A reflection on mentality and this very moment… whichever moment that may be.

A couple of nights ago, I lit a candle, put on a record, poured myself a glass of wine, and thought to myself “life is so good”. It truly has been good. I’ve been exercising more, eating better, meditating, enjoying being single, and learning a lot. It’s funny because there were times when I fully believed that life would never be good. Everything sucked. Life was pointless and suffering is inevitable. That very last part is still true… suffering is inevitable. The only thing that has changed between that dark time and this very moment is my mindset.

There will be moments in your life when everything sucks. Bad things WILL happen to you. You will lose your way, get knocked down, be stabbed in the back, and you will lose all of your strength. There also will be moments of joy. There will be love, there will be laughter, you will feel the sun shine down on your smiling face and you will feel orgasmic sensations of pure bliss down to your core. I’ve made the conscious decision to feel and soak in each moment as it comes and goes; good or bad, I am training my brain to be present and feel that moment in it’s entirety. I have bathed in sadness deep enough to drown me. I’ve experienced the feeling of my soul floating among the clouds in euphoric states of pure joy. I do this because I have realized that the only thing we need to learn and grow is this very moment. In those extreme lows, I am presented an opportunity to stop struggling and instead look in the mirror and gain clarity and insight. I can better understand myself, the people around me, and the funny ways in which the universe works. In the extreme highs, I can appreciate each taste, smell, sight, and feeling in it’s entirety, knowing damn well it will not last forever, but that it’s impermanence makes it even more special.

Being mindful allows us to experience life as it is. Stop worrying about the future, and stop poisoning yourself with the past. Pema Chodron in her book When Things Fall Apart, shares how “this very moment is the perfect teacher”. By staying mindful and focusing on each moment as it comes and goes, we find ourselves in a state of groundlessness. Chodron explains how it is uncomfortable and shaky at first, but when we settle into this groundlessness, our human experience becomes more vivid and real. This, if you ask me, is the kind of experience we should be going after; becoming one with each and every moment, good or bad, that passes by. The past is in the past, and the future is not guaranteed, so let’s exist only in this very moment… whatever moment that may be.

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Spicy Black Bean Veggie Burger

I found this recipe online and adjusted it to my needs because I didn’t have all the tools, my oven timing was different, I was missing some ingredients, etc.


2 cans of reduced sodium black beans

1 medium green pepper

Hot sauce (cholula is my fav, obviously.)

1 medium onion

3/4 to 1 cup bread crumbs (you can play with this to get the right texture)

2 eggs

‘Lil bit of minced garlic (I just do a spoonful)

Spices (I like using garlic powder, paprika, chili powder, salt, pepper, or whatever I have in the cabinet)


Preheat oven to 350, prepare sheet with parchment paper.

Drain and rinse black beans in a strainer.

Roughly chop pepper and onion.

In a bowl, mash up about 2 cups of the beans (I like using my hands cause I can really get into it and it feels disgustingly awesome), then add in pepper/onion, spices, hot sauce (however much you want) and continue to mix.

Once you have a nice paste kinda thing with some chunks from the veggies, add in the rest of the beans, the bread crumbs, and eggs. Mix well.

With your hands, form into large patties (for me its about 6), and put them on your pan.

Bake for about 30 minutes (but check after about 20-25 because my oven sucks). Timing will be different depending on your oven. You’ll know they’re done when they’re mostly firm, brown, and cracking on the top.

Tip: These are great to freeze! Just make sure you let them cool COMPLETELY before you store them in the freezer. I like to add chipotle ranch or chipotle mayo onto these and have them with a bun like a classic burger or even on top of greens as part of a salad!

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What Even is “Wellness” Anyway?

From UCR

As my first self-guided ePort post for this class, I thought I should give an overview of what wellness really is. It seems like a simple concept to most, just working out and eating healthy, right? Contrary to the general belief, wellness is much more complex and is a quite interdisciplinary concept. In fact, the University of California Riverside outlines seven dimensions of wellness. There is social wellness, emotional wellness, spiritual wellness, environmental wellness, physical wellness, intellectual wellness, and occupational wellness. All of these aspects of our lives play a role in our wellness.

Social wellness encompasses our relationships with friends, family, etc. Humans are social creatures and need positive social interaction to thrive. Being able to connect with others is an important aspect of our wellness.

Emotional wellness focuses on our mental health, feelings, etc. Emotional intelligence helps us get through the ups and downs of life; we need to understand and find ways to deal with our emotions to find balance and happiness. Facing hardships in life is inevitable, so we need to develop skills to handle our emotions in order to achieve optimal wellness.

Spiritual wellness deals with our values and beliefs; it also helps us make meaning of our lives. This can be very different for different people. Personally I’m not religious, but I still have my own sort of spirituality and practices I follow to understand life and find peace and harmony within my own life. Other people might follow principles of an established religion to make meaning of their lives. No matter how you go about it, spiritual wellness is about finding peace, harmony, understanding and meaning in your life. 

Environmental wellness can be a little more tricky to explain and might have a little bit of a different meaning to different people. For some, it might mean living in a space/area that feels like home or comforting to you. Things like candles/incense and having a clean room can literally improve your overall wellness. For others, it is more about connecting with the Earth and developing a positive relationship with it. This can include spending time in nature, or helping sustainability efforts. Our relationship with our surroundings is a piece of wellness we should keep in mind.

Occupational wellness has to do with our careers, jobs, etc. It is important to find a work-life balance while being able to support yourself/your family. If we’re overworked, we get overly stressed which can take a tole on our health. If we aren’t working, we may stress about getting the bills paid, or may even get stir-crazy and feel like we need something to do. It is also important to do work you find fulfilling. If you hate your job, you’re most likely going to be miserable, and will offset the balance of your wellness.

Intellectual wellness is about mental stimulation, creativity, learning, etc. Constantly learning new things, participating in creative activities, etc. can actually improve your wellness because you are exercising your brain. Intellectual stimulation is great for the human mind and overall wellness. We have insanely powerful brains… it’s important to use them!

Physical wellness is probably what you are most familiar with. Having optimal physical health helps us thrive not only in day to day activities but other things we might find interest in. It also keeps us healthy and prevents disease. Diet and exercise are without a doubt two of the most important aspects of our health, but they also improve our self-esteem, confidence, and overall happiness. 

Overall, I think this basic overview is a key start to understanding what wellness really is and how it can be achieved. As this journey continues I will keep sharing healthy habits, tips, tricks, and some routines that work for me. Adopting a lifestyle that considers all aspects of wellness can improve your health and happiness. Plus… it feels good to treat yourself well.

Works Cited:

“University of California, Riverside.” Wellness: Seven Dimensions of Wellness, wellness.ucr.edu/physical_wellness.html.

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IDSSem RA Précis

Integration of Eastern and Western Methods: Reiki in Clinical Practice — A Meta-Analysis

As the world of health and wellness expands, we see more and more in todays world that Western or traditional medicine and Eastern or alternative medicine are being used in conjunction. The essence of integrative medicine is that subtle energies play into and affect our physical reality, including our health. This being said, I’m studying the practice and effects of using Reiki healing in clinical practice.

Miles, P., & True, G. (2003). Reiki- Review of biofield therapy history, theory, practice, and research. Alternative Therapies, 9(2), 62-72. https://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/38851235/Milesand_True.pdfAWSAccessKeyId=AKIAIWOWYYGZ2Y53UL3A&Expires=1551841196&Signature=EIarO961q%2BIC0F00Xhyy8pDklvI%3D&response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3DReiki–review_of_a_biofield_therapy_hist.pdf

Pamela Miles and Gala True, in “Reiki- Review of Biofield Therapy History, Theory, Practice, and Research” (2003) provide essential background information on Reiki healing including it’s history, theories, and increasing use in clinical practice, explaining that it can be used as a complimentary tool. The authors discuss the basics of Reiki by discussing it’s theory and history as well as things like training, treatment, and how it is being integrated in hospitals and similar settings. Their purpose is to explain the core of what Reiki is in order to introduce why it can be beneficial as a complimentary practice. The intended audience seems to be one more familiar with Western than Eastern methods of healing and medicine because they discuss the scientific background of Reiki instead of just the spiritual one; Western audiences typically are more interested in the former than the latter. 

Kyrak, E & Vitale, A. (2011). Reiki and its journey into a hospital setting. Holistic Nursing Practice, 25(5), 238-245. http://mind-body-science.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/hnp3.pdf

In “Reiki and Its Journey Into a Hospital Setting” (2011), Elizabeth Kyrak and Anne Vitale reflect on their journey of helping integrate Reiki into a hospital setting in their own nursing practices, explaining that it can be a great tool to utilize in clinical practice. The authors show the success of their practice by explaining how the integration process worked over the years and sharing how they’ve seen the benefits of Reiki in their practice. It seems that their purpose was explain why and how Reiki can be used in order to promote its use in clinical settings. The audience the authors target is nurses and other medical professionals, shown by their tendency to explain why policies should be introduced to support Reiki in hospitals. 

Anderson, J & Taylor, A. (2011). Effects of healing touch in clinical practice. Journal of Holistic Nursing, 29(3), 221-228. https://journals-sagepub-com.libproxy.plymouth.edu/doi/pdf/10.1177/0898010110393353

In “Effects of Healing Touch in Clinical Practice” (2011), authors Joel Anderson and Ann Taylor share their study on the effects of hands-on energy therapies like Reiki in clinical settings, determining that it can be useful but tends to be immeasurable. They explain their study like a typical research paper, including things like methods, results, etc., but come to the conclusion that although benefits were seen, our lack of scientific knowledge and measurement tools makes it hard to get concrete numbers supporting evidence of Reiki’s effectiveness. The purpose seems to be to share the findings of their study even though the lack of solid quantitative data makes it hard to come to a solid conclusion, so that they don’t ignore the benefits of Reiki but also don’t deny that they are lacking the information to solidify a certain result. This article seems to be for an audience interested in things like Reiki and similar tools, but who possess a science-focused brain who value those concrete quantitative results because they go through the study as they should and share results without skewing them one way or another. 

Lepine, E. (2018). Reiki in Australian hospitals and ‘palliative care centres’. Journal of the Australian Traditional-Medicine Society, 24(3), 166-168. http://web.a.ebscohost.com.libproxy.plymouth.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=1&sid=07fd8460-2a38-4beb-9675-4bfe9d742f91%40sdc-v-sessmgr05

Eugenio Lepine, in “Reiki in Australian Hospitals and ‘Palliative Care Centres’” (2018), gives a overview of how Reiki is being used in some clinical settings in Australia, Tazmania, and New South Wales, showing that resources are out there for people to reap benefits from. He gives a brief overview of how science is trying to understand Reiki and how/where it is being used in certain areas to show what options are out there and how it has worked for those using Reiki. The purpose seems to be to inform people interested in using Reiki either as a practitioner/medical professional or even as a patient so that more people can utilize this tool. There is no one specific audience, it seems to be directed towards anyone looking into Reiki either as a practitioner or a patient as a way to improve health because he is very broad in his work and doesn’t single out any sort of group.

Bossi, L., Ott, M., & DeCristofaro, S. (2008). Reiki as a clinical intervention in oncology nursing practice. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, 12(3), 489-494. http://web.a.ebscohost.com.libproxy.plymouth.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=1&sid=f09ea682-9c72-4074-baaa-dd51ef25c6c2%40sdc-v-sessmgr06

Three nurses, Lorraine Bossi, Mary Ott, and Susan DeCristofaro, in “Reiki as a Clinical Intervention in Oncology Nursing Practice” (2008), share with readers their experiences introducing Reiki in their own clinical practice, determining that it is very beneficial to patients and nurses alike. They explain their findings by sharing basic information on Reiki, their experiences, the experiences of their patients, the benefits they witnessed, and how others can incorporate it. The purpose seems to be to promote the use of Reiki, so that more patients and nurses alike can reap its benefits in a clinical setting. The intended audience is other nurses; they explain how they got into it, how other nurses can gain these skills, and how it can benefit them. 

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