Benefits of spirituality
We often talk about the other aspects of holistic living - good health, proper financial balance, happy and fulfilling relationships, etc., but although these are all important pillars, we can't forget that spirituality is an essential piece of the puzzle. Whatever spiritual practices you choose to follow, having this connection to something higher and outside of yourself is necessary if we want to be truly happy and fulfilled and have a complete and balanced life.

As this article mentions, "Happiness, is in part, a byproduct of achievement best gained when we’re working from something and for something larger than ourselves."

No matter how successful we are in the other areas of our lives, without a sense of a connection to this "something larger," it will be hard to find true meaning and purpose.

Here are 7 reasons why a daily spiritual practice will make your life happier and more complete:

Holistic living benefits
In the years since I started this site, I have come to realize that holistic living is not just a way of life that benefits those who practice it, but it also impacts the health of the planet as a whole. Living holistically doesn't just mean taking daily steps to lead a more healthy, balanced life - it also means respecting the natural world around you, and learning to recognize your place in it, as well as its impact on you.

When you truly begin to live in a holistic manner, you recognize the connections between yourself and others, as well as the natural world. By doing so, you find a deeper sense of peace and purpose in the world, and you also learn to recognize your body's natural needs and take care of yourself in a gentler and more loving way.

Here are 7 awesome benefits of living a holistic lifestyle:

Between the craziness of the start of gardening season, and getting ready to launch a new website, I've been a bit overwhelmed lately, to say the least! I think it's time to revisit my meditation audios, which I have gotten out of the habit of using....

I discovered Holosync a few years ago, and went through the whole program over the course of about a year. I didn't necessarily experience all of the  benefits that other users have reported, but I did find some real improvements in several areas through simply listening to the recordings every night.

One big change was that I became less of a procrastinator. This did take a bit of focus, but I found it much easier to change this habit than I had expected, and now I rarely procrastinate anymore - I don't even think about it - I just get stuff done!

As I was driving home the other day, the passenger's seat piled high with bags of rice noodles, soy and fish sauce, coconut milk, and other goodies from my quarterly trip to the Asian supermarket (stocking up for light summer Thai soups & curries!), I began reflecting on the peculiar pleasure that comes from shopping.

We all know it's fun to shop - heck, some even call it "retail therapy" it feels so good! Sure, there are some people who go overboard with it - even becoming "addicted" to shopping. (And I'm not making light of that at all - it can be a very dangerous problem that can get people into a lot of financial trouble.) And in some cases there are deeper psychological issues at work. But in general, we all just like to shop!

So why is that, exactly? What is it about spending money or buying "stuff" that gives us that little jolt, or "rush" if you will, of satisfaction?

Sometimes it can seem like the world is too large (and messed up) for one person to ever really make a difference. War, famine, poverty, natural disasters - how are we really supposed to change anything - and should we even try?

The media bombards us with more bad news daily, until we start to feel like we don't even want to hear about the world's problems anymore - it's all too much to deal with.

But what if things really aren't as bad as we think? What if, instead of getting worse, going downhill, going "to hell in a handbasket," things are actually getting better? And what if it's up to each one of us, as individuals, innovators, thinkers, and doers, to make a difference each and every day, that adds up to a new and better world in the long run?

This is the subject of a really interesting book I'm currently reading, called "Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think."

While there are many parts of the book that I don't agree with (particularly on the topics of food and medicine, where the book seems to be leading in the direction of more automation, less personal attention, and more artificial foods made in a lab - ummm...yuck), there is no denying that a lot of progress is being made in a number of areas which can potentially solve many of the world's problems.

Healthy eating
It's a jungle out there....

When it comes to food and nutrition, that is.

With thousands of different fad diets, diet books, and nutritional guidelines, it can seem nearly impossible to figure out what you are really supposed to eat for good health.

Low-fat, low-carb, gluten-free, sugar-free, fat-free, Vegan, Paleo, organic, grass-fed, free-range - and that's just what's on the label!

Not to mention things like eating alkaline foods vs. acidic, whole foods vs. processed, or whether or not you should avoid GMO's. Some diet books even advocate eating certain combinations of food together - or not.... For example, some authors say you should only eat carbs with fat and protein, and others say you should never eat these things together!

Is it any wonder that we are becoming a nation that is completely neurotic about food?

Well, I'm here today to clear up all this confusion - once and for all. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you may have heard my two rules for healthy eating before, but I don't think I've ever explained them fully, so today I'm going to do just that. Since I have touched on many related topics before, I will provide links below for further reading on those topics if you are interested.

Firstly, let me just say that I am not discounting any of the approaches mentioned above. I am more and more aware that everyone processes food differently, and what works for one person may not work for another. I know people who have been unhappy, miserable, and sick on a Vegan diet, and others who seem to do quite fine with it. Some people can't tolerate gluten, and others don't seem bothered by it. And so on.

However, I firmly believe that everyone can benefit from following the 2 simple rules for healthy eating that I have listed below. No matter what other dietary preferences or needs you may have, incorporating these 2 rules into your eating habits will bring you better health and well-being in the long run.

But this post is especially for those who are just confused and fed up with all of the conflicting information out there about what is healthy when it comes to food. If this is you, I give you permission to go ahead and throw out all your diet books! Don't pay any mind to the media attention to whatever fad diet comes along next. Don't worry about whether you should be eating more of this or less of that. Instead, just commit to eating by these 2 simple rules. Doing so will undoubtedly benefit your health in more ways than you can imagine.

New Year
Happy New Year! Here we are on the brink of another exciting adventure - one called 2016!

I'm not sure why, but the New Year always used to  make me sad when I was younger.... Maybe I was missing the past, rather than looking forward to the future?

Whatever the reason, in recent years, my outlook has changed dramatically, and I now find myself relishing the "blank slate" of a new year stretching out before me. This year, for some reason, I find myself extra excited! Maybe it's just the fact that the past couple of years have been so eventful, but I am greatly anticipating all that 2016 has in store for me, and I hope that you are as well!

With the start of the new year comes those inevitable New Year's Resolutions which so many of us make (and so often fail to keep). Last year, I shared a few of mine, as well as some tips for staying on track with yours. Recalling this, I thought it would be fun to revisit my resolutions for 2015, and see how well I fared!

Let's take a look...

It has been a while since I've done a spiritual or religion-related post, and I figured, hey, 'tis the season! In church last week, they were talking about the different kinds of examples set by various characters in one of Jesus' parables, and it got me thinking about the examples we all set for others through the way that we live.

Like it or not, those around us - especially children, but also others in our circle of influence - are impacted by our daily decisions in various ways. From the way we eat, to the cars we drive and where we spend our money, to the actions we take to reduce our environmental impact, we are setting an example of the kind of life we think is the right one - or at least, that is what those around us assume.

It is up to each of us to be aware of just what kind of example we are setting, and make conscious choices that lead to a life worthy of being emulated.

Sound like a tall order? It's really not. In fact, it's something that we all can - and should - aspire to. Here's how.

Thank you
I've written before about the importance of gratitude for happiness and well-being - and even health. Indeed, many modern thinkers agree that gratitude is the key to abundance. Even Jesus said thanks before receiving!

As we near the end of the year, the Thanksgiving holiday gives us the perfect opportunity to look back over the past year and reflect on the things we are thankful for.  This year has had its share of challenges, but I still appreciate all of the wonderful blessings I have received, and in the spirit of the season, here are 4 things I'm grateful for in 2015!

Please feel free to share your own "thanks-giving" below as well - we'd love to hear what you're thankful for this year!

Natural health
Today I wanted to clear up something that has been bugging me for some time. It's perhaps a touchy subject in some ways, so I will do my best to be clear that I'm not pointing fingers at anyone.

Rather, I am attempting to point out a common error in thinking, which is leading our country down a dangerous path when it comes to the topic of health and disease. Luckily, the choice is up to you....

Which path will you choose?