“I alone cannot change the world,but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
~Mother Teresa

Most of our reactions are based on pre-programed habituated behavior responses—not fully conscious choices. When we are fully conscious and connected to Source we realize our true purpose is to love and bring goodness to all; but we have to be fully conscious in order to be capable of truly loving.

Most people live life on cruise control, with little consideration for the miracle and meaning of existence. I believe it’s important to pause in the busyness of life, and to take time for reflection. This encompasses not only who we are at this moment, but more importantly, who we are capable of becoming, all while considering the role God plays in our journey.

Nourishing Selfless Love

I recently met a Holocaust survivor, a beautiful man who radiates love, gentleness, and hope. He shared with me that by living during the Holocaust and spending time in a concentration camp, he experienced the greatest sense of selfless love in his life. Although he is grateful and feels blessed for his long life, he has struggled with the cavalier, self-centered way of living that he has found to be the commonplace existence of most people. Despite being in the midst of the most horrific acts of humanity and in the presence of pure evil, he found a sense of pure love, self-sacrifice, kindness, and the presence of God, the likes of which he has never again experienced.

This caused me to reflect on how we must not allow evil or even complacency to become our conscious thoughts and weigh us down. Instead, we must to the best of our ability and through grace, rise above and focus on our reason for living, which is always to bring love and goodness to the world, in both small and big ways in accordance with our unique being.

It is important to realize that Love must reveal Itself in you before Love can fully reveal Itself to you. Love then must be shared with all of creation (Mark 16:15) and expressed in all we are and all we do. Even when—and perhaps especially when—things go wrong, Love (God) is constantly creating future possibilities for the good of all concerned. This is transformational when we participate, unite and change. By the way, failure is part of the deal. Remember, “If we’re not making mistakes, then we are most likely not doing anything,” and “Success is never final and failure is never fatal.” ~John Wooden

This requires us to be conscious of our real motivations and actual goals. It takes awareness and desire, or a petition (I want to change and can see myself in this new luminous Light) to ask for help in practicing honesty, forgiveness, courage and humility.

A Practice for Reflecting on Life

I often reflect on my life and my actions from my imagined “death bed.” I know this may sound depressing or disturbing—after all, our approach to death in Western society is often to ignore and disassociate ourselves from it, as though death will never happen to us. But I encourage you to try this practice.

You will find your entire perspective of what really matters, who you want to be, and how you want to live your life changes. This practice of reflection offers the opportunity to ask important questions, such as, “Have I spiritually matured in this life? Have I manifested my true reason for existence to the best of my ability?”

The answer for me keeps coming up as “No,” and encourages me to be more conscious each and every day about my intentions and my actions. I am fortunate that the many aspects of my life—as a practitioner, writer, teacher, leader as well as servant of two organizations, musician, cook, husband and father of three children—are the true manifestation of who I am. It is within each of these areas of my life that I am committed to living with integrity, clarity, and devotion. Taking time for reflection helps to keep me focused and on my true path.

Herbs as the Humble Face of the Divine

My love for herbal medicine grows stronger every day because to me it represents God’s humble love. Neither God nor the plant medicines are concerned with who receives credit for healing. Although this may sound irreverent (especially coming from an Eastern Catholic Franciscan and one who loves Jesus), I am not sure that God is concerned if we are religious, or even if we acknowledge His existence.

I believe that God is generous and humble, and cares more that we serve our true nature through focus, motivation, and joy; while loving and serving to the best of our ability with adoration, generosity and humility, which I view as ‘inner’ strength, abounding in our heart. Jesus said: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matt 11:29  

What is Spiritual Maturity?

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
~
Mother Teresa

One of my spiritual mentors, Richard Rohr OFM, says this: “Spiritual maturity is to become aware that we are not the persona (mask) we have been presenting to others. That is why saints are humble and scoundrels are arrogant. We must become intentional about recognizing and embracing our shadows. Religion’s word for this is quite simply forgiveness, which is pivotal and central on the path of transformation.” This requires grace, and he goes on to say, “Grace is just the natural loving flow of things when we allow it, instead of resisting it.”1

Living in Faith, Hope and Love (1 Corinthians 13:13)

“Faith—A trust in inner coherence itself. It all means something!

Hope—A trust that the coherence is positive and going somewhere

Love—A trust that this coherence includes me and even defines me”1 and the who and why I exist really does matter.

Remember that there is not a destination we are striving for, but instead, we are on a pilgrimage that is an ever-evolving journey and encounter that is both internal (our being place) and external (our doing place). This encounter is sometimes even more omnipresent when things in the worldly sense go wrong—this is where Love creates new possibilities for the good of all.

Know it well, love its meaning. Who reveals this to you? Love.
Why? For Love
Remain in this and you will know more of the same
~Lady Julian of Norwich, Showing

42086864 – joy, sunlight, wheat.

Remember to look at people, the animals and even the flowers and trees, the ones you know and don’t know, and smile at them. “Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”
~Mother Teresa

References:

  1. Richard Rohr, pg. The Universal Christ (2019), pg. 66


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‘There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.’
~Sherlock Holmes 

Over the past 30 years, gluten has become the number one villain among foods. At one time, an allergy to gluten was rarely seen. Today, almost 3 million people in the United States have celiac disease, a serious immune reaction to the protein in wheat, barley, and rye. Another 18 million people are thought to suffer from non-celiac gluten sensitivity, which causes symptoms similar to celiac disease (including diarrhea, fatigue, and nausea) but does not damage the lining of the small intestine.


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A great deal of fear surrounds the combination of botanical medicine and modern medicine that isn’t based in truth or scientific rigor, but rather on theory or hearsay. Unfortunately, that deters many patients from treatment protocols that can greatly enhance their quality of life and prolong their life as well.

There is an extensive body of research demonstrating in vitro and in vivo (animal and human) synergy between natural products and anti-cancer drugs including chemotherapy, targeted agents, and immunotherapy against primary cancer, cancer resistance, and particularly cancer stem cells.


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In my blog on proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) a couple of weeks ago, I discussed the dangers of these drugs that are commonly prescribed for treating GERD and indigestion. Patients often ask me if there are natural alternatives to PPIs.

I recommend complete digestive support that focuses on safely alleviating symptoms and restoring digestive tract health. The goals should be to:

  • Neutralize stomach acid to relieve heartburn, acid indigestion, bloating, GERD, and upset stomach.
  • Support digestion and normal gastrointestinal (GI) health and response.
  • Support normal GI immune and inflammatory response.
  • Support normal GI tract healing, provide support and protection to the mucosal lining, enhance GI permeability health, and address leaky gut syndrome and immune dis-regulation.
  • Provide optimal support for the epithelial lining of the GI tract, esophagus, throat and mouth.
  • Support nervous system/digestive system connection and assist the gut, nervous system, and brain network.
  • Support gum and oral tissue health.

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Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are among the 10 most widely used drugs in the world. In 2012, there were 157 million prescriptions written for these stomach-acid inhibiting drugs.1 More than likely, either you or someone you know is taking these medications.

While PPIs may alleviate the problem of excess stomach acid, many people don’t realize that these drugs are associated with an increased risk of gastric cancer, pneumonia, c. difficile infections, osteoporosis (you need stomach acid to absorb nutrients such as magnesium and calcium into bones), and vitamin B12 deficiency, among other serious diseases.2

The Rationale Behind PPIs

The stomach secretes digestive fluids with a pH2 value, which creates a highly acidic environment. These acidic gastric secretions sterilize bacteria in foods that are eaten, and are essential for the digestion and absorption of various nutrients, including protein, iron, calcium, and vitamin B12.

Obviously, stomach acid that can digest food can also damage delicate intestinal mucosa. The body has protective mechanisms—including mucosal mucous/bicarbonate secretion and sphincter contraction of the gastroesophageal junction—to prevent gastroesophageal damage. But if the sphincter is weakened, stomach acid can flow back into the esophagus. The backwash of acid irritates the esophageal lining, causing heartburn and the regurgitation of food. If the condition persists, it may cause chest pain, difficulty swallowing, chronic cough, hoarseness, and disrupted sleep. Left untreated, GERD can lead to esophageal ulcers, narrowing of the esophagus, and precancerous changes known as Barrett’s esophagus. 


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I recently read a paper entitled “Integrative Oncology” 1 published in a peer-reviewed medical journal. To say I was shocked at the misrepresentation presented as “fact” is an understatement.

I am strongly compelled to offer a rebuttal to this article. I can only hope that those who most need the perspective of someone who has worked in clinical practice with cancer patients on a daily basis for almost three decades will benefit from my experience.

Personally, I prefer to use the term “Unified Medicine” over “Integrative Oncology” to more appropriately describe the wholistic ETMS (Eclectic Triphasic Medical System) model I developed and practice, known as ‘Mederi Medicine’ or ‘Mederi Care’.

Mederi Medicine is an approach where all aspects of an individual are addressed for optimal health and well being. This includes the fundamental building blocks of nutrition, herbs, lifestyle, and spiritual and emotional health, with the tools of modern conventional medicine employed when necessary. As a musician, I think of Mederi Medicine as similar to the way that the various parts of an orchestra each play an essential role in creating beautiful music. The ETMS is not a fragmented approach, but is synergistic, meaning that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This harmonious approach is something that is sorely lacking in modern conventional medicine”.

 

“I think of Mederi Medicine as similar to the way that the various parts of an orchestra each play an essential role in creating beautiful music”

What’s Wrong with the “Integrative Oncology” Paper?

Honestly, when I first saw the title “Integrative Oncology” I felt hopeful. I thought perhaps this paper would offer helpful information to those suffering from cancer, or to those who dedicate their lives to working with people with cancer. Instead, I found bias, misrepresentation, and outright twisting of the facts and outcomes of studies. This paper clearly states that it has been peer-reviewed, but given the many errors, I find that difficult to believe.

I find it strange that the subtext delineates “integrative approaches (e.g., lifestyle, meditation, yoga, acupuncture, massage)” but overlooks botanical and nutritional medicines, which are widely used as adjunct therapies in cancer protocols. I have no idea what the underlying agenda is in this paper. Why would scientifically and clinically proven modalities be dismissed or overlooked when they offer the potential for help without harm?


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