. Let your thoughts move through you without judgment and without fixating.
Another form is Focused Meditation, where you try to focus on just your breathing. Gently let wandering thoughts go and return focus to your breathing. Eventually, you will stop even thinking of your breath and find yourself in a place of peace, where nothing is running through your head - just the quiet of the now.
Insight Meditation is when you use the practice of meditation to develop qualities in yourself. You set an intention of what you want and focus on it throughout your practice.
Body Scan: This is when you focus on your whole body - the sensations, the feelings, the tightness, or discomfort - and slowly move your focus from the top of your head to your toes. It can do wonders to help your muscles relax without moving at all!
There are so many more, what kind of meditation do you like?
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