Words of wisdom from a cancer, stroke, kidney transplant survivor

I have a loved one,  who is sooooo AMAZING, that she just makes me feel humbled, amazed, greatful, inspired.. could go on 🙂  Anyway I asked her today to write me her “formula” for being the person she is.. Well an hour later I recieved some beautiful loving words from her in an email.

Below is a quote from that email.
“Here are my thoughts on living the best life you can with what you have right now.

1. Learn to accept the problems you face.
2. Always know that in this World there are people who are much worse of than you.
3. Be happy with the time you have on this Earth as you are just on a journey, until the next journey comes along.
4. Knowledge is power, knowing about what other people go through, makes you understand their situation better.
5. Meditation calms the mind and is important for peace of mind, this helped me a lot. While praying to God, I feel at peace.
6. Learning to not have too much expectations of people.
7. Life is a bunch of challenges, which you have to learn to face and overcome as they come into your life.
8. Forgive those that make you sad, only then can you move on and learn to be at peace with yourself.
9. Life improves tremendously, when you learn to accept your gains as well as your losses. An example is: I thought I would never be able to walk but I am! I never thought that I would have a kidney transplant and live a normal life, but I did. Even though the down side is long-term medications, physical exercise, weak muscle strength and no movement in my left arm for the last 20 years. I am grateful to God for giving me the strength to go on believing that one day I will have my dreams come true, whether in this life or the next. But for now, dont sweat about the unexpected.
10. Take each day as it comes, as a gift!”

p.s I have this article filed under a number of categories including pharmaceutical… because .. well, it is a long story but she reacted negatively to drugs she was given for a basic problem which caused her to go blind, have a stroke, her kidneys failed and she started to have epileptic fits as a direct result.. :-/
A few years later she had a kidney transplant. The anti-rejection drug she was given is called cyclosporin.  One of its side effects is cancer..and that is what she got 4 years ago…

Cyclosporin was isolated from the fungus Tolypocladium inflatum. Cyclosporin was first investigated as an anti-fungal antibiotic but its spectrum was too narrow to be of any clinical use. J. F. Borel discovered its immunosuppressive activity in 1976.This led to further investigations into its properties involving further immunological tests and investigations into its structure and synthesis. Cyclosporin has unwanted side effects, notably nephrotoxicity. Animal testing showed cyclosporin to be sufficiently non-toxic to begin clinical trials. These initially failed due to poor absorption of the drug. Once this had been overcome, results were encouraging enough for cyclosporin to be licensed for use in clinical practice. There is some controversy between Borel and other workers over priority in the discovery of cyclosporin and its pre-clinical development, which is examined in this review. Cyclosporin changed the face of transplantation. It decreased morbidity and enabled the routine transplantation of organs that until then had only been done experimentally.

Dr T.Simoncini states cancer is a fungus.
His book “Cancer is a fungus” describes how a fungus infection always forms the basis of every neoplastic formation, and this formation tries to spread within the whole organism without stopping.
This doctor has been rediculed for his findings yet I think he is possibly correct.. judging by cyclosporins major side effect of cancer.. it seems to tie in with this doctor’s findings?
The above info is sketchy and I would implore all to research if interested.. I have done tonnes of research on this and have my hunch/ truth.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s views on women

At the time of the Gurus women were considered very low in society. Both Hindus and Muslims regarded women as inferior and a man’s property. Women were treated as mere property whose only value was as a servant or for entertainment generally.. They were considered seducers and distractions from man’s spiritual path. Budhism saw women as distractions to man’s spiritual path too…

Men were allowed polygamy but widows were not allowed to remarry but encouraged to burn themselves on their husbands funeral pyre (sati). Child marriage and female infanticide were prevalent and purdah (veils) were popular for women. Women were also not allowed to inherit any property. Many Hindu women were captured and sold as slaves in foreign Islamic countries.

In such a climate Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism shocked the entire society by preaching that women were worthy of praise and equal to men.LOL!! 🙂

Five hundred years later, the rest of mankind is only now waking up to this fundamental truth. The Gurus actively encouraged the participation of women as equals in worship, in society, and on the battlefield. They encouraged freedom of speech and women were allowed to participate in any and all religious activities including reading of the Guru Granth Sahib.

From woman, man is born;

within woman, man is conceived;

to woman he is engaged and married.

Woman becomes his friend;

through woman, the future generations come.

When his woman dies, he seeks another woman;

to woman he is bound.

So why call her bad?

From her, kings are born.

From woman, woman is born; without woman, there would be no one at all.

Guru Nanak, Raag Aasaa Mehal 1, Page 473

Ancient Sikh shrine in Baghdad built in honour of Guru Nanak Dev Ji

I have been looking for some information on this shrine for ages because Guru Nanak Dev Ji was/is my hero and I want to know as much about him, his travels etc as possible.

He travelled far and wide on foot simply sharing his idea that we are all one, over 500 years ago..

He was a very just, brave man. The way he lived his life is the yardstick I use to measure my life in many ways.

Sikh shrine in Baghdad lives on in memories
By Anwar Faruqi, AFP
BAGHDAD – A desolate courtyard surrounded by fields of mournful graves is all that remains of an ancient shrine to the Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak inside a sprawling Muslim cemetery in Baghdad.

War, insurgents or looters have wiped any trace of a historical footnote that had preserved the memory of the Indian holy man’s 16th-century journey through Arabia and his stay in Baghdad, hailed by Sikhs as an early example of inter-faith dialogue.

“No one visits anymore,” lamented Abu Yusef, the lean and bearded Muslim caretaker, standing in the nearly-bare patio where a disorderly stack of broken electric fans and a discarded refrigerator replace the prayer books and articles of Sikh worship that had furnished a shrine whose modesty mirrored the apparent humility of the man it honoured.

“Before the war a few Sikh pilgrims would occasionally arrive,” Abu Yusef said, referring to the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled ex-dictator Saddam Hussein and unleashed an unending cycle of violence.

“Once or twice we even had Western tourists. Last year, after a very long time, a Sikh man came from Dubai who promised to return and rebuild the shrine. But since then, nobody,” he said with a resigned shrug of the shoulders.

When they came, the pilgrims would stay a night or two and convert the shrine into a temple, Abu Yusef recalled.

“They slept in the courtyard, where they also cooked large quantities of food to share after worship with whoever came along,” he remembered, pointing to the places in the roofless, sun-beaten enclosure with whitewashed walls and a plain concrete dais that had housed prayer books, painted portraits of the guru and a prized stone plaque from the 16th century.

What is known about the origins of the site, which lies today inside central Baghdad’s expansive Sheikh Marouf cemetery that adjoins a disused train station where decaying railroad cars rest frozen on rusted tracks, is gleaned from scant historical sources.

One is a Punjabi hymn by the poet and philosopher Bhai Gurdaas, written several decades after the visit.

That song, part of the holy scriptures of the world’s 25 million Sikhs, recounts Nanak’s travels with the Muslim minstrel Mardana who was his constant companion, their arrival in Baghdad and lodging outside the city.

In Baghdad, say historical Sikh sources, the pair stayed with Sheikh Bahlool Dana, a renowned Sufi Muslim of the time.

“It is curious that the hymn recording Guru Nanak’s visit says that he chose to stay outside Baghdad, which at the time was a wealthy, magnificent city and an important centre of learning,” said Abdul Majid Padar, India’s learned charge d’affaires in Baghdad.

“That probably means he had reason to stay outside the city,” he said. “I believe it was because he knew about Sheikh Bahlool, and went looking for him.”

Nanak, an enlightened spiritual thinker who was born a Hindu but gained deep knowledge of Islam as India’s other major religion at the time, travelled throughout his homeland and parts of the Middle East, seeking other men of his ilk.

He shunned religious labels, teaching that man is judged by deeds, not the religion he proclaims. His ideas, which later formed the basis of the monotheistic Sikh religion, drew from Hinduism and Islam, but are regarded as much broader than a mere synthesis of the two.

“Guru Nanak’s stay with Sheikh Bahlool was an early example of inter-faith dialogue, of a kind that is hard to imagine in Iraq today,” said Dr Rajwant Singh of the the Sikh Council on Religion and Education in the United States.

Iraq has been torn by sectarian strife since the fall of Saddam, with Shiites, Sunnis and even the country’s small Christian community victims of the bloodshed.

It is in the courtyard of the Muslim Bahlool’s own humble tomb that, five centuries ago, the remembrance to Guru Nanak was erected.

“This shrine is very much sacred to the Sikhs as it stands testimony to Guru Nanak’s visit and dialogue with the Muslim Sufi sheikh of that place,” said Balwant Singh Dhillon, professor of Sikh studies at the Guru Nanak Dev University in India.

Modern accounts of the shrine date back to World War I when the site was rediscovered, after being lost in obscurity for centuries, by a regiment of Indian Sikh soldiers sent to Iraq with the British army.

Dr Kirpal Singh, a Sikh captain in the Indian medical service who travelled to Iraq, described the shrine in a letter dated October 15, 1918.

“It is really a humble looking building and known to very few people except Sikhs,” he said in an account quoted by the SikhSpectrum.com online journal.

Other accounts and faded photographs reveal an ancient stone plaque at the entrance, commemorating the building of the memorial, as the centrepiece of the shrine. The plaque was dated 917 on the Islamic calendar, or 1511 A.D.

Pritpal K. Sethi, who visited Baghdad in 1968 with her late husband, in-laws and three children, told AFP she was moved to be standing at the same spot as the holy man.

“I really got a great feeling as I was standing on the same site visited by Guru Nanak Sahib. It was a very emotional feeling,” said Sethi, who was 31 at the time and living in neighbouring Kuwait.

“It was a very small, simple structure of about 600 square feet (56 square metres). There was a large courtyard outside. Not many Sikhs used to visit at all,” said Sethi, who is now 73 and living in the United States.

“Definitely, the most precious thing at the shrine was the ancient plaque that verified the legitimacy of the site,” she said.

Curiously, it was the hymn by Gurdaas that probably led to the rediscovery of the shrine. Subedar Fateh Singh, one of the Sikh soldiers in Iraq during World War I, announced the discovery in 1918.

“I am certain that Fateh Singh knew about the shrine from the hymn, which he must have learned in childhood, and he went looking for it,” said Padar, the Indian embassy charge.

The shrine was repaired by Sikh soldiers in the early 1930s, and reportedly again during World War II, when another regiment of Sikh soldiers was stationed in Iraq.

But accounts of what happened more recently to the shrine and its contents, including the 16th century plaque precious to Sikhs, are sketchy.

Shortly after the March 20, 2003 invasion of Iraq, Indian media reports variously said the shrine had been damaged or destroyed by US shelling, with other accounts claiming it had been bombed by Islamic extremists.

But a visit to the shrine showed no hint of damage anywhere in or around the shrine, raising the possibility that everything, including the stone plaque, was likely looted.

Abu Yusef, the caretaker, said he had been away at the time of the invasion and did not know what had happened and Padar, the Indian charge, said his own understanding of an attack during the war had come from news reports.

But with the temple gone, the only footsteps of the Sikh holy man’s journey through Baghdad remain in the memories of visitors like Sethi.

“It greatly saddens me,” she said about the shrine’s destruction.

“It signified Guru Nanak’s wish to spread his message of peace, love and a rejection of superstitions and rituals in search of the truth,” she said.

“He yearned to spread this message throughout the world, and he travelled on foot from India to deliver it.”


Something inside so strong: Lebi Siffre

I love this song..its like an anthem for me..

Laughter, the best medicine!

I had a friend come over last night and she really knows how to tell jokes well! We laughed like crazy. At one point Derek had tears coming out of his eyes! We topped that by then watching a couple of episodes from TBBT,(the big bang theory).

I think it is really important to let your hair down and chill.. see the funny side to life sometimes….  I like the way  Michael Moore humours what is going on around him…

Here’s something interesting…In the 1970s, Norman Cousins, a physician with an autoimmune disease decided that if stress made his illness worse, maybe laughter would make it better. He watched hours of comedy TV, got better and wrote about the experience in the New England Journal of Medical and, later, in a book called “Anatomy of an Illness: A Patient;s Perspective.

Below is a little summary of the Health Effects of Laughter:-

So what happens in your body when you laugh? Does anything change? Do those changes have the potential to interact with your short and long-term health? Some research in the 80s by Dr. Lee Berk showed a few concrete things that happen when you laugh (or anticipate laughing)

The last three on the list are measures of stress in your body. When these decrease, the negative effects of stress on your health should decrease too. This alone could make laughter a major factor in long-term health, modifying the known, negative impact of chronic stress. Beta-endorphins are chemicals that “make you feel good” and human growth hormone improves your immune response and (some think) even helps with anti-aging.

Anyway below is a rather interesting clip regards  laughter..

It is a bit late now, but I will put a few of my favourite comedy/funny clips  tomorrow. (Hopefully you will find them funny too!)

Buenos noche x.

What is reality?

In my opinion, reality is unique to me and every individual. I imagine this to be the case  because each reality is birthed from ones thoughts, experiences and percieved experiences however limited or diverse they may be… I don’t know it’s a hairy subject and I am no expert..(I don’t think anyONE is).

I posed that question to myself because of the content of my blog..whatever thoughts/ feelings you keep kind of become “your world, your reality.”…? I want to keep it balanced… For example when I am researching about world events and I throw myself into an seemingly endless timeloop which I sometimes emerge from at six in the morning having read up many different ideas, thoughts on a particular subject, throughout the night, I am all awash with it..it permeates into my soul it seems.

If it is a positive subject then I feel like the world is one enchanting paradise (slight exageration) on the flip side of that, the scene is dark and stifling and disempowering…

I can emerge out of these 2 extremes  and  come back to my unique point of equilibrium.. but I am sure the point shifts with each such experience…

I have this rich friend who worked hard all his life because his reality  is and has been since  very early age that the world is a very cruel place and you have to be strong. Money gave strength and therefore he dedicated his life to amassing it… Unfortunately he is still lonely.. still fearing his reality of the cruel world.. his life of amassing riches did not cure the problem… did not improve his reality it seems..

Just an observation but intellectual man often seems to give little thought to the spiritual slum he dwells in..

On the other hand  say myself.. what is my reality… well my reality has metamorphosed a couple of times in my life..but the latest version states that the world is largely how you choose to see it..

Heaven and Hell are “right here, right know” …as Fatboy slim would say..

..I am not sure what reality is but I have a fair idea of what my reality is… a bit like what my truth is I guess.

So, is my blog a reflection of my reality..?

I think it is a small slice of my wondering, questioning, sharing, hungry for truth mind/reality …..

Thee best olive oil in the world! ;-)

Just to recap, the small  olive press we took our olives to is run by a charity and they had warned us that they would take a week, as much of the process is done by hand. Most olive oil of 500 kgs approx is made within an hour or so when taken to the various local  industrial olive mills ..

Well they took a bit longer than a week but the end product is worth it.

Quality is so important… It reminded me of my friend Veron, who said I have so little money but I eat like a queen. During late summer her family help in farms to pick figs, almonds, autumn is spent picking olives etc. They are often “paid” with the produce. So they dry their figs, jar their olives, have their own olive oil all year and in addition to all that they plant fruit and vegetables wherever they stay. I still have a pumpkin they gave me last year! (Its stored in a cool, dark and dry place. )

Back to our olive oil.. When you normally buy olive oil, it is made with “regular” olives not the wild olives. The wild olives are a lot smaller in size so you have to work a lot harder at picking each tiny olive and to many it can feel tedious and time-consuming. However as we wanted thee best and time was not a BIG issue we decided to pick mainly wild olives, as did our neighbours J&R. We put our olives together and shared the olive oil. In terms of taste, the wild olives give the oil a MUCH stronger taste. That would not be to everyone’s liking but I love it. It is an oil more suitable for savoury use.  I have also tried using it as a massage oil. It absorbs into the skin really quickly leaving it feeling soft and wonderful. No grease sitting on top of the skin at all. Amazing. 🙂

Due to lack of knowledge we messed up the timing of picking our olives.  This year was an experiment to be honest. Next year we will buy our own press and make different types of olive oil picking them and pressing them as the various varieties ripen.

As a last note I would like to suggest… that when you buy some olive oil and consume it.. if you like please pay a thought to the olive tree and the hands that laboured to collect the olives. Olive picking is an EXTREMELY hard underpaid job normally done by those at thee bottom of the social scale. And not everyone has the refreshing attitude my friends V and N have to physical work….. Nor does everyone have their youth and strength…

I do what I do by choice because I want to reconnect with nature.. to feel “whole again”.

I wanted to share the below with you in my blog entry yesterday but I kept it to myself because it goes into a different dimension of life experiences which I have not shared with you guys much on this blog… However I have reached a stage whereby I want to start.. so here goes…

Yesterday as I crossed the “raging river” that NO ONE would dare cross especially with a dodgy leg, on a flyweight aluminium ladder with water crashing around me a few metres below……

I felt completely safe

That feeling was coming from the river…. not from me… it was  strongest when I was half way across.

I felt it resonating towards me like you feel warmth from a fire….

It was magical and humbling..