Eugene’s Story

This is the story of our attempt to save a life. My husband brought home 2 little Christmas tree plants that were destine for the garbage. One is nice and healthy and his name is Emmet. img_2741The other looks just like Emmet but his needles were all dry and crunchy. He apparently suffered some neglect over the Christmas holidays. We named him Eugene.

I could feel that there was still life deep inside of Eugene. Just hoping to unfold again in all his glory. The holidays had been rough on him. They left him feeling drained and a lot like giving up. From afar, he looked like he was doing fine, but anyone who got close to him could see he was just not himself.

Eugene was embarrassed to admit he was not doing well, so instead put on a good face. Wanting everyone to see him as a happy and festive plant they thought he should be. On some level, however, he just was waiting for it to be over. When Eugene and I were getting to know each other, I asked him if he wanted to live? He said that he did. So, we had some work to do. The first thing Eugene needed to do was to release what no longer served him. We set to work trimming away the branches of the past. They make him look good from afar but were not helping him move forward into his new life. He had to let go of them and release. It took some time to do this. We trimmed a little here and cut a little more there, until just his inner most self remained. Eugene felt naked and exposed but he also felt authentic.

Next we needed to give him some nourishment of healthy food and an Epson Salt bath. Self care is very important when doing healing work and energy healing was also a part of the care plan. While Eugene sat in the window soaking up the rays of the sun, loving energy was sent to him by Reiki to facilitate his healing process.

Next Eugene needed space. He was transplanted into a bigger pot to allow for growth. During the transplanting process I noticed that his roots are very healthy and that he is well grounded. An Amethyst crystal was given to him, which he graciously accepted. Amethyst is a powerful healing stone and it additionally calms and soothes a worried soul. Eugene needed this after the intensity of the holidays. The multiple interactions with people, who were distracted by all that was going on in their own lives, had left him feeling alone and stressed.

Support was the next step on his healing plan.  A peaceful elemental came to sit under his trunk. This meditative little elf taught Eugene how to go within and find his own truth. Eugene began learning to accept himself, as is, and to forgive himself for those things he thought he had done “wrong” in the past. A wise friend, who is willing to hold space and remind us of our truth, can be such a valuable companion when we are on a journey to repair ourselves and grow.

The final steps on this trip to a healthier, stronger, wiser Eugene; is love and time. Eugenes name and heart were added on the outside of the pot; to help Eugene know that others love him. But deeper and more important than that, Eugene must learn to love himself. Eugene must be willing to look at himself in the mirror with his short and bare branches and love himself unconditionally. Eugene must allow himself the time to grow. It will not happen overnight. He must continue to rest in the sunlight and drink in the healthy water and nutrients.

Like Eugene, we must be patient with ourselves. It won’t be all better overnight for us either.  Little by little new buds will form that will turn into new branches. Little by little Eugene will be healthy again. And so will you.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you learn to give yourself what you need, as if by magic.

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A Retreat With The Adventure Sisters!

I have felt guided to attend a silent retreat lately. When I checked into them, many were quite pricey, required travel, and a substantial amount of time off from work. It was simply not in the budget! However, the impulse to go on one still remained very strong for me. I decided I needed to do this. So I spoke to Adventure Sister Emy and we decided we could do our own silent retreat. So, would you like to come along, virtually?

We have an agenda all laid out with links to different types of meditation as well as instructions from different teachers. We are headed to the boat in Florida. It will be a nice quiet place for our retreat, but we could have just as easily done it at her house or mine. Our bags our packed and intentions set.

Below is our retreat schedule. Feel free to join us! Set your intention, raise your vibration, and dig down deep inside yourself to remove what no longer serves you so you may move forward into all the glory that is meant for you. Please feel free to adjust the times to suite your needs. Also, if you need more time in silence and less time listening to instructions, feel free to do that too. I was worried about spending the whole weekend in silence, so I planned lots of different links to help my monkey mind stay busy. I figured either Emy or I could walk away from the space where it was playing and find a quiet place if that is what we needed. It is meant to be structured enough but free flowing enough to offer you what you need.

I recommend, prior to your set start time, planning your meals and prep anything you can to make cooking as simple as possible.  Also prepare your space or spaces. Where will you spend your time during the retreat? What items will you need for comfort. Plan your clothing too. It should be comfortable clothing with layers so you can adjust according to temperature.

We look forward to sharing this experience with you if you join us. We will see you in the ether. If you cannot join us, we have blogs scheduled to post and memes for our FB page. We look forward to sharing our experiences after the weekend.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you find what you need, as if by magic.

Silent Retreat Schedule 

Set intention for retreat, prior to beginning.

Friday

  • 4:00 – 5:00pm Dalai Lama https://youtu.be/lTLe5TFTh24 basic techniques of meditation 
  • 5:00 – 6:00pm Kundalini Yoga https://youtu.be/Q3lU1rRyoW4 Nabhi Kriya For Courage, Confidence, Power
  • 6:00 – 7:00 Dinner prepared and eaten and cleaned up after; mindfully 
  • 7:00 – 8:00  Meditation for Connection https://youtu.be/PkVvpfld7DQ
  • 8:00 – 8:30 Walking Meditation/ Free Time
  • 8:30 – 9:00 Shamanic Drum Journey https://youtu.be/MmQ1H4wU0zs (If you have not drum journeyed before substitute optional video from below, mindfulness meditation, or inspirational reading)
  • 9:00 – 10:00 Hot tea and journaling before bed
  • Restful night sleep

Saturday

  • Dream journaling upon waking
  • 5:30 – 7:30 Sitting meditation (if awake)
  • 7:30 – 8:30 Sun Salutations https://youtu.be/L4Z7lix6Qao
  • 8:30 – 9:30 Shower, prepare for the day and have some tea; mindfully
  • 9:30 – 10:00 Your Destiny Is Waiting For You ~ Michael Bernard Beckwith https://youtu.be/zViQiX2T2rQ
  • 10:00– 11:00 Breakfast mindfully prepared, eaten and cleaned up
  • 11:00 – 11:45 Hypnosis for Letting Go of the Fear of Success  https://youtu.be/yh-V9q93XC8
  • 11:45 – 12:00  Walking Meditation/ Free Time
  • 12:00 – 1:00  Yoga Nidra for emotional healing https://youtu.be/lBx7crrZw3A
  • 1:00 – 2:00 Lunch mindfully prepared, eaten and cleaned up
  • 2:00 – 3:30 Inspirational reading and journaling (Deepak’s 7 Spiritual laws for success or any spiritual or mindful text you have been meaning to get to)
  • 3:30 – 4:00 Walking Mindfully / Free Time
  • 4:00 – 5:00 Kundalini yoga for expansion and elevation https://youtu.be/vwpm0F8L820
  • 5:00 – 6:00 Dinner mindfully prepared, eaten and cleaned up
  • 6:00 – 7:00 Becoming Limitless ~ Wayne Dyer https://youtu.be/gNZ1JqvXeN0
  • 7:00 – 7:30 Shamanic Drum Journey https://youtu.be/MmQ1H4wU0zs (If you have not drum journeyed before substitute optional video from below, mindfulness meditation, or inspirational reading)
  • 7:30 –  8:00 Free Time 
  • 8:00 – 9:00 Guided Loving Kindness Meditation https://youtu.be/c2iCoEluq8A
  • 9:00 – 10:00 Hot tea and journaling before bed
  • Restful nights sleep

Sunday

  • Dream journaling upon waking
  • 5:30 – 7:30 Sitting meditation (if awake)
  • 7:30 – 8:00 Sun Salutations https://youtu.be/9ZZa4psFcpk
  • 8:00 – 9:00 Shower, prepare for the day and have some tea; mindfully
  • 9:00 – 10:00 Kundalini yoga https://youtu.be/IX5vn7rAsuU
  • 10:00 – 11:00 Breakfast mindfully prepared, eaten and cleaned up
  • 11:00 – 12:00 Lisa Nichol’s Step into your lives purpose https://youtu.be/40LXbK94lxY
  • 12:00 – 1:00pm Crystal Jungle Meditation https://youtu.be/Zp3pZee34fo
  • 1:00 – 2:00 Lunch mindfully prepared, eaten and cleaned up
  • 2:00 – 2:30 Shamanic Drum Journey https://youtu.be/MmQ1H4wU0zs (If you have not drum journeyed before substitute optional video from below, mindfulness meditation, or inspirational reading)
  • 2:30 – 3:00 Mathew McConaughey Speech on Finding Yourself https://youtu.be/p0p1fjLPjYQ
  • 3:00 – 3:30 Closing ceremony (not silent but something you have prepared that feels good to you) 

 

*Photo was taken in the BWCA

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4 Steps Toward Self Love

When I get a call on my iPhone, my MacBook automatically pops up FaceTime. Today I didn’t even notice it. I pace a lot while I am on the phone, so I wasn’t sitting in front of the phone when it happened. When I returned to my desk I saw myself staring back at me. I smiled at myself and said, “I love you”. Then the me in the computer returned the sentiment. I turned off FaceTime and went back to work. Louis L Hay has talked about the importance of truly loving your self. How comfortable are you looking in the mirror and saying, “I love you” to yourself?

Love doesn’t happen overnight. Just like with any relationship, we need to first get to know the person. Do you know yourself well? Sometimes we think so. Maybe while trying to be the person everyone has told us to be; we forgot to be who we really are. I suggest this as your first step in loving yourself. Spend some time really understand who you are and what motivates you.

Once you know yourself a little bit better, it’s time to come to grips with who you are. What are the things you do not like about yourself? Can you see how they may be a positive thing when you look at them differently? Look at little children. Those things that make them hard for their parents to deal with; are likely the same thing that will make them a successful adult. Questioning, stubbornness, and high energy levels are a few of the many things that can turn into assets in adulthood. Let’s look at someone who is stubborn. It we reframe that as never giving up or tenaciousness, we can see how it could be beneficial. Take a peek at the things you don’t like about yourself and see if you can change how you look at them. Feel free to comment or email me if you can’t find the good and maybe I can help you shift that perspective.

So you have gotten to know yourself better and shifted some of your negative thinking. Now spend time with yourself. Many of us have trouble with this. We get a little alone time; so we call someone, send a text, or get busy doing something. Anything rather than just hanging out by our self. Spending some peaceful time with; me, myself and I, is a great way to gain a deeper understanding of who you are. Things will come up. They maybe things that have lay hidden for a very long time. Pushed down deep and hidden under busyness. Allow them to surface so you can either heal them or accept them as part of you. Remember that you are perfect just as you are.

Finally we come to the big moment. It is time to say it. Look in the mirror. Make eye contact with yourself and say , “I love you”. This may be difficult at first but that’s true in many relationships. Love make us feel vulnerable. What if we let ourselves down? I bet you can forgive yourself. This is a huge favor you can do for yourself. Forgive yourself often!

I hope you walk through these steps. Skip any that you don’t think you need but be willing to revisit them later. We are always changing and evolving and so should your relationship with yourself.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you love yourself too, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken at Magic Kingdom in Orlando FL. I felt it represented several aspects of ourselves, inner child, happy self and never satisfied self. Even the subconscious is lurking in the background, as are many others.

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Oh Beautiful Duality

Emy recently wrote a blog called Yin/Yang, Light and Dark. In it she talks about the duality within herself. It also made me very aware of the duality within the way Emy and I chose to deal with the world around us. We are completely across the zodiac from each other with our birthdays landing 6 months apart. I believe the different ways we see the world is part of what helps us work so well together.

In her blog, she shares the story of her informing me of all the Americans who are working but not being paid due to the government shut down. I was not aware until she told me. I purposefully do not watch the news because of all the negativity and fear that it promotes. I am a strong believer that our thoughts create our reality. I believe that when we watch or focus on negative things that it affects the vibration of our being. I choose not to lower my vibration by watching the news and focusing on the many injustices in our world.

Whatever a person’s mind dwells on
intensely and with firm resolve,
that is exactly what he becomes.

~ Shankaracharya ~

Emy believes strongly she must fight; fight for the planet, fight for human rights, fight for politicians who have our best interests at heart. I want all of these same things. I want a planet that is healthy and natural areas that are preserved for all of us to enjoy. I want all people to be treated fairly and have the opportunities to improve their lives. I do not want to see children suffer at the hands of misguided adults. I want the people who are making our laws and running our governments to work for the best interest of all involved. Emy and I are very much on the same page as far as what we want. I, however, go about it very differently. This is not to say that Emy only fights. She has a strong spiritual life too. There are many spiritual practices that are a part of her repertoire.

For me, the energy that gets summoned inside of me when I get angry about injustices is not positive. This lowers my vibrations. Instead of focusing on the things in the world that I do not care for, I look for the good. This does not make me naive. I know there is evil in the world, but I believe to focus on it, is to give it energy. I would rather focus on the random acts of kindness that people do for one another every day. I would rather meditate on peace and love for all of the world in hopes of sending those positive intentions out. In June and July of 1993 4,000 people participated in a study. The study showed a 23.3% drop in crime in Washington DC as a result of the meditation by these participants. Showing there is more than one way to change this world.

In the movie and eventually the book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne; they address this very issue. Jack Canfield says, “The anti-war movement creates more war. The anit-drug movement has actually created more drugs. Because we’re focusing on what we don’t want – drugs!” Did you know that in 2001, Portugal decriminalized drugs. As a result they have fewer problems with overdose, HIV, and drug related crimes. Additionally the usage of drugs has declined there. It is not perfect, there are a lot of other factors at play, but this could be related to the shift in focus. Jack goes on to share that Mother Teresa said, “I will never attend an anti-war rally. If you have a peace rally, invite me”.

What you resist persists

~Carl Yung~

I am not saying that Emy’s urge to fight the injustices of the world is wrong. I strongly believe that politics is a part of her Dharma. She is guided to change the world through sharing information, running for office, and joining committees. My path is different. It is exactly the opposite. While she is fighting, I am meditating. While she is sharing information about what is wrong, I am focusing on what is right. I am sending love to all of my fellow travelers on this journey. I believe that there is good in everyone. I believe that even if someone disagrees with me, that does make them wrong. They are perfectly where they are supposed to be on their spiritual path, just as I am perfectly where I am supposed to be on my spiritual path.

Having Emy as my spiritual sister helps me grow. We often discuss topics, ideas, and philosophies. We often come at things from very different perspectives. We both learn and grow from these conversations. Duality is a beautiful thing, within ourselves and externally.  Celebrate the differences between yourself and others. You just do not know how it may help you grow. Together Emy and I support the world in many different ways, our beautiful duality enriches our lives.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May your path always feel right to you, as if by magic.

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Are You Happy? An Examination of What is Really Beneath Our Unhappiness

Are you happy? It is a question you may not ask yourself very often. Most people usual answer with fine. If you are unhappy in some area of your life though, I bet you tell people all about how dissatisfied you are with that aspect of your life. After all, we are very good at focussing on what is not going well, but embarrassed to talk about what is going right. It is like we should be ashamed of being happy. Let’s take a deeper look at happiness and how to find it more of the time.

When I was a teenager, I was not a very happy girl. My grandmother, who was always so wise, gave me a little plaque to hang in my bedroom. It had a poem on it about happiness. It hung in my home until just a few years ago when it got packed away for a move and never reemerged from the box. I do not know who wrote the poem but it was titled simply Happiness. The basis of the poem was that happiness is a choice we make. It is not someone else’s responsibility. It is up to us, individually, to decide to be happy. So, I ask you, do you choose to be happy? If not, what is getting in your way?

Dissatisfaction could be the culprit. I was listening to my yogi playlist on random while working today. In the midst of the meditative yoga music the Yoga Niyamas started to play as taught by some very wise Yoga Guru. The Niyamas are basically a code of behavior or principles for life. I was just getting ready to hit the skip button when he started talking about happiness. He then said something that hit me as very profound. He said it is not whatever we are dissatisfied about that is making us unhappy. He gave some examples of this as our job or spouse. He then goes on to say; they are not the cause of our unhappiness. What is actually making us unhappy is our dissatisfaction. Really think about that. If I am dissatisfied with some aspect of my life because it doesn’t look like someone else’s life, it is not that aspect that is making me unhappy. It is my dissatisfaction.

Let’s look at a fictitious scenario that I have heard many times over. My friend Jane comes to me and complains about her husband Tom. She is upset with Tom because he doesn’t help out around the house. This has made her very dissatisfied with her marriage. She compares Tom to my husband Marty who does dishes and laundry with a smile. Because Tom is not measuring up to Marty, Jane is unhappy with her marriage. Marriage is a big part of life, when you are married. Jane’s unhappiness flows over into her overall feelings about life. If you ask Jane if she is happy, she will tell you she is not. Is Tom making Jane unhappy? No, he is not. It is Jane’s dissatisfaction that is causing her unhappiness. She compared Tom to someone else and felt he did not measure up. She set an expectation for Tom that he is unwilling or unable to achieve, if he even knows about it at all.

Now let’s say Jane talks to a wise friend; does some deep self work or gets some therapy. Slowly her perspective starts to shift. She starts to focus on the things in her life she does like. Then she starts to notice the things about Tom that she genuinely appreciates. Suddenly her dissatisfaction with the fact that he doesn’t push the vacuum cleaner around the house disappears; as her focus shifts to what a great provider Tom is. Perhaps it is even simpler than that; maybe Jane just decides to be happy. She starts ignoring the things she is dissatisfied with and makes a choice to be happy even if everything in her life is not perfect.

We see examples of people who choose happiness everyday. The person who is going through cancer treatment with a smile on her face. The guy who looses his job and sees it as an opportunity to try something new. The person who has a parent, who picks at them all the time and just shrugs their shoulders. Saying that is how that person has always been so why let it upset them. Happiness is a choice. It is a choice we get to make every day; in every situation and relationship. I am so grateful for my wise grandmother. Who, in her loving way, helped me to realized I was causing my own misery.  I hope you can look past your dissatisfaction on the things that don’t meet your expectations and choose to be happy anyway.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you find happiness an easy choice to make, as if by magic.

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Peace, Love, and Joy

Many years ago an idea occurred to me and as I have observed my life, it has proven to me to be true. I have noticed my motivation behind doing things, purchasing things, and making other life decisions, based against this hypothesis, have held up. Perhaps you will find it to be truth for you as well. I believe that everything we do is to attain at least one of three basic things: peace, love, and joy. Look at the decisions you make in life. Why did you do what you did? Examine what it was you were hoping to attain. Let’s look at some examples from my life.

An easy example is when I started to date again. Obviously, I was looking for love. How about when I buy new clothes. This could be love as well? Maybe, I feel if I look cute enough, people will love me?  Now, of course, we do not have to look cute to be worthy of love. But the ego often tells us we are more lovable when we dress nicely, so this cannot be ignored as a possible motivator. I may get compliments and that will bring me joy. Another possibility is that the clothes will fit comfortably and this will be a type of peace.

Another example to look at is the boat my husband and I bought in Florida. Of course, the boat allows us to visit our friends who live there more often, so love is definitely one of the motivators. Along with the fact that it allows us to have a get away, where we can spend time together; more love. It definitely brings us joy, allowing us to have our ‘mini’ weekend getaways. Also, I am planning a retreat on the boat with Adventure Sister, Emy and in that way, it will also bring peace.

At various times in my life I have changed jobs. Now I have changed for different reasons. One reason might be job satisfaction. This, of course, would be joy. I love a challenge, so sometimes I have changed jobs to take on a new challenge. This is also more joy. If you consider the ego’s involvement; being successful could be a way of gaining love. In my family, success is valued and I have certainly felt more loved during times of success. This again does not make me more worthy of love. For I am enough and worthy despite any level of successes. We all are. Truthfully it is a motivator. Other times, I have taken new jobs to make more money. True, that money cannot buy happiness, but it can “buy me a boat” as the song by Chris Janson says. We associate things with happiness. Also having more money to buy necessities and pay bills is also a form of peace. Trust me, as someone who is working on Financial Wellness, there is peace to be had by having enough resources to support your lifestyle.

At one point, I wondered if I should add ‘Adventure’ to the list of motivators, but then I realized, adventure is just another word for joy. Emy and my trips to the boundary waters bring us joy. Travel also brings my husband and I a lot of joy because it allows us to deepen our relationship through shared experiences.

Look at the various aspects of your life; getting an education, making purchases, taking trips, deepening relationships. Look deep down, below the surface reason you tell yourself for making the decision you did, find what is really underneath. Does this hypothesis hold true for you? Are Peace, Love, and Joy the reasons for doing what you do?

Thank you for reading my blog today, I love you. May you find all the peace, joy, and love that you need, as if by magic.

 

*Picture taken at Franconia Artist Park in Franconia MN.

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Stepping into the Keto Diet

My husband decided to join one of those weight loss contests that pop up at work after the New Year. They had set a pretty aggressive amount of weight to lose by 28 days. I had heard people were having great success on the Keto Diet and thought that this, along with the fasting we were already doing, might work best for him. So I suggested he give it try. Then I set off to learn as much about it as I could so I could help him. I was amazed by what I learned.

To start, I began looking for recipes. Keto friendly things I could make and have in the freezer, so he would have yummy, healthy food to eat while I am on the road. There are a tremendous amount of recipes available out there. The premise behind keto is high fat, moderate protein and very low carbs. It forces your body into a ketogenic state or ketosis, which causes it to use fat for energy rather than carbohydrates. According to Wikipedia; this diet was first developed in the 20s for treatment of childhood seizures.

This way of eating is in sharp contrast to the “Stop the Insanity” low fat diets from the 90s.

There is a documentary (which is available to watch on Netflix) called ‘The Magic Pill.’ Watching this documentary inspired me to also try the ketogenic diet as well. Sure I would love the weight loss but the health benefits demonstrated in the movie were my real motivation. This show follows several people for a few weeks as they switch to this way of eating. The results they had were miraculous. Cancer, Autism, Diabetes, and Asthma were all demonstrated life changing improvements because of it; not to mention weight management. One of the ‘ah ha’ moments for me was right at the start of the documentary. When they said; “Every animal controls its weight naturally, other than humans and animals fed by humans”. My goodness! I never stopped to think that there are no obese deer or even pump lazy sloths.

As a pescatarian (vegetarian who eats fish) the idea of going on a diet, without the American staple of carbs, seemed like a difficult choice. It takes away so many of the things I am able to eat on the road. I also have difficulty with my blood sugar, that can dip to low and cause me to not feel well, if I do not eat the right thing or go to long without eating. This has made me believe I need a high protein diet. I was about to learn that was not true! As I stepped off into the world of ketogenic eating, my first challenge came when I went to a German restaurant with friends. Their vegetarian dish was pasta and the fish/seafood dishes were with pasta or breaded. Hmmm… what to have? I elected for the green beans with almonds and a cucumber salad. I also ate a few pieces of cheese off a friend’s appetizer plate. I was full. Challenge accepted and completed. Next morning, eggs and veggies are a very normal breakfast for me, so that did not even require a change. Lunch was riced cauliflower made into fried rice with eggs and plenty of olive oil. Yummy!

Do you know what I discovered? My blood sugar has remained stable. I have not had the shaky or woozy feeling that I often get when I don’t eat enough protein. Here, all this time, my need for high protein was a result of a diet high in carbs. I am on my third day of this new way of eating and I feel great. I am also doing this in conjunction with the intermittent fasting I have been doing since June. The two seem to work well together.

With the combination of intermittent fasting and Keto Diet, my husband has lost 11 pounds in 6 days. Isn’t that amazing? One of his favorite treats on the Keto Diet is the Fat Bombs. They are a nice little treat but also help to keep the consumption of fat, good and high, as required for ketosis. There are lots of fat bomb recipes but the ones he likes are made with natural unsweetened peanut butter, cream cheese, a tiny bit of stevia, and rolled in semisweet or dark chocolate. They are rolled in balls about a quarter’s diameter and are delicious. You only need to eat one to feel like you had a treat and quite satisfied. After all, that is what eating fat does. It helps us feel satiated.

Whether you are curious about the ketogenic diet or planning to try it yourself, there seems to be potential benefit for amazing results. If you enjoy documentaries, I recommend you check out ‘The Magic Pill.’ It is very interesting.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you find healthy eating that works for you, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken in Palermo, Sicily

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