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Become a Liver Lover- Man on Top’s Easy Tips to Spring Cleaning Internally

In the winter, everything stagnates. Our world and our bodies go dormant for 4 month in order to rest, repair and regenerate. The liver gets especially lazy in the winter. The liver is one of the main detoxification pathways in the body so in spring, it is essential to use herbs, foods and activities to bring the liver back to life.

By cleansing and detoxifying your liver, you will improve Qi (universal life force energy) and therefore have steady moods, even thinking, easy bowel qi movements and clear communication. If Qi is stagnant, you will feel anxious, frustrated or depressed, have pimply skin, a poor appetite or even bouts of anger. The liver governs the emotion of anger.

Here are some easy tips to bring your liver back to life:

Eat Green Leafy Vegetables

green_leafyYoung leafy greens, wild leeks, dandelion green, mustard greens, and sprouts all help to detoxify the liver and give it strength and vitality. These foods improve liver function and circulate Qi. One of my favorite springtime activities is harvesting wild leeks in maple forests. Afterwards, I make a strong leek pesto (with parsley, olive oil, salt and a squeeze of lemon). It is an excellent springtime cleansing food. *Note: Not date-appropriate as it will give you strong, stinky, garlicky breath.

Eat Sour Foods

Most of us don’t eat a lot of sour foods. However, sour tastes stimulate the liver’s Qi because it acts like an astringent. Put lemon slices in your drinking water, use apple cider vinegar and olive oil for your salad dressing or garnish your sandwich with a slice of unpasteurized dill pickle, sauerkraut, or kim chi. These days, I am eating a ton of raw grated horseradish, brown and wild rice, turmeric, ghee, tamari, apple cider vinegar and sprouts and greens. It is my favorite springtime snack.

Get outside!

After months of hibernation, it is time to get outside to move and shake your body. Outside air helps liver Qi flow. If you have been feeling irritable, go for a walk, toss a ball around, place your feet on the earth. Any outdoor activity will smooth liver Qi stagnation.

outside_man_running

Drink Milk Thistle tea

Milk thistle helps protect liver cells from incoming toxins and encourages the liver to cleanse itself of damaging substances, like alcohol, medications, pesticides, environmental toxins, and even heavy metals. The liver is the only organ that truly regenerates itself (providing you give it the right herbs and restrict destructive habits).You can get milk thistle at the health food store or at any herbalist. It is quite mild in taste. Steep covered for 20 minutes, strain and serve. Drink 2-3 cups a day for at least 1 month.

Stretch

What is the first thing a bear does when it comes out of hibernation? He stretches. Moving will bring the body back to life. Also, the liver controls the tendons. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the liver will store blood during periods of rest and then releases it to the tendons in times of activity, maintaining tendon health and flexibility. Incorporate a 15 minute morning stretch into your routine for a healthy liver and better overall flow.

Eye Exercises

The liver is connected to proper eye function. You can check your liver health by looking into your eyes. Are your eyes yellow or clear? Are they bloodshot or have small raised lesions? Take breaks when looking at your computer for extended periods of time and do eye exercises by rolling your eyes in all directions. Stretch and hold them for 10 seconds. Additionally our eyes were made for long distance. Try to stare out into the horizon as often as possible to strengthen your eyes and promote eye and liver health.

Get Acupuncture treatments or Energy work

Acupuncture and Energy medicine can help improve the overall health of your liver as well as treat stress, anger and frustration, which are often associated with liver Qi disharmony. I recommend my clients come for 3 sessions at the beginning of each season to jumpstart their health and maintain vitality throughout the seasons.

Please check with your health care provider before starting any new health care regime.

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For the Love of Bad Boys part 2 of part 2- The Nice Guy

We hear it all the time. Nice guys finish last. He’s pussy-whipped. He’s soft. He’s a lady-man if he is kind to his woman. He’s not a man if he is anything but the strong, silent, macho, unavailable lone wolf. Yikes! This thinking has gotten both genders into a lot trouble, loneliness and negativity.

Man_Holding_Sign_nice_guyUnfortunately for a lot of women, there is no challenge in the Nice Guy. To many, nice guys are boring and normal. They don’t rock the boat. They say please and thank you, consistently say yes, and do what they are told. In the process, they castrate themselves because they don’t stand up for their beliefs or themselves. They seem weak. Many women want a knight in shining armor; someone who is strong and decisive. We were brought up with Prince Charming and Superman. These heroes defy the odds, take charge, save the day and even get the girl. If a man doesn’t have some degree of superhero savvy, he is the Nice guy; infinitely boring and bland.

How do you maintain your nice guy persona while honoring your inner bad boy? What can guys can do to buck the “Nice Guy” curse and thus get relegated to the friend zone?

CONFIDENCE. What the bad boys have and the nice guys don’t is confidence. Confidence means being firm in your beliefs, even if it makes you unpopular. It means taking the lead even if it is dangerous. Bad boys take and do what they want. They take decisive action to do what needs to be done. Nice guys don’t. They are afraid of upsetting people so they put their needs below others. That makes them reliable but pitied. We respect a man who sticks to his guns rather than buckles at the first sign of adversity. Sometimes you have to fake it to make it. If you are not confident by nature, pull up your socks, take a deep breath and charge forward. You will be surprised at what you can accomplish.

RESPECT. Always respect a woman and be kind to her heart, but also be steady in your resolve. Be firm in your words and action. If you are going to do something, do it. Don’t make excuses; it only makes you look weak. Most women are constantly testing men to see if he is viable and reliable. If you promised to fix the faucet, do it. She doesn’t want to emasculate you by asking you to do it again and again. A man is only as good as his word. She is looking for you to respect yourself enough to stand by it. A thriving Nice Guy (a Mensch) values himself and those around him and follows through on his promises.

kryptonite-candy

LIVE YOUR PURPOSE. There is nothing more attractive than a man who knows what he wants and is charging forward in that direction with passion and purpose. Bad boys live by their own rules and that makes them oh-so appealing. A man on purpose is kryptonite for the ladies. Find what makes you charged up and excited and do more of it. Do it until it proves successful. We all have hidden abilities. The world needs yours, and it will be a magnet for all that you want; ladies included.

BE VULNERABLE. It takes great courage to reveal our vulnerabilities. Men are encouraged to have a stiff upper lip regardless of the tragedies of life. One of the reasons why we love superheroes is that they are tender at all the right moments. Their courage comes from knowing when to put down their armor and reveal their hearts. It is warming and reveals your authentic self. That is what we want to see.

There is a delicate dance between the Bad boy and Nice Guy. Coming into wholeness means standing up for what you believe in and being kind and considerate of those around you. It is a practice of self-love and self-respect to dance joyfully on the middle line.

How do you balance your inner Bad Boy and Nice Guy? I would love to hear your thoughts.

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For the Love of Bad Boys Part 1 of 2

bad boy_nice guy

Aubrey was my first bad boy. In 6th grade, he came to school mid-year, with shaggy hair and a bad attitude. He was bigger, taller and tougher than the other kids. He yielded power and respect. It was so seductive to my pre-teen mind. On one of our first dates, we went to the mall with his fake ID for my first foray into underage drinking. I held my pink wine cooler with my heart pounding in my chest. I was living on the edge and testing my own boundaries. It was dangerous and I was hooked.

I have known many bad boys; all the same arc of excitement, desire, danger, and disappointment. Why would I and so many others, go knowingly and repeatedly into bad situations and violate the most sacred of spaces- the heart? I am a smart, sexy woman with chutzpah and a backbone. However, the Bad Boy still leaves me weak in the knees and wanting more. Thankfully, I am learning and changing deep patterns by understanding the attraction.

Most women desire men who are courageous, charismatic and confident. These women also unconsciously test men to see if they will buckle or stand firm when sh*t hits the fan. We look for real life superheroes (or antiheroes) to make us feel secure in a world that has convinced many of us that it’s not safe. The Bad Boy’s fearlessness makes us feel protected. Bad Boys live by their own rules and do what they want regardless of the consequences. They are both the lone wolf and the alpha dog. That steely confidence is undeniably appealing to most women (and men). The nice guys just seem vanilla in comparison.

Man_Holding_Sign_bad boy1

Perhaps it is some women’s desire to tame the wild. Women want to charm a man into reforming his rebellious, dangerous ways. It can be powerful to subdue a wild stallion. It feeds our delicate (damaged) egos. The irony is that once domesticated, those wild stallions can quickly turn into overweight donkeys. That is not what we want either. Many women crave the thrill.

Possibly women love the drama, unpredictability, and passion of a Bad Boy. They have swagger and use it. They wink at inappropriate moments to get exactly what they want. Their unavailability, while frustrating, is also exhilarating as it keeps us craving more. At our core, most of us foolishly want what we cannot have. It is either our human nature or our urgent need to practice self-love that will quell the bad boy (or bad girl) desire.

Maybe some women see the broken, wounded, painful parts and are aching to strap on their Mother Theresa cap and heal the Bad Boy’s wounds. These women get to play the role of the valiant Nurturer so that love, rather than their self-destruction shines through. Honestly, this is the category I fall into most often. I am a healer by trade and I unconsciously try to nurse Bad Boys back into wholeness and health. Through the years, it has also gotten me into all kinds of trouble.

Bad Boys have some kind of unstoppable allure. My hope is that when we love ourselves, we make the good, positive decisions over the inevitable destruction that comes with being with the Rebel, the Bad Boy, or the Unobtainable Aloof. They are seductive and ultimately destructive and thus the appeal.

Epilogue: After middle school, I didn’t see Aubrey again. I heard that he dropped out of high school and was rocking club land as a DJ. As fate would have it, I crossed paths with him years later in the oddest of ways. I was stationed in Cyprus while working as an International Journalist. One day, I noticed that his Bad Boy picture was plastered all over town. It was undeniably him. Aubrey was DJing at one of the big clubs and had deep promotion budgets behind him. I was simultaneously amused that my Bad Boy crush had done good and also horrified that his deep, intense gaze was looking out at me from every building and billboard. It was eerie. I was guest-listed to attend the show but sadly, I couldn’t attend due to work requirements.

In part 2 of this blog, I will discuss what guys can do to buck the curse of being a “Nice Guy” and thus relegated to the friend zone.

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Salty Chocolate Balls

I was at a hula hoop intensive this weekend with Jonathan Livingston Baxter of The Hoop Path. He is a hoop god and an all-around awesome human being. He pushed 50 willing hoopers to their personal max and left us all begging for more (I am so excited to be doing level 2 this weekend). This is my 5th year training with Baxter. As such, I have learned how to fuel myself for the 4-hour hoop marathon, 3 days in a row, for 2 full weekends. It’s intense!

I present to you Salty Chocolate Balls.

I love this recipe because it is delicious, healthy, easy and always gets a giggle. If you are doing any kind of endurance workout or looking for a midday pick-me-up, these salty balls will definitely do the trick. I only use powdered raw cacao (chocolate) because it maintains its nutritional profile that would be otherwise lost when cacao is exposed to heat.  

cocoa-powderCacao is a super-food powerhouse, full of magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Pumpkin seeds are high in testosterone-producing compounds and protein. Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain saturated fats. They break down more quickly than long-chain saturated fats, and give you long-lasting slow-burning energy. Rice bran powder is excellent brain food and gives this recipe a creamy consistency.

Don’t be alarmed by the unfamiliar ingredients. They are all available at your health food store or online. Every man needs a couple salty chocolate balls to keep moving and grooving at his ultimate prime. I blush. 

sweaty balls

SALTY CHOCOLATE BALLS

Prep time: 15 minutes

In a food processor, combine these ingredients in this order, pulsing in between:

1 cup of raw pumpkin seeds

¾ cup of organic goji berries

12 pitted organic dates (more to taste)

1 ¼ cups of raw cacao powder

4 tbls of vanilla powder

½-¾ cup of raw, organic coconut oil

¾ cup of rice bran powder

1 tbls of flakes sea salt (Maldon’s)

Optional ingredients: cardamom, cinnamon, orange rind, 1 drop of peppermint essential oil, organic rose petals.

Use your imagination. Chocolate tastes good with so many things.

Roll mixture into 1” balls. If the coconut oil is liquid (due to summer heat or a hot kitchen) you may need to place in the fridge for 15 minutes to firm up. Additionally, feel free to play with the amounts to personalize your salty chocolate balls to taste. Makes approximately 24 balls.

Store in a sealed container, lined with wax paper. They will keep for 5 days on the counter or 2 weeks in the fridge. In my house, they never last longer than 5 days. 

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What a Girl Really Wants for Valentine’s Day

PrinceCharming1Ah Valentine’s Day. The day filled with girly expectations and often devastating disappointments. Did you know that the time of year most relationships end is two to four weeks after V-day? That does not bode well for a lot of men. I am here to help make the day as stress-free as possible.

Most women believe that they are modern, secure, and don’t need a Hallmark holiday to prove that their men love them. As much as we want to believe that V-day is bogus, we also all crave romance and confirmations of your affection. Women grew up with Cinderella. The desire for our Prince Charming to come in and sweep us off our feet is strong and annoyingly pervasive. And that falls on you.

Women can go deep into their fantasies and imagine the perfectly executed Valentine’s Day; being woken up with love poetry, a homemade delicious breakfast, a long languid sexual exchange, love notes throughout the day, two dozen flowers delivered to work, a new piece of glitzy bling, and a limo waiting with a perfectly packed suitcase with two first class tickets to Paris. That all sounds dreamy. However, that is the stuff of cheesy Rom-Coms and not real life. Women need to clue into reality. Most men don’t get off on that stuff so women are setting themselves up for disappointment.

More than anything, women just want you to make them feel loved and appreciated. I think it comes from our deep wounds where most of us feel that we are not loved or lovable. That is where the crazy, neurotic, “he doesn’t love me” torments come from. You can do a lot to change that loop.

It is simple. Look her in the eyes, breathe into her and tell your lady honestlyManLovingWoman how you feel. Hold her hands, stroke her back along the length of the spine, and massage her head, hands and feet. Do it slowly and without expectations that it will go somewhere. Perhaps do something that employs your creative or manly abilities. Write a song, do an errand that you promised you would do, build something with your bare hands. She will appreciate you engaging your strengths to serve or even tickle her. Prince Charming Points achieved.

Most women just want to spend some quality time with the man they love. It doesn’t need to be stressful, grandiose and crazy expensive. If you are with that kind of girl, perhaps now is a great time to reassess your relationship. Those girls will only cause you trouble and drain your wallet (and heart).

If you are giving from your heart with actions or gestures that are imbued with love, you have it made in the shade, and will probably get some lady lovin’ in the latter part of the day. Good luck.

Please let me know your most romantic gesture. As strong and secure as I am, I totally get turned on by romance.

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Is the Internet a Safe Place for Women?

InternetStopIconRape, women’s rights, and men’s abuses are hot topics right now and in my own life too. A few weeks ago after an inappropriate online interaction, I started questioning if men have the ability to control their sexual responses once triggered. One night, I jumped onto an online dating site to test my luck. Soon after, a legitimate Prince Charming named Paul, contacted me. Paul was swoon-worthy in every sense of the word. Immediately upon contact, I felt a genuine spark and my heart opened just a little bit.

Our initial online conversation was flirty but respectful. I made it clear from the beginning that I was not looking for an online hookup but the start of a sincere connection. He confirmed that he was looking for the real deal too. That made me smile.

After about an hour, Paul started pushing my boundaries and slowly moved into the no-fly zone of sexual innuendo. I again impressed upon him that I was not looking for a virtual shag but an honest-to-goodness real connection. He went further and asked me if he could masturbate while thinking of me. I asked him not to because I felt that he was taking something from me that I was not willing to give.

It felt like a violation. He persisted. I retreated. He continued. His sexual desire took hold of him and he tipped over the edge. He spewed porny, degrading, explicit filth to get off at my expense. I ended the conversation quickly and felt dirty, disrespected and terribly used. I was somewhat dazed that a stranger could violate me, especially because there wasn’t any physical contact. Honestly, it felt like an online rape.

Later that night, I wrote him to get a few things off my chest. As much as I wanted to let it go, I couldn’t.  I felt abused.

I wrote:

Hi Paul,

You seem like a cool guy and on paper; you have many of the qualities that I am looking for in a friend, lover and partner. After our interaction, I think that you are a self-centered, manipulative douchebag.

I was insulted that you turned me into to a sexual toy for you to use, especially when I said that I was not looking for a hook up. It felt predatory. By doing so, you not only disrespected me, but also disrespected yourself and your sacred sexuality. You give all guys a bad name with your behaviour and made me think that you are a walking, throbbing penis, unable to control your sexual urges. That is a pretty embarrassing way to represent men.

Frankly, your behaviour and sexual aggression is more the antics of a 15 year old boy who doesn’t know better than a functioning, fully formed adult.

I ask that you respect women and yourself more. We all need more love and compassion. I felt dirty and violated by our interaction.

with light, Elana

Surprisingly, he wrote back an authentic, apologetic response. He said that he did not mean to disrespect me and that his response was vulgar and inappropriate. He said that he would exercise more respect and caution in the future. With that, he deleted his profile.

The experience left me with a lot of questions and very few answers. I wondered if Prince Charming Paul had a sex addiction or if he falsely represented himself. I wondered what motivates a man to act even when a woman says no. I also questioned what does this all mean for sexual equality and respect for women’s bodies and boundaries.

I have heard many other women confess that they too had a sexual violation online. Is the online forum an opportunity for men to express their most vulgar, indecent proclivities safely behind their computer screens? Did Paul do the right thing by apologizing and deleting his account?

When a woman says no, either online or in person, that NO must be respected. Men can temper their sexual responses regardless if the woman is hot, a tease, or seems to be giving mixed signals. Take a cold shower, think unsexy thoughts. No means no. I said no. I do see how men can use online anonymity to their sexual advantage.  It hurts and leaves scars. If you cannot give her the respect she deserves, kindly pay for the sex you crave somewhere else. That is a more equal exchange.

This post is dedicated to all the women and men who have suffered sexual abuses and to Jyoti Singh Pandey. May she rest in peace.

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New Year Resolutions- FOCUSED THOUGHTS AND ENERGY

focusI have mixed feelings about resolutions. On one hand, it is good to set your energy and attention on a specific goal; on the other hand, we are creatures of habit. The tendency to fail at one’s resolutions is high, especially if there is not a specific and well-defined action plan.

Instead, I prefer to write intentions for the entire year. This is the year!  My intention is to take ACTION and be FOCUSED, in my writing, in my thoughts (that can often lead to unnecessary fantasies and distractions), and in all aspects of my life. I make this declaration to you.

Focus is the key to achieving our dreams.

Focus is directed energy. It is straight, linear and purposeful. Like a lightning rod bolting into the ground, focused energy correlates closely with masculine energy. I invite you to harness your masculine energy to seek out all of the great and important things you are intended to achieve. Do it now!  Be focused and clear, and do not let anything stand in your way. These, in my opinion, are the main characteristics of masculinity.

For me, focus means less time dallying on the internet (I have a love/hate relationship with all technological things). Focus means setting out clear, attainable, definitive goals every day to get the job done. It means catching myself when I am indulging in distracted, dreamy thoughts that waste time and energy. The truth is, I think about men a lot, probably too much.

To activate my focus, I am embarking on a 30 day hoop challenge, where I willcherryblossoms2012 hoop for 30 minutes each day. The purpose of this is to concentrate on my hoop practice, tone my body and prove to myself that I can, in fact, stay true to a specific 30 day goal. Sometimes the lazy happens and I can easily revert to the watery, female energy that would rather make excuses than actually do the work. This is the year to do the work!

I invite you to share in my intention of FOCUS for 2013. It is dynamic and masculine in its power. Focus is like a muscle, as we strengthen it excuses hold less weight and we are able to achieve the impossible dream. I look forward to seeing all of you burst forth into your most authentic, powerful, activated masculine self. It’s 2013, let’s rock it!

I sense that with focus and an open heart, we can achieve anything. Happy New Year.

What are your intentions for this year? Please share.

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