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A Plastic Surgeon on What to Know about Breast Implant Complications


Are there other possible complications of silicone- or water-containing implants?

When anything that gets implanted in a human body, the body recognizes it as foreign and walls it off, so to speak. The capsule tissue contains cells called myofibroblasts and fibroblasts. These cells produce the collagen that forms the matrix of the capsule. Should any bacteria find its way into the capsule space, they can form an entity called biofilm, which is a microscopic layer between the capsule and the breast implant.

A myofibroblast behaves like a little muscle cell and can contract like a muscle. In the condition called capsular contracture, that’s what’s happening. I think it may be inflammation that causes the myofibroblasts to contract and then tighten down around the implant. When the capsule tightens down, it can eventually change the shape of that breast implant. One hypothesis is that bacteria, from an upper respiratory infection, for example, could be seeding the capsule space and causing inflammation and capsular contracture.

Whether or not capsular contracture happens depends on a couple things: the type of implant (whether it’s silicone or saline), the implant surface type (smooth versus textured), and where you’re putting the implant (above or below the muscle). Depending on which study you read, saline implants have a slightly lower rate of capsular contracture than silicone implants, and textured implants have a lower rate of capsular contracture than smooth implants. That was one reason textured implants were developed in the first place. The second reason textured implants were developed was because a textured surface is much less likely to rotate or slide.

My practice for the last decade has really been focused on a lot of revision breast work, such as redoing breast reductions or breast lifts. And I focus on a lot on implant complications, like capsular contracture, implant ruptures, and when the implant may have started in the right place but ends up in the wrong place.



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Starting Conversations with Your Kids about Gender Identity and Sexuality


What are the basic terms that can help us have conversations about gender identity?

Gender: A socially constructed system of classification that ascribes qualities of masculinity and femininity to people. Gender expectations and norms can change over time and are different from culture to culture. The word “gender” is often used synonymously—and incorrectly—with “sex.”

Sex: The physical structure of a person’s genitalia used to assign gender at birth. In addition, biological sex includes chromosomes, hormones, internal organs, and other structures related to reproduction. Given the potential variation in all of these things, biological sex must be seen as a spectrum or a range of possibilities rather than a binary set of only two options.

Gender identity: One’s innermost core concept of self, which can include identification as a man, a woman, a blend of both or neither, and more ways individuals perceive themselves, as well as what they call themselves. Many people become conscious of a discrepancy between their gender and their sex between the ages of eighteen months and three years. Some of these people socially, hormonally, and/or surgically change their physical appearance to more fully match their gender identity, and some do not.

Cisgender: Describes a person whose gender identity is congruent with the sex they were assigned at birth.

Transgender: Sometimes used as an umbrella term to describe anyone whose identity or behavior falls outside of stereotypical gender norms. More narrowly defined, it refers to an individual whose gender identity does not match their assigned birth sex.

Sexuality (sexual orientation): Refers to being romantically or sexually attracted to people of a specific gender or genders and/or sex or sexes. Our sexual orientation and our gender identity are separate, distinct parts of our overall identity. Although a child may not yet be aware of their sexual orientation, they usually have a strong sense of their gender identity.

Gender identity and sexual orientation are independent of each other: Being transgender or cisgender does not imply any specific sexual orientation. Therefore, people may identify as straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, etc., regardless of what their gender identity is.



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Fall 2019 Issue Out Now


Digital Edition:
Order Now

Collectors Edition Print Issue:
Coming Soon!

EXERCISES FOR ENHANCING LONGEVITY

By Dr. Steven R. Gundry

Not all exercise is created equal. Learn which ways of moving the body are best for extending lifespan.

 

NATURAL NOOTROPICS: MIND MEDICINES

By David Winston

Discover ancient herbal medicines backed by modern science for supercharging memory, mood and more.

 

RECIPE: TAHINI CHOCOLATE CHIPS COOKIES

By Sarah Grossman & Tamara Green

These fall favorites are gluten-free, extremely easy to make and most importantly, delicious.

 

EMOTIONAL EQUILIBRIUM: RETURN TO PRESENT

By Rajshree Patel

Learn proven techniques for letting go of the negative and staying grounded in a positive heart and mind.

 

REPROGRAMMING PAIN INTO POWER

By Dr. Kelly Brogan

Pain is always pointing you towards pleasure if you know how to handle it. Here is sage guidance on doing that.

 

SHAMANIC REALITY: OPENING THE DOORS OF PERCEPTION

By Daniel Pinchbeck & Sophia Rokhlin

Daniel Pinchbeck takes us on a profoundly deep journey into the mystical realms of shamanism.

 

CREATING AN ECO-FRIENDLY KITCHEN

By Christine Liu

Learn how to make your food and lifestyle habits ultra-sustainable to do your part towards a healthy planet.

 

RELATIONAL INTERDEPENDENCE

By Nancy Levin

Learn how to spot and work through unhealthy patterns that are sabotaging the quality of your relationships.

 

TRAVEL: A PHOTO JOURNEY THROUGH OUR ANCIENT PAST

By Meghan McDonald

Take a visual journey through some of the planet’s most beautiful, ancient and mysterious sacred sites.

 

ART: ESCAPING REALITY

The Art of Emma Rodriguez

Slightly real, slightly surreal, artist Emma Rodriguez’s mystical landscapes transport you into an alternate reality.

 

CONSCIOUS EVENTS, BOOK REVIEWS, ENLIGHTENED PRODUCTS & MORE

Vote with your wallet for a better (and more stylish) future by supporting these conscious, sustainable brands.

– OR –

Order the Print Edition Summer 2019 Issue (Coming Soon!)

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GP Gets “Unready” with Chriselle Lim


MY EVENING ROUTINE

CHRISELLE LIM | digital influencer and entrepreneur

“Are you sleeping well?” GP asked digital influencer and entrepreneur Chriselle Lim on a recent compare-notes Zoom call. “Because I have been sleeping terribly! And I’m usually such a good sleeper, so I’m just wondering.” Lim, who’s the number one fashion expert on YouTube (her videos have over 29 million views at this point), started laughing. “Same,” she said. “You’d think that since we’re all isolating at home, we’d have more time to sleep!” The two bonded over the next-level juggling that many fortunate-to-be-working women now find themselves navigating: working at home full-time while taking care of their families at home full-time.

The right approach to winding down in the evening—and a routine to back it up—can make all the difference, the two agreed. “I have two little ones, five and two,” said Lim. “So most of my work has to happen at night. So I’m getting to sleep really, really late. Now that home is work and work is home, I have to figure out routines that I can look forward to.”

“Just as energetic beings, we’re absorbing a lot of change and stress,” said GP. “These times call us to really bring our best selves forward, while processing and taking care of ourselves and our kids.” The two talked about self-care, routine, and products they love, all in service of getting “unready” after a long day.

CL: Skin care is so important to me. I always try to make time to take care of my skin, whether it’s five minutes or fifteen. And at least once a week, you know what I’ve been using? This guy. This is a miracle worker—beware, though: It tingles! I can feel it. Then when you wake up, your skin just feels so tight and bright. I’ve always naturally gravitated toward more clinical products, and these pads are like that—effective and strong—but also ingredient-conscious.

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GP: We invest quite a bit with the clinical trials, and the results are incredible. And that’s the point, you know? I use the 15% glycolic acid peel, which is stronger.

CL: Wait—you guys have different grades?

GP: Yeah. There’s a 5% one, too, for sensitive skin. For me, though, I like the burn.

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GP: So what time do the kids go to bed?

CL: The little two-year-old goes to bed at 7, and the oldest goes to bed at 8:30. So probably around 9:30, that’s when I really get into my work, and (unfortunately) I often work up until midnight. From there, I go into “me” mode—it’s later than I would like, but that’s just my reality at this point—and do a few things that are really simple. I’ve been washing my hair more in the evenings. I used to do it in the mornings, but with my current schedule and the kids, it’s now at night, and I love your Himalayan salt scrub shampoo. I just have to end my night with that aroma and that sensation. Honestly, I was confused when I first tried it, like, will it exfoliate my hair? But it started foaming, and I was like, oh, real shampoo. And then the scent—so good.

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CL: I also have this massager from Amazon. I put it on my shoulders and just let it roll around. And this Korean ginseng hot tea that I drink. Then, probably the most important part: I turn my phone on airplane mode and read for ten or fifteen minutes to kind of decompress and let myself get sleepy. I jump right from work to sleep—my head is still thinking about work, so it’s hard to actually relax.

GP: So true! I think it’s about finding those things that get us back in our bodies and kind of taking care of ourselves a little bit, especially at night, because we regenerate so much through sleep. I’ve always been a big bath person, but this bath—it’s called The Martini—has become even more critical over the last few months.

CL: Oh I love The Martini! I don’t do one every day, but when I do, I’m like, I should be doing this every day! It really relaxes my body and skin. The smell is so good.

GP: It really brings you back down. It’s this amazing combination of salts and essential oils that we did with my acupuncturist, who is also an incredible herbologist—he’s such an amazing healer—Paul Kempisty. And so there is chia seed and passionflower and valerian root, and then there is wildcrafted frankincense and myrrh and all of these amazing things. It’s the most therapeutic bath. So that’s been my hack for trying to get a good night’s sleep. While I’m in the bath, I often exfoliate my face with the GOOPGLOW Microderm mask, and my other thing is I use this rose quartz roller—to me it’s like a massage that gets to all those crunchy bits in the jaw. I like to really get in there.

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CL: You do this every night?

GP: I do!

CL: I actually use the roller in the morning. I wake up super puffy and this is like putting ice on your face, but better. I like that it has two sides. Like, this small side is for the corners, right? I’ve also been using this guy when I have a standard sheet mask on—I roll it around over my mask.

Speaking of the morning, after talking Netflix binges (Lim loved Tiger King, GP’s into murder mysteries, Brad likes World War II documentaries—hear it all in the video) and favorite before-bed teas, the two signed off, but they met again over Zoom to talk morning routines. That video’s on Lim’s YouTube channel, but here are the Cliff’s Notes:

Bonus:

Chriselle Lim’s Morning Top 10 (Okay, 11)

  1. 1

    “My morning GOOPGLOW is part of my regimen before I get started for the day. I don’t really like the taste of water, so this allows me to drink so much more water than I usually do. Of course it comes with so many amazing benefits for the skin (like glow), but for me, it’s also a hack way to get myself to drink more water.”

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    “I take the goop supplements because I’m horrible with taking vitamins! The fact that they come in a package makes it so easy. Like: This is what I need in a day and I’ll be good.”

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    “I’ve been dry-brushing my midsection area because my skin has sort of stretched out in that area, and I feel like it’s helped so it doesn’t look as wrinkly. At first, I was like, ‘This kind of hurts,’ but then my body got used to it, and it’s been really good for me. I love it.”

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    “This has changed my skin. I have combination skin, and without some kind of tonic or toner with AHAs in it, I start breaking out. Not huge pimples but like small whiteheads—and this has really eliminated that for me.”

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    “This is probably one of the best hyaluronic serums out there.”

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    “I love this face cream because it’s just so simple. I’ve been using that like every morning to get that glow.”

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    “I love this brand and this product! Sometimes I just apply it just to get the smell—it just relaxes me.”

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    “When I have to do video calls or film some videos or photos, this Beautycounter tinted foundation is so hydrating—and the color is super light, but it still gives me coverage.”

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    “This has such great pigment. I used it throughout my pregnancy—it gives me a pretty flush.”

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    “This is actually the very first clean mascara that I’ve ever used—and I love it.”

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    “I swipe this on every single morning.”

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The Surreal Art of Emma Rodriguez (Mooncrab)


CONSCIOUS LIFESTYLE INTERVIEWS ARTIST EMMA RODRIGUEZ (MOONCRAB)

Slightly real, slightly surreal, artist Emma Rodriguez’s mystical landscapes transport you into an alternate reality that we’d very much like to visit in the flesh, or at the very least, our dreams.

Conscious Lifestyle Magazine: How have your life experiences influenced you art?

Emma Rodriguez: My art is based a lot around my own mental health. For me, it is a means of escape—not only the creative process but the final image represents a way of getting out of the world that surrounds me and transporting me into another place.

When I go through low stages in my life, sometimes I feel that is when I am most inspired to create something that represents the opposite of what I’m going through, or sometimes, even the exact thing I am going through.

CLM: Where do you draw your inspiration for your work?

ER: I draw a lot of inspiration from surrealist artists like Dali and De Chirico, and the whole surrealist movement in general as it was something I was very interested in during my time at university. I always intend to create something “other worldly”.

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CLM: What messages does your artwork convey or what do you hope it sparks in viewers?

ER: I have had a lot of messages from people who said my art has helped them through tough times and has healed them in some kind of way, which is beautiful to me. I create the art for my own mindfulness and self-care, and to know that it helps others with their own situations is one of the main reasons why I carry on making what I make.

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CLM: How do you create your artwork? What is the process of birthing a piece like for you?

ER: I can’t say I really have a process; I never really have when making art. I think I just get so excited by the vision of a final piece that I go straight into making what I have in my mind,

and then it either works or it doesn’t. All my work is digital, so I first source the images I imagine in my head and form them together using Photoshop.

Mother-Nature

CLM: If you could share one important piece of wisdom or message with the world, what would it be?

ER: If I have learned anything from experience: it’s okay to take a break. If you need a day to stay in bed all day and feel rubbish, then go ahead. You need to rest and recharge and give yourself permission to take a break from trying to be productive and pretending that you’re okay all the time when you’re not.

fishs-min

Emma Rodriguez (also known as mooncrab) is from Bristol, England. She graduated from university with a degree in drawing and printmaking. Her primary focus is on digital mediums and landscape-based work. Her art is inspired by her own ups and downs, as it’s often these moments in which she desires to create something that helps her get away. Her work can be found at @mooncrab.jpg on instagram and mooncrab.co.uk

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wings-of-hope

wings-of-hope

moon-rise-mountain

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Unlearning Unconscious Bias | Goop


A test is not training. Bias training has to be an ongoing process. So yes, to start: Talking about unconscious bias will make you more aware of your implicit biases. When you see the facts, the research, the evidence, and the case studies, you realize how insidious and pervasive biases can be. They affect us in so many ways that we don’t realize. Take ageism, accents, looks, and height—and think about dating. So much of the dating technology being created is not only incorporating these biases but also perpetuating them.

“I always say that bias training is not a magical cure that can cure somebody of unconscious biases.”

We need to become aware of—and reflect on—our biases. It has to be an ongoing process of educating ourselves and watching ourselves. Then we have to make really important decisions. We have to try to neutralize our stereotypes by making sure that we don’t fall back on them. Especially when hiring and doing recruitment, people tend to follow confirmation bias. We are more attracted to people who perhaps went to the same university as we did, who come from the same town, who dress a certain way or speak a certain way. When a person walks into a room, you’ve already made these judgments about them whether you like them or not.

So how do we put processes in place so that we can minimize these effects? That is what organizations and workplaces have to think about in order to counter some of these systemic problems. Are we actively being allies? Are we actively promoting and encouraging people from marginalized and vulnerable groups? Are we actively speaking up? On an individual level, we all have a responsibility to counter these stereotypes. To make sure that we expose ourselves to as much reading as possible. To get our information from different role models.



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The Health Benefits of Bathing in Nature (Shinrin-Yoku)


Forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku, doesn’t require a bathing suit, although you might want to wear one because it’s great to include some water, such as a waterfall or a dip in a lake, as part of your forest bath. And forest bathing is not an epic trek through Patagonia or a calorie-burning ten-mile run. It’s also not led by a park ranger, and no maps are involved. There will be no compasses or hiking poles.

So, what exactly is forest bathing? Forest bathing is the practice of intentionally connecting to Nature as a way to heal. Part mindfulness, part child’s play, it’s a portal into true understanding of yourself and the world around you. Considered as a form of nature therapy, forest bathing is an embodied love note to Mother Earth and an evidence-based intervention to combat the life-threatening diseases that are associated with modern life.

If you’ve ever taken a walk in the woods à la Henry David Thoreau, you may be aware of the benefits of being outdoors. You breathe easier. The thoughts racing through your head slow down and magically begin to reprioritize themselves—the stuff that doesn’t matter begins to fade away. If you’re with friends, the conversations may go deeper. You may talk about dreams, intentions, desires, and manifestations. This is your soul talking. It’s always talking, but usually we are so stuck in our minds that we don’t take the time to really listen.

Being in the forest deliberately activates you. John Muir, who was unknowingly involved in forest bathing research for most of his life, said, “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” Forest bathing encourages you to hug trees, feel moss, pick up leaves, taste raspberries, and listen to your deep truths. It’s about awakening all your senses, tapping into your wildness, and luxuriating among the trees. A forest bath cleanses your soul and allows you to find yourself soaking in nature.

The History of Forest Bathing

Forest bathing is based on the Japanese term shinrin-yoku (森 林 浴), which was coined by Tomohide Akiyama of the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries in 1982, in part as a way beyond logging to garner value from the forest. In Japanese, the term comprises three kanji characters—the first character is composed of three trees and means “forest,” the second character is two trees and refers to the interconnectedness of the forest, and the third character connotes the luxury of being fully engulfed in the abundance that surrounds you.

The essence of shinrin-yoku, however, goes back a lot further than when the term was coined. As evidenced in haiku poems about nature and with the concept of wabi-sabi—the beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete—much of traditional Japanese culture is based on a deep understanding of and connection to Nature. Ikebana, the Japanese art of arranging flowers, for example, dates back to the sixth century; it focuses on a personal and direct relationship with nature. According to one of Japan’s most influential modern ikeba practitioners, artist Toshiro Kawase, ikebana helps one realize that “the whole universe is contained within a single flower.”

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Before forest therapy became popular, the ancient people of Japan honored sacred spirits that they recognized in nature, manifesting in mountains, rocks, rivers, and trees. Shugendō Buddhist priests, or Yamabushi, are mystics and warriors whose origins go back to at least the eighth century. These hermitic seekers live in the mountains, pursuing spiritual powers gained through asceticism. Their traditional role was to help guide people to one’s true nature and to teach discipline and warrior ways. Yamabushi believe that the highest truth exists in nature. Shugendō is a path to help people strip away excess, to understand themselves better through immersion in the power and strength of the natural world. Everything in nature is considered sacred and believed to have health benefits—be it a stone or a river—and practitioners use rituals to honor each of the elements: earth, air, water, and fire.

What religious ascetics have intrinsically known for two thousand years, modern researchers have confirmed with science and data. Japanese forestry administrator Tomohide Akiyama was aware of the pioneering studies of the immune-boosting effects of phytoncides, essential oils exuded by certain trees and plants, when he first proposed shinrin-yoku in 1982. Since then, much research has focused on the stress-busting and mood-enhancing benefits of exposure to phytoncides in nature.

Forest Bathing and Modern Life

Humans have evolved in nature; we’ve spent 99.9% of our time in the natural world, and our physiological functions are adapted to it. We’re evolved to find relaxation and restoration in nature. Nevertheless, today most Americans spend most of their time indoors, including a lot of time in enclosed vehicles. With the constant stimuli and stresses of modern life, our prefrontal cortexes (the fight-or-flight response center that controls the release of adrenaline) work on overdrive, which means we rarely ever enter rest-and-digest mode. As a result, we have chronically high levels of cortisol in our bloodstreams and are plagued with high blood pressure and other ailments.

We’re living in a pivotal moment in human history when the spiritual and the scientific worlds are merging. We’re beginning to understand what happens on both a physical and subatomic level as we engage with nature. It’s been scientifically shown that spending time immersed in forest therapy reduces stress, lowers heart rate, lowers cortisol levels, decreases inflammation, boosts the immune system, improves mood, increases the ability to focus, jump-starts creativity, increases energy levels, and makes us more generous and compassionate.

In a study spanning visitors to twenty-four forests, Japanese researchers showed that when people strolled through a forested area, their levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, plummeted almost 16% more than when they walked in an urban environment. The effects were quickly apparent: within minutes of beginning a walk in the woods, the subjects’ blood pressures showed improvement. Results like these led Dr. Qing Li to declare “forest medicine” a new medical science that “could let you know how to be more active, more relaxed, and healthier with reduced stress and reduced risk of lifestyle-related disease and cancer by visiting forests.”

In forest therapy programs in Japan, groups are led through immersive nature walks, where they are invited to slow down and rediscover the world around them. They may be invited to try out forest bathing activities like smelling fragrant leaves or listening to stories of where beloved foods, such as chestnuts, come from. There are breaks for healing bento lunches, meditation, and soaking in the negative ions from nearby waterfalls. These programs may also include nature yoga, woodworking, and soba noodle-making. Such courses are offered across the country, often in small towns accessible by high-speed rail. The Japanese version of forest bathing blurs the line between eco-tourism and nature-focused healing.

With this influx of evidence on the health benefits of nature therapy, the practice of forest bathing has begun to spread to other parts of the world, including Korea, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. Forest bathing is the antidote to modern life. This practice may have started in Japan, but it’s evolving into a new way of living, which is actually the original way of living—in right relationship with the earth.

For thousands of years, human cultures have had their own versions of shinrin-yoku—of sensorial practices for soaking in the healing powers of the forest. Each culture may have unique practices and rituals, but all are based on the same big secret: Nature is everything. Nature keeps us healthy and can provide the medicine we need. Spending time with nature provides us with inspiration and well-being. True innovation and the most advanced technologies originate from the planet. You can read this or hear it a thousand ways, but it’s not until you experience this secret that you begin to embody this deep knowing. As you do, maybe you’ll begin to see nature connection as I do—a basic human right and prerequisite for true healing.

Welcome to the New Environmental Movement

Shinrin-yoku represents a realignment with the natural world. Indigenous cultures the world over are innately aware that the health of communities depends on the health of the environment. People who live on the land where they and their ancestors grew up are inherently connected to that land. They know how to speak Nature’s language and know that we all are connected to the earth. As Native American faith-keeper and indigenous rights advocate Chief Oren Lyons says, “The environment isn’t over here. The environment isn’t over there. You are the environment.” All of us have much to learn from people whose rituals and traditions have preserved a strong connection to the planet.

Since the Industrial Revolution, we have considered ourselves conquerors and manipulators of the natural world: Man versus Nature. This feeling of separation from Nature made it okay to destroy the planet for our benefit. But what we haven’t realized is that we are destroying ourselves, too.

As a society, Americans have reached the apex of separation from Nature and are suffering as a result. Chronic illness, including cancer, depression, anxiety, exhaustion, and attention deficit disorders, are widespread and on the rise, even with all the preventive health care available. These issues affect adults and children alike. With the current status quo, chronic diseases are expected to affect almost half of all Americans by 2025.

The pain and suffering we feel on an individual level is reflected back to us in the state of the planet. Since 1970, the world has witnessed a nearly 60% decline in wildlife across land, sea, and freshwater and is heading toward a decline of two-thirds by 2020. As the world population continues to grow, demands for food, water, energy, and infrastructure are putting more pressure on the earth. Massive deforestation, rapidly melting glaciers, coral reef destruction, soil erosion and degradation, extreme weather, and worsening air quality are just a few of the many signs that we’ve been ravaging Nature at an ever-increasing rate.

It seems clear that we simply cannot go on doing what we’ve been doing. But where do we begin? These problems are massive, systemic, and overwhelming.

Sometimes things have to come to a breaking point before they can begin to get better. I believe that all of the calamity and upheaval we are experiencing is heralding a new epoch. At this moment, Earth herself is becoming conscious, enabling humans to awaken to higher values. We have an unprecedented opportunity to create the world we want to live in—one filled with compassion for the whole web of life, and one that we will be proud to gift to our children worldwide.

This shift away from disconnection to the beginning of reconnecting to Nature marks the end of what author Charles Eisenstein refers to as “our journey of Separation” in the essay “The Three Seeds.” He writes that the purpose of this journey that started thirty thousand years ago with a tribe called humanity was “to experience the extremes of Separation, to develop the gifts that come in response to it, and to integrate all of that in a new Age of Reunion.” We are being called to embark on the journey of reconnection to our personal inner nature and outer nature. Forest therapy is a rewilding from the inside out and the outside in, as we learn to integrate our hearts and minds and live in harmony with the earth.

Environmental activist and Buddhist scholar Joanna Macy recalls the Tibetan legend of the Shambala warrior. “There comes a time when all life on Earth is in danger,” she says. “It is now, when the future of all beings hangs by the frailest of threads, that the kingdom of Shambala emerges.” This kingdom is not some place you can go, but rather a knowing in the hearts and minds of Shambala warriors. The warriors are sent to dismantle the dangerous powers-that-be with the weapons of compassion and insight. We all have the potential to be Shambala warriors.

If you’ve been dwelling in despair, it may be helpful to know that several cultures predicted our current difficulties centuries ago: people from Tibet, Latin America, Siberia, and North America prophesied about the future of humankind. The Andean Quechua Inca, New Mexican Hopi, and Mayan cultures share a prophecy of the eagle from the North and the condor from the South, in which the condor, representing intuitive, nature-connected ways, is close to extinction, while the eagle, symbolizing the dominant forces of industrialized society, reigns supreme. The prophecy foretells of violence and materialism that proceeds a moment of awakening, when the eagle and condor realize that they are capable of more love and awareness and decide to join forces and learn to fly in the sky together again.

The urge we feel to rewild and speak our truth is Mother Earth’s own desire. She’s done waiting patiently while we selfishly ravage her. She’s speaking to us and through us. We’re living in an amazing moment of transformation.

As we do shinrin-yoku, we begin to understand how to communicate with trees and plants. We gain the ability to interpret a slight breeze or a bird’s call. We fall deeply in love with the earth. The more we tap into Mother Nature’s rhythms, the more we understand that she wants to help us evolve and live with a higher purpose—all we have to do is learn how to listen. Earth will show us how we can best serve her. As we heal the planet, we heal ourselves.

Try It Out

To try forest bathing, simply step outside. You may want to go to a nearby park or perhaps you have some trees in your backyard. There’s no need to go deep into a forest to receive the benefits of spending time in nature, which can even be a form of preventative health care.

Forest bathing is all about getting in touch with your true nature. There are no specific guidelines to follow; no rights or wrongs or shoulds or must-dos. It’s about what feels right to you. Everything I recommend is an invitation for you to try if you feel inclined. If you’re not inclined, you may choose to simply sit under a tree and do nothing. You’ll get all the health benefits that way too!

I’ve found that the quickest way to get into a forest bathing state-of-mind is to give an offering to the Earth. It’s best practice to give to Nature before we ask for anything—whether that is for healing or clarity or anything else. An offering can be anything from some flowers to a splash of water to a song or dance. It’s less about what it is and more about the purity of your intention. This is a way of greeting the land and asking for permission to be there. You can also ask for protection as you go about your shinrin-yoku journey.

Once you’ve greeted the land with your offering, begin to awaken your senses. It’s not always possible, but if you’re comfortable, try taking off your shoes as you do this. In addition to the many benefits of earthing, of having your feet connected to the Earth, you may find that thoughts drain from your head when you have a direct connection to the Earth. Take a moment to acknowledge all of the beings that have stood on that same land over many thousands of years.

Now take a look around you and notice all the shapes, colors, and patterns of the natural world. Our eyes have a fractal structure; when we see fractals in nature, a resonance occurs, and it allows us to relax.

To experience even more forest bathing benefits, close your eyes and listen to the sounds around you. You may be surprised by how much more you can hear with your eyes closed. Shift your attention to what you can feel—perhaps the breeze on your skin or the soil beneath your feet. Take a few deep breaths and notice what you smell in the air. Perhaps you smell the phytoncides, the essential oils that trees emit, that boost our natural killer (NK) cell activity. Stick your nose in the dirt and take a big inhale of Earth! And finally—stick out your tongue and notice what you can taste in the air. It’s really fun to taste the raindrops when it’s raining!

With all your senses awakened, you may feel more alert and connected. If there are still thoughts running through your mind, imagine emptying a thought with each step that you take. As you walk slowly, allow your heart to direct you. Follow your curiosities instead of the beaten path.

At some point you might find a spot to sit. Go ahead and take a seat and just stay there as long as you’d like. Notice how the environment changes over the course of a few minutes. After your first-ever forest therapy session, come back to that same place over a few days, weeks, seasons, or years and you’ll really experience the subtle shifts. You may even find that you begin to learn the language of birds, trees, insects, and clouds and that you start to receive messages from them.

This is the simple art of forest bathing. You can absolutely forest bathe alone, and you will receive many benefits from this practice. I also find that it’s important to do this work together. At this moment in time, the reconnection that’s being called for is trifold: to ourselves, our communities, and the planet. Forest bathing in a facilitated group is really powerful because we all bring back unique discoveries from our time in nature, and as we share, we learn a lot from each other and weave a new story.

As shinrin-yoku has increased in popularity recently, it’s possible to find forest therapy guides in many locations around the world. Resorts are beginning to offer these practices, and many guides are on AirBnB Experiences. The Forest Bathing Club is launching a training program in 2020 for people who are looking to start their own branch of the club in their local community. Sign up at to hear about the training at forestbathing.club

forest-bathing-julia-plevin-book-coverReprinted from The Healing Magic of Forest Bathing: Finding Calm, Creativity, and Connection in the Natural World. Copyright © 2019 by Julia Plevin. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.



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What’s a White Black Girl?


By Megan O’Neill

Before I’m a Black woman, I’m a woman. Even before I’m a woman, I’m Megan O’Neill. I’m tall. I love the color turquoise. I feel prettiest wearing a swishy skirt and having done yoga that morning. I live for summer. I’m afraid to do acid. The subway—and being crammed up against all those people—energizes me. I love my mom ineffably. I’m thirty-five but often still call myself a girl. I’m indecisive because everything has some appeal. I’m a first-generation American born to Jamaican immigrants. I want kids and have some weird-cool names in my head. I’m optimistic.

I know that when I walk into a supermarket or a doorman building or a job interview, before anything else, I’m Black: a color and a qualifier that snuffs out my summer-loving, my swishy skirts—my complexities. It’s a wild dichotomy, knowing who I am and knowing I’m also someone else entirely to people who, overtly or subconsciously, believe my Blackness gives me qualities that live only in their minds: I’m dangerous, raucous, eager to shirk responsibility, turgid with criminal urges that will, sooner or later, ooze forth.

Before COVID preyed hardest on Black people, illuminating a grim new level of racial disparity, and before police departments’ most recent spate of perfunctory mauling and killing of Black men and women happened to be caught on camera and disseminated in a way that made flimsy pretexts no longer convincing—I made an effort not to ruminate on race constantly. But of course even then, part of me was always focused on it. Every Black person is hyperfocused on race, because the second we leave the house, we’re not judged as individuals.

If you’re a Black person and you don’t fit a crude stereotype, you’re confusing. In my case, you’re a White Black Girl, which is a thing that’s about as real as a mermaid. I’ve been called a WBG more times than I can count—behind my back as a slight, and to my face as a slight wrapped up in a joke. I suppose it means that if you were talking to me over the phone without having met me, my Valley Girl lilt would be antithetical to my skin color? I suppose it means I have a vocabulary? It’s too absurd to deconstruct.

Just out of college, I babysat a girl named Julia. She was seven or eight years old and enrolled at the same school I’d once gone to. We’d eat cupcakes, I sautéed carrots for her as part of her dinner once, and we worked on her homework together. She was eons ahead of your average second grader and didn’t need much tutoring. We had a good vibe going. One day she asked me, “Why do you talk like you’re white?” I told her I talked like me, that it was wrong of her to assume that an entire race of people should sound the same.

Her question jabbed me in the stomach, though, and time hasn’t eroded the sensation: It’s still in my head, that dusty idea that there is only one way to be Black. It’s emblematic of the wide scope of racism; every one of its varying degrees minimizes and subordinates. Racism is a messed-up question innocently posed by a White second grader, and racism is three White men in Georgia chasing down and killing an unarmed twenty-five-year-old Black man named Ahmaud Arbery on his afternoon jog—and not being arrested until the video of their vile act goes viral. The scenarios are obviously incomparable, except for the throughline: White people don’t have to deal with this kind of thing.

Racism can be obvious in its asinine-ness. I once interviewed for an assistant position at Vogue and later found out that the editor I’d spoken with expressed misgivings about hiring me because my hair was “unruly” (read: “curly”) and I didn’t seem “subservient enough.” Racism can be something you and your mom and brother perversely laugh about at the dinner table, because what on earth else do you do with the fact that the smart person in the high position at the prestigious magazine where your mom worked as a freelancer asked her if her excellent posture was the result of carrying baskets on her head when she was growing up. Racism can be blindsiding, like the time in high school my good friend’s boyfriend instant messaged her about making sure to stay safe from “the dirty niggers” we might encounter at the hip-hop concert we were going to that night.

Racism is the reason I’m three to four times more likely to die of pregnancy-related causes than a White woman. It’s why Black teenagers who love the way they look in a hoodie have to balance wanting to look cool with their risk of getting shot. It’s why banks are more likely to deny loans to Black mortgage applicants than to applicants of any other race. Black women earn roughly 66 percent of what the average White man makes—that’s racism.

Racism is why, for years, I was the only Black person in my grade at my Upper East Side all-girls private school, and why most of my friends and the women I work with at goop—and I love love love my friends and the women I work with at goop—are White. To go a bit further upstream: My single mom worked doggedly to send me to a private school on scholarship because it was a better education than the one I’d get at the surrounding, more diverse public schools. Education affords you choices, especially if you’re a Black woman. The private school was predominantly White because yearly tuition was upwards of $25,000 (today it’s around $52,000). The net worth of a typical White family in the US is roughly ten times that of a Black family, due to discriminatory policies that were put in place after slavery and throughout the twentieth century, like Jim Crow laws and redlining, which prevented Black families from accruing generational wealth.

I’m lucky. My mom fought for me to have a beautiful life. I live in Brooklyn, surrounded by a lot of woke people who are actively putting in the effort to be anti-racist. I feel supported and seen by those in my immediate orbit. I’ve never lived in a food desert. I’ve never been chased by White men targeting Black people out on an afternoon jog. But I, too, deal with the psychological maelstrom of having dark skin.

You’re always wondering if it’s what’s motivating the salesperson to surreptitiously follow you around the store when you’re browsing. Is it why the woman at the resort in Arizona, where you’re vacationing with your blonde college friends, double-checks that you’ve paid for the mineral sunscreen you’re walking out with?

It’s an utter mindfuck to be Black. But I don’t wish myself to be any other way. To be Black and live your life fully and joyfully in spite of omnipresent ignorance and injustice and a president who hasn’t said a real word about Black lives mattering is a triumph of colossal proportions.

Early in the school year, when I was little, my mom told me something that all caring Black mothers tell their children. “You’re going to be great. It’s different for you, remember. What you do or don’t do matters more than it does for them.” She wasn’t stern, and I was receptive. By then I’d already picked up that my being Black meant a lot more than the empirical certainty that my skin was a shade somewhere between the shell of a coconut and ground cinnamon.

My mom always says she can only be as happy as her unhappiest child. It’s true of America, too. We can only be as happy as the families of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Trayvon Martin, Rayshard Brooks, and every other Black person who’s been gruesomely, unjustly murdered. We are worse than unhappy right now. We want Black lives to matter as much as White ones do. We want equality, not revenge. It’s such a mild ask.



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High Quality Cannabidiol Products Review


Are you feeling stressed out or anxious? Do you experience pain and inflammation? If you answered yes to either of the above questions then you should definitely know about CBD, one of nature’s most powerful healing remedies.

The Healing and Health-Boosting Magic of CBD

If you’ve never heard of it before, here’s a quick introduction to what CBD is and the research behind this amazing compound. CBD (which stands for cannabidiol) is a natural compound found in the cannabis and hemp plants (don’t worry it won’t get you high, but it makes most people feel good for other reasons), and there is a growing body of scientific research showing that cannabidiol can be beneficial for a variety of uses (from reducing social anxiety to helping reduce pain and inflammation) with more and more evidence cropping up every day.

According to medical cannabis expert, Leonard Leinow, “at least ten randomized, controlled trials on over one thousand patients have demonstrated the efficacy of cannabinoids for neuropathic pain of various origins.” In addition, pre-clinical research has shown CBD to have a range of effects including antioxidant, neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, and anti-anxiety properties. And a 2012 research review of several international studies concluded that CBD has been effective for reducing anxiety, particularly social anxiety. [1-2]

Many people report that taking CBD oil causes them to experience a pleasant and powerful reduction in anxiety and a noticeable lift in mood, which is often described as feeling a wave of calm or bliss washing over their bodies, which is consistent with CBD’s reported effects at 5-HT receptors that control the release of many important neurotransmitters (particularly serotonin) that affect stress, anxiety levels, and mood.

But before you run out and buy some, there’s a few important things to keep in mind when navigating the many different types of CBD products on the market. Here’s our guidelines for what to look for as well as a few of our favorite products.

Full-Spectrum CBD vs. CBD Isolate

We recommend choosing a full-spectrum CBD product, like Just CBD’s organic full-spectrum CBD tincture. Full-spectrum means that the extract contains a range of other helpful cannabinoids and terpenes that naturally occur in the plant itself. These compounds (along with the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids found in the plant) work in a synergistic manner to enhance the effectiveness of the CBD.

Dosage

Another aspect to keep in mind when looking for CBD is the strength of the product. If you’re new to taking CBD, you’ll want to start with a smaller dosage and work your way up. We particularly like Just CBD’s full-spectrum tincture because it comes in a variety of doses ranging from 1.66mg to 50mg of CBD per milliliter. Most people will generally use between 10mg to 50mg of CBD per dose; however, smaller amounts can be used more frequently throughout the day and even for pets, as there’s a growing body of research that’s showing CBD may be useful for helping alleviate anxiety and pain in cats and dogs as well.

Organic and Natural 

As with most herbs and supplements, we always recommend seeking out organic and all-natural products whenever possible. Organic CBD ensures that there are no harmful chemical pesticides or GMOs used during growing.

In addition to their organic full-spectrum tincture, Just CBD (a leading brand in the CBD space) has a few other natural products that are super versatile and effective. Their CBD coconut oil is a lovely, balancing addition to a Bulletproof-style coffee and has a number of other uses such as a vegan substitute for butter or a body moisturizer and massage oil. If you experience any aches and pains that you use a topical cream for, you may want to try out their CBD infused pain cream, which has a ton of rave reviews from their customers.

As for myself, I’ve been using Just CBD’s full-spectrum organic CBD tincture for a few weeks now and have experienced some incredible benefits. These last couple of weeks for me have been filled with deadlines and near-constant travel, along with the hustle and bustle of the holidays, yet I’ve felt a lot less stressed and much more calm and focused than I normally do with this much going on.

To try Just CBD’s for yourself, visit their website justcbdstore.com

References

[1] Volkow, Nora D. “Cannabidiol: Barriers to Research and Potential Medical Benefits.” Drug Caucus Hearing on Barriers to Cannabidiol Research, United States Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control. June 24, 2015 Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/legislative-activities/testimony-to-congress/2016/biology-potential-therapeutic-effects-cannabidiol

[2] A. R. Schier, N. P. Ribeiro, A. C. Silva, J. E. Hallak, J. A. Crippa, A. E. Nardi, and A. W. Zuardi, “Cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa Constituent, As an Anxiolytic Drug,” Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatri 34, suppl. 1 (2012): S104–S110. PubMed PMID: 22729452.

Disclaimer

The statements made in this article have not been evaluated by the FDA. Any products recommended are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. No claim is made or implied whatsoever as to the effects of any recommended products or their effects on health.



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16 Summer Grilling Recipes | Goop


It’s prime grilling season, and we’ve collected the recipes for it. Of course we’ve included some of the hits—steak, shrimp, and eggplant are favorites for a reason—but if you’ve never grilled romaine lettuce or kale for a salad, or a piece of stone fruit for dessert, now is the time to give it a try.

BREAD

Grilling bread—be it a crusty rustic loaf or flatbread, regular or gluten-free—is a highly underrated move. It lends flavor, looks beautiful, and adds a little something to otherwise simple toppings and dips.

FISH

Most fish benefits from quick and hot cooking methods, like grilling. Whole fish, shrimp, and not-too-flaky types, like salmon, halibut, and mahi-mahi, are sturdy, forgiving options that won’t fall apart on you.

MEAT AND POULTRY

Even if you only sporadically eat meat, the time to go for it is when it’s prepared over an open flame. Using high-quality meat and cooking it properly on the grill means that you won’t need much else beyond salt, fresh herbs, and some citrus.

VEGGIES

Think beyond the standard grilled veggie platter and zhuzh them up with really bold seasoning or condiments. Romesco, harissa, mint, and red chili work pretty universally on summer produce, so feel free to experiment.

SALADS

The taste and texture of grilled food can bring a lot to a salad, especially when you add a bright and tangy dressing or vinaigrette.

DESSERT

Because you really can grill it all. The ultimate way to end a BBQ. Just be sure to clean off the grill grates so that you don’t get any savory bits in your dessert. And if you have slightly underripe or flat-tasting fruit, grilling it will amplify the sweetness of the fruit and caramelize the natural sugars.



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