Traveling smart

By Andrew Mellen, organizing expert & guest speaker May 9–14

andrewmellenAir travel these days is almost always stressful. Extended comforts or luxury are gone as airlines struggle to stay afloat financially. And staff seems to reserve what little courtesy remains for first/business class passengers and frequent flyers. For everyone else, being herded onto the plane and talked down to is the best we can expect.

As passengers, we also bring more than physical baggage with us. From clearing security to arriving at the gate, the experience is fraught with fear. Will I make my connection, will we crash, will there be room for my carry-on luggage?

There’s much we have no control over. But for those things within our grasp, how can we make traveling easier on ourselves?

Pack less. And pack smart.

Start by asking yourself, what do I absolutely need to have with me and available on the flight?

If you don’t check bags, it’s that much more important to ensure that anything you need is easily accessible in your ‘personal’ item. Leave everything you don’t need at your fingertips either in your suitcase or at home.

The night before a trip, I lay out all the things I want accessible that will make the flight more comfortable.

Here’s my list:

Noise-cancelling headphones, an eyemask, a neck pillow and a current book. Reading glasses, computer and computer charger (for longer flights), a pen that works, a notepad. Any work I hope to do while in transit. A jacket or shirt for cold planes.

If the headphones need to be charged or the battery replaced, do it now.

The day of the flight, I review the above items. Is it a short flight? Have I overestimated how much work I’ll actually do? Do I even feel like working? Would I rather watch a movie or read? Or nap?

I run through these questions, weeding out any unnecessary items – if they’re things I’ll still want on the trip but not on the plane, they go into my suitcase. Remember, when packing for the plane, ‘someday’ or ‘just-in-case’ is not your friend.

I also pack some snacks and maybe a meal.

And stay hydrated.

Why is it that a bottle of water can’t clear security, given that flight personnel can bring water with them? Just asking.

Back to food. Even flying business or first class, what's offered is often disappointing. Selections are overly processed and loaded with salt, fat, and sugar. So I always pack some nuts and maybe some cheese and some fruit. And chocolate!

For flights longer than two hours, I’ll make a salad or sandwich as well. I bring just enough for me and a companion (when applicable), but not enough to feed the entire coach cabin. Remember, we want the trip to be easy.

We may not be able to do much about surly, harried clerks or unhappy flight attendants, but we can control how much we load onto our backs and drag with us.

Click to read more of Andrew's blog.

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What is Emotional Fitness and How Could a Consultation or Retreat Help Me?

By Andrea Becky Hanson, CEHP, ACEP Certified Energy Health Practitioner

AndreaHansonEmotional Fitness is the state of being that allows you to be intimately connected and involved in all aspects of your life and maintain your sense of inner peace, strength and balance.

Sound impossible? I think all will agree that in these amazing and intense times, we need amazing, quick and effective ways to deal with the immense pressure of the energy, information and choices we must deal with on a daily basis. Whether you just have vague feelings of discontent and dissatisfaction or are overcome and overwhelmed by negative emotions and thoughts, you can benefit from the Emotional Fitness Energy Therapy Technique. Often times, this technique works when many other attempts at health and wellness have failed.

As a certified energy therapist, I skillfully and compassionately provide private consultations and retreats that allow you to experience the integrated combination of the contemporary Energy Therapy and the ancient practices of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation. I believe this combination is the answer to optimum health and wellness.

An Energy Therapy session will help you learn and understand why repeated attempts to resolve problems have failed in the past. You will also receive the rich learning and understanding you need to finally be free of negative emotions and thoughts. You can delete the concepts of struggling and suffering from your vocabulary and from you life with the experience and application of the Emotional Fitness Technique.

To learn more about this subject, visit my Merging Rivers website or join us for an Emotional Fitness Retreat at Red Mountain Resort.

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It Gets Bigger Before It Gets Better

By Andrew Mellen, organization expert & guest speaker May 9–14

andrewmellenIt gets bigger before it gets better. This is my new favorite line!

It came to me during my last class at NY Open Center and I think succinctly sums up the process of dealing with historic accumulation.

Those random piles may be daunting and overwhelming, but they become even more intimidating once you start to dismantle them into smaller piles of "like" items.

So you want to mentally and emotionally prepare yourself as best you can for what will happen once you start to take those piles apart.

The mess will get bigger before it gets better.

Knowing that won't change the scale of what's in front of you, but it will soften the surprise when things seem to grow exponentially.

There really was THAT much stuff anyway, it was just a bit neater or contained.

Click to read more on Andrew's blog.

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Reiki & Stress Relief

By Bud Howard, Reiki Master

The Basics of Reiki:

BudHowardAt birth, we bring into this life, a supply of Ki/chi energy to fuel the body’s natural healing capabilities. That universal life energy supply is used up during the course of daily life, and needs to be replenished. When we are unable to replenish that energy for a prolonged period, we may become physically or emotionally ill. Tension/stress not released is stored in the fibers of the body’s organs, muscles, and connective tissue. Over time, this stored tension becomes a toxic form of energy, blocking the flow of this energy through the body, as well as the body’s ability to absorb it, eventually causing any of the preventable diseases encountered in the Western World.

A Reiki treatment provides the recipient with a concentrated, powerful infusion/booster shot of this life force/Reiki energy, and balances its flow and absorption in the body. The practitioner providing the therapy acts as a channel, or conduit for the concentrated flow of this energy from the practitioner’s hands into the recipient’s body. The recipient, then, applies that energy however, and where ever it is needed. No personal energy is drawn from the practitioner. On the contrary, the practitioner is simultaneously recharged and strengthened.

Training to be a Reiki Channel/practitioner is conducted in three steps/attunements. The first degree (Level 1) gives the practitioner the tools for self healing. The second degree (Level 2) provides the tools to support others in their healing efforts. The third degree (Level 3) provides the tools as well as the strength of practice to teach others.

The Origins of Reiki:
This natural healing system is described in 2,500-year old Sanskrit writings. That places its practice at roughly 600 years BCE, in the India-Tibet area. That would be within 100 years or so of when Lao Tsu is said to have written or coordinated the writing of the Tao Te Ching. No one knows how old the practice actually is.

In the 19th century, a Japanese monk or college professor (depending on who you read), Dr. Mikao Usui, rediscovered the practice as a result of his personal 20-year quest to learn the basis for the practice of healing with the hands. Dr. Mikao is said to have brought the practice back to Japan, where he proceeded to teach and practice the technique for the remainder of his life. This “Usui system” of energy healing has since been passed down by Reiki Masters, and is now practiced on a world-wide basis.

Dr. Usui coined the Japanese phrase, Reiki, which describes this healing technique. Reiki is actually two words, or characters in kanji. The character, Rei, describes the cosmic, universal aspect of the energy in question, and the character, ki, represents the fundamental life force that flows naturally through all things.

How Reiki Effects Your Body:
The body has its own natural healing capabilities that are fueled by this universal life/Reiki energy. Reiki therapy replenishes the recipient’s Reiki energy supply, while removing blockages to the energy flow, and balancing its absorption by each and every cell of the body. During this process, the recipient moves into a deep state of relaxation, softening and relaxing every muscle, connective tissue, and organ in the body. That softening removes the blockages of energy flow and makes all fibers and cells in the body more absorbent to the Reiki energy and nutrients ingested and breathed.

The body enlarges its capacity to breath. The heart rate drops. More effective oxygen transfer results in a greater quantity of oxygen being delivered to the brain, as well as every other organ in the body. The body’s metabolism works just like every other combustion system. The more oxygen is delivered the more effective the process. Thinking becomes clearer. Insights into particular questions or problems occur more readily. The natural chemicals produced by the body become those associated with resisting infection and disease, as opposed to those that support the fight/flight scenario, such as the stress hormone, adrenaline.

The Benefits and/or Drawbacks of Reiki:
A normal Reiki treatment takes about an hour. In the face of a stressful event or situation, though, a level 1 practitioner can reduce the body’s production of the stress hormone, adrenaline, in just a few minutes, by placing the hands over the kidneys – that’s very near the adrenal gland that produces that hormone when conditions become stressful.

A level 1 practitioner, over time, becomes very aware of events/sensations occurring in their own body, and can, therefore, more quickly spot internal tension as it begins to occur in the face of a stressful situation. When that awareness occurs, releasing the tension is as easy and quick as a deep sigh with the hands placed over the heart, the sternum, or the kidneys.

Practitioners giving treatment experience the same rejuvenating recharge as is experienced by the recipient often leaving the treatment with the same feelings of peace and well-being.

Self healing is a crucial first step to becoming a channel for Reiki energy. Only when you have taken responsibility for your own health and well-being can you position yourself to assist others in their own healing processes. Self treatment reduces stress, relaxes you, and strengthens your power to resist illness. At a higher level, it also brings harmony and well-being into your life.

How Reiki Can Help You Manage Your Stress Level:
A Reiki self treatment early in the day enables you to begin your day with no tension stored in the body. At the end of the day, a quick self treatment enables you to spot tension stored in the body from the events of the day. You can then quickly release that tension. In most cases this insures a restful, continuous, night’s sleep.

During the day, as events occur, the self awareness a Reiki practice provides will enable you to spot tension as it begins – often times even before it begins - to build in the body. Releasing becomes an automatic reaction rather than something that takes time, focus, and a private spot.

Barring the above, a Reiki treatment provided by a practitioner releases all the tension/emotions/memories stored in the body, replenishes and balances the healing energy, and promotes clearer, more insightful thinking, reduces the heart rate, and strengthens the immune system.

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Best Tips for Cutting Back on Calories

See a Dietician: Before you decide to cut calories, remember most people don’t really understand how many calories they need to maintain a healthy body weight.

Most people eat too much when they are not focused on weight management, but then overreact and cut calories too much when trying to lose weight. When you see a dietitian you can get an accurate assessment of how many calories you need to maintain your current body weight. Then, an appropriate caloric deficit can be determined. This assessment should take into account: body composition, height, weight, gender, fitness level, daily activity level and programmed exercise.

Here are some food & lifestyle choices to help cut calories:

  • Fresh fruit – NOT juice, dried fruit, or canned fruit
  • Pile up your plate with non-starchy veggies instead of starchy ones
  • If making protein shakes – make with water instead of milk or soy milk
  • If you put sugar and or cream or creamer in your coffee – cut back on total cups of coffee and/or find a no calorie hot beverage that you enjoy without anything added
  • Choose white meat chicken, white turkey or white fish for protein (obviously grilled, broiled or baked with little added)
  • Eat high fiber foods
  • Eat an apple a day – the soluble fiber (pectin) makes you feel more full
  • Eat 2-3 servings of vegetables at lunch and at dinner
  • Buy only portion controlled treats that are less than 150 calories (and stick to one serving)
  • Choose graham crackers, ginger snaps or vanilla wafers instead of brownies, cake, etc.
  • Make sure that you are getting the right amount of healthy fats – not getting enough healthy fats will cause you to feel unsatisfied and eat more.
  • Don’t eat in front of the TV or while reading
  • Don’t eat when angry or upset
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Clutter = Decisions Deferred

By Andrew Mellen, organizing expert & guest speaker May 9-14

andrewmellenWhen it comes to getting and staying organized, I've yet to meet anyone who wouldn't benefit from stepping up their game. Even the most organized of us can continually fine tune our processes.

Remember that the primary goal is always to uncover and recapture every minute that can be rescued from disorganization and to then spend it on something more important than a misplaced document or cell phone.

More love, less stuff! means just that.

Let's spend the maximum amount of time doing the things we love with the people we love and the minimum amount of time fretting over lost or misplaced items, missed deadlines and other consequences of disorganization.

One of the biggest creators of disorganization and clutter that will keep you chasing your tail is just setting something down on any open (or not so open) surface, thinking you'll put that item in its proper home some other time.

Clutter = decisions deferred.

The next time you pass a surface thinking, "I'll just set this down here NOW and come back for it LATER..."

You just created a two-part task where one would have been sufficient.

And you created the possibility of misplacing something since it won't be in its home when you go looking for it next.

The situation is further compounded IF there are other things also on that surface that might obscure your view when you get around to searching for the first object.

Pay now or pay later ... it's always more on the way out.

Click to read more on Andrew's blog.

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Detox the Red Mountain Way

By Dr. Brad Crump, Health Services Manager

BradCrumpThere is a dramatic and powerful connection between your mind and body, and between your body and your mind. For this reason, I feel it is important to discuss the benefits of a proper detoxification program as a way to improve not just our physical health but also our emotional wellness.

The role of detoxification in reducing stress and other emotional issues is most effective if we understand the basics of detoxification, which is the process of eliminating foreign substances found in the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink. Without a properly functioning detoxification system (mainly the liver and intestinal track), these unwanted substances (ex. heavy metals) remain “stored” in our tissues such as our body fat and even our brains.

The storage of toxins can often result in many symptoms of emotional distress that according to leading physicians such as Dr. Mark Hyman are classified as “Broken Brains” when in reality they are symptoms of a “Broken Body.” These signs and symptoms are seen as depression, anxiety, stress, mood swings and memory issues, learning disabilities and Autism and ADHD in children.

A healthy detoxification program includes the following for at least thirty days:

  • Eliminate refined and processed foods such as packaged foods and foods high in sugar.
  • Remove from the diet foods considered inflammatory and allergenic such as gluten containing grains i.e. wheat, barley and rye.
  • Eat anti-oxidant rich foods such as colorful fruits and vegetable.
  • Eliminate dairy.
  • Eat only small, cold water fish like salmon and sardines and avoid tuna and swordfish and other large fish due to their heavy metal levels.
  • Supplement with high grade multi-vitamin.
  • Consider supplementing with a medical food designed for supporting detoxification.
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10-Day Detox Program

By Dr. Brad Crump, Health Services Manager

BradCrumpDid you know that in traditional Chinese Medicine, spring is the liver season? The liver should be taken care of, either through nourishing, soothing or cleansing.

Red Mountain Resort can help you meet that challenge with the new Clear Change 10 Day Detox Program. With this enhanced program, it is easier than ever to participate in a metabolic detoxification program and get on the road to better health.

Contact Dr. Brad Crump at with any questions about how the program works or to begin your Clear Change 10 day Detox Program.

The program includes:

  • Ultraclear Medical food (powder supplement-10 day supply).
  • Comprehensive Clear Change 10 day Detox guide with detailed instructions, recipes and sample menus.

For those who have participated in the Red Mountain Detoxification program, we would love to hear about the benefits you experienced.

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