Thursday, March 5, 2015

Step-by-Step Program for Deepening Mature Love and Intimacy

POST-ROMANTIC STRESS DISORDER (PRSD) What to Do When the Honeymoon Is Over
By John Bradshaw

Visionary John Bradshaw Offers A Step-by-Step Program for Deepening Mature Love and Intimacy



Most divorces could be prevented if couples knew what to do "when the honeymoon is over,” visionary counselor, theologian, bestselling author and addiction specialist John Bradshaw explains in a new book, POST-ROMANTIC STRESS DISORDER (PRSD): What to Do When the Honeymoon is Over (HCI Books, Publication Date: November 2014, ISBN-13: 9780757318139, $15.95).

Based on Bradshaw's new research, PRSD is a very real and serious psychological disorder destroying relationships unnecessarily. In the book, however, he offers a step-by-step program for deepening mature love and intimacy, as well as an easily mastered series of exercises for becoming a better partner.

Couples just don't know how to navigate the emotional swings that almost every marriage creates, he argues. If couples learn and understand the concepts Bradshaw presents in his book, the portrait of the family unit could have a whole new landscape. In POST-ROMANTIC STRESS DISORDER (PRSD), Bradshaw explains the brain circuitry that connects us to love and romance.

It was Bradshaw, in his groundbreaking work HOMECOMING, who helped us understand and heal the wounded and vulnerable "inner child." His dynamic therapies are practiced all over the world. A much sought-out speaker, Bradshaw has truly touched and transformed the lives of millions. Bradshaw's other best-sellers have included HEALING THE SHAME THAT BINDS YOU and CREATING LOVE. He has combined his exceptional skills in the role of counselor, author, management consultant, theologian, philosopher, and public speaker, becoming one of the leading figures in the fields of recovery, family systems, relationships, spiritual and emotional growth and management training.

In POST-ROMANTIC STRESS DISORDER, this great teacher opens the gate to a new frontier, tackling issues that threaten and endanger so many modern relationships. As he so brilliantly observed some time ago, "As the health of the marriage goes, so goes the health of the family." 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

John Bradshaw has combined his exceptional skills in the role of counselor, author, management consultant, theologian, philosopher, and public speaker, becoming one of the leading figures in the fields of addiction recovery, family systems, relationships, spiritual and emotional growth and management training. His dynamic therapies are practiced all over the world. A much sought-out speaker, Bradshaw has truly touched and transformed the lives of millions. Bradshaw is The New York Times bestselling author of Healing the Shame that Binds You, Homecoming, and Creating Love.
He has presented more than 500 keynote speeches, workshops and talks. He has hosted, appeared on, and been interviewed by more than 800 TV and radio shows, including: Oprah, Politically Incorrect, GMA, CNN News, the BBC, and Sirius Radio. Bradshaw has also been interviewed by, or written articles for, more than 500 publications, including Newsweek, Rolling Stone, People, Chicago Tribune, and the Boston Globe.

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AUTHOR INTERVIEW:
 
1. What do you hope to achieve with this book?

With a divorce rate of 51% and 17% of those staying married claiming to be unhappy, I'm hoping to stop people from throwing away perfectly good marriages!

2. Explain how people are throwing away perfectly good marriages?

Essentially it comes from a confusion of love and being in-love. In over a hundred research studies, over 50% of the people interviewed said that true love was being in-love with its amazing sex.

3. You're saying that people who have lost the kind of sexual desire they had while in-love, no longer love each other?

That's exactly what 50% of people believe!

4. Why is that an enormous belief?

New research (especially Helen Fisher's, one of the leading anthropologists in the United States) has shown convincingly that we have three innate programs; one for lust, one for being in-love, and one for attachment.

5. What is the difference between lust and being in-love?

Lust involves the simple desire to have sex with someone. It involves a lot of control. After sex, a lusting only partner wants to leave. Not so when you are in-love. You are "out of control” and you want to be with your beloved all the time. Lust can lead to falling in-love and falling in-love can lead to lust.

6. What do you mean by "attachment?”

Attachment flows from being in-love and having great to amazing sex. As lovers move toward the end of the in-love cycle, and think about settling down and having offspring, new brain chemicals, vasopressin and oxytocin (the cuddle chemicals), reduce dopamine and norepinephrine which are the chemicals responsible for the energetic, high testosterone behaviors that characterize being in-love. They move a couple to settle down and to consider offspring.

7. So what is Post Romantic Stress Disorder?

The in-love brain program lasts from 12 to 18 months and when it ends—a person's testosterone (the sex chemical)—goes back to normal levels before falling in love. The low T partner loses sexual desire first and after months of automatic and routine sex, says, "let's just cuddle tonight” or some statement denying sex. I call this the "sexual breach” which is mild to severe for the high T partner. In-love is an altered state of consciousness—once it ends, a couple returns to their normal lives before they fall in-love. This can be an enormous stress for those who are highly dependent or have shame-based personalities.

8. The second part of your book is based on three other new discoveries. What are they?

a. The neuroplasticity of the brain
b. The human will as a physical force that can change the very structure of the brain
c. The primacy of affects (feelings)

9. Comment on the will as a physical force that can change the structure of the brain?

The work of Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz at UCLA (and his colleague Sharon Begly) with OCD patients, using a four affirmation set over ten weeks, showed that the willed affirmations had changed the part of the brain responsible for the obsessive compulsions. Schwartz and his team did MRI brain scans before and after the ten week program.

Parents, your kids want you to unplug for the National Day of Unplugging March 6-7, 2015

Sixth Annual “National Day of Unplugging”  
Families encouraged to take a break from technology March 6-7, 2015

In celebration of the sixth annual National Day of Unplugging (NDU) from sundown Friday, March 6 to sundown, Saturday, March 7, the nonprofit Reboot is asking individuals and families to reconnect with each other by putting down their smartphones, tablets and computers for 24 hours.

Everywhere you look - playgrounds, dinner tables, sidewalks and cafes- people are glued to their phones and tablets, texting and emailing or scrolling through Facebook. Children and loved ones constantly hear, “Just a minute” or a distracted “Uh-huh” as heads are buried into connected devices. This message is reverberating throughout our society: our relationship with technology is taking over our ability to be present in our interpersonal relationships.

"In its sixth year, the National Day of Unplugging is more than a day - it's become an international movement and a chance for individuals and families to pause and make a conscious choice to connect with the world around them,” said Reboot Executive Director Robin Kramer. “Unplugging from technology gives us the opportunity for face-to-face conversations and to enjoy the outdoors. The NDU offers a welcome respite from the never-ending stream of digital information we are exposed to throughout the year."

Reboot developed the annual tech detox to remind young, hyper-connected and frequently frantic people to take a regular respite from all things digital.

The National Day of Unplugging recognizes the value and importance of technology in today’s world with the goal of encouraging people to be more mindful of their technology use.

Parenting experts warn that digital distractions are harming interpersonal relationships, hindering youth from developing face-to-face communication skills and teaching children that disappearing into digital devices for endless hours is an appropriate pastime.

Parents and their children are increasingly plugged into multiple digital devices across a variety of platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram.  Many toddlers even know how to use an iPhone or iPad before they can put together a full sentence.  A recent study by Bridgewater State University found that the number of younger children who own mobile devices is increasing. The Bridgewater State University study found that 83 percent of middle-schoolers, 39 percent of fifth-graders and 20 percent of third-graders have mobile phones.

“Technology has given us unprecedented opportunity to connect and share,” said Randi Zuckerberg, New York Times Bestselling Author of Dot Complicated. “While this is a wonderful thing, we also need to remind ourselves that a life truly well lived, is not a life constantly buried in a smartphone. By being mindful of how we use technology in our daily lives, and by consciously taking time to unplug and invest in ourselves and our most important relationships, we send the message that we respect our personal time, we value our loved ones and that we control our devices, not the other way around. Only then can we truly unlock the best that technology offers us.”

Reboot is offering a package of tips to give families ideas for unplugging and sample activities for facilitating tech free time. To view the list, visit www.NationalDayofUnplugging.com. Additionally, individuals and families are invited to participate in the “I/WE UNPLUG TO _____” campaign to publicly share what they like to do when not using technology.

The National Day of Unplugging is being celebrated with Digital Detox + Camp Grounded in San Francisco. 

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About National Day of Unplugging
The NDU has roots in the Jewish tradition of the Sabbath, but this modern day of rest was developed for people of all backgrounds as a way to bring balance to the increasingly fast-paced way of life and reclaim time to connect with family, friends and our communities. The National Day of Unplugging has resonated around the world with people of all backgrounds, from Catholic to Hindi, Buddhist and Muslim and has been embraced by a range of celebrities including Arianna Huffington, Orange is the New Black creator Jenji Kohan and Pee-wee Herman.
                                                           
About Reboot
Every generation must grapple with the questions of identity, community and meaning on its own terms.  Reboot exists to facilitate that process for this and future generations – providing the tools and methodologies to help ‘reboot’ inherited tradition and make it vital, resonant and meaningful in modern life.  Founded in 2002, Reboot engages and inspires young, Jewishly-unconnected cultural creatives, innovators and thought-leaders who, through their candid and introspective conversations and creativity, generate projects that impact both the Jewish and non-Jewish worlds. Reboot has been responsible for producing some of the most influential and innovative Jewish books, films, music, Web sites and large-scale public events of the past five years. These projects include the National Day of Unplugging, Unscrolled, Sukkah City, 10Q, Sabbath Manifesto, Beyond Bubbie, the DAWN Festival and the Idelsohn Society of Musical Preservation.  Find out more at: www.rebooters.net


About Randi Zuckerberg
Randi Zuckerberg is a New York Times Bestselling Author, the founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media, a media and production company, and Editor-in-Chief of Dot Complicated, an online community helping us navigate and "untangle" our wired, wonderful lives. Randi recently released her first books with HarperCollins, The New York Times Best Seller, Dot Complicated, which addresses the multifaceted complications of our socially transparent world, and a children's picture book, titled Dot. As an early executive at Facebook, Randi created and ran the social media pioneer's marketing programs and was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2011 for her innovative coverage of the 2010 mid-term elections. Since starting Zuckerberg Media, Randi has produced shows and digital content for BeachMint, the Clinton Global Initiative, Cirque du Soleil, the United Nations, Bravo and Conde Nast, with many other projects in the works.

Food for Thought: Are Your Pots Too Big?


by Leanne Ely


Dear Friends,
Ever heard of the term "too much"? When it comes to buying food, keeping food in your pantry, fridge and freezer, we have a tendency to become somewhat pack rattish. What we need to do is refocus and look at our need, not our peculiar desire to shove food into every nook and cranny of the kitchen. That's the key word: need. We're all guilty of "too much" I know this is true, I've seen your pantries!  

We buy too much food; we end up cooking too much food and then throwing too much out! It doesn't matter if we have a family of 1 or a family of 8, there is this tendency for SHE's to have too much of everything-including leftovers. And we all know what happens to leftovers left in the fridge for weeks on end. Big yuck.

There is a phenomenon that happens once you become an empty nester that can really break the bank. Think about it; for years, you've cooked too much for the family, now to have to cut down the too much to just TWO, it can make your brain bleed! You feel like you've got no food in the house, that you're cooking for Barbies, not people! The little skillet and the little saucepan are so petite and demure! You miss those big old skillets that require heavy lifting with two hands. You miss buying the beans in bulk and the big bags of rice. Good grief, this tiny cooking feels like starvation, LOL!

The deal is we've been conditioned to super size with the needs of our growing families, but now it's time to down size. It's not just cutting a recipe in half but also cutting back on the groceries, the cooking implements and what have you. It's relearning how to do something all over again.

But here's the deal. We need to FEEL it to do it. Why, because we're women and that's how we roll, LOL. Big pots just FEEL better than little ones, for me anyway. I don't know why, but they do.

Cooking for me is nurturing and loving my family. And when you do it in big pots, it's literal big love that you're dishing out. So when you give me little pots, you're taking away my ability to nurture and love! At least that was how I was unknowingly equating this "tiny cooking" with until I realized, nothing is going away, I'm just cooking less!

So again, it's back to MINDSET. What does cooking large really mean? What does it communicate? How does it make you feel? Do you feel like you're "skimping" on love because your have to scale back your cooking? Do you feel like less of a mom, wife or woman? I know this sounds loony, but honestly, we connect so deeply with what we DO; this is how we're identified so when our own identifications need to shift, we feel lost.

Spatulas up ladies! It's time to get a new pair of wings and take flight! Our FLYing hasn't changed, our flight path has. It's still FLYing, it's just different! Let's celebrate this rather than fight it or feel sorry for ourselves and less populated nests. Life is good, full and yes, different!

Love,
Leanne Ely, Your Dinner Diva
 
Copyright (C) 2012 www.savingdinner.com Leanne Ely, CNC All rights reserved.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

5 Steps to Avoid That Downward Spiral


by Leanne Ely, C.N.C


Let's face it-most of us obsess about something, whether it's our weight, the state of our homes, our children, marriages, being single...the list goes on. When you make the mental effort to include small steps toward the changes you want, you will eventually get to your goal-especially if your goal is losing the body clutter. Your body took awhile to accumulate its body clutter (the stuff on your hinny and the stuff between your ears!), so cut yourself some slack! It takes consistent effort to make things happen. Don't give up; jump in where you are.

That said; understand that you will crumble to the siren's call of harkening back to what you know. I know what it is from personal experience to take 3 steps forward only to fall back 10! It's discouraging as all get out and for us perfectionists, it's the ideal set up for failure...that is, IF we don't recognize the perfectionistic set up of not doing it perfectly.

So stop wringing your hands if you blew it and let's get real. Here are some tips to help stop that downward spiral:

1)    Stop, Drop and Roll. Yeah. Think about it like you're on fire. If you panic and run around like a chicken with your head cut off, you'll burst into flame. Stop it! This doesn't mean you're a failure; you just need to reassess! Do you need to change things up? Are the steps you're trying to incorporate too hard? Make it EASY on yourself. Add things slowly, let them become habit and remember it takes 3 weeks to make it a habit, so hang in there!

2)    Plan, Plan, Plan. You can't take a walk if you don't have decent shoes to walk in. You can't take a walk if you haven't added walking to your daily routine. You can't eat well if you haven't shopped for good food. You can't eat well if you don't have a menu! Do you see a pattern?

3)    Water, Water Everywhere. Ladies, bottoms up! You gotta drink water and you gotta make sure that's your beverage of choice. I've told you before, taking out ONE soft drink a day from your diet will eliminate 15-25 pounds in a YEAR! That's easy body clutter decluttering! For me, I drink coffee in the morning, water all day long and that's it (I will have wine on occasion). Those are my ONLY beverages. NO juice, diet drinks, nothing. This WORKS.

4)    Move It Ladies! I don't care what you do, how you do it, how long you do it for, but you gotta move. If you just start walking for 5 minutes and then have to get yourself back, you've got 10 minutes of walking where there once was none. The key again is just starting. Don't worry about the weather-if it's too hot, rainy, cold or whatever, just march in place while watching TV at commercial time-it will add up! There is a way to get moving, just do it!

5)    Enjoy the Process! I am dead serious about this one. If you can consider your body decluttering to be an adventure, you can enjoy it. Get on the scale weekly or daily if you can remember there will be fluctuations. This is your compass, watch what happens as you take care of yourself! No, it's not going to be instant results, but you will see the scale stop moving up, you will see it begin to move down and most importantly, you will know where you are and where you are going when you start with this benchmark.

Taking care of our bodies enables us to raise our children with the healthy standards they need for their lifetimes. It will improve our moods, help eradicate PMS (YAY!) and give us the attitude and ability to stop obsessing and enjoy the process of having control of our own bodies. It really is that incredible of a ride! 

 Copyright (C) 2012 www.savingdinner.com Leanne Ely, CNC All rights reserved.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Dinner Diva - Tips Tricks and a Recipe: Go Bananas!

by Leanne Ely, C.N.C

Today's Focus is on Bananas


Did you know that bananas are actually berries from a large tropical herb? Oh yes indeed! Bananas are healthy, loaded with potassium and will correct a night of too much sodium. If I eat Chinese the night before and wake up with puffy eyes, I'll eat a banana and by lunchtime, I'm normal. Why? There is a little sodium/potassium pump in each one of your cells. So you eat the banana and you even things out a bit. Cool huh?

Here's Today's TRICK:


Over ripe? Don't throw them out! Peel and store in a freezer bag in the freezer. Now you have the beginnings of banana-deliciousness in the form of smoothies, muffins, pancakes, banana bread...name it! I've ALWAYS got some frozen bananas in my freezer!

Here's a TIP:

To speed ripening, store them in a brown paper bag. To delay ripening, store you 'naners in the fridge. Ta da!

And Your RECIPE:


Jamaican Style Nutty Chicken
Serves 6

6 (6-oz.) boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (6-oz.) can orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 bay leaf
Juice of small lime
3 firm ripe bananas, thinly sliced
1/2 cup roasted almonds

Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Brown chicken on both sides in butter in skillet over medium heat. Reduce to low and add 1/2 cup water, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, orange juice and bay leaf. Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes (turn chicken once while cooking). Remove chicken and keep warm. Bring liquid to a boil over high heat for 5minutes, constantly stirring. Stir in lime juice and bananas; heat gently. Place chicken on serving dish, top with sauce and sprinkle with nuts.

Per Serving: 355 Calories; 12g Fat; 43g Protein; 20g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 104mg Cholesterol; 427mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 6 Lean Meat; 1 Fruit; 1 1/2 Fat. Points: 9
SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli would round this meal out nicely.
Copyright (C) 2012 www.savingdinner.com Leanne Ely, CNC All rights reserved.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Secrets to Getting Behind the Velvet Rope

While scoring VIP treatment and getting behind the red rope seems reserved for celebrities and socialites, Picksie, the newest location based discovery service app, has some tips for scoring VIP treatment, even If you haven’t won an Oscar or have been photographed partying with famous A-listers.   

1)      Become a member of key cultural institutions. Membership can provide you access to special VIP events not open to the average consumer.  Many cultural institutions provide their members with special benefits and the cost of membership is not usually much more than a night out at a nice restaurant.  Make sure to read the membership entitlements closely so that you purchase a membership that provides you with the VIP access you‘re looking for.

2)      Avoid Minimums When Booking Small Groups. When booking a small get-together at a lounge, hotel bar, or other social venue, keep your party under their “minimum” number of guests that catapults your intimate get together into a “special event.” This can lead to having to buy a bottle minimum which can ultimately come out as pricier than being allowed to order individual drinks for the small group. The service will be as just as good as if you were a “high-rolling VIP” and your friends won’t be limited to drinking one type of liquor all night.

3)      Shop Like a VIP by Getting in The Know. When shopping at boutiques or high-end stores, take note of the shopping associate who helps you and ask for that associate each time you shop at that particular store. In developing loyalty to the associate they will often alert you to upcoming sales and special VIP events. You’ll have the opportunity to preview sales before the general public and enjoy VIP access to your favorite brands.

4)      Making Entrance to a Top Nightspot Go Smoothly. At nightclubs and elite lounges, call ahead to make a reservation.  Often even the most velvet roped venues will take reservations in advance.  It is always better than trying to negotiate things at the door where no matter what you offer the door person may turn you away. It means planning in advance, but it can make the arrival infinitely smoother.

5)      Sign up for 1 or 2 key membership reward programs. Look for reward programs that extend across a variety of platforms – be it hotels, airfare, and other amenities. See which ones have the most partners and provide the easiest milestones to achieve.  These programs can allow access to the elite lounge at the airport, upgrades to nicer hotel rooms, or be bumped to fly Business Class.  Pick a program(s) that makes sense for your needs and then stick to it when you travel…and it will pay off.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Short Course in Happiness

What Will Really Make You Happy?Research Reveals 4 Common Misconceptions

The idea of a happy and meaningful life has become unnecessarily complicated in some circles, says author and certified positive psychology coach Lynda Wallace, who left a high-powered executive career with Johnson & Johnson to pursue her real passion – helping individuals and groups achieve greater happiness and success.

“Happiness has been appropriately cited as a goal in political debates on issues from taxation to the social safety net to marriage equality, but the debate is often confused,” says Wallace, author of “A Short Course in Happiness: Practical Steps to a Happier Life,” which topped Amazon’s Self-Help Best Seller list.

“Some people claim that happiness is all in your DNA or bank account. The truth is that happiness is largely a matter of everyday choices and actions. There are straightforward, well-researched and effective things every one of us can do to create greater happiness in our lives and in the lives of those we care about.”

The essential elements of a happy life are not mysterious, she says.
Research shows that the happiest people do four basic things that make the difference: they focus on what is good and positive in their lives; cope effectively with life’s inevitable challenges; develop strong relationships; and pursue meaningful goals.

“We can all become happier by putting our efforts into these areas,” Wallace says.
One of the first steps we can take is to get past some of the common misperceptions about happiness that can stand in our way. Wallace offers these four examples.
• Misconception #1: Happiness is about getting the big things right. It’s natural to think that if we were suddenly rich, beautiful and living on the beach somewhere, we’d be happy. But that type of good fortune turns out to have a surprisingly small impact on happiness. The happiest people are most often not those in the most enviable circumstances, but those who cultivate positive emotional outlooks and actions. So how can we do it? “Take concrete steps to practice optimism, gratitude, kindness and self-compassion in your everyday life,” says Wallace. “The cumulative effect of those everyday choices can have a tremendous impact on how you experience your life.”

• Misconception #2: Happy people suppress negative emotions. Happy people actually experience sadness, grief, worry and other so-called negative emotions nearly as frequently as unhappy people do. The difference is what happens when those feelings occur. Happier people are generally able to experience negative feelings without losing hope for the future. “They give themselves permission to feel sad, angry, or lonely, but they remain confident that things will get better. As a result, their sadness progresses into hope and action rather than regressing into anxiety and despair.”

• Misconception #3: Pursuing happiness is self-centered. The strongest of all conclusions drawn by researchers into emotional well-being is that our happiness is determined more by our relationships with other people than by any other single factor. The happiest people build their lives around good, trusting relationships. “If other priorities are getting in the way of your relationships,” says Wallace, “take steps to shift the balance back to where it will really make a difference.”

 Misconception #4: I’ll be happy when I achieve my goals. Have you ever noticed that when someone wins the Super Bowl or an Academy Award, or when you achieve a long-sought ambition, that wonderful sense of accomplishment and happiness seems to fade faster than you’d expect? “That’s just the way our brains work,” says Wallace. “Committed goal pursuit is one of the keys to a happy life, but most of the happiness we get from striving for goals comes while we’re making progress toward them, not after we achieve them. That’s why it’s so important that we choose goals that are in synch with what we love and value, and that we make a conscious effort to enjoy them along the way.”
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About Lynda Wallace
After twenty years as a highly successful executive with Johnson & Johnson, where she was responsible for a $1B portfolio of businesses including Band-Aid, Neosporin and Purell, Lynda Wallace chose to change careers to pursue her passion. She now helps individuals and groups apply proven insights and techniques to achieve greater happiness and success in their lives, families, careers, and businesses. Lynda holds an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and is a certified positive psychology coach. She is also a sought-after speaker and the author of the #1 Amazon Self-Help Best Seller “A Short Course in Happiness: Practical Steps to a Happier Life.” More information is available at her website: www.lyndawallace.com.

Healthy Foods: Life in the Fast Food Lane

by Leanne Ely, C.N.C

If you're like me, there are times in my week where fast food is an absolute necessity. But here's the rub: I don't do drive-thru's. Instead, I make my own fast food. Consider how much it costs on a weekly basis to do drive-thru--even if you go cheap and get water to drink--it really adds up fast. And when you consider the health hazard awaiting you at Mickey D's--one pass through the drive thru can add up to a whopping 82 grams of fat if you order a super-sized meal--it just makes more (dollars and) sense to eat at home.

 Now for the fast part of the equation. I have one dinner that I call the 911 Emergency dinner. It just plain could not get any faster than this. But what's great about it, is that it's healthy, low in fat and absolutely delicious--no kidding.

Here's the recipe:

Emergency Dinner!
Serves 3
2 1/4 cups brown rice (use Uncle Ben's Instant variety unless you have some already cooked)
15 ounce can of black beans, drained (or equivalent of homemade)
1/4 cup shredded lowfat Cheddar cheese
Salsa, sour cream and tortillas (optional)

Cook rice according to directions and heat the beans up. By the time the beans have heated through, the rice will be done. This meal takes 3 minutes to make.

Divvy up and serve, top with cheese, salsa, and low fat sour cream. If you're really gonna get crazy, give 'em a warm tortilla with it...talk about living la vida loca...

While beans and rice may not be the most exciting, thrilling recipe on the block, it wins hands down over a Big Mac or other nutritional nightmare, any day of the week. The addition of cheese, salsa and sour cream make it an often asked for meal in our house. If you are in a huge hurry, you could even throw this in a plastic bowl and let the kids eat it in the minivan on the way to soccer practice.

I cannot guarantee the cleanliness of such a proposal, however. You're on your own there.

Copyright (C) 2012 www.savingdinner.com Leanne Ely, CNC All rights reserved.

Monday, February 16, 2015

How to Host an Oscar Party on a Budget

Academy Award party requires more than your typical party fare, since paper plates and pre-made dip fail to capture the magic of star-studded evening.

Whether you're a movie buff or a fashion aficionado, Hollywood's most buzzed about event is more enjoyable when you can gossip with friends over celebrity style and debate the list of nominees for best actor. However, hosting an
On the other hand, tapping into emergency funds in the sake of honoring Tinsel Town's finest is a clear waste of money. Consider these red carpet-worthy ways to throw an unforgettable Oscar party on a budget:

1. Spread the Word
By now, most of your friends should know where the awards party is come Sunday evening. But if you've been procrastinating, a broadcast invite via Facebook is a great option to get the word out and rally your crew. For a more festive approach, check out this customized and free Oscar-themed e-vite.

2. Get Red Carpet Ready
It's not an Oscar party unless you dress to impress, so request that guests arrive in award-winning attire worthy of the red carpet. Hit up second-hand stores or discount retailers like Ross and TJMaxx for affordable evening wear or channel your inner Bjork with a stuffed animal wrapped around your body.

3. Star-worthy SnacksBeing frugal doesn't mean you have to revert to serving Ruffles. A simple shrimp cocktail is an elegant yet affordable hors d'oeuvre that is sure to tickle the taste buds of your many guests. Similarly, frozen treats like mini quiches can be bought in bulk for a savings at warehouse stores like Costco. Cheese and crackers is another quick yet delectable snack all are sure to enjoy. Don't forget to use printable grocery coupons from CouponSherpa.com or their mobile coupon app for additional in-store discounts.

4. Serve in Style
Though serving food on paper plates is practical for a party, the Oscars call for something a bit more upscale. Purchase clear plastic plates and champagne flutes from the dollar store, offered at nearly 50-percent less that other retailers. While you're there, pick up some star-shaped confetti to add a touch of bling to your serving table.

5. Create a Memorable Entrance
Give your honored guests the ultimate star treatment with a red carpet entrance. To keep it quick and cheap, pick up some inexpensive red felt from a nearby fabric store to adorn your home walkway. Add some dazzle to your decor by dangling decorative stars and white lights around your entrance and living room.

6. Designer Drinks
The official beverage of the 2012 Oscars features a botanical-infused vodka with fresh-squeezed sour mix, topped with champagne and a rose petal. You can easily mimic this signature cocktail with tart lemonade, flavored vodka and your favorite Brut champagne. For other Oscar-cocktail knockoffs, check out these recipes from Oscars.org.

7. GamesNo party is complete without a fun activity, and the Oscars provide the perfect opportunity for a friendly wager. Charge a minimal entrance free to your party - think $5 - and create a pool with the collected cash. Then, have guests choose winners for select categories and whomever has the most right answers wins the pool.

8. Goody Bags
Leave the designer diamonds and exotic truffles for the celebrities and create your own goody bags on the cheap. Dollar stores are a great resource for candies and gift bags, and you can find scented candles and other indulgences at Target or Kohl's.

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Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc. She is available for in-studio, satellite or skype interviews and to write guest posts or articles. To view recent interviews or for more savings tips visit AndreaWoroch.com.

Power Foods Are The Game Changer When It Comes To Losing Weight And Feeling Fit

Whole Body Reboot: The Peruvian Super Foods Diet To Detoxify, Energize, And Supercharge Fat Loss By Manuel Villacorta

What exactly is the Super Food Incan diet, and what makes eating the Peruvian way so beneficial?

In his third book Whole Body Reboot: The Peruvian Super Foods Diet to Detoxify, Energize, and Supercharge Fat Loss (HCI Books/Dec 2014 $18.95), Manuel Villacorta lays out the important elements that make his dieting plan a well-seasoned recipe for long-lasting health.

Super food refers to foods that are low in calories and high in nutrients.

"Superfood” is not just a buzz-word or a passing vogue; it's the integral component to leading a healthy lifestyle, a word many of us are recognizing by the minute. As these once obscure products find broader distribution and consumers have greater access, super foods are finding their way into mainstream supermarkets, gradually becoming a staple to the American diet. The benefits of consuming Peruvian super foods are astonishing: from fighting cancer and reducing inflammation to boosting energy and enhancing memory – these foods have it all.

In his Peruvian super foods diet, Villacorta provides simple yet thorough explanations of weight-loss, anti-aging, and disease-fighting concepts by using an appealing page layout displaying beautiful color photography, easy-to-read bullet points, and sidebars summarizing each health benefit.

What makes Villacorta's book so enticing, aside from his mouth-watering recipes, is that he offers specific meal plans geared towards both men and women looking to lose weight and lead a healthier life. He has also created custom 7-day meal plans for vegans, vegetarians, omnivores, and gluten-free diet preferences. By using the core principles from his first book, Eating Free, and referencing his second book Peruvian Power Foods, Villacorta proves to his readers that they can successfully follow a super-health weight-loss plan, easily gain the skill in cooking from scratch, dine with elegance, and reduce everyday stress.

Among the myriad of recipes offered in Whole Body Reboot, here are two samples:

Day 1: Red Reboot
Red represents energy, strength, power and courage, according to color psychology. Red fruits and vegetables are rich in lycopene and anthocyanins, powerful phyto-chemicals that possess the characteristic red pigment. Lycopene and anthocyanins are linked with:

• Reduced risk of certain cancers
• Heart, lung, and urinary tract health
• Improved memory
• Ability to ward off infection

Ingredients for 1 Serving

1 ½ cups Strawberries, fresh or frozen
½ cup Tomato
½ cup Cooked Beets
1 tablespoon Chia seeds
1 teaspoon Camu Camu powder*
¼ teaspoon Cinnamon
1 cup Coconut water
20-25g protein, Protein powder (rice, pea, or whey)

*Note: Camu Camu is a Peruvian super food that provides therapeutic levels of vitamin C in its natural form. Refer to Appendix C to find where to buy camu camu. If you choose not to purchase camu camu, skip this ingredient. Another great alternative to include a Peruvian super food with Camu Camu is to add a shot of youthH2O.

1. Put all the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Add tap water until it reaches the desired consistency.

Note: if making the smoothie the night before, the chia seeds will absorb some of the water and it could thicken the smoothie. No worries; just add more tap water the next day and shake or stir the smoothie to the desired consistency.

Per Serving: Kcal 349, Protein 31g, Carb 48g, Fat 5g, Sodium 327mg, Dietary Fiber 15g
Daily Value: Fiber 58%, Vit C 1429%, Vit A 18%, Vit D 0%, Calcium 20%, Iron 47% 


 Butter Beans a La Parmesan

Servings 8 / Serving Size: 1 Cup

My Mom used to make a dish using butter beans, called "pallares” in Spanish. This dish is inspired by my mom. I love her cooking! She tasted my version, said I did her justice, and gave me her blessing to share this dish with you. Buen provecho!

2 Cups Butter Beans
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Medium Yellow Onion, diced
4 Cloves Garlic, sliced
1 Tablespoon Oregano
8 Cups Vegetable Stock
1 Cup Dry Sherry
Salt and Pepper
½ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

1. Put the beans in a stockpot and cover them with 3 inches of water. Let them soak for 4 hours. Drain the beans in a colander, discarding the water.

2. Transfer the beans back to the stockpot and cover with 3 inches of water. Bring them to a boil over medium heat. Drain the beans in a colander, discarding the water (this process helps remove the oxalates in beans that are responsible for gastrointestinal discomfort).

3. Using the same pot, heat the oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions, garlic, and oregano. Sauté until the onions begin to soften.

4. Add the beans, stock, and sherry to the pot and bring to a boil. Season the beans with salt and pepper to taste. Cover, reduce heat, and cook at a simmer for about an hour or until the beans are soft. Stir in the parmesan cheese. Serve warm.

Per Serving: Kcal 188g, Protein 9g, Carb 16g, Fat 6g, Sodium 874.5mg, Dietary Fiber 3.5g
Daily Values: Fiber 14%, Vit C 3%, Vit A 2%, Vit D 5 1%, Calcium 22%, Iron 10% 

A quick interview with the author:

1. What inspired you to develop your new book, Whole Body Reboot?

Answer: I began this approach to weight loss and lifestyle change with my clients, incorporating Peruvian superfoods into their everyday lives. The smoothie plan is how I start of all my willing participants, and those who give it a try immediately reap the benefits. This book's purpose is to spread this lifestyle regime, marrying the ideas of home-cooking and health.

2. Is there a difference between reboot and detox? What does reboot mean?

Answer: The difference between these two terms, to me, is that detox claims the removal of unwanted chemicals in the body, while reboot suggests the feeling your body experiences when you give your body a break from the constant stress we put onto our bodies through the food choices we make. My 5-day reboot plan consists of five smoothies with different colored fruits and vegetables featured each day so that your body receives the widest array of nutrients while revitalizing the cells. By giving your body these much need nutrients, you will begin to feel cleaner, more focused, and you will lose weight. Given that no one food, herb, or remedy has the ability to cure ailments or disease, nor does it have the ability to 'detox' the body (that's the liver's job), I have followed the reboot with several customized and delicious Peruvian-inspired 7-day meal plans that you mix and match to your tastes and needs, whether you are male or female, an omnivore, vegetarian or vegan, or you follow a gluten-free lifestyle.

3. What is your definition of a "superfood?”

Answer: There are many definitions of superfoods, and although there is no scientific definition, I define superfoods as hardworking, functional foods that far surpass basic nutritional content. They are, quite simply, the cleanest, most powerful, antioxidant-rich, phytonutrient-rich and anti-aging foods available anywhere. And many of these nutrient-rich ingredients happen to come from South America, and more specifically Peru.

4. Do you think any of the 21 superfoods will shock Americans?

Answer: Absolutely! Although many of these foods were presented in my last book, Peruvian Power Foods, I have added potent guests to this list, hoping to enlighten the American public of a wider array of nutrients. However unique and unfamiliar the food, I decided to stick to foods that were attainable in the United States. For example, while the pichuberry is still very new here in the United States, it can now be purchased in mainstream markets like Bristol Farms, Safeway, Whole Foods and Vons in California, Arizona and Nevada. It can also be purchased online and shipped anywhere within the country. The pichuberry is possibly one of the greatest superfruits available in the United States.

5. We've heard about the health benefits of adopting the traditional diets of Mediterranean and Asian countries. Why aren't more Americans familiar with the health benefits of eating like a Peruvian?

Answer: Eating like a Peruvian from Lima is very different from eating like someone who is Andean or Amazonian. While the cuisine from Lima has fallen into a very westernized pattern, those from the Andes and Amazon regions have been eating the same foods for hundreds of years. However, only recently has the research on native foods such as lucuma, pichuberries and camu camu to name a few, surfaced. Americans aren't familiar with adopting such a diet because the research is still new.

6. Are all of the recipes in your book Peruvian?

Answer: No. The recipes all contain Peruvian superfoods, but each recipe is inspired by a variety of cuisines. Some are Peruvian, some are Thai, and many are American-influenced. For instance, I recreated a waffle recipe into a sweet potato waffle. I take traditional foods and make them more flavorful and healthier.

7. Is your book a diet book?

Answer: No my book is not a diet book, and it is definitely not a fad or a gimmick. This book is more a lifestyle approach to sustainable, long-term health. It gives my readers the ability to develop skills and knowledge that will help carry them on through the years, in the most independent way.

8.What sets your book apart from other cookbooks?

Answer: Not only do I offer 135 recipes, but I offer individualized 7-day meal plans that the reader can pick and choose from. I also give health advice, given I am much more of a dietitian than a cook. I tell the reader WHY eating these foods are beneficial, not just HOW to cook them. However, just because I am a dietitian does not mean I kill flavor for health; rather, I marry the two and this book is their journey together.

________________________________________

About Manuel Villacorta:

Health is not a diet plan, but a lifestyle. Understand your body, your strengths, and your limits and use this knowledge to make a change. Stop dieting, start living.
 — Manuel Villacorta

Registered Dietitian. Educator. Author. Speaker. Spokesperson.

A nationally recognized, award-winning registered dietitian with more than 16 years of experience as a nutritionist, Manuel Villacorta, M.S., R.D., is a respected and trusted voice in the health and wellness industry. He is the founder of Eating Free, an international weight management and wellness program, and one of the leading weight loss and nutrition experts in the country. He is the author of Eating Free: The Carb-Friendly Way to Lose Inches, Embrace Your Hunger, and Keep the Weight off for Good (HCI, May 2012) and Peruvian Power Foods: 18 Super foods, 101 Recipes, and Anti-aging Secrets from the Amazon to the Andes (HCI, October 2013).

Manuel served as a national media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (2010-2013), and currently acts as a health blog contributor for The Huffington Post, an on-air contributor to the Univision television network, and a health and lifestyle contributor for Fox News Latino. Manuel is the owner of San Francisco-based private practice, MV Nutrition and the recipient of five ''Best Bay Area Nutritionist'' awards from the San Francisco Chronicle, ABC7 and Citysearch.

His warm, approachable style and his bilingual proficiency in English and Spanish have made him an in-demand health and nutrition expert on local and national television and radio channels, as well as in articles appearing in print publications and online. Manuel is a compelling, charismatic speaker.

Manuel has acted as a media representative for food companies such as Foster Farms, Eggland's Best "California Latino 5-A-Day Program" and "Got Milk." He is now the chief of public relations and spokesperson for the Pichuberry Company.

Recipes from: Whole Body Reboot by Manuel Villacorta / HCI Books/December 2014 – ISBN: 9780757318214

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Tegan and Sara Reteam with Comedy-Music Trio Lonely Island for Oscars Performance

Pop duo Tegan and Sara and comedy-music trio The Lonely Island will perform the Oscar®-nominated song "Everything Is Awesome" at the 87th Oscars, show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced today. The Oscars, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, will air on Sunday, February 22, live on ABC.

"Tegan and Sara and Lonely Island?.....Everything Is Awesome, indeed. This is certainly an 'Only on the Oscars' moment," says Zadan and Meron

"Everything Is Awesome," written by Shawn Patterson for the animated feature "The Lego Movie," is nominated for Original Song. The four other nominated songs are "Glory" from "Selma," "Grateful" from "Beyond the Lights," "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" from "Glen Campbell...I'll Be Me" and "Lost Stars" from "Begin Again."

Canadian twin sisters Tegan and Sara have been releasing critically acclaimed albums and touring internationally alongside some of the biggest names in the industry since 1999. Their seventh and latest studio album, "Heartthrob," debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard Top 200, with certified gold single "Closer" charting in the top 20 at U.S. pop radio. Tegan and Sara were recognized with a Grammy nomination in 2013, and won Pop Album of the Year for "Heartthrob", and Group of the Year, at Canada's 2014 Juno Awards. "Everything Is Awesome," which the duo recorded with The Lonely Island, has sold more than half a million copies in the U.S.

A comedy, music and filmmaking trio composed of "Saturday Night Live" alumni Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone, The Lonely Island has released three studio albums and several gold and platinum singles. "I'm On A Boat," featuring singer-songwriter T-Pain, achieved double-platinum status and earned a 2009 Grammy nomination for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.
The group is responsible for one of the biggest channels on YouTube, garnering over 1.5 billion views.

The 87th Oscars will be held on Sunday, February 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live on the ABC Television Network at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. The Oscars, produced by Zadan and Meron, also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide. 


87th Oscars Social Media Guide
Follow the Academy, Oscars producers and host Neil Patrick Harris for the latest updates throughout Oscar season.

Host
Neil Patrick Harris:
http://twitter.com/ActuallyNPH
Oscars Producers
Neil Meron:
http://twitter.com/neilmeron
Craig Zadan:
http://twitter.com/craigzadan
Hashtags
#Oscars


ABOUT THE ACADEMY
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is the world's preeminent movie-related organization, with a membership of more than 6,000 of the most accomplished men and women working in cinema. In addition to the annual Academy Awards-in which the members vote to select the nominees and winners-Academy presents a diverse year-round slate of public programs, exhibitions and events; provides financial support to a wide range of other movie-related organizations and endeavors; acts as a neutral advocate in the advancement of motion picture technology; and, through its Margaret Herrick Library and Academy Film Archive, collects, preserves, restores and provides access to movies and items related to their history. Through these and other activities the Academy serves students, historians, the entertainment industry and people everywhere who love movies.


FOLLOW THE ACADEMY

The Complete A To Z Dictionary Of Dreams

Be Your Own Dream Expert Over 12,000 Definitions

Stop Sleepwalking Through Daily Life by Putting Your Nightly Dreams into Action

By Ian Wallace

If you've ever woken up wondering, "What was that about?" The Complete A to Z Dictionary of Dreams: Be Your Own Dream Expert (HCI Books --$18.95) with over 12,000 definitions will explain everything and enable you to become your own dream expert. By exploring your dreams in a deeper way, you'll reach a profound understanding of what you really want in life – and work out how to achieve it. Whether you dream about flying above canyons, your teeth dropping out, missing the bus, or standing naked in a crowded room, psychologist and author Ian Wallace will help you understand what your unconscious is trying to tell you and how you can use your dreams to help you live a richer and more fulfilling life. By exploring your dreams in this practical way, you'll reach a deeper understanding of what you really want in life – and work out how to achieve it.

Ian Wallace pairs these definitions with his completely original Dream Connection Process, which is being shared here for the first time. Through this process, developed by Ian, the dreamer can connect the imagery and symbolism that they create in their dreams to situations and opportunities in waking life, using this awareness to make a valuable difference in their lives.

The Complete A to Z Dictionary of Dreams: Be Your Own Dream Expert also contains background information on dreams and dreaming, answering questions such as:

•    What is a dream?
•    Why do we dream?
•    How do I remember my dreams?
•    What do my dreams mean?
•    What are symbols and where do they come from?

In this comprehensive and easy to use guide, Ian Wallace articulates the complex psychological principles of dreaming in a very straightforward and engaging manner. He puts the power of the dream firmly in the hands of the dreamer so that they can understand the imagery that they create in their dreams and connect it to situations and opportunities in waking life.


A quick interview with the author:



1. Why do we dream?

Answer: A dream is how you naturally make sense of all the information and experiences that you unconsciously absorb every day. This individual sense-making process provides you with meaningful insights into specific challenges that you are encountering in your day-to-day life. Your dreams are not just some random occurrence, they are actually a deliberate process that you use to draw on your past experience and help you understand how that can enable you to make the most of future opportunities. Dreams don't just happen to you, you happen to the dream, and create everything that you experience in it.

2. What do my dreams mean?

Answer: Although your dreams may seem like a stream of random imagery that makes absolutely no sense, you are just expressing yourself in a different and far more creative way. To understand why you are dreaming a particular dream, all you have to do is work with the imagery and emotion that you have experienced in the dream. The images that you create in your dreams are your natural way of connecting what is happening in your inner world of imagination and ideas to your outer world of realities and facts. These connections from your inner world to your outer world are also known as symbols and identify where you can take meaningful action in waking life.

3. Why do people create similar dream imagery?

Answer: We tend to create similar themes in our dreams, such as being chased, falling or flying, because they reflect natural aspects of human behavior. Although we are all individual human beings, we also have generally similar behavioral patterns and so we create similar types of dreams as a way of exploring our waking life behaviors and how we can use them to identify opportunities and make the most of them. Understanding the meaning of a particular dream theme enables you to apply that awareness to a specific situation in your waking life.

4. Do we dream every night?

Answer: We tend to sleep in 90 minute cycles and we usually create dream episodes during each of these cycles. The first of these episodes will last for 10 to 15 minutes and the length of your dream episodes increases with each sleep cycle until the final episode before waking, which can be around 40 to 45 minutes long. On average, you will spend about two hours dreaming every night, so a twelfth of your life is experienced as a dream. You also create some dream imagery at the start of your sleep cycle as you begin to relax and drift off. This is known as the hypnagogic stage and it usually takes the form of apparently random flashes of imagery, most of it drawn from the previous day's events.

5. How do I remember my dreams?

Answer: Some people say that they never dream but the reality is that they just don't remember their dreams. Even though it may seem a challenge to remember your dreams, all you have to do is remember three words. These three words are WILL, STILL and FILL. When you lay your head on your pillow to go to sleep, say to yourself 'Tonight, I WILL remember my dreams.' When you wake up, lie completely STILL for a minute. Don't move, don't look at the time and don't even wiggle your toes. By staying still, images and emotions that you have created in your dreams will emerge for you. Then all you have to do is fill in the gaps between the images from the dreams that you have created and your dream story will begin to appear.

6. Can I control my dreams?

Answer: There is a great deal of interest in the apparent possibility of controlling your dreams and everything you experience in them. This is also known as lucid dreaming and is simply the ability to realize that you are dreaming and then to consciously influence your dream without waking yourself up. The reality is that you cannot actually control your dreams but you can certainly make choices in them. Using the lucid dreaming to choose what you experience in your dreams can help you to work through particular challenges in your waking life. By realizing that you have the power to make choices in your dreams, you often begin to realize that you have the power to make healthy choices in your day-to-day reality.

Introduction from The Complete A to Z Dictionary of Dreams by Ian Wallace

In my work with dreams and dreamers, the question I am most frequently asked is 'What does my dream mean?' Although many people are interested in the dreaming process and how it can reflect a wider awareness of human consciousness, understanding the meaning of a dream is what most people want to discover. When a dreamer asks, 'What does my dream mean?' he or she is actually asking a more powerful question, which is 'What does my dream actually mean to me?' Trying to find out what your dream means to you can often be a confusing and frustrating experience. Most dream interpretation sources offer a variety of meanings for a particular symbol. Although it can be interesting to explore the different viewpoints of Jung, Freud, the ancient Assyrians, and many other sources that offer dream insights, it often results in a situation where you end up spending most of your time trying to resolve contradictions between the various opinions. Using this dream dictionary is different. Instead of looking at all possible opinions, it is firmly based on taking constructive action. The symbol definitions are practical and a great way to ask yourself fundamental questions that will move you into specific action. These definitions have emerged from over thirty years of working with dreams and by consistently working with dreamers to help them identify opportunities that will lead to healthy and fulfilling outcomes. Rather than delving into the more esoteric aspects of working with dreams, this dream dictionary provides a practical method of understanding what your dreams actually mean, so you can put them into real action.

There are a number of ways to use this dictionary. You can just dive right into 'The Dream Dictionary' (see page 51) and look up the definition of a dream image that has particular significance for you. You can read through 'What Do My Dreams Actually Mean?' (see page 3) to find out more about the practical aspects of what dreams actually are and why we create them. There is also information on the development of dream interpretation (see page 6) and on how symbols emerge (see page 10). To understand your dreams in greater depth, you can work your way through the examples of 'The Dream Connection Process' (see page 14), so you can quickly and expertly explain what you are expressing to yourself by creating a particular dream. By using examples, I show you how to define what a symbol means to you, how to ask yourself questions about its significance, and how to create an action statement.

The Dream Dictionary contains over 12,000 definitions, from Aardvark all the way through to Zzz's, and when used as the basis for The Dream Connection Process, they offer an almost infinite number of interpretations. Each of the definitions is around twenty words long and enables you to get an immediate sense of what your dream imagery means to you.

Using the definitions from The Dream Dictionary as part of The Dream Connection Process will help you to be your own dream expert. By connecting your dream meanings to the reality of your day-to-day life, you will be able to make the most of any opportunities to turn your hopes and aspirations into waking reality.

For some time now, one of my personal ambitions has been to create a modern dream dictionary that enables dreamers to connect with their unconscious power and potential. Many people have helped me put this dream into action, and I would particularly like to thank Clare Landon, Susanna Abbott, Clare Hulton, Jo Godfrey Wood, Catherine Knight, Daniel Rodger, Dagmar Kress, Caroline and Eric Cochrane, Owen Crawford, George Jamieson, Stuart Jenkinson, Marianne Garvey, Iain Banks, Carol McGiffin, Denise Welch, Shobna Gulati, Jane Mcdonald, Carol Vorderman, Alan Titchmarsh, Emil Shavila, Russell Howard, Sarah Millican, Eddie Izzard, Ryan Tubridy, Nicky Campbell, Rachel Burden, Shelagh Fogarty, Tony Blackburn, Jonathan Miles, Louise Elliott, Sally Boazman, Ricky Marshall, John Dutton, Simon Mayo, Tim Smith, and Steve Wright.

What Do My Dreams Actually Mean?

A Dream Is Just a Dream Until You Put It into Action

Everyone dreams. Every one of us dreams, but many of us tend to dismiss our dreams as bizarre experiences that don't appear to mean anything. Nor do our dreams seem to be of any practical use, as we often assume we cannot readily use any of our dream experiences in the real world of waking life. However, we keep being drawn back to the dreams we create every night because they may contain information that can help us realize our ambitions in waking life.

The word dream has two meanings for us. It can be the adventures we create for ourselves every time we sleep, and it can also represent our greatest hopes and aspirations in our day-to-day reality. Although our nighttime dreams may just seem to be a distraction from our pursuit of health and happiness in everyday life, they can provide us with vital insights that enable us to ask ourselves powerful questions about how we can turn our dreams into reality in our waking lives.

Trying to find a way to work out what your dream means can often be as bewildering as the imagery from your dream experience. There appear to be countless theories about dreams and seemingly endless debates about the function of dreams, where they come from, what they are, if they actually do exist, and so on. Although this debate and opinion are healthy, it often means that dreams end up being viewed as quirks and curiosities rather than being used as a fundamental part of human experience that can help us to live the lives we want to live.

The theories and opinions about the dreaming process have become polarized into two main areas. These two areas are the academic and esoteric approaches, which usually tend to firmly oppose each other. The academic approach often tries to work with the dreaming process by using outside-in methodologies. These methods involve studying the physiological and neurological activity that occurs during dreaming as a way of trying to understand why dream imagery is being produced. This is valuable work, but it can result in a dream being treated as a biological phenomenon rather than being seen as an opportunity for personal development.

The more esoteric approaches to dreaming tend to view the dreaming process as an experience that happens to the dreamer. This is also an outside-in approach that takes the ownership of the dream away from the dreamer by suggesting that the dreamer is merely a type of psychic receiver. This can result in the dreamer becoming disempowered and reliant on a process that offers little practical help in getting to a positive and healthy outcome.

Instead of trying to make a compromise between these two opposing perspectives, I take a different approach, which is to engage with the language and imagery the dreamer is creating emotionally. Rather than using the outside-in methods of the academic and esoteric approaches, mine is an inside-out process that enables a dreamer to clearly express the imagery he or she is creating, thereby taking full ownership of it and using it as a basis for practical action. This is not just an attempt to be different; rather, it is a robust process that enables dreamers to reach a specific outcome so they can take action to step into their power and positively transform some aspect of their waking lives. This inside-out approach is highly practical and has proved successful for my thousands of clients.

The basis of this inside-out process is realizing that dreams don't just happen to you; you create the dream and all the imagery and emotions you experience in it. Understanding that you are the author of your dreams immediately begins to empower you by allowing you to question why you created that particular dream experience. Instead of being unwelcome neurological intrusions or mysterious visitations, your dreams become a form of self-expression that can help you understand more about who you are, what you need, and what you believe. As you expand your self-understanding, you naturally begin to connect more deeply with your hopes and aspirations in waking life. This encourages you to step into your individual power and take action on your dreams. The guiding principle I use in working with the imagery a dreamer creates is 'A dream is just a dream until you put it into action.'

From this practical perspective, let's explore some basic questions about dreams and dreaming.

What Is a Dream?

A dream is how you naturally express a fundamental aspect of your self-awareness. This fundamental awareness is your unconscious self and is quite simply all the areas of yourself you are not consciously aware of. Although these may seem to be of little consequence in waking life, most of your behaviors are driven by your unconscious self and all the information you absorb with it in every waking second.

When you create a dream, you are using it as a natural way to make sense of all the information and experiences you are unconsciously aware of in day-to-day reality. This individual sense-making process can give you meaningful insights into specific challenges you encounter in waking life. The language you use to express yourself as you make sense of your unconscious awareness is the language of imagery.

As well as using visual imagery in the dreams you create, you can also use auditory (hearing), olfactory (smelling), and tactile (touching) imagery. The images you create in your dreams reflect how you see your self-image in waking life and enable you to imagine the person you have the power to become. A dream is how you imagine yourself. That's what a dream is.

Why Do We Dream?

At the most basic level, we dream because it is a natural function that has evolved. Although some people who, due to a brain injury or a congenital condition lack the neurophysiology to dream, everyone dreams. By using our dreams to make sense of all the information we have unconsciously absorbed, we can become far more successful in identifying valuable opportunities for personal development in waking life. Your perceptions of the world around you.

The unconscious awarenesses we use our dreams to make sense of are not just the events of the previous day, but are drawn from the whole of our life experience. As we recollect and reconnect with these meaningful experiences, we project them into our future lives so we can naturally position ourselves for success and fulfillment. All humans are dreamers, dreaming of brighter futures.

When we unconsciously create our dreams at night, we follow the same process we use when we imagine our ambitions in day-to-day reality by forming images of how our future might look. In waking life, however, we often tend to form an idealized future, where our dreams suddenly manifest in reality. As we know, this is highly unlikely to happen, and trying to always instantly connect to this idealized future means that we can find it difficult to take the practical steps we need to put our dreams into action.

Dreaming also contributes to our sense of physical well-being. If for any reason we are unable to engage in dreaming activity, we can experience a variety of unsettling physical symptoms. The human brain, however, is not just some wet organic computer that needs to be regularly decluttered and defragmented. Your brain is much more complex than the most powerful computer, and dreaming has evolved as a vital aspect of how you create

_____________________________________________________

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ian Wallace graduated with a degree in psychology, and has analyzed over 170,000 dreams for his clients during his professional career. Wallace is the originator of the Dream Connection Process, a unique and powerful method that enables anyone to connect the imagery and symbolism that they create in their dreams to situations and opportunities in waking life where they can use this awareness to make a healthy difference. Wallace regularly appears on television, on radio and in print, where he is consistently applauded for his accuracy and his authority in analyzing dreams.

Available wherever books are sold.