Honoring Your Family’s Natural Rhythms

I found out the hard way that I was the destroyer of my family peace.

Disruption of circadian rhythms has been linked to such problems as diabetes, depression, dementia and obesity, says Steve Kay, a professor of molecular and computational biology at the University of Southern California. *source The Wall Street Journal


image source: National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Having never considered myself an A-type push, push, push personality it was a rude awakening the day I realized I was pushing my loved ones past their natural limits in an effort to achieve.

It started with a three alarm meltdown from my daughter, then just three years old.

I had done away with the nap in an effort to “keep up” with my peers that were swearing by a no nap/ earlier bedtime for their kids. These peers had convinced  me that this new arrangement would allow me may hours in the evening to do my work and thus be more productive.

Now here we were at her group playtime at the YMCA losing our collective minds.

The meltdown was so severe I did not even know how to handle it.

I just let it roll out, tears, full volume screams, sideways glances and sneering comments about seeking a child psychologist from the adults that run the playgroup etc.

It was a terrible, heartbreaking moment.

After the dust settled I knew it was sleep related.

My daughter is prone to big emotions and big outbursts but, this was different.

I had rearranged her biological clock to fit my needs not her natural rhythms. We all ebb and flow to a deeply centered biological clock that receives its data from mother earth and the surrounding universe.

Basically, I messed with God’s plan and my child suffered.

Now before you go telling me it’s all a learning process and not to be so hard on myself. I know that. I got it. I just want to illustrate how our ingrained programming to go, go, go forth and be productive can come at a price.

The price of happiness lost.

Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony -Thomas Merton

After this sobering event I realized I had pushed this glorification of busy on myself and my husband.

I recalled the days I had huffed and puffed about the house resentful of my husband resting on the couch. He seemed to always need a daily siesta and it bothered my undercover overachiever demon. I used to make him feel guilty for needing a nap when in fact the truth was the whole family should have been taking a natural quiet time each afternoon as our bodies were calling for it.

I saw clearly how I pushed us all  through times of feeling weak aka tired or depleted.

And clearly now I could see how this wasn’t amping up our productivity at all. It was just making us resentful, tired and downright crabby.

So, wheres the happy ending?

I realized that when it’s time to rest it’s time to rest.

The entire family now enjoys a blissful interlude mid day. And what do you know an earlier bed time is still part of the package. Because I allow her to recharge mid day my daughter isn’t filled with frenetic energy at bed time.

The moral – never be afraid to admit you are wrong.

Here are a few ways you can honor your own families natural rhythms.

The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature. – Joseph Campbell

1 Know your tribe.

Don’t be blind to your family’s specific needs. We are not cookie cutter humans. We all tune into the universal rhythms but we all also have different internal clocks. Some people are natural night owls Other people have medical conditions that override their biological clocks. My husband for example has low thyroid activity thus rendering him tired and depleted more often than others. Know your people and honor their differences schedule your events accordingly. Do not make family members feel guilty for their natural physical reactions to different parts of the day.

2 Work with your natural environment.

When the sun goes down turn your screens off. This is crucial. I know that a lot of us work at a computer and a lot of us do this at night while our family sleeps. I get that. But, as often as you can honor the universe and its endless cycles of day to night, When the sun goes down reduce exposure to artificial light so that bodies can continue on their natural cycles.

3 Be willing to always be working and reworking what works.

Only you will know or observe what is working and what isn’t. Like a good editor always be revising for optimal results. Also be willing to challenge the current constructs you are working within such as  school or work schedules. Be willing to challenge these things and see if you can find some give or leeway.

4 Think like a scientist.

Observe the earth, moon, sun, stars, tides, seasons etc. Notice how this system is already perfect. Learn what you can take from natural systems to implement in your family.


As with everything holistic keep an open mind and be willing to implement new things.

Tell us in comments or at the Facebook page how you honor your natural rhythms.


Kiki Harshman

On most days Kiki can be found seeking elevated states of being through better food.  A certified kitchen witch since the age of seven, Kiki is always continuing her education in blissful states of consumption. She is certified in Raw Nutrition by Raw Food trailblazer David Wolfe through the BodyMind Institute, where she continues her training. She has also completed an introduction to herbalism course through the Herbal Academy of New England. Currently taking a break from personal blogging, her curriculum vitae is available at her About.Me page.

5 Ways To Stay Happy And Healthy In 2014

2014 healthy living tips

Click here to download this FREE printable!

This time of year is always buzzing with excited and hopeful energy, people all over the world planning the year ahead. Setting goals. Dreaming big. Wondering what 2014 will bring.

Whatever your goals and dreams are for this year, here are some tips to ensure it’s happy and healthy.

1. Be Present.

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

Make mindfulness a habit by bringing yourself back to the present moment whenever you notice yourself getting lost in thought. This is especially important if you often re-play the past or spend too much time future-tripping.

The key here is awareness. Once you realise you’re stuck in your head, turn your awareness to your body. Focus on your breathing. Listen to the sounds around you. Feel your back against the chair or your feet on the ground.

A great way to train your mind to stay present is to meditate. Even ten minutes a day will make a difference. Light a candle and gaze at the flame. Go outside and let nature guide you towards a more peaceful state. Listen to a meditation recording or go to a class.

By giving yourself over to the now, you’ll feel more relaxed and joy will come to you with more ease.

2. Laugh.

“At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities.” ~ Jean Houston

We’ve all heard the saying, ‘laughter is the best medicine.’ It’s uplifting and fun, it brings people together and lightens your mood. Not only that, it’s an amazing happiness booster and even reduces stress.

Make it a goal to laugh every day in 2014. Watch your favorite funny movies and tv shows {The Big Bang Theory and Seinfeld are my go-to laugh inducers!}. Read funny books. Make time to hang out with people who make you laugh or try Laughter Yoga.

A good giggle can transform even the darkest of days.

3. Nourish Your Body.

“Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food.” ~ Hippocrates

Choose foods that make your body glow from the inside out. Every body is different when it comes to finding which foods keep us at optimum health; vegan, paleo, gluten free, the list goes on. If you’ve found the foods that nourish you, great! Keep it up.

If not, find the foods that make you feel good and healthy. If you need help, find a nutritionist or health coach and work together to find what works for you.

4. Move Your Butt.

“The higher your energy level, the more efficient your body. The more efficient your body, the better you feel and the more you will use your talent to produce outstanding results.” ~ Anthony Robbins

Exercise is brilliant for a whole mind, body, spirit boost. How our body feels determines every other area of our lives, so it’s vital to get our bodies moving regularly.

Again, it’s about finding what works best for you. It could be yoga, marathon running, going to the gym, swimming, dancing, even hula hooping or trampolining.

If you don’t exercise as much as you’d like and want to feel fitter and stronger in 2014 {like me!}, set a goal and stick to it no matter what. Start small if you need to, even taking your dog for a walk every day is enough. Keep building on your fitness routine as you go along; jump rope after your walk or jump on an exercise bike for 30 mins every day.

The more you move your body, the better you’ll feel.

5. Do What You Love.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” ~ Steve Jobs

It doesn’t matter what it is. Whether it’s knitting, writing, painting, gardening, playing guitar, hiking, cooking, dancing, volunteering… if you love it, do it! And do it as often as possible.

Forget about what other people think; do what makes you happy. Working on our passions can be as calming as meditation and is guaranteed to make you feel joyful, fulfilled and alive.

If you haven’t found what you love to do yet, keep looking. Here’s a clue; when you do it, you’ll get lost in it, it will electrify you and you’ll lose track of time because you’re having so much damn fun!

And if you’re worried it’s too selfish to do what makes you happy, take a look at my all-time favorite quote:

“Ask what makes you come alive and do it. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.” — Howard Thurman

I hope this post has inspired you to make 2014 your happiest and healthiest year ever. If you want a reminder of these 5 happiness boosters, I made a free printable for you to do just that! Check it out here!

jenbiopic (1)Jen Saunders is the creator of Wild Sister Magazine and the Wild Sisterhood. She’s a tie-dye wearing, coffee guzzling writer, artist + self love advocate who fiercely believes that empowering women will change the world. A former city girl living by the sea with her husband, when she’s not creating the next edition, blog post or ecourse, Jen loves movie marathons, writing fiction and instagramming ridiculously cute photos of her pug.

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Herbalism on the rise, as health insurance costs skyrocket

Holistic Dad’s thoughts: It’s inevitable that when people are suffering and Western medicine costs are too high, they will look elsewhere. It’s great that herbalism is growing in popularity, and yet sad that giving birth can cost upwards of 30,000USD in the States. 

Daily Record/Sunday News Updated:   03/12/2012 04:19:19 PM EDT

Six women separated garlic and sliced onions while sitting at a table in Forsight Vision Center’s kitchen in Spring Garden Township.

They put the garlic and onions into mason jars, covered the mixture in honey, and sealed the jars with lids. As they worked, they talked about the health benefits of each ingredient.

Lesa Metz of Freeland, Md., led the White Rose Herbal Study Group in its monthly meeting. She said a spoonful of the concoction would counter sore throats, colds, the flu, lung congestion and sinus problems.

Metz, originally from Stewartstown, started the group in 2008 and said she’s been taking online healing classes to become a natural herbalist. The group has about 10 to 20 members and discusses medicinal and Dozens of herbs, oils and extracts are stored in a cabinet in Lesa Metz s basement at her home in Freeland, Md. The ingredients for Metz s homemade herbal remedies many of which she picks and gathers keep better in a cool, dark environment. (FOR THE DAILY RECORD / SUNDAY NEWS JEFF LAUTENBERGER ) culinary uses for herbs, and gardening.

She said most of the members are interested in the health benefits of herbs, as a result of a growing trend in people turning back to nature.

According to a National Health Statistics Report, 38.3 percent of adults – four in 10 – used some form of complementary and alternative medicine in 2007.

“They’re tired of taking chemicals,” Metz said.”They want to be able to heal themselves with the things God gave them.”

They’re also turning to herbal medicine because of the rising cost of health care, said Casey Brown, staff assistant at New Visions Books & Gifts in Springettsbury Township.

According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average premium for family insurance coverage through an employer reached $15,073 in 2011, a 9 percent increase from 2010.

About 50 million Americans don’t have health insurance and pay for health care out of pocket.

Metz is one of those 50 million people. She said she sometimes worries about the cost of getting injured. In October, a whipped cream can exploded in a fire in her backyard and cut her arm. She went to the emergency room. Her medical bills cost about $1,000.

At one point, her arm became infected, and her doctor advised that she take antibiotics. Instead, she said she soaked it in calendula, comfrey, tea tree oil and lavender, and her arm healed.

“If you have a major problem, go to a medical doctor,” Metz said.

Metz said she started learning about herbs four years ago after repeatedly having strep throat and using antibiotics. Now, she treats herself with fermentations made with mullein and garlic.

“With these herbs, you don’t have a side effect,” Metz said.

Cat Frederick, 45, of Windsor, who met Metz at a campground in Lower Chanceford Township, said she used to have adverse reactions to many medications.

She experienced memory loss after taking neurontin and hostile behavior after using Chantix to quit smoking.

Three years ago, Frederick got a cold, and she asked Metz for advice. Metz said to cut up garlic and eat it on a piece of toast with butter.

Frederick said she broke out in a sweat, and the garlic cleared her right up.

“I stunk, but it was awesome,” Lesa Metz pours an herb-infused olive oil mixture into a glass container on a hot plate to prepare an herbal healing salve in her basement workshop in Freeland, Md. Metz, formerly of Stewartstown, has been making herbal healing remedies for about four years. (FOR THE DAILY RECORD / SUNDAY NEWS JEFF LAUTENBERGER) she said.

Brown recently started teaching Magical Herbalism 101 at New Visions after patrons inquired about a possible class focusing on herbs.

She said the class of 11 people – which consists of two levels – sold out, so the store scheduled another. There are no openings, but more classes will be scheduled. She said there’s been a resurgence in therapies that have been used in the past.

Brown praised the advancements of modern medicine, but said people shouldn’t discard the work of their ancestors.

“We don’t depend on the earth today the way our forebearers did,” she said.”Our forebearers survived very well.”

Some doctors have begun infusing herbal medicine into their practices.

Dr. Kirankumar Viramgama, a Gettysburg pulmonologist, started incorporating 5,000-year-old traditional medicine into his standard medical practice eight years ago. He integrated ayurveda, a science that uses herbs, purgatives and rubbing oils to treat diseases.

He said a few of his patients were desperate to get better, and one suggested that he look into Indian medicine. He treats people with lung and sleep disorders, and chronic fatigue syndrome.

“A lot of physicians are kind of open to this,” Viramgama said.

He said no two patients get the same treatment. He considers genetics and what medications the person is taking before prescribing herbs.

Viramgama noted a limitation of herbal medicine: Herbs take six to 12 months to go deep into the tissue.

“There is no particular medical science that is perfect in its own,” he said.”Every medical science has its own benefits and limitations.”

Herbs and healing properties

The following are some herbs and their potential healing properties.

Mullein: Its leaves and flowers contain mucilage, which is soothing to irritated membranes, and saponins, which make coughs more productive.

Cayenne pepper: It can help heal colds, improve poor circulation and strengthen weak digestion. Externally, it can be used to treat arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, shingles and sore muscles.

Plantain: The plant hastens the healing of wounds, burns and bruises.

Comfrey: It can be used externally to treat bruises, bone fractures, sprains and swelling.

Calendula: The flower is used to prevent muscle spasms, start menstrual periods and reduce fevers. It can also be used to treat sore throats, menstrual cramps, cancer, and stomach and duodenal ulcers. It can be applied to the skin to reduce pain and swelling, and to treat poorly healing wounds and leg ulcers.

– www.nlm.nih.gov, www.naturalherbsguide.com, www.cancer.org

If you go

What: White Rose Herbal Study Group

When: 7 to 9 p.m. every third Thursday of the month

Where: Forsight Vision Center, 1380 Spahn Ave. in Spring Garden Township

Why: To learn about medicinal and culinary uses of herbs through discussions, trips and crafts

Details: Call 717-332-3669 or email whiteroseherbalstudy@gmail.com

Garlic honey

Lesa Metz, leader of the White Rose Herbal Study Group, recommended this garlic, honey and onion mixture to fight sore throats, colds, the flu, lung congestion and sinus problems.

1. Use a 4-to-8-ounce jar with a tight lid. Fill the jar with unpeeled garlic cloves, and one-half chopped onion.

2. Cover onions and garlic with honey.

3. The combination creates an elixir. You may remove or leave in garlic and onions.

Spring tonic

Casey Brown, who teaches Magical Herbalism 101 at New Visions Books & Gifts in Springettsbury Township, provided her grandmother’s recipe for spring tonic, a mixture used to cleanse the body.

“It helps tone up the system… and get rid of the winter blahs,” Brown said.

Ingredients: 4 carrots, 2 celery stalks, 4 tomatoes, ½ cup fresh spinach, ¼ cup fresh parsley.

Combine ingredients in an old-fashioned food grinder, and transfer to a pot. Cook over low heat until mixture is soft. Strain the mixture, tightly bottle the liquid, and refrigerate. Take 2 teaspoons each day.

Lesa Metz pours a healing salve in hot liquid form into a glass container to cool and solidify in her basement workshop. She made the salve from comfrey, lavender, calendula, olive oil and beeswax.