Foods that fight Cancer

Foods that fight Cancer

Hello People!

Cancer– More than the disease, it has become a research topic for me. There is a lot more reading done by me on how to ‘live better with Cancer’. In the process, I came across many people who are living with Cancer and are pretty healthy, and active. I mean look at Kris Carr! Once you know her more, you can’t thank her enough for her books and blogs, and articles where she talked about her story, and how she is living WITH the disease, and doing everything she can, like a normal person. (Don’t trust me? Go to her Instagram!)

Her story inspired me to read more about how diet accelerates healing and contributes to our well-being. (as well as of Chris Wark who wrote Chris Beat Cancer). More and more research and I was amazed to know how a specific diet upgrades our body and vice versa. Current research has shown that certain elements in a particular food may significantly reduce the risk of Cancer is healthy individuals and slow its progress in those already suffering from the disease.

Nature is the best physician. She heals three-quarters of all diseases and never badmouths her colleagues ~ Louis Pasteur.

Preventing Cancer through diet is the equivalent of non-toxic chemotherapy because it makes use of the anti-cancer molecules present in food. These molecules fight cancer at the source before it can reach maturity and threaten the normal functioning of the organism. For example, fruits and vegetables contain appreciable quantities of compounds/molecules known as phytochemicals which are responsible for their color and organoleptic properties (properties affecting organs and senses)and show powerful anti-cancer activity.

While many articles that talk about what Cancer is, how Cancer cells work, and all the detailing because it makes my head go mad. I start imagining my body, and all the different reactions going inside. Lol. Therefore, let’s talk about ‘Healing’. And here is the list of the food which can do wonders. Yaay!!

  • Cabbage Family: Members of the cabbage family are known as crucifers or cruciferous vegetables. These vegetables contain important amounts of many anti-cancer compounds that slow the development of cancer by preventing carcinogenic substances from causing damage to cells. (They contain an exceptionally high amount of Glucosinolates which release two classes of compounds known as indoles and isothiocyanate when chewed). The vegetables which are included in the Cabbage family are Brussels sprouts, Collard Green, Kale, Watercress, Turnip, White or Red Cabbage, Brocolli, Cauliflower, bok choy. Brocolli and Brussels sprouts are exceptional sources among all these and should be eaten regularly. Cruciferous vegetables should be hooked lightly and thoroughly chewed to get the best of them.
  • Garlic and Onion: Garlic and Onion belong to the Allium family. What makes them special is that the odorless plants release a strong flavor and aroma. This characteristic is due to the presence of several sulfur-containing phytochemicals, molecules whose chemical structure includes an atom of sulfur. As soon as Garlic/onion is crushed, the compound Allicin is quickly converted into several compounds including ajoene, diallyl sulfide (DAS), and a host of others which have proved to show very strong anti-cancer activity in LAB. They are also known to flush foreign substances with carcinogenic potential out of the body. In fact compounds in garlic also attack tumor growth by directly attacking tumor cells and destroying them through apoptosis which in turn reduces the DNA damage.
  • Turmeric: Turmeric has an honored place in the Indian Ayurvedic tradition. It is considered a food with cleansing and purifying properties and is used widely to treat ailments including digestive disorders, fever, infection, arthritis. In fact, Chinese medicine also uses turmeric to treat liver ailments, congestion, and bleeding. The curcuminoids are principle compounds present in turmeric. They are responsible for turmeric’s intense yellow color Curcumin possess complex pharmacological activity, including antithrombotic, hypocholesterolemic, and antioxidant properties as well as very strong anti-cancer potential. The laboratory tests have shown the effect of curcumin on cancers including Leukemia cells, colon, breast, and ovary cancer. Other studies have suggested that curcumin prevents the growth of new blood vessels thus depriving tumors of their source of energy. It is important to note that a molecule contained in pepper increases the absorption of curcumin by a factor of 1,000, a property that can be exploited to maximize curcumin’s potential health benefits. The daily absorption of a teaspoon of turmeric to soups, salad dressings, pasta is a great way to increase its intake besides adding it to curry. However, don’t forget to add pepper to it!
  • Green Tea: Tea is a complex beverage, it contains hundreds of chemical compounds that give it its distinctive aroma, taste, and astringency. One class of compounds predominates, making up about one-third of the weight of the tea leaf: these are polyphenols knows as flavanols, most commonly known as catechins. Catechins are the heavyweights responsible for the anti-cancer effect of Green Tea. Green tea contains several catechins, the star among them, with the highest anti-cancer activity of all, is EGCG, or epigallocatechin gallate.
    While the catechin content of green tea varies greatly depending on are of cultivation, harvest season, in general, Japanese Green Tea is better than Chinese Green Tea. (Here is the link on which Green tea is the best.)
  • Berries: Of all the phytochemical compounds associated with berries, Ellagic acid is the most likely to interfere with the development of Cancer. This molecule is a polyphenol with a unique structure found mainly in Raspberries, Strawberries, and certain nuts like Hazelnuts and pecans. In numerous laboratory studies, researchers at Ohio State University have found that black raspberries inhibit the development of oral, esophageal and colon cancers in rats. Besides ellagic acid, berries also contain Anthocyanidins responsible for all the vivid colors found in many fruits and vegetables. High  Anthocyanidins content is responsible for a strong antioxidant property available in berries. Blueberries and other berries may be eaten year-round. Defrost frozen berries and use them as a topping for yogurt, ice cream, and other desserts.
Besides this Omega-3 is also a wonderful add-in when you are eating to prevent or get rid of Cancer. I haven’t done my research on it and therefore couldn’t write much about it. However, I can assure that it is no less than all the above-mentioned superfood. My cancer diagnosis motivated me to renovate my own diet, and I have made sure to add all the above in my daily dose of nutrition. There has been enough research on how diet can help accelerate the healing but it makes me sad about how we take this factor not so seriously. The best healing can occur only if we complement the doctor’s treatment with a healthy and cancer-fighting diet.

When you have Cancer, there are many things you can’t control however, I can promise you that there still are things you CAN control. And it all starts with what you have on your plate.

Health and healing on your way..

Ankita

Reference:- Foods that fight Cancer

My experience with the Law of Attraction.

My experience with the Law of Attraction.

Hello Peeps,

Have you watched the movie Aladdin?

Long before I watched it as a movie, I remember watching a serial about Aladdin, and his magic oil lamp. I was still a kid, and knowing that someone like a magic man or genie could help you do unimaginable things,  was fascinating. I dreamt of it, and would get goosebumps thinking about what if I had this power! Little did I know that everything which we see on TV or read in books has a certain level of truth. I mean how can someone get an idea of something which never existed?

YOU DREAM -> YOU SEE IT REAL (MAKE IT HAPPEN) -> YOU HAVE SEEN IT ALREADY (YOU KNOW I EXIST)-> THAT’S WHY YOU DREAM OF IT.

It’s kinda vicious circle. However, like everyone else, I stopped dreaming about Genie and started living like everyone else. Cribbing, and crying. It was a coincidence (or rather I would say, it was destined to happen), that I came across the book ‘The Secret’. If you have read it or watched it on Netflix, you know that it is about the Law of Attraction. If you haven’t, here is what Law of Attraction is (Wikipedia definition):-

It is a New Age belief based on the concept that “like attracts like” and that by focusing on positive thoughts, such as affirming to yourself that you will win a million dollars, your thoughts and affirmations will subsequently manifest themselves by granting you the one million dollars. Your thoughts are similar to magnets. Positive thoughts will attract positive outcomes and vice versa for negative thoughts.

Sounds fun, right? And sounds easy too! Aha! You dream of it, you get it! How I wish it was so easy! 

Yes, the genie exists, in the form of Universe but opening that magic oil lamp is not that easy!

I was so much fascinated by the book ‘The Secret‘ that I started day-dreaming, and would visualize many magical things happening with me. But something I learned from my LOA experimentation of initial days is that ‘don’t dream big INITIALLY!’ While you are still reading and learning about it, don’t dream of ‘becoming CEO of your company‘. Because it would take time off course (I swear it will happen but with time, and your efforts), and you might start feeling that LOA is fake! But it’s not. I swear! (Mother’s promise 😉 )

I read Pam Grout’s book E-squared (you can read it too if you want to experiment with LOA), and it had many small exercises to prove that LOA exists. I mean, you can get a proof in 48 hours! Isn’t it amazing! Of all the experiments (There are 9 experiments mentioned in total as you can see in the image on the left), I tried seven, and four of them worked. A success rate of more than 50% is not bad, you see!

It gave me a boost to read more, explore more! In the meantime, I kept getting to read more such stories which strengthen my belief. (You can read this story featured on Humans of Bombay. The girl in the story talked about the book ‘The Secret’ and how she used the techniques mentioned in the book to get her dream job).

Not that I did not experience anything magical, but I guess I was expecting more! However, there is a small yet big thing in our life which happened unknowingly; I mean we didn’t know that it could be termed as ‘LOA‘, and now that we realize it was happening!

So, now you all must be knowing that due to health concerns, I am not working for the last 3 years.

 

 While I was working, even though both of us (husband and I) were earning a decent salary we would strive hard to save anything. We were always worried about spending ‘LESS’ and saving ‘MORE’. 

But it never happened!

After I took leave from my job, we were always uncertain about managing EMI of our house and my medical bills. In between all the chaos, we decided to sponsor a kid’s education. Along with that, every now and then we would send some good amount to the NGO for kids winter clothing, new year celebration, and other stuff. Not that we did this keeping in mind about the Law of Attraction, we just wanted to help someone. Random people helped us when we were in need, and this was just a way to ‘give back’ in whatever way we could.

Almost every month or so, we would donate some amount to Milaap foundation while sometimes we would buy food for shelter homes. (Please note that we never bothered about doing such good acts before, we were always busy dealing with our own mess!)

Months ago, my husband and I were on walk after dinner. And here is something we noticed.

For the last three years, even though I am not earning, we never got money issues! For some way or the other, things always worked out. I remember five months after my leave, we started having some issues with money.

Before we could even bother about how things are going to work out now, the husband got a better job with much better pay than we expected. And it happened all of a sudden. A random call from an acquaintance and things moved pretty fast! 

My parents visit us very often. Initially, we thought that it would be very hard to manage the expenses of four people for six months WITH just one person working, ALONG with my medical bills WHILE eating everything organic. But surprisingly, things worked out!

And above everything, we have managed to save pretty well!

We don’t know how all this happened!

Here is something we concluded, Law of Attraction works! May be positive thinking doesn’t work (I feel that it’s not possible to remain positive always). But, here is something which works.

What you give is what you get!

Giving Out What You Most Want, Comes Back To You Better Than You Imagine.

The problem with LOA is that it is there, but it is poorly understood. It has become a money-making business. Taking the negativity out of this concept, what if I tell you, that everything you dream of, can be achieved! What if I tell you that there IS a way of opening that magic oil lamp, though it takes efforts and patience? What if I tell you that you can create your life, the way you want!

Of course, I am still on my way to explore this and create my life, but we can surely talk more about it, and what all things I am doing to move ahead in life while remaining in alignment with my bigger purpose! (May be you can email me if you want to talk more about it.)

Do share your views/experience in the comment section, and maybe it can help others who read this article! 

Good vibes, and abundance on your way…

Ankita

Sugar Debate: ‘Love me’, ‘Love me not!’

Sugar Debate: ‘Love me’, ‘Love me not!’

Hello my chocolate cookies,

Do you love sweets? I do!

I can eat a full box of Kaju Katli, and Gulab Jamun. Yummm! And of all the chocolates, I love eating ‘All of them’. Lol. Still I don’t think I have so much craze for sugar as I see few mad lovers of sugar. At least I can resist it! (Not for Kaju Katli though :P)

However when I was diagnosed with Cancer,  sugar was a strict ‘No, No’ stuff for me.  I stopped eating even fruits too as I was afraid of consuming sugar in any form. Though with time and more articles I have read, I now eat fruits which are less sugary i.e Green Apple, berries as eating no fruits do more harm than NOT eating them.

However, talking about Cancer Kelly Turner in her book Radical Remission says that cancer cells consume (i.e metabolize) sugar-glucose) at a much faster rate than normal cells do. This is how PET scan works: first, you drink a glass of glucose, and then the scan detects where the glucose is being metabolized the fastest in your body. Those glucose ‘hot spots’ are the areas in your body that are most likely cancerous.

Good to know: The connection between cancer cells and sugar was first discovered by Otto Wagburg in 1920 fir which he won Nobel prize too!

Even if you are pretty healthy, I am sure you might know someone who has diabetes, Cancer, acne, PTSD or any health issue and as soon as one removes sugar, the condition improves.

But then, is every food containing sugar bad?
Half information can be always harmful, and that’s what happened to me 3 years back when I was diagnosed with Cancer. I stopped/minimize eating sugar of all kinds. But then I was tired throughout the day. More research and I found out some interesting reads. And here is what those books/articles said. I just tried to make things readable for you.
So, here you go!
  • Glucose acts as fuel for our body’s cells. The cells use that energy to function, heal our damaged tissues and grow. But how do they access the glucose? Ummm…
  • Well, here comes the role of our pancreas.  Pancreas keeps monitoring your blood steam. As soon as you eat something, the food gets broken down to glucose by liver, and stomach acid.
  • Meanwhile the pancreas notices the rise of glucose in blood stream, and in response it produces a hormone called Insulin.
  • Insulin then carries the glucose to the cells by absorbing it from blood.  If you see Insulin does two work here, first carrying glucose to cells, and second ,maintaining  your blood sugar level.
What if the cell has all the fuel it needs for the moments? Insulin then moves that extra glucose to your liver where it is stored as fat. This extra fat is used as fuel (which keeps you running) when you do not eat for a longer time or when you do any physical activity.This is the best scenario. However, if you are keep on dumping lots of sugar food in your body, there is more glucose in the body than what the pancreas can handle. With continuous stress, pancreas stops producing enough insulin and you develop insulin resistance.

Do you know that carbohydrate are sugary part of food? All carbs including white bread, pasta, rice breaks down into glucose which the body uses as fuel.

Did you see that coming?

However, you still need glucose for your needs to work. And that’s why it’s important to have sugar in your diet. But then ‘added sugars’ are bad because they are heavily processed, and you don’t get any nutrient for your body.
On the contrary, natural sugars like what fruits have, contain enough minerals, fiber, vitamins, antioxidants. (Fiber in fruits slows down the absorption of sugar into our bloodstream.)

Therefore, it’s always good to stop eating processed sugar and get the energy from natural sugar. What if you still have craving or sweet tooth? We do have substitute for that too.

  • Dates: When I was in Vipassana meditation center, I saw that they would have dates in the breakfast. Dates are too sweet, but act as wonderful option as natural sweeteners.
  • Maple syrup: There are times I want to make something sweet during any holiday season, and the first option I have to go for is Maple syrup. It contains decent amount of minerals like calcium, zinc, potassium.
  • Honey: The benefits of eating honey has been mentioned a lot in Ayurveda. Eating honey can lower the risk of many diseases as it helps raise the number of antioxidants in body.
  • Coconut Sugar: There are many articles about how coconut sugar can be substituted for sugar, as it contains antioxidants, and many minerals. However, I read few other articles when they discouraged having coconut sugar as they are very high in calories, and very high in fructose too. 
  • Monk fruit: Monk fruit sweetener is about 150–200 times sweeter than sugar and is made from extracts of the monk fruit. It contains , Mogroside which are antioxidants that don’t raise your blood sugar when metabolized, making monk fruit sweeteners calorie-free.  Though some people do complain that these sweeteners have an aftertaste.

Sugar is good!

After all, it puts so much richness AND sweetness in our lives, which we are missing constantly. However, it takes conscious efforts to choose the correct form of sugar. Eating anything which practically does ‘Nothing’ to your body creates more harm than good. Choose wisely.

Eat sugar which is good for you mind and body.

It’s good if you love sugar but it’s better if you allow it to love your body too!

Love and healing always,

Ankita

Corona virus outburst: Safeguard yourself!

Corona virus outburst: Safeguard yourself!

Hiiee  folks!

As I write this article sitting in my bedroom, I can hear the voice of an electronic siren.

I live very close to hospital, so I am assuming it could be the siren of an ambulance. And this siren voice has been on rise since morning.

No! I am not saying that all the people going to the hospital in emergency are infected from Corona Virus, but I can’t keep myself calm. You see! the mind always thinks negative! Being a lung Cancer patient I have been informed and advised by all the loved once around to take extra care of myself, and honestly this is making me go crazy.

‘How are you feeling today?’ ,‘Don’t go to the balcony. Stay inside as much as you can!’, ‘It’s okay if you don’t meet your friends. Your immunity is already compromised. No need to take risk!’

Phew! Universe! Are you listening? Keep me protected and safe please!

But I am so happy that I did Vipassana meditation retreat couple of days ago, and it is keeping me sane in this insane environment. I won’t talk much about this virus, and it’s origin as the whole world is talking about it. And therefore I advice myself, AND advice you too to be mindful, to not get swept away by the negativity around.  While something bound to happen can’t be prevented, that doesn’t mean that we should not take preventable action. And here comes the importance of self-care. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the majority of people who contract Covid-19 suffer only mild, cold-like symptoms (fever, cough, headache, chills). WHO says about 80% of people with Covid-19 recover without needing any specialist treatment. Only about one person in six becomes seriously ill “and develops difficulty breathing (link). 

 

Besides washing my hand at least 5-6 times a day, and not touching my face, there are few other things too which I am doing to keep my immunity intact, and felt like sharing this with you all.

  • Wheatgrass shot: Wheatgrass juice or Wheatgrass shot is known as one of the best foods for boosting immunity. By boosting your immune system, it prevents your body from infection and disease. I drink 20-30 ml of wheatgrass juice daily. However, if you don’t feel like juicing it, you can always buy it’s powder which is readily available on Amazon. 
  •  Increase you Vitamin C intake: Vitamin C helps encourage the production of white blood cells known as lymphocytes and phagocytes, which help protect the body against infection. I have Vitamin C tablets, and I am taking 1000 mg daily. If you don’t want to take any supplement, make sure you increase the intake of food high in Vitamin C.

 

  • Soak the sun, soak the sun!: This is for people like me who get to see the sun rarely in winters. If you too live in such place, make sure that you get enough vitamin D by supplements as your immune system depends on vitamin D too. It triggers a strong micro-bacterial effect on your body and improve T-cells response to infections. I have it in liquid form, and I take 8-10 drops daily. (Consult a naturopathic doctor for the dosage.)

  • Garlic: Anthony William has written a lot of good stuff about garlic in his book  ‘Liver rescue. Raw garlic has strong anti-viral properties. He says that phytochemical compounds found in garlic seeps through the walls of intestinal tract into blood vessels, and kill the virus and pathogens moving freely in the body. I read somewhere that ‘Garlic can kill Corona virus‘ is a myth. Now, I am not saying that garlic kills it, I am saying that it helps strengthen your immune system so that it can better fight off infections. And since no research has been done on garlic’s effect on Corona virus, who knows it might kill it too! Better safe than sorry! 😐 Just try to eat 2-3 raw garlic cloves everyday. Make sure that you cut it into few pieces, and don’t eat it whole.
  • Tap your thymus gland every day: This is something interesting I read couple of years ago when I was researching for natural ways to boost the immune system. Thymus is a specialized primary lymphoid organ of the immune system where T cells mature. (On the right side you can see the image for the location of Thymus glad.) So, when you are watching TV or doing something which doesn’t involve your hand, use your three fingers to tap on this area for 20-30 times in one go. I try to do it 2-3 times a day though there is nothing specific written about it. Tapping is healing modality. You can read more about it here.
  • Remain stress free: I try to do Yoga at home. Not much but just half n hour of yoga puts me into relaxed state.  It’s okay if yoga doesn’t interests you much. You can opt for 5 minutes of deep breathing, book reading, music, meditation any thing.! Just give some time to your immune cells to relax, rejuvenate and feel happy.
  • Sleep like a baby: You have to do everything to protect your immune system and boost it’s response. And not sleeping enough can put stress on it. It’s better not to be sleep-deficient and have a good 7-8 hours sleep every day.

Here is an immune boosting shot you can make easily at your home, and have it any time during the day.

  • 1 inch ginger root.
  • 1 inch turmeric root/ 1 teaspoon turmeric powder.
  • 1/4 tea spoon black pepper.
  • Half apple.
  • 1/2 lemon juice.

Juice all the ingredients, and drink it in one go.

Lionel Kendrick says that we cannot always control everything that happens to us in this life, be we can control how we respond.  And you response is everything!

Being critically-ill I can assure you that it’s pretty tough for me. And you might be in same boat as mine in spite of being healthy. However, we still gotta try. Try to do better, think better! Today, everyday. For the last couple of days, I am trying to limit my exposure to news. No, I am not trying to be ignorant of the world around, I am just trying to safeguard my mental health first. And that would be my advice to you too. 

What you choose to focus on, grows.

Instead of focusing on fear, focus on health.

Focus on well-being.

Focus on living with ease.

After all, ‘This too shall pass…..

Health and healing on your way…….

Ankita

NOTE : PLEASE SHARE THIS AMONG YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY. A LITTLE HELP GOES LONG WAY!

My 10 days Vipassana meditation experience

My 10 days Vipassana meditation experience

Hiee people,

What will be your reply if someone asks you about your most memorable memory of life?

Hands down, for me it would be my 10 days Vipassana retreat experience. If you are into reading self-help and spiritual books, a little dig into the pages and everywhere you can read about ‘being grateful’ for little things.

Eckhart Tolle says, “Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” 

However, I could never connect to this feeling. I tried hard to feel grateful, but the miseries would hit my mind saying, ‘Duh! It’s fake! Isin’t it?’ And I would get back to my real world. My world which was full of pain, problems and mental agonies. But Vipassana helped me to see ‘MORE’, to be thankful to my body if not for anything else, for it exits and re-creates itself every moment to help me see everyone and everything I love!

It allowed me to understand that beyond my so called ‘miserable’ life situation, there is ‘LIFE’, which is primary, which is already whole, complete and perfect.

I guess its complicated to put it in words about how I felt, I would still give it a try to put down my day to day feelings about my stay.

So, here you go!!

  • Day 0: Husband and I left home at 3:30 in the evening as we had to reach the center before 5 pm and it was about an hour drive. 15 minutes remaining for the destination and suddenly we started moving on the roads surrounded by hills and big bamboo trees on both the sides. Who knew there would be a different world of awareness in between those woods hiding from our eyes! Once we signed in and got into our respective rooms (which was separate for men and women), we gathered in the dining hall where we did some formalities and met our course manager. Husband and I talked for the last time before 10 days silence and gave confidence to each other that we WOULD stay and complete the course. An hour later we gathered in the meditation hall where we met our respective Assistant Teachers. I had a blurred vision of my husband in that dim light standing at one corner on other side. First instruction for meditation was given and we went to sleep at 9:00 pm. (Do you see the gong in the picture?)
  • Day 1: The gong at 4:00 am reminded me of my school times. I was so excited to start the course that it didn’t take me time to get up. 4:30 am and I was in the meditation hall. Yuppie!! But then who knew that it would be a roller coaster ride! Two hours passed like two days as my mind couldn’t concentrate on breathing. 6:30 am to 8:00 am was breakfast time. And that we meditated again till 11:00 am. I could feel the anxiety now as my thoughts where dancing boogie-woogie on the floor of my mind. ‘I am screwed up!’. While eating lunch at 11:00 am, I felt like breaking the boundaries and run. ‘But then everyone around is eating silently!  Looks like I am an alien to this world. Phew!’  The next meditation spree started at 1:00 pm and continued till 5:00. Now I was super exhausted, more because of my mind. I remember my mind singing a bollywood song ‘kithe chali hai morni banke’ on a repeat mode. 😛 5:00 to 6:00 pm was snack/ dinner and tea time. At 6:00 we came back for another round of meditation and everyday’s Discourse (final thoughts) by Goenka ji (teacher who started this technique in India) where her would talk about next day schedule. I somehow managed to sit till 9:00 pm. Knowing that husband was there going through same mental chaos as mine gave me some relief and strength. My mind was super active with negative thoughts on bed, and I don’t remember when did I sleep.
  • Day 2: I had slept just for 4 hours and didn’t realize I have taken a good nap in the hall during morning meditation. ‘What am I doing? I am not here to sleep!’  Throughout the day I kept fighting with my sleep cycle though the mind was less chaotic, and I was able to sleep peacefully at 10:00 am. Strangely, I have started noticing my body sensations too.
  • Day 3: Day 3 was even better and it felt like I was enjoying the process. I was trying hard to find a way to know if my husband was doing okay. I was worried, ‘What if he runs away?’ Lol. The feeling of calmness was there throughout the day. With fewer naps than yesterday I managed to meditate almost 11 hours! I was happy I came here! Yaaay!!
        • Day 4: It started with the same routine but we would be getting actual meditation technique in the afternoon at 3:00 pm. The teacher said that for the last 3 days we were sharpening our mind AND attention to do Vipassana in a better way. However, I experienced something magical at 11:00 am. I was concentrating on my breath when my right hand started vibrating. It was very intense. I could feel it for 5-6 seconds and then it was gone. ‘What happened just now? It is said that we are made up of frequencies. Did I just experience that?‘ My teacher had an answer to it: ‘Observe it.’  My mind was like, ‘That’s it? Okay!’ In the afternoon we were given Vipassana technique.
      • Day 5: It was just half day that I had been practicing Vipassana, and I could feel my body getting heated up. My chest area, belly and pelvic area, hands, thighs, every part was burning.  But the technique said that we had to observe our sensations! Lol. Okay. By 7 pm my body was a coal mine. The heat made me feel like I would vomit and cry. Did I say that we were not allowed to move our body too. Ouch! Eckhart Tolle says that ‘every emotional pain we experience leaves behind a residue of pain which lives on in our body in dormant state. The moment you observe it with your presence, the identification is broken.’ (‘Read Power of NOW.)  I could relate. I guess I was holding too much of anger. While returning back to my room at 9:00 pm I noticed that I had a back pain 3 years ago (which I thought was gone) had resurfaced! Day 5 ended as a painful day. Though I was still going strong! 
       

      • Day 6: I expected that my morning would begin with same heat in my body, but it was different. The heat had subsided a little. It had now localized to some areas and was less intense. ‘When you become a watcher, pain-body or negative energy will continue to operate for a while. Since it has certain momentum, it would keep turning for a while and may create physical aches and pains. Be present. It will go away- Eckhart Tolle’. Now I could relate to what I had read in his book. By afternoon, many other body parts started paining again. When I asked my teacher about it, she had same answer for every question I had, ‘Observe it’.  Urgh!
      • Day 7: Oh! My teacher was so true! The shoulder pain got less intense! However, my whole body was sore. Day went by and I kept meditating. But at 9:00 pm when I went to bed I had some weird experience. I was trying to sleep observing my sensations when I felt a sudden surge of energy. It felt like there was a part in my body (lung area) where there was no blood flow for many years, and suddenly energy started flowing there after ages. I felt good for sometime, but as soon as the mind got into action, the sudden flow of energy made me scared. I suddenly switched on the light out of fear. ‘What was that? Something supernatural? I want to run. Should I bang manager’s door? Is there a way to escape?’ I was scared, scared of the experience, scared to quietness, scared of myself. The whole hostel was quiet. It felt like it was just me and my mind screaming and daunting. ‘I am not meditating for remaining 3 days. I will just walk in the woods, and stay in the room. God! Please help me.’

      • Day 8: I skipped morning meditation at 4:30 am but then there was this breakfast thing at 6:30 am. The morning felt a bit lighter and better. The mood made me go to the meditation hall once again. ‘Oh! Today is not as bad as expected!’. Accepting all my negative thoughts and emotions, I kept meditating. However, today I took more breaks, walked in woods, soaked the sun and drank the wind. I guess that’s what they mean to say when they say that nature heals. The environment made me calm, and I geared up to start my practice again. I was back on the mat and realized being much lighter. The body was still heated and soared but it was less painful as compared to day 5. My back pain too was almost gone, and it felt like I had released some weight I was carrying on my shoulders. 
      • Day 9: There were so many  ‘Go to home’, and ‘Stay here’ moments. The feeling continued throughout the day. One hour I was miserable and another hour, I was Okay. But then somewhere I knew, ‘I can’t do this anymore’. It was good that course was coming to an end else I would have a mental breakdown.
      • Day 10: Hurrah! We could talk today! Just after morning meditation session from 8-9 am, we were allowed to talk to each other. Everyone started chatting like anything! But I was still in the mood of quietness. I took my lunch plate and sat in the corner alone without talking to anyone. Suddenly a  girl passed by and said, ‘Looks like you still want to enjoy the serenity’. ‘Yes, I am just sinking in the feeling’.Please go! I don’t want to extend the communication’, my mind said. Few minutes of conversation with my husband in the dining area, and I felt like pouring my heart and crying. Any ways, we had to maintain the separation of men and women till day 11 when the course was about the end. I couldn’t sleep at night. There was a mixed feeling. I wanted to go/I wanted to stay. But the fact is that this experience was life changing. I thanked everyone around mentally for being a part of this thrilling experience and slept peacefully.
      • Day 11: We all gathered in the meditation hall in the morning. The final lecture with Goenka ji, and I bowed down in front of meditation hall for everything it had given me in last few days. I now knew I was tough. I now knew I could endure pain with a happy face. There was a feeling of exaltation and heightened awareness, as if something within me said, ‘This too shall pass. Stay present! Enjoy till it lasts!’ Funny enough, my 3 years of meditation experience was nothing as compared to what I had experienced in these 10 days, and still it was just the beginning. And I owed everything to this place! 

      I remember leaving my room with my bag when I saw two girls standing outside. We smiled looking at each other and suddenly I said, ‘Thank you guys for being a wonderful companion in my 10 days journey. I hope to see you all soon.’ And this time I really felt grateful saying this!

      As I listened to my inner voice, it whispered, ‘Dhamma Torana ! I will be back again! ‘

      Much love and peace on your ways…

      Ankita

      Check your Breast (#BreastCancerAwareness)

      Check your Breast (#BreastCancerAwareness)

      Hii my lovelies,

      As promised, here is my blog on Breast Cancer Awareness. October being a #BreastCancerAwareness month, let’s make sure to keep this dreadful disease in check!

      In 2016, one of my very close friends got diagnosed with breast Cancer. Something which prevented the Cancer to spread further was her awareness and pro-activeness. Not that she used to do the self check every time, but then you know I always talk about gut instinct! One day while getting ready for the office, she felt like examining herself in the mirror, and a little lump caught her attention. Here you go! Further examination led to the discovery of this dreadful disease. 

      Don’t hide, don’t keep mum, and please don’t make fun. Breasts are NOT always sex symbols.

      Many of the symptoms of breast cancer are invisible and not noticeable without a professional screening like a mammogram or ultrasound.

      Hey dudes! This is for you! Breast Cancer is not only limited to women, it touches the life of men too (Reference: American Cancer Society)! Chest size in men has nothing to do with breast cancer risk. All men have breast tissue that can become cancerous. Did you just read that??

      A man has a 1 in 1000 chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer in his lifetime

      However, if you are proactive and check yourself often, you might save yourself from something terrible happening! Now, before you start checking, let’s see what are we looking for! Changes to look for include:

      • A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area. 
      • A change in the size or shape of the breast.
      • Dimpling or puckering in the skin of the breast.
      • Discharge (fluid) from the nipple.
      • Scaly, red, or swollen skin on the breast, nipple, or Areola (the dark area of skin at the center of the breast).

      Couple of days ago, I went through an interview of Shaney jo Darden (Founder of Keep A Breast) with Kris Carr, a wellness Advocate, and in the interviews she shared few fun ways to find out if something is wrong. (Here is the link of you are interested).

      • Mirror work:– Stand in front of a mirror with your shoulders straight and your hands on your hips. Visually inspect your breasts with your arms at your sides, and then on your hips. 
      • Give a massage:- Next, keep looking in the mirror and put one hand behind your head. Now, place three fingers to your breast and check for anything that strikes you as weird or not your “normal”.

      • In the shower: Using your three fingers together, move around your entire breast in a circular pattern moving from the outside to the center, checking the entire breast and armpit area. Check both breasts feeling for any lump, thickening, or hardened knot.

      • Your Pits: Move your entire breast up and down and get your hands into the armpit area, finishing inside your armpit. Leave no breast area unchecked! Spend extra time in your pits where your lymphatic system lives and where many breast cancers develop—they may need extra circle massage i.e Extra check.
      •  Lying Down:- Do this random check when you go to bed. When lying down, the breast tissue spreads out evenly along the chest wall. Place a pillow under your right shoulder and your right arm behind your head. Using your left hand, move the tip of your fingers around your right breast gently in small circular motions covering the entire breast area and armpit. Use light, medium, and firm pressure. 
      •  Squeeze: Lastly, squeeze each nipple. If there is any discharge or pain, see a doctor right away. (Left is the picture of my niece from the fundraising event organized by CIBC Bank titled “CIBC Run for Cure”. If they can be aware, why can’t you??)

      Please make sure you do the above activity once in six months, or a quarter (Men included!). Here is a link to wonderful pdf you can download from National Breast Cancer Organization which can be a handful guide and resource! 

      Before I end, please remember that most breast lumps turn out to be benign (not cancer). There are a number of possible causes of non-cancerous breast lumps, including normal hormonal changes, a benign breast condition or an injury. Therefore, don’t panic. BUT please do not hesitate to call your doctor! 

      Don’t hide, don’t keep mum, and please don’t make fun.  Breasts are not always sex symbols, they are more than that. They sometimes tell us a story, story of survival, story of a painful journey and the winning marks.  Please share this blog among your loved once, and keep them safe. Cancer does not happen to strange people, it happens to normal people like us, and when it hits, it hits hard. Therefore, let’s play safe.

      And between all this, remember we are together, in this!!

      Health and healing always,

      Ankita

       

      References:-