Saturday, 25 April 2015

A Recycled Victorian Writes...

I've often joked 'I know I was enormously rich in my last life. Work came as such a shock!
But finding out who I was and what I left myself is another matter!'

Joking aside, the very idea of reincarnation once scared the bejesus out of me. However I have come to warm to it more over the years and wonder what else can explain how very different we all are, even when from the same family with the same parents and background. My sister and I for example are chalk and cheese. Apart from our hair colour, we have absolutely nothing in common. I don't hate her. I just don't know what to say to her when we meet and she is similarly tongue-tied with me. Sad but true.

There are some individuals who literally seem wise beyond their years - 'old souls' whilst others can get to the end of their lives and still not have the sense they were born with or who seemingly never learn a single life lesson, repeating their mistakes over and over again. We've all known examples of each I am sure.

The other day I picked up a remarkable book in a second hand bookshop; 'Through Time Into Healing'. It was by a Yale-educated psychiatrist called  Dr Brian Weiss. Dr Weiss started off as a normal clinical psychiatrist - no interest in or knowledge of reincarnation whatsoever. The subject simply wasn't on his radar. Then a few years into his career a remarkable thing happened. After he sought to help his patients through hypnotherapy, he accidentally regressed one to a time seemingly before her birth and found that she was describing a realm she appeared to be inhabiting between lives. She then went still further back to what sounded like a previous life. Dr Weiss was astounded. Almost as astonishingly, his patient went on to be completely cured of the neurosis she was suffering from, a result Dr Weiss seldom witnessed through standard psychiatric techniques and hypnotism. A good level of improvement in the patient's condition was often the best that could be hoped for.

Intrigued Dr Weiss began (with their consent) experimenting on other patients to find out how far back they could go and a whole new world unfolded  - or to be accurate - many lives.

Women who came to see him with obesity problems often found themselves experiencing a previous life where they had starved to death so were overcompensating in this life. Or they had been sexually abused in either this life or a former life and had subconsciously gained the fat to protect themselves against exploitative men finding them attractive. Trouble was this defensive barrier often kept nice men at bay too and they found themselves lonely as well as suffering health problems as a result of their weight. Again these patients were completely cured once they had had hypnotic access to glimpses of their previous lives and former selves and came to find themselves much more compassionate and understanding to their fellow humanity as a result, where once they might have been somewhat bitter and judgmental.

Those patients with asthma often regressed to lives where they had died in a fire or been suffocated under the contents of an overturned cart for example, those who couldn't stand to have anything round their necks in this life might find that they had been strangled or hanged in a previous life. Birthmarks in this life often indicated fatal bullet or arrow wounds in a previous life. The list went on and on.

One male commerical pilot in this life sought out Dr Weiss to find out why he was so paranoid about constantly checking the right wing of every plane that he flew to make sure it was not falling off.  He subsequently had a vision of himself piloting a WWII fighter plane with the right wing shot off and spiralling to the ground, his last moments spent cursing himself for being the victim of 'friendly fire'.

All Dr Weiss's past life patients found that they left his sessions with a far wider perspective on humanity and life itself, irrespective of their religious persuasion, and impressive results always followed in terms of healing - when they felt they could let go of whatever residual memory or grievance was causing their suffering or symptoms in this life and began to see some kind of pattern or logic attached as to what might have brought them to their current situations and circumstances.

Something Dr Weiss found over the years was that subjects always seemed to return with the same 'soulmate group', though genders and relationships may change - ie a father in one life may become a brother in another and the gender of the subject themselves often changed too. Close friends could also come back as family or significant colleagues or vice versa. Even enemies were often previously known to us and we have to work out our issues with those too. (maybe that explains the school bully who hated me on sight when I started High School but I didn't even know her name until she fought me in the corridor and we both ended up sitting in the Headmaster's office).

We apparently all choose our lives before we are born, choosing the circumstances, our families and what we are intending to learn spiritually to advance us. Free will can vary certain factors but the blueprint is basically there.

This of course can seem hard to swallow when terrible things happen to some people and hard and hurtful times happen to us all, but Dr Weiss doesn't claim to have all of the answers. Except love. He believes that only complete love and complete forgiveness of ourselves and others can free us of any negative patterns and behaviours we may have accrued over our lifetimes (past and present) and therefore heal and smooth the path for our future life and lives.

Dr Weiss regressed himself to a life which appeared to date from Babylonian times in which he was a powerful high priest who had set off with high ideals in his youth and then become corrupted by money, wealth, sex and power in middle age. A subsequent life in mediaeval times found him a prisoner, being beaten to death whilst refusing to recant his religious beliefs, including reincarnation. In his current life he feels he has been given a wider perspective of spirituality and a mission to help others in a different sense - ie to find their own spiritual journey - and healing through it.

Dr Weiss risked much ridicule in medical circles when he first started sharing his findings and publishing his books (many a medical professional has been cast out of the profession for less, so most have a habit of waiting until retirement if they have what others could consider barnpot theories to share), However much to his surprise it didn't take long before people started writing to him to share their theories and stories and he even found eminent peers beginning to take an interest in some quarters. He has even been on the Oprah Winfrey Show - twice! Today he is the 70-year old guru of past life regression and universities all over America have been inspired to begin exploring past life regression and its possible therapeutic potential in the field of psychiatry. 

One particularly interesting part of the book was Dr Weiss's assertion that all the major religions used to embrace reincarnation in their belief systems, but these elements were excised from the Christian and Jewish faiths many centuries ago by high-ranking religious officials who feared that they would have less power over the people if the people were permitted to believe they had more than one life. Moreover they decided to denounce reincarnation as heresy and persecute any stubborn believers, so that one might offend a Christian or a Jew to this day by raising the subject.

As for me, I've always been highly attracted to Victorian times, the architecture, the clothes, the literature, the human advances made during those times. I await Dr Weiss's hypnosis CD through the post with interest to find out if I'm right! And what could be the reason that I've always had such sensitive skin and been terrified of hospitals?

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Four Vitamin B12 Tablets A Day Keep The Grey Away!

Not that red hair goes grey as such. It fades and fades to strawberry blonde, ash blonde and then white.

Mine was beginning to fade at a rate of knots. Then I read that Vitamin B12 was good for hair. I took a couple of tablets a day for six months and noticed my hair was getting darker. I upped it to four a day (like Vitamin C, you cannot overdose on Vitamin B12 as the body exudes what it doesn't need). Now a year later my hair is back to the shade it was when I was a teenager. With the help of Silica and Biotin vitamins, it is growing stronger and thicker again too.

I am not on any sort of retainer from a vitamin supplier for sharing this with you. I merely share it because I am a nice person who likes to share what I find helpful. Similarly I find that Kelp tablets are good for regulating hormones (we have a dire shortage of Iodine in the modern western diet), Iron tablets give me nice rosy lips and enhanced circulation, Vitamin C shortens colds and hastens healing.

Vitamin B complex helps prevent ladies' troubles, Zinc, men's. Biotin can help non-insulin dependent diabetics from deteriorating to injectable diabetes. Vitamin D is good for depression. And bone strength.

All this is from friends' anecdotal evidence as well as personal experience, so of course it counts for nothing in provable terms.

Then again there will never be any in-depth medical research carried out on vitamins as it is impossible to patent them so drug companies are never going to spend millions on food supplements that they cannot own and profit from. Though they obviously perceived vitamins as enough of a potential threat to drug sales to try and get the EU to ban them for public sale more than once and I have signed a slew of petitions against this outrageous infringement of consumer freedom over the years.

Rather it is up to each of us to be our own guinea pigs to see what helps our own body to function at optimum level and what doesn't. And really, unless you are determined to overdose on a substance to a ridiculous degree, you can easily decrease a vitamin dosage if you notice any adverse effects. Indeed there is less risk of side-effects than there is with pharmaceutical drugs, not all of which obey the doctors' Hippocratic oath of 'First, do no harm.' Which isn't to say pharmaceutical drugs do not have their place in treatment and healing, obviously.

I once watched a ridiculous TV debate about the Bristol Cancer Centre where one cancer sufferer had overdosed on carrots to the point that she had assumed an orange hue and was blaming the clinic for her own stupidity (or desperation). However much to my surprise no one challenged her as to whether this was her own personal choice or she was actually following the Clinic's guidelines on how many carrots she should eat (clearly not, judging by the way the show seemed weighted against giving the same debate time to those advocating the use of alternatives, no matter that those trying the alternatives had often exhausted conventional options and were at the end of the line, so any improvement would be tantamount to a miracle).

So there is no regulating for common sense whatever people imbibe, which is the only sure means of guaranteeing safety.

However with natural vitamin content in our food having declined by 45% since WWII owing to intensive and unnatural farming methods, supplements have become an essential item for many of us, no matter how healthily we try to eat. Simultaneously as we age our bodies synthesise what vitamins we consume less effectively meaning we can become even more deficient. For example many men no longer absorb enough zinc to keep their prostate healthy so may need to take a supplement to help. In old age the individual's diet may also narrow in variety which means there are increasing numbers of false/positive tests for dementia when actually the individual is vitamin-deprived.

Personally I am mystified as to why so much attention is devoted to calorific and fat intake when vitamins and minerals are at least as important, yet their levels are seldom listed on foodstuff labels. Indeed if one eats food of low vitamin/mineral content, that is the very time the body creates an artificial hunger to induce one to eat more to compensate. I therefore maintain that if all food were of high vitamin/mineral content and food value, we would automatically eat less of it, so there would be no need for diet foods (not all of which are of high nutritional value, even if they are low-fat).

On a final note, if you want to try the Vitamin B12 as an experiment for yourself, do let me know how you get on. I'd be fascinated to know it if works for you as well. Let's conduct a mass experiment (for humans on humans) here.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Save British Home Stores!

I was sad to hear that retail Tsar, Sir Philip Green, has sold off BHS for £1 to a little-known investor group called Retail Acquisitions as it has been losing out to inferior rivals.

I used to love BHS. It was the best place for funky bathmats, bedding and tops. It also had a great lighting department with attractive functional lights. I even had a business store card with them to keep the Oxford College I then worked for in attractive bedroom lighting,

Where they have gone wrong over the years is that when they get a winning product which sells like hot cakes, they invariably never re-stock it!

Several years ago I fell in love with a new line of brushed cotton duvet sets in attractive grey/white or navy/white checks (ie not covered in flowers or utterly plain like most brushed cotton). I went back at the end of the week to purchase a set and all they had left was the set on the display bed. It took a lot of persuading but they finally sold it to me. Much to my amazement this best selling product was never replenished or even re-released with a new twist.

Last summer I had a similar experience when I noticed a cute white blouse covered in little blue boats in my local BHS. However there were none in my size either in store on online. Again, they were never re-stocked despite their obvious popularity.

I bought my favourite ever pair of trainers in BHS - with the flexible soles that I like - in block silver colour with no horrible logos or clashing colours. They were much admired, but again there were only a few pairs on display and only one pair in my size or I would have happily bought several pairs.

BHS has a tradition of doing nice stuff at reasonable prices. It is unfortunate that so many (largely) cheap and nasty new rivals have sprung up to dazzle consumers (though I'd love to see a wash-by-wash product longevity comparison). My one and only foray into a Primark yielded a pack of socks which did not even last one wash, let alone a season.

Looking to the future, BHS need to do more to cater for those who don't necessarily want to walk around in low-cut spaghetti tops and barely-there skirts.
Where are their fabulous funky maxi dresses with classic straps or even cap or mid sleeves? What has the fashion industry got against sleeves? Not everyone has killer elbows or knees (no matter what their age). Not everyone wants to expose their cleavage at all times either. Where is the classy clothing that you can actually wear to the office as well as to the garden party? No one seems to be catering for this market.

In fact no major store seems to be taking much trouble to find out what its customers actually want rather than trying to continually guess, sometimes with disastrous results, not least in the age of internet competition. I used to live near an ice cream parlour which had a flavour petition - if they had more than 50 requests for a flavour they would make it, and if it sold well it would become a new regular, or even all-year round staple. Not far away in the same city was a restaurant which had the philosophy 'You said, we did' re most of its customer service and food innovations. However visit the website of a major store and you will seldom find a 'Suggest new product' option on the email drop-down list or even a 'Compliment us' option when you want to praise them for a product you particularly like so that they get positive feedback as well as customer complaints. Even Sir Philip Green, for all his retail successes, missed a trick or two on these fronts.

Some have cruelly termed it 'Boring Home Stores', but that is not at all true in my experience and I hope everything will be done to steer this business away from the rocks and into a flagship British store once again.