Tag Archives: Environment

Sphagneticola trilobata

Botanical Name ;Sphagneticola trilobata
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Sphagneticola
Species: S. trilobata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonym: Complaya trilobata,Silphium trilobatum,Thelechitonia trilobata,Wedelia paludosa,Wedelia trilobata

Common Name:Bay Biscayne Creeping-oxeye,Rabbit’s Paw

Chuukese: atiat

English: creeping ox-eye, Singapore daisy, trailing daisy, wedelia

Kosraean: rosrangrang

Marshallese: ut mõkadkad, ut telia

Palauan: ngesil ra ngebard

Pohnpeian: dihpwoangoahng suwed, ngkahu, tuhke ongohng

Tongan: ‘anselmo

Habitat :Sphagneticola trilobata is native to the Neotropics (Mexico, Central America, and the islands of the Caribbean; now grown almost worldwide in tropical and other warm places”  (Staples & Herbst, 2005; p. 165). and is widespread as an invasive species in the Pacific.

Description:
Sphagneticola trilobata is a creeping, mat-forming perennial herbs; stems rounded, rooting at the nodes, 1-3 (-4) dm long, the flowering portions ascending, coarsely strigose to spreading hirsute, sometimes subglabrous.  Leaves fleshy, usually 4-9 cm long, (1.5-) 2-5 cm wide, irregularly toothed or serrate, usually with a pair of lateral lobes.  Peduncles 3-10 cm long; involucre campanulate-hemispherical, ca. 1 cm high; chaffy bracts lanceolate, rigid; ray florets often 8-13 per head, rays 6-15 mm long; disk corollas 4-5 mm long; pappus a crown of short fimbriate scales.  Achenes tuberculate, 4-5 mm long, few achenes maturing in cultivated plants in Hawai‘i”  (Wagner et al., 1999; pp. 373-374).

You may click to see the picture
Propagation:  Usually vegetatively, but Bill Sykes reports observing mature achenes on plants (pers. com.). Stems form new plants where they touch the ground and pieces readily take root. Commonly spread by dumping of garden waste.

Medicinal Uses;
Used for hepatitis, indigestion due to sluggish liver, white stools, burning in the urine and stopping of urine, and for infections – boil 1 cup of fresh herb (stems, leaves, and flowers) in 3 cups water for 5 minutes and drink 1 cup warm before each meal.  To bathe those suffering from backache, muscle cramps, rheumatism, or swellings, boil a large double handful of fresh stems and leaves in 2 gallons of water for 10 minutes.  Said to pull  “heat” out of the body.  For painful joints of arthritis, mash fresh leaves and stems; spread on a cloth and apply to area, wrapping securely with a warm covering.   Also used to clear the placenta after birth.

Other Uses:Sphagneticola trilobata is cultivated as an ornamental plant in the garden.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphagneticola_trilobata

http://www.hear.org/pier/species/sphagneticola_trilobata.htm

http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/1303/

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_RST.htm

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Vitamin D Can Radically Reduce Damage from Radioactivity from Fukushima

As understanding of Vitamin D increases, it is becoming apparent that its most active form, Vitamin D3 (calcitriol), may offer protection against a variety of radiation-induced damages. Vitamin D’s protective action is carried by a wide variety of mechanisms, including cell cycle regulation and proliferation, cellular differentiation and communication, and programmed cell death (apoptosis).


A paper on the subject argued that vitamin D should be considered among the prime nonpharmacological agents that offer protection against low radiation damage and radiation-induced cancer — or even the primary agent.

According to the paper in the International Journal of Low Radiation:“… [O]ur understanding of how vitamin D mediates biological responses has entered a new era … In view of the evidence that has been presented here, it would appear that vitamin D by its preventive/ameliorating actions should be given serious consideration as a protective agent against sublethal radiation injury, and in particular that induced by low radiation”.

Source: International Journal of Low Radiation 2008; 5(4)

Posted By Dr. Mercola | June 03 2011

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Air potato

Botanical Name :Dioscorea bulbifera
Family: Dioscoreaceae
Genus: Dioscorea
Species: D. bulbifera
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Dioscoreales

Common Names :  Air potato, Varahi in Sanskrit, Kaachil in Malayalam and Dukkar Kand in Marathi

Habitat :The Air potato plant is native to Africa and Asia.

History: A native to tropical Asia, air potato, Dioscorea bulbifera, was first introduced to the Americas from Africa. In 1905 it was introduced to Florida. Due to its ability to displace native species and disrupt natural processes such as fire and water flow, air potato has been listed as one of Florida?s most invasive plant species since 1993, and was placed on the Florida Noxious Weed List by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in 1999.

US Habitat: Rapid growing and occurring on open to semishady sites: extending from Florida to adjacent states. All dying back during winter but able to cover small trees in a year, with old vines providing trellises for regrowth. Spread and persist by underground tubers and abundant production of aerial yams, which drop and form new plants and can spread by water.

Description:
Air potato is a herbaceous perennial vine with broad leaves and   high climbing vines to 65 feet (20 m) long, infestations covering shrubs and trees. It has two types of storage organs,twining and sprawling stems with long-petioled heart-shaped leaves. Spreading by dangling potato-like tubers (bulbils) at leaf axils and underground tubers. Monocots.

click to see the pictures…>…...(01)…...(.1)....(2).…....(3)....(.4).…..…(5).
A distinguishing characteristic of air potato is that all leaf veins arise from the leaf base, unlike other herbaceous vines such as smilax and morningglories. Flowers are inconspicuous, arising from leaf axils in panicles 4 inches long, and are fairly uncommon in Florida. Vegetative reproduction is the primary mechanism of spread. This is through the formation of aerial tubers, or bulbils, which are formed in leaf axils. These vary in roundish shapes and sizes. In addition, large tubers are formed underground, some reaching over 6 inches in diameter.

Edible Uses:
These tubers are like small, oblong potatoes, and they are edible and cultivated as a food crop, especially in West Africa. The tubers often have a bitter taste, which can be removed by boiling. They can then be prepared in the same way as other yams, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. The air potato is one of the most widely-consumed yam species.

Medicinal Uses:
In folk medicine it has been used to ease the pain on sprained ankles, and certain other uses that is in combination with other plants.  In healing the sprained angle, the fruit of the vine, which is brownish in color is cut in have and the insides are scraped out and put into a cloth or something that will easily let the fluid out of it we massaging the sprained ankle with it. Always massage down toward the ground and outwardly of the foot.  TCM: Indications: rid of toxin, relieves swelling, reduces phlegm, cools blood, stops bleeding.

Air potato has been used as a folk remedy to treat conjunctivitis, diarrhea and dysentery, among other ailments.

Toxicity:
Uncultivated forms, such as those found growing wild in Florida can be poisonous. These varieties contain the steroid, diosgenin, which is a principal material used in the manufacture of a number of synthetic steroidal hormones, such as those used in hormonal contraception. There have been claims[3] that even the wild forms are rendered edible after drying and boiling, leading to confusion over actual toxicity.

Invasive species:
In some places, such as Florida, it is an invasive species because of its quick-growing, large-leafed vine that spreads tenaciously and shades out any plants growing beneath it. The bulbils on the vines sprout and become new vines, twisting around each other to form a thick mat. If the plant is cut to the ground, the tubers can survive for extended periods and send up new shoots later.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Rresources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dioscorea_bulbifera

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm

http://www.texasinvasives.org/plant_database/detail.php?symbol=DIBU

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Avoid Swimming After Exercise to Drop Weight Gain

A study conducted by Australian researchers concluded that cooling off with a dip in the pool after a good work-out may make exercisers more likely to eat than those who don’t go for a swim after exercising.

According to the Chicago Tribune:

“Test subjects ate more after (two different types of) water immersions than they did after sitting in a chair.

Average calorie intake per person after the cold water immersion was about 489, and about 517 after the tepid water immersion. After resting in a chair, average calorie intake was about 409.

Researchers found lower levels of leptin and higher levels of ghrelin after both water immersion experiments. Following water immersion more carbs and protein were eaten as well.”

Since the study included only 10 participants, researchers suggested that further studies be done with larger sample sizes. The study was published in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.


Resources:

Chicago Tribune September 25, 2010

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise October 2010; 42(10)

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Avoid Feeding Your Child Drinking Water contains excessive Manganese

According to a report in Science Daily, a new Canadian study shows that children exposed to high concentrations of manganese in drinking water performed worse on tests of intellectual functioning than children with lower exposures.

The results were published in an article in Environmental Health Perspectives.

While manganese is naturally occurring in soil and groundwater around the world, some of Canada’s groundwater contains an unusually high amount of it, giving the researchers an opportunity to study whether excessive manganese can adversely affect human health.

“We found significant deficits in the intelligence quotient (IQ) of children exposed to higher concentration of manganese in drinking water,” said lead author Maryse Bouchard.

Yet, some areas where lower IQs were reported also registered concentrations below current guidelines. In response to the study, some of the affected municipalities have already decided to install special filtration systems.

Click to see :
*Manganese in Drinking Water Can Lower Kids’ IQs by 6 Points :

*Assessing Children’s Exposures and Risks to Drinking Water Contaminants: A Manganese Case Study  :

Resources:
Science Daily September 23, 2010
Environmental Health Perspectives September 7, 2010; [Epub ahead of print]

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Periwinkle Plant

Botanical Name :Vinca minor
Family :Dogbane/Apocynaceae
Synonym(s): lesser periwinkle, myrtle
Kingdom:
Plantae
Order: Gentianales
Genus: Vinca
Species: V. minor

Habitat : .It is a plant native to central and southern Europe, from Portugal and France north to the Netherlands and the Baltic States, and east to the Caucasus, and also in southwestern Asia in Turkey.  It has been in North America since the 1700s. It has the capability of taking over large tracts of land by spreading out of control. In many states, such as Michigan, the periwinkle plant has overtaken the natural forest ground cover in deciduous woodlands.

Description:
It is a trailing, viny subshrub, spreading along the ground and rooting along the stems to form large clonal colonies and occasionally scrambling up to 40 cm high but never twining or climbing. The leaves are evergreen, opposite, 2-4.5 cm long and 1-2.5 cm broad, glossy dark green with a leathery texture and an entire margin. The flowers are solitary in the leaf axils and are produced mainly from early spring to mid summer but with a few flowers still produced into the autumn; they are violet-purple (pale purple or white in some cultivated selections), 2-3 cm diameter, with a five-lobed corolla. The fruit is a pair of follicles 2.5 cm long, containing numerous seeds.

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The closely related species Vinca major is similar but larger in all parts, and also has relatively broader leaves with a hairy margin.


Cultivation:

The species is commonly grown as a groundcover in temperate gardens for its evergreen foliage, spring and summer flowers, ease of culture, and dense habit that smothers most weeds. The species has few pests or diseases outside its native range and is widely naturalised and classified as an invasive species in parts of North America . There are numerous cultivars, with different flower colours and variegated foliage, including ‘Argenteovariegata’ (white leaf edges), ‘Aureovariegata’ (yellow leaf edges), ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ (white flowers), and ‘Plena’ (double flowers).

Other vernacular names used in cultivation include small periwinkle, common periwinkle, and sometimes in the United States, myrtle or creeping myrtle, although this is misleading, as the name myrtle normally refers to Myrtus species.

The periwinkle plant is extremely hardy and grows in almost any type of soil. It prefers shady placement but too much sun won’t be an insurmountable problem. The plant will not live over the winter in locations that go beyond thirty below zero. The periwinkle can be propagated by root cuttings or by seeds. It will grow where many other plants will not, such as in sandy soil and rock gardens. It is also deer resistant. After the flowers have finished blooming, the periwinkle plant grows cylindrical fruit up to two inches long. Each contains three to five seeds which are released to the wind.

If you wish to grow periwinkles from seed, you can start them inside eight to ten weeks before the final frost or outside after the last frost. Inside you can use a regular plant starter mix and outside you should plant in loose soil fertilized with compost. Simply cover the seeds with dirt, water them, and you will be growing periwinkle in no time at all. Do not transplant any seedlings grown indoors, outside, until all danger of frost has past.

You may click to learn more:


Medicinal Uses:

The periwinkle plant is used by herbalists as an astringent. Its major use throughout the centuries has been to help treat menstrual periods where there is too much heavy bleeding. It can be used during your period or in-between periods. It is also used to treat urinary tract problems, such as hematuria, or blood in the urine. Periwinkle has been used to treat colitis and diarrhea, plus other types of digestive problems which involve bleeding. Some people also use periwinkle in the treatment of such conditions as nose bleeds, bleeding gums, ulcers in the mouth, and sore throats. In medicinal use, the periwinkle plant is used in tinctures and infusions.


Other Uses:

It is an evergreen type of plant that is used for ground cover. In many locations, the periwinkle plant is considered invasive and cannot be legally planted, so check your local statutes before growing Vinca minor.

 

As a ground cover, the periwinkle plant is like a long, green mat, with growth only about six inches high. The leaves are bluish-green and it forms stems approximately two feet long before clamping down roots. Periwinkle blooms in the spring (March) with flowers which are lilac-blue or purple.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


Resources;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinca_minor

http://www.gardeningcentral.org/periwinkle_plant/periwinkle_plant.html

http://www.invasive.org/species/subject.cfm?sub=3081

http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=VIMI2&photoID=vimi2_003_avp.jpg

http://www.invasive.org/species/subject.cfm?sub=3081

Eat Local, Think Global

Many Americans are buying food grown locally not only to get quality produce but also to reduce carbon emissions. P. Hari on the growing popularity of the movement for sustainable living.
…………………..US meat

RED ALERT: The US meat industry is one of the most polluting ones in the world
.Susan Osofsky, a computer scientist by training, was working at Adobe Systems in the Silicon Valley when the idea struck her. She had volunteered in organic farms in the past. She decided to use her knowledge to teach people the practice of sustainable living — eating healthy while making sure that our planet stays healthy too.

Today, Osofsky holds workshops on cheese making, fermentation, landscaping with edible plants, and other activities that help people grow or make their own food. Osofsky says that people’s interest in such workshops is growing. “One of my workshops on cheese making was sold out a month in advance,” she says.

All over the US, people are discovering the huge burden food production places on the environment, and are volunteering to reduce it as much as they can. Some of them grow their own food, buy only local produce, avoid processed food and often give up meat.

“There has been a tremendous increase of interest in sustainable living since 2007,” says Erin Barnett, director of Local Harvest, in Santa Cruz, California. Local Harvest puts consumers in touch with local farmers so that they can buy food grown locally and avoid being participants in the high carbon emissions that are involved in transporting food over long distances.

Local Harvest is part of a movement called Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Under CSA, you pay the farmer in advance for a specified amount of produce every season. Farmers use this money instead of a loan from a bank to buy their seeds and other things necessary for farming. If the crop fails, both the farmer and the consumer suffer. “It is a shared risk,” says Osofsky, who acts as a node for several farmers around her home in Palo Alto, California.

Apart from getting quality produce, buying food locally has the important effect of reducing global warming. The food industry is the most polluting industry in the US, and produces at least one-fifth of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the country. While the main reason for this is the excessive amounts of meat Americans eat, transport of food also plays an important role in raising emissions. The food found in supermarkets in America travels, on an average, 2414km. So buying locally grown food immediately cuts transport emissions.

But there’s more to the sustainable food movement than just reducing one’s carbon footprint. It also involves taking an entirely new look at how people relate to their food.

Three years ago, Barbara Kingsolver, a novelist, spent a year consuming food only grown near her home, if not in her garden. This meant eschewing several things that people take for granted. For example, she could only eat tomatoes when they were in season. Kingsolver has narrated her experience in a book called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, which immediately became a bestseller.

Since then there has been a raft of books on sustainable living. Michael Pollan, professor of journalism at the University of California in Berkeley, wrote a book called The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Jonathan Safran Foer, considered one of the most promising young novelists in the US, recently published a book called Eating Animals. Both became instant bestsellers. Foer’s book in particular was a frontal attack on the meat industry, now widely recognised in America as among the most polluting and unethical industries in the world.

The sheer statistics of meat production and consumption in America are mind-boggling. More than 10 billion cows are slaughtered every year. The industrial production of meat is so carbon intensive that it accounts for 18 per cent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. This is because of the inordinately large amount of resources needed to support the animals. “You could reduce your carbon footprint significantly by reducing your meat consumption,” says Eugene Cordero, climate change researcher and professor of meteorology at San Jose State University. Cordero also recently wrote a book on food and climate change.

The spate of books has also added to a growing awareness among Americans about the need to take sustainable food practices seriously. The website of Local Harvest had 40 million unique visitors this year, up from 32 million last year. There are over 5,000 farmers markets in the US, versus 1,700 in the 1990s. And The Eat Well Guide, another website that provides information about aspects of sustainable food in each town in the US, gets about 30,000 visitors every month. “We do not focus on carbon footprints but it is a wonderful side effect of sustainable agriculture,” says Dawn Brighid, marketing manager of Sustainable Table, the non-profit organisation that publishes the Eat Well Guide.

Sustainable food practices currently constitute only about 1 per cent of the US food industry, but the current movement could gather momentum. And that could make a significant impact on US carbon emissions.

Source: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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Air Pollution May Cause Appendicitis

Air pollution is already linked to respiratory and cardiovascular ills, and now researchers say the dirty air you breathe may also cause appendicitis.

……………….air pollution

Authors of a new study published in the Oct. 5 issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that cases of appendicitis go up when the air is dirtier.

“This makes us think about the underlying cause of appendicitis that could potentially be linked to air pollution,” said Dr. Gilaad G. Kaplan, senior author of the study and assistant professor of medicine in the division of gastroenterology at the University of Calgary in Alberta. “Air pollution is a modifiable risk factor. If these findings are confirmed and we are able to legislate better air pollution control, cleaner air, then potentially we could prevent more cases of appendicitis.”
But at this early point in the research, the implications are not so clear-cut, warned another expert.

“It’s provocative, but there’s a huge difference between correlating any number of factors with a disease and proving that any of these factors might actually cause a disease, and this study fails to show causation,” said Dr. F. Paul Buckley III, assistant professor of surgery at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine and a surgeon at Scott & White Healthcare Round Rock, Texas.

“Do we all want to decrease pollution? Yes. Is that going to decrease the incidence of appendicitis? I doubt it,” said Buckley.

Parts of the findings were presented at a conference a year ago.

No one really knows why appendicitis, or swelling and infection of the appendix, occurs.

Appendicitis cases rose significantly in the late 19th century and early 20th century, as industrialization took hold. Cases declined in the middle and later parts of the last century, at about the time clean air legislation gained headway. Meanwhile, countries that are just now industrializing have increasing rates of the condition, the study authors stated.

A prevailing theory is that appendicitis occurs when the opening to the appendix, a pouch-like organ attached to the large intestine, gets blocked. Specifically, some experts believe that lower fiber intake among citizens of industrialized countries leads to obstruction of the appendix by the stool.

But that doesn’t explain the decreased incidence of appendicitis in the second half of the 20th century, Kaplan said.

Air pollution is already linked with a wide range of health conditions, most notably respiratory diseases and cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke.

Kaplan and his colleagues looked at more than 5,000 adults who were hospitalized in Calgary with appendicitis between April 1, 1999, and the end of 2006. This data was cross-referenced with an analysis of air pollutants the week prior to the admissions.

“We found that individuals were more likely to come in with appendicitis in weeks with higher concentrations of air pollutants, specifically ozone and nitrogen dioxide,” Kaplan said.

More appendicitis admissions took place during Canada’s warmest months (April through September, when people are more likely to be outdoors), and men seemed more likely to be affected by air pollutants than women. It’s unclear why this gender difference exists, the researchers said.

Kaplan theorizes that inflammation may explain the link — if it proves to exist — between air quality and appendicitis.

“It’s speculative, but air pollution might be driving inflammation which triggers appendicitis,” he said. “We’re a few steps away before we can make that statement. We need to confirm and replicate these findings.”

Kaplan and his co-authors plan more studies in multiple cities in Canada.

Last year, Forbes magazine rated Calgary as the world’s cleanest city and Baku, Azerbaijan, as the dirtiest.

Source: Health News. 5Th.Oct.’09

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Indoor Plants Can be Injurious to Health

Potted plants might add a certain aesthetic value to your house, but they are likely to have adverse health effects, suggests a new study. Indoor plants
INDOOR PLANTS IN PLASTIC POTS.INDOOR PLANTS IN PLASTIC POTS.jpg-1.INDOOR PLANTS IN PLASTIC POTS.jpg-2

The research team headed by Stanley J. Kays of the University of Georgia‘s Department of Horticulture has shown that these indoor plants actually release volatile organic compounds into the environment.

During the study, they identified and measured the amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by four popular indoor potted plant species Peace Lily, Snake Plant, Weeping Fig and Areca Palm.

Samples of each plant were placed in glass containers with inlet ports connected to charcoal filters to supply purified air and outlet ports connected to traps where volatile emissions were measured.

A total of 23 volatile compounds were found in Peace Lily, 16 in Areca Palm, 13 in Weeping Fig, and 12 in Snake Plant. Some of the VOCs are ingredients in pesticides applied to several species during the production phase.

Other VOCs released did not come from the plant itself, but rather the micro-organisms living in the soil.

“Although micro-organisms in the media have been shown to be important in the removal of volatile air pollutants, they also release volatiles into the atmosphere”, said Kays.

Furthermore, 11 of the VOCs came from the plastic pots containing the plants. Several of these VOCs are known to negatively affect animals.

Interestingly, VOC emission rates were higher during the day than at night in all of the species, and all classes of emissions were higher in the day than at night.

The study concluded, while ornamental plants are known to remove certain VOCs, they also emit a variety of VOCs, some of which are known to be biologically active.

“The longevity of these compounds has not been adequately studied, and the impact of these compounds on humans is unknown.”

Source: The study is published in the American Society for Horticultural Science journal HortScience.

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Working with a Larger Energy

Going with the Flow ……..FLOWING RIVER
The expression going with the flow is a metaphor that applies to navigating a river. When we go with the flow, we follow the current of the river rather than push against it. People who go with the flow may be interpreted as lazy or passive, but to truly go with the flow requires awareness, presence, and the ability to blend one’s own energy with the prevailing energy. Going with the flow doesn’t mean we toss our oars into the water and kick back in the boat, hoping for the best. Going with the flow means we let go of our individual agenda and notice the play of energy all around us. We tap into that energy and flow with it, which gets us going where we need to go a whole lot faster than resistance will.

Going with the flow doesn’t mean that we don’t know where we’re going; it means that we are open to multiple ways of getting there. We are also open to changing our destination, clinging more to the essence of our goal than to the particulars. We acknowledge that letting go and modifying our plans is part of the process. Going with the flow means that we are aware of an energy that is larger than our small selves and we are open to working with it, not against it.

Many of us are afraid of going with the flow because we don’t trust that we will get where we want to go if we do. This causes us to cling to plans that aren’t working, stick to routes that are obstructed, and obsess over relationships that aren’t fulfilling. When you find yourself stuck in these kinds of patterns, do yourself a favor and open to the flow of what is rather than resisting it. Trust that the big river of your life has a plan for you and let it carry you onward. Throw overboard those things that are weighing you down. Be open to revising your maps. Take a deep breath and move into the current.

Source: Daily Om

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