vrijdag 27 augustus 2010

FDA ignored evidence that CT scans are killing 14,000 Americans a year from cancer

Article with thanks to my friend Amanda.

Thursday, August 26, 2010 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) FDA administrators sought to brush aside evidence that CT scans may be killing thousands of patients a year, say agency scientists.

"I was first ignored, then pressured to change my scientific opinion, and when I refused to do that, I was intimidated and ultimately terminated," said gastroenterologist and former FDA consultant Julian Nicholas.

The controversy stems from a still-pending application by General Electric (GE) for the approval of CT (computed tomography) scans as tests for colon cancer. GE made the request because although the practice of screening healthy patients with CT scans has become increasingly common, many insurers remains reluctant to pay for it.

When the FDA moved to approve the request with minimum fuss, agency scientists objected that the increased cancer risk from the radiation involved in CT scans would outweigh any potential benefit.

Approval would "expose a number of Americans to a risk of radiation that is unwarranted and may lead to instances of solid organ abdominal cancer," Nicholas wrote in an email to the agency.

"The increased radiation exposure to the population could be substantial and would raise a serious public health/public policy issue," agreed FDA medical officer Robert Smith of Yale and Cornell Universities.

Yet these and other scientists say their concerns were dismissed by their supervisors. For example, minutes of one meeting record agency manager Joshua Nipper responding, "We don't need to be reinventing a big bugaboo about radiation."

The average U.S. resident is exposed to seven times more non-therapeutic radiation than in 1980. This has been driven in large part by the exploding popularity of CT scans, which expose patients to as much radiation as 400 chest X-rays.

The number of CT scans performed in the United States has increased from three million per year in 1980 to 70 million today. Scientists estimate that this extra radiation exposure kills 14,000 people a year.

Sources for this story include: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/29/h....

maandag 23 augustus 2010

Learning to Listen

Author: Johnny Silvas

We all know what it's like to get that phone call in the middle of the night.

This night's call was no different.

Jerking up to the ringing summons, I focused on the red illuminated numbers of my clock. Midnight. Panicky thoughts filled my sleep-dazed mind as I grabbed the receiver.


My heart pounded; I gripped the phone tighter and eyed my husband, who was now turning to face my side of the bed.


I could hardly hear the whisper over the static. But my thoughts immediately went to my daughter. When the desperate sound of a young crying voice became clearer on the line, I grabbed for my husband and squeezed his wrist.

"Mum, I know it's late, but don't...don't say anything, until I finish. And before you ask, yes, I've been drinking. I nearly ran off the road a few miles back and..."

I drew in a sharp shallow breath, released my husband and pressed my hand against my forehead. Sleep still fogged my mind, and I attempted to fight back the panic.

Something wasn't right.

"And I got so scared. All I could think about was how it would hurt you if a policeman came to your door and said I'd been killed. I want...to come home. I know running away was wrong. I know you've been worried sick. I should have called you days ago, but I was afraid...afraid..."

Sobs of deep-felt emotion flowed from the receiver and poured into my heart. Immediately I pictured my daughter's face in my mind and my fogged senses seemed to clear. "I think..."

"No! Please let me finish! Please!" She pleaded, not so much in anger but in desperation.

I paused and tried to think of what to say. Before I could go on, she continued, "I'm pregnant, Mum. I know I shouldn't be drinking now... especially now, but I'm scared, Mama, so scared!"

The voice broke again and I bit into my lip feeling my own eyes fill with moisture. I looked at my husband who sat silently mouthing, "Who is it?"

I shook my head and when I didn't answer, he jumped up and left the room, returning seconds later with the portable phone held to his ear. She must have heard the click in the line because she continued, "Are you still there? Please don't hang up on me! I need you. I feel so alone."

I clutched the phone and stared at my husband, seeking guidance. "I'm here, I wouldn't hang up," I said.

"I know I should have told you, Mum. But when we talk, you just keep telling me what I should do. You read all those pamphlets on how to talk about sex and all, but all you do is talk. You don't listen to me. You never let me tell you how I feel. It is as filmy feelings aren't important. Because you're my mother, you think you have all the answers. But sometimes I don't need answers. I just want someone to listen."

I swallowed the lump in my throat and stared at the how-to-talk- to-your-kids pamphlets scattered on my nightstand. "I'm listening," I whispered.

"You know, back there on the road, after I got the car under control, I started thinking about the baby and taking care of it. Then I saw this payphone and it was as if I could hear you preaching about people shouldn't drink and drive. So I called a taxi. I want to come home."

"That's good, darling," I said as relief filled my chest. My husband came closer, sat down beside me and laced his fingers through mine. I knew from his touch that he thought I was doing and saying the right thing.

"But you know, I think I can drive now."

"No!" I snapped. My muscles stiffened, and I tightened the clasp on my husband's hand. "Please, wait for the taxi. Don't hang up on me until the taxi gets there."

"I just want to come home, Mum."

"I know. But do this for your Mum. Wait for the taxi, please." I listened to the silence in fear. When I didn't hear her answer, I bit into my lip and closed my eyes. Somehow I had to stop her from driving.

"There's the taxi, now."

Only when I heard someone in the background asking about a taxi did I feel my tension easing.

"I'm coming home, Mum."

There was a click and the phone went silent. Moving from the bed with tears forming in my eyes, I walked out into the hall and went to stand in my sixteen-year-old daughter's room. The dark silence hung thick. My husband came from behind, wrapped his arms around me and rested his chin on the top of my head. I wiped the tears from my cheeks.

"We have to learn to listen," I said.

He pulled me around to face him. "We'll learn. You'll see."

Then he took me into his arms and I buried my head in his shoulder. I let him hold me for several moments, then I pulled back and stared back at the bed. He studied me for a second, then asked, "Do you think she'll ever know she dialed the wrong number?"

I looked at our sleeping daughter, then back at him. "Maybe it wasn't such a wrong number."

"Mum, Dad, what are you doing?" The muffled young voice came from under the covers.

I walked over to my daughter, who now sat up staring into the darkness.

"We're practicing," I answered.

"Practicing what?" she mumbled and laid back on the mattress, her eyes already closed in slumber.

"Listening," I whispered, and brushed a hand over her cheek.

The Power of Patience

A few weeks ago I attended a workshop with Graell Corsini during the Goddess Conference in Glastonbury.

We worked with affirmations and one that popped up for me was: I am patience...

Hmmm... not exactly my strongest asset, but in the past few years I have learned the benefits of being patient, and not always in the nicest kind of way :-)

So today I would like to share an article by Carolyn Ellis. 

Patience is definitely a virtue. In a high-speed, interconnected, multi-tasking society, patience can be hard to come by. Building a profitable business has so many ups and downs that if you don't have patience, you're likely to miss important opportunities.

The analogy of the farmer planting his crops is a great example of patience. The farmer prepares the soil and plants the seeds. He tends to the fields as best as possible, giving the water needed for growth, keeping weeds and hungry animals out, and hoping the sun will shine enough to grow a healthy crop. The farmer appreciates the cycles of the seasons. Sometimes it looks like absolutely nothing is growing, but below the surface true magic is happening. Roots are sprouting and tapping into the soil's nutrients. A tender green shoot starts to poke its top up through the soil. Some seeds germinate and some do not. With time, the right conditions, persistence and patience, the farmer is then ready to harvest the crop.

Part of my work with my clients is to help them break free of limiting beliefs and to up-level their mindset. Patience definitely comes in handy! I worked with a new client who wanted to develop more confidence so she could be more successful in her business. She said "Oh, I'm so sick of thinking that there's something wrong with me! I'm tired of playing small and want this to change now."
When I asked her how long she had these limiting thoughts about herself, she said about 40 years. At that point we had two sessions. I asked her "If you've had 40 years of practice living into this belief about yourself, do you think it's reasonable to expect yourself to be rid of it completely in just 2 sessions?" It would be like the farmer rushing out to the fields a few days after planting his seeds and being disappointed that the crops haven't grown yet. My client saw that being impatient with herself and her process not only didn't get the result she wanted, but was actually not very compassionate and loving to herself.

Living in a society that seems to be fixated on the quick fix and a need for speed, patience is sometimes overlooked. But patience can be powerful. It helps you stay persistent and seeing your projects and initiatives through to fruition instead of veering off onto something new. Patience helps you bring greater wisdom and perspective to your challenges, instead of just reacting in the moment. And patience helps you find greater compassion and acceptance for your wins and your challenges.

Make it an amazing day!
Carolyn Ellis
Founder, Brilliance Mastery (TM)

woensdag 18 augustus 2010


This beautiful text I received from Kavita.  I love to share it with you.

As I get older, I realize there are things in My life I didn't appreciate until it was too late.

I didn't appreciate the naps they used to make
Me take in kindergarten.
I long for the day when someone says, "You
Can't work anymore until you take a nap." I
Guarantee you, I won't argue.

I didn't appreciate those face-squishing hugs
My father used to give me.
Now that he's gone home to be with the God,
I long for just one more.
This time I would squish him right back.

I didn't appreciate the days I danced barefoot
In the rain with my mouth open wide trying to
Get a drink of raindrops.

I didn't appreciate mom letting us mess up the
Living room on a rainy day.

I thought building a tent with a secret tunnel
Is what everyone did on those days.

I didn't appreciate the marvels of planting a seed
And watching it sprout into a full-grown plant.

I didn't appreciate the struggles we had to go
Through as a family.

Because of yesterday's struggles, we have
Strength for today.

I didn't appreciate the times my sons came to
Me and asked those annoying, unanswerable questions.
"What makes a duck quack?" "Why is the sky blue?"
I had no idea they thought I was smart enough
To answer all their questions.

I didn't appreciate the good times our family had.

I didn't appreciate those primary School teachers
who went through so much
Trouble to collect toilet paper rolls so I could
Understand what a scroll was.

I didn't appreciate those clear nights when the
Stars danced with glee showing
Off their awesome Creator.

I didn't appreciate the times my children
fell Asleep in daddy's arms.
I didn't realize it was there they felt
Protected from all the elements of the world.

God, I have just one prayer for today.
Open my eyes that I may be able to see
And appreciate the things that you do each day.

maandag 9 augustus 2010

Riding the Spiral

Blog post By Nicolle Aleman

Years ago, a wise woman told me that our lives are traveling on a spiral pattern. We don’t really come full circle, she said, but patterns do repeat often in our lives. Because we are on this spiral, we are able to look across the circling lines of our past, access our memories and use that hard-won wisdom to make better decisions.

I considered this and then cracked “Is it a downwards spiral or an upwards spiral?” Without blinking, she replied kindly, “That would depend entirely upon you!”

I see this spiral pattern emerging a lot in my own life and when that happens, her words always return to me. Sometimes positive patterns arise, like how I always feel like taking care of my body in the spring and I seem to quietly dive into hibernation during the colder months without even realizing it. Knowing this, I’m able to recognize my old pattern and make sure that I make appropriate adjustments to my diet and exercise routines so my health doesn’t suffer when the clouds come in. I know that when the light returns, my desire to be social returns with it and I get to laugh and play with my community with renewed vigor. It’s something to look forward to while I am recharging my batteries under piles of blankets!

And of course, there are those pesky patterns we’d rather not see return to our lives. For instance, I sometimes notice that old conflicts repeat themselves with completely different, unrelated people in my life. It occurred to me recently while reading the email of a person who was upset with me that she was using almost the exact same hurtful words of a former friend with whom I’d argued eight years prior. They don’t know each other – what could this mean?

When I’m able to remove myself from the heated emotion of a situation like that, it’s easy to recognize the pattern. “Oh it’s you again,” I’ll sigh internally. The key, of course, is sidestepping the path of least resistance – that familiar, steady slide into Victimville – “Why does this always happen to me?” and realizing that the common denominator in every single negative conflict in my life is me. What lesson do I need to learn this time that I didn’t fully get the last time around? How can I choose to react differently now that will be in alignment with my highest self? When I look back on this conflict and how I responded to it, what will I be proud of and what will make me cringe?

The Spiral is not a new symbol, of course. It represents growth and evolution and is said to be the path that we walk on our way back to the Creator. This sacred pathway is often cluttered with obstacles that may look annoyingly familiar as we ascend in our consciousness. When we run into these obstacles, it’s an opportunity for us to ask ourselves where we can heal that we weren’t fully healed before. What more is there to learn? If we consider that the Spiral is a path specifically tailored to each of us to help us grow where we need to grow during our time in Classroom Earth, the obstacles might not look so threatening anymore. Suddenly, every interaction becomes sacred. We are able to recognize what helps us grow out of our own imaginary prisons of limiting beliefs. Consider it the Universe’s make-up exam that we get to take as many times as we need to until we pass. Maybe these lessons even traverse lifetimes. It isn’t that we’re slow learners…some of us just like to be thorough.

Do I react perfectly every time I hit these old stumbling blocks? Absolutely not! I’d like to think that I get a little more graceful every time, and sometimes, I might even be right. The more I learn, though, the more grateful I am to be alive and the more determined I am to dance up and around this Spiral of life.

How to be Alone


donderdag 5 augustus 2010

The Truth

Once upon a time, there was a local sales man with a nice job, a loving and caring wife whom he had four beautiful daughters with. Though he had everything to be happy, the man was restless and unhappy. His wife came up to him one day, and asked him what was going on. ‘I want to search for the Truth’ he said. 'Then go' she said. But clever as she was, she told him to make sure that everything he'd leave behind, was called hers. So he left and conquered great mountains, deep valleys and mysterious forests. He searched for days, weeks and even months.

But then, one day, he discovered a cave up in the mountains, in which an old woman had build a home. She had a skin so old, it looked like leather. Her hair was greasy and her hands were covered in dirt. But when she spoke, her voice was so beautiful and graceful that he finally realized he had found it: the Truth. He stayed for over a year and she taught him everything he ever wanted to learn. Then the time had come for the man to go back to his beloved family. At the last goodbye, he asked her: ‘Dear Truth, you were so good to me the past year. Please, tell me, is there anything I can do for you?’ She thought carefully, pointed her old, wrinkled finger, and spoke: ‘Well yes, there is one thing. When you tell other people about me, tell them I’m young and pretty’.

Why It Is Wise to Worship a Woman

A few days ago, after a particularly exquisite evening with my wife Chameli, I put this post up on Facebook before going to bed:
"I have had many, many great teachers in my life. A super abundance. No one and nothing comes close to the woman who is now asleep in the bedroom. My marriage has become the guru, the salvation, the muse, the crack through which the divine shines through."

When I woke up the next morning, there were the usual offerings of people who liked the post as well as comments.

One man had the vulnerability and courage to post this on facebook:
"Thank you Arjuna for this sharing, I feel like [I'm] in front of a choice which is between feeling envious of what you have and I don't, or instead to decide that 'I want that too,' and, as you show, it is possible..."

I was touched.

Over the next days, I got several more messages like this from men: vulnerable men, honest men, rare and courageous men. They came in as private messages on Facebook or through our website, and they all said basically the same thing:
"I read your Facebook post. I want what you have. Show me how to get it."

So, friends, here it is. The short guide on how to worship a woman, and why it's the wisest thing that a man can do. First of all, lets pop a few very understandable doubts that you might have. I'm familiar with all of them.

1. "I'm wounded and damaged in my relationships to the feminine."
So am I, dear brother, so am I. My parents divorced in a messy way when I was four. I grew up alone with my mother. She did her very best to provide for me, but she was unhappy and insecure. By the time I started to have relationships with women myself in my early teens, I discovered that I had a mountain of resentments, fears, and separation in my relation to the feminine. The conscious practice of worship can become a part of healing the wounds.

2. "Arjuna, you're lucky. You've got an incredible partner. I'm together with a woman who's not like Chameli."
I really don't have the ultimate answer to that doubt or question. It certainly could seem to be the case that I've been lucky in finding a great woman, but here's how it happened for me. I've had a lot of less lucky connections in my life. I've experienced my share of the manipulative side of the feminine: the victim, the rageful, the vengeful. And I have seen the ugly side of the masculine psyche in myself. A few weeks prior to meeting Chameli, my wife, something deep and profound shifted in me, which I believe can shift for anyone in the same way.

3. "I don't have a partner at all, and I sometimes doubt if I'll ever meet anybody."
Being with a partner where worship is not flowing, or not being with a partner at all, are basically two aspects of the same situation: you've had an intuition or a glimpse of the possibilities of a deeper love, and you want more of it. The solutions are the same.

4. "I feel my heart is closed down. I live in my head a lot, and I wouldn't even know what worship was if it broke into my house at 2 o'clock in the morning and held me at gunpoint."
That's where the whole thing starts for all of us, when we realize that we don't yet know how to love. And that's that the big question that you have to consider: "Is that okay with me?" Never mind how much money you make, or how many friends you have on Facebook, no matter how nice a house you live in, or no matter how big a car you drive, no matter how impressive your partner's bust size, or how much you meditate and become spiritual... have you loved for real, in a total and undefended way? If not, and here's where you have to be honest with yourself, is that OK with you? Is it OK to die one day without the heart's gift having been fully given?

Eight or nine years ago, I came to that question in myself, exactly that, and I discovered that the answer was, if I was was raw and vulnerable and uncomplicated, that it was actually not OK. If I died one day without having fully loved, it would not have truly been a life well lived.

Many many years ago, I went to Bali for a vacation, on my own. I met up with some other young travelers there and we hired a Jeep to take us on a tour of the island. We drove up right to the highest point of the island, where Tourists don't usually go. Our guide took us to one of the most sacred temples. It was surrounded by a big brick wall with an ornate entrance. After removing our shoes and wrapping scarves around our heads, we stepped together through this entrance. Inside, there was a short courtyard and then another brick wall with another entrance. After more preparations of lighting incense and giving offerings, we stepped through the second entrance. We were allowed to go through the opening in one more wall, but that was it. All together there were ten walls around the deity in the middle. Hindus could go beyond the fourth wall. Devotees of that particular deity could go beyond the fifth wall, and so it went on. The only people allowed to approach the deity directly were those who had given their lives completely and totally to its worship. Everyone else could come a little closer, a little closer, to the innermost beauty, but not all the way to the center.

I'm not a big believer of the worship of statues, but there's a beautiful symbolism to what I saw there, because a woman's heart is just like that. At the essence of every woman's heart is the divine feminine. It contains everything that has ever been beautiful, or lovely, or inspiring, in any woman, anywhere, at any time. The very essence of every woman's heart is the peak of wisdom, the peak of inspiration, the peak of sexual desirability, the peak of soothing, healing love. The peak of everything. But it's protected, for good reason, by a series of concentric walls. To move inwardly from one wall to the next requires that you intensify your capacity to devotion, and as you do so, you are rewarded with Grace. This is not something you can negotiate verbally with a woman. She doesn't even know consciously how to open those gates herself. They are opened magically and invisibly by the keys of worship.

If you stand on the outside of the outermost wall, all you have available to you, like many other unfortunate men, is pornography. For $1.99 a minute, you can see her breasts, maybe her vagina, and you can stimulate yourself in a sad longing for deeper love.

Step through another gate, and she will show you her outer gift-wrapping. She'll look at you with a certain twinkle in her eye. She'll answer your questions coyly. She'll give you just the faintest hint that there is more available.

Step through another gate with your commitment, with your attention, with the small seedlings of devotion, and she'll open her heart to you more. She'll share with you her insecurities, the way that she's been hurt, her deepest longings. Some men will back away at this point. They realize that the price they must pay to go deeper is more than they are willing to give. They start to feel a responsibility. But for those few who step though another gate, they come to discover her loyalty, her willingness to stick with you no matter what, her willingness to raise your children, stick up for you in conversation, and, if you are lucky, even pick up your dirty socks now and then. And so it goes on. You've got the gist by now.

Somewhere around the second wall from the center, she casts the veils of her personality aside, and shows you that she is both a human being and also a portal into something much greater than that. She shows you a wrath that is not hers, but all women's. She shows you a patience that is also universal. She shows you her wisdom. At this point you start to experience the archetypes of women, who have been portrayed as goddesses and mythological figures in every tradition.

Then, at the very center, in the innermost temple itself, all the layers of your devotion are flooded with reward all at once. You discover the very essence of the feminine, and in a strange way that is not exactly romantic, but profoundly sacred all the same, you realize that you could have got here with any woman if you had just been willing to pass through all the layers of initiation. Any woman is every woman, and every woman is any woman at the same time. When you love a woman completely, at the very essence of her being, this is the one divine feminine flame. It is what has made every woman in history beautiful. It's the flame behind the Mona Lisa, and Dante's Beatrice, and yes, also Penelope Cruz and Heidi Klum. You discover the magic ingredient which has lead every man to fall in love with a woman.

When you learn how to pay attention to the essence of the feminine in this way, you fall to the floor in full body prostration, tears soaking your cheeks and clothes, and you wonder how you could have ever taken Her, in all of Her forms, for granted even for a second.

So just a couple small questions remain. First, do you get what I'm talking about? Does it jive for you? Does it make sense?
And second, if yes, how are you going to get from where you are now to being able to the full capacity of your heart to love for real? I'd be glad to share more about this if we get to know each other better, but here's how you get started.

First, do what I did, and create an altar in your room dedicated to Divine Feminine. Put only symbols of the feminine on it. I have a painting called "Beatrix" by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. I have a statue of Quan Kin. Populate your altar with anything that reminds you of the feminine, and spend a few minutes of the day in worship. Yes, worship. Adoration. Devotion. Offer up rose petals. Offer poems. Offer everything, and beg Her to reveal Her innermost essence to you. This will work miracles whether you're single and waiting to meet the right woman or whether you're already in relationship and long to meet your woman in a deeper way.

The second way to get started: make a practice, a discipline, of telling your woman, or any woman, ten times a day something which you adore about her. "I love the smell of your shampoo." "I love the way you laugh." "The color of your eyes is so beautiful." Of course, you need to keep it appropriate. You can go as far out on a limb as you like if you're in relationship with a woman, but with anyone else remember the gates. Keep you communication appropriate to the gate number that you find yourself at. Appreciation the curve of a woman's breast, for example, if she happens to be the cashier at the supermarket, would equate more to harassment than worship.