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* Burping and itchy skin cleared by quitting dairy milk

I am sharing my dairy milk experience.  I am  a vegetarian as are my family members.  All my life, my diet was  white rice,  vegetables, lentils, home made yogurt and fruits, two half cups of black tea with sugar and milk and occasional sweets, a typical Asian Indian diet.

While in India for 60 years, I consumed about 2 table spoons dairy milk added to black tea brew, twice a day (less than 60 ml). After settling down in the USA, my daily breakfast was a big bowl of milk (250 ml) with cereal, an increase of 300 %.  Moreover, in India I was not eating any cheese. Here I was eating cheese in Pizza and many other foods regularly, though not daily. My physical activity also was drastically reduced.

After being in the USA for some time, I had severe burping. I had several large dark patches on my lower legs, which itched badly and I had to scratch them compulsively. I ruled out stress as a cause for both of these non threatening problems. I was not inclined to take any medications. On a hunch, as an experiment, I stopped all dairy milk consumption since one year. In its place I consumed soy milk.

I experienced remarkable results:
No more burping. The itching is reduced by 99%. The colored scaly patches on my legs gradually cleared up, showing smooth normal skin.

My subsequent reading of some books (1) confirmed the adverse impact of dairy milk on some people.

Did excess milk cause my prostrate cancer (2), which is seen very rarely in India? Probably. Read the web page at (3).

(1) Nutrition – Books and Journals
Cancer – managing with, control and prevention – Books
What’s Eating Your Child?: The Hidden Connection Between Food and Childhood Ailments
(2) At age 66, I was diagnosed with prostrate cancer. I was in good health overall, not having any of the common problems at this age – Heart disease, Hypertension and Diabetes. I was also not on any medications.  I had cryosurgery to destroy the prostrate gland using ultra low temperature. Due to rising PSA (Indicator of likely prostrate cancer  growth) within two years, I had Radiation therapy to totally destroy the cancer cells. None of the three  doctors who treated me over many years told me that my diet had any impact on my cancer recurrence, even when I asked them. That was when I started taking interest in the field of nutrition.
(3)  ‘Milk consumption and prostrate cancer’ by Neal Barnard M.D

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* I have made great improvements with my weight, self confidence and …

Feedback from my most remarkable client who has done 19 classes (6) over the last one year, more than any other client.

She earnestly makes plans based on my suggestions, takes her written down plans home and sincerely tries to implement them. She keeps in touch by e-mail between the classes. Her multidimensional progress is a tribute to her courage and persistence. Her progress gives me immense satisfaction. She is still doing the classes, determined to get over all her problems. Such cases give me the impression that when the person is ready for change, help comes from somewhere, and it is absorbed like a sponge. Her report –

“This is how I am trying to implement my plans based on your suggestions.

  • I do my daily breathing practice.
  • When I have bad thoughts wherever I am, I do my breathing and it helps to calm me down, along with saying my prayers.
  • I do my breathing every night and try to do 4 times on each hand but usually dont make it that far before I fall asleep.
  • I do my breathing in the morning along with saying my prayers while getting ready.
  • I try to stay very busy inside and outside the house.
  • I drink Metamucil fiber at night before bed, and it does help with my bowel movements in the morning.
  • I have changed my diet a lot:  More fish, more vegetables and fruits, more fiber and water throughout the day. I eat more fruits and vegetables than ever before. I have a banana for breakfast every morning, not good at eating lunch, and cut down on my meat intake for dinner. (4)
  • I have been making my husband’s lunch for him to carry to work. (1)
  • I now drink soy milk. (3)
  • I take fish oil pills with 2000mg of Omega 3 every day. I started putting flax seed on my food and also put it on husband’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches without him knowing. (5)
  • I keep calm when my husband’s temper builds up and walk out of the room. This has changed his yelling behavior.
  • I’ve let my husband know “He cannot control me”.
  • I do read a spiritual book every night before bed. Sorry I am not good at writing the journal.
  • We are paying down the debts and consolidating them.
  • I did look for a walking partner by posting two ads, but have gotten no responses yet.
  • I still need to work on smoking. I’m not sure I can make a full commitment right now, it is very hard for me but I am still trying and have cut down a little. I have tried to change my smoking habits before bedtime, by not going to bed till I am very tired and feel sleepy. (2)
  • I did call about taking CPR training and they put me on the list for a free class in September. (1)

I have made these great improvements in the last year with your help:
My weight, my self confidence, my body pains due to lupus, my marriage problems, my sleeping habits, my eating habits, learning how to control my fear and much more. I can’t thank you enough.”

+++

My notes
(1) She got this idea on seeing her husband gasp for breath recently. He is obese and does not care to do anything about it. She is worried he may have a heart attack one day. She is also trying to help him lose weight by not eating greasy outside food while at work.
(2) She smokes maximum number of cigarettes at night, after lying in the bed to sleep and not falling asleep. This suggestion was to break this behavior pattern.
(3) She had constipation for a long time. She was consuming lot of dairy products which were suspected to be the cause. On a trial basis, she was advised to avoid all dairy products for 2 months. Though she was very fond of yogurt, consuming about 4 cups a day, she gave it up with determination. This change eliminated her constipation.  Soy milk was replacement for diary milk.
(4) She hardly ate any vegetables or fruits before. Introducing fruits and veggies and cutting down meat helped her significantly in losing weight. She never ate any breakfast and lunch was irregular. She felt fatigued by mid day, aggravating her sensitivity to body pains.
(5) To get Omega 3 in view of her lupus and mental problems. Also to help improve her husband’s health.
(6) Seminars and classes

Her previous reports
I lost 30 pounds
I feel so much at peace now
My family life changed dramatically
I always leave your class feeling better

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* I am thrilled at my progress

Here is the remarkable feedback from a practitioner who attended 7 of my classes over last 4 months. It is reproduced verbatim, followed by other comments she made during the classes.

“I would like to start by saying that I am a retired hair dresser of 35 years of experience. I have diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety, over weight and a lot of other issues.

I was referred to CS (Suryanarayana Chennapragada) by a diabetes educator, of all the people. I know it sounds strange but she completely understood when I told her that I had seen many dietitians over many years, that there wasn’t much she could help me with, if I did not put my knowledge of diets to work. I knew portion sizes, sugars and all of it. I was wrong. She did help me by listening to what I said. She then asked if I was open minded about talking to a man who had helped her in her life. I don’t know if it was the right time to make a change in me or if it was something else but whatever be the reason, I will be forever grateful to both of them.

CS began by explaining that if you do not give yourself time to breathe, you can not heal inside or out. Your brain needs oxygen in order to deal with life’s every day problems. He gave me some breathing techniques, as explained in his web site to try (1) and asked me to do them while I was in his office. He left me in the room alone to try them. I was amazed that I could sit still long enough to do this but I did and felt pretty good. I continued to see him on a weekly basis. I started in Oct 2011. It is now Feb 2012. I am now going every 2 weeks and I am thrilled at the progress I have made. So are my  husband and daughter.

I am not nearly as stressed about everything. I have learned that I do not have to take care of every one else in my life. I am not responsible for other people’s choices, only mine. I now understand the power of focusing on breathing. My family noticed that I am now calmer. I smile more and I laugh. I now enjoy taking a vacation. I do matter. CS gives you small things to try and that bring big results. I know that it will take time for me, to complete my journey but as CS says “Small Steps”.  I say to every one that will listen “BREATHE”.

To CS, thank you for doing what you do so well and by that I mean CARE about all of us.”

Some more developments she shared during the classes –

  • She was suffering from severe insomnia for many years, not able to sleep for more than 3 – 4 hours a night, that too a very disturbed sleep, in spite of taking strong sleep medication ‘AMBIEN’. Now she is able to sleep undisturbed, for at least 5 hours while still taking the same medication. She has now dared to asked her doctor to switch to half the dosage of the same medication. She is now determined to try this lower dose, bearing all the disturbances.
  • When she visited her endocrinologist doctor recently, the doctor spontaneously commented “You were somewhere, for past many years. You are now a different person”
  • Before practicing these techniques, she had severe anxiety whenever she had to undergo a treatment at her dentist’s office. She had to take an anti-anxiety medicine, to be able to go through the visit. But her recent visit to the dentist was all done without any such medication. She was herself surprised how this happened for the first time!
  • Before these practices, she was a compulsively controlling person. She wanted things done yesterday and her way! Now she lets others manage their affairs, as they like. She does not feel the compulsive urge to control them any more.
  • When she organized a birth day party recently, she was calmly interacting with people, unlike her usual self. This change was noticed by her family  members and they commented about it.
  • Her goal is now to “get off the insulin”. She is hopeful she can do it eventually.
  • She is surprised that she is now cooking smaller quantities and eating smaller portions. Her husband is surprised at this remarkable change.
  • Having made a beginning with going to the YMCA when her daughter gave her the gift of trial membership, she enrolled herself in the Y and going to the gym 3 days a week. She walks on the track every time she goes there. She is happy with meeting many other like minded persons there.
  • Due to more awareness and self control, she stopped snacking on chips at night. Instead she eats an apple.

Her previous feedback
My family  can’t believe the change in my attitude.

(1) How can I focus on breathing?

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* I rebuilt my broken spirit

This is a testimonial from Eva (not her real name) who attended 8 of my classes over 5 months (6). It illustrates many lessons in getting out of the grip of a verbal or emotional abuser, not a physical abuser.

  • It is a dramatic model on how a person can break the spell of the abuser  and lead a stress free life. Daily contact with that person may be unavoidable. The abuser may be abusing verbally or emotionally.  The abuser may be a boss, spouse, parent, friend or any other.
  • It proves the saying  “You can’t change others. You can only change your response to their behavior.” and the related one “When I change myself, the World changes.”
  • It proves the spiritual saying “When the student is ready the teacher appears”
  • And surprise! The abuser may turn around!

See more of my comments at the end.

The report
“I suppose it was the end of May 2011 because the 10 foot high snow banks at the end of the parking lot had finally melted. I think it was a Monday or a Tuesday. Back then, I didn’t really focus on real- time. I simply prayed to get through each day. Each and every new morning presented itself with tremendous anxiety, demanding self-preparedness to battle with my verbally and emotionally abusive boss. I had been dealing with his relentlessly abusive behavior over the last two years. I was daily confronted with humiliation, degrading, argumentative, embarrassing control tactics, accusations, and lies. Me responding with anxiety, fear, tears, withdrawal, disgust and frustration. I was losing sleep, and it felt like I was constantly spinning.

I was treated by my physician for severe panic attacks and sleeplessness. My dermatologist was treating me for the red blotches, itching and welts on my face. Rock bottom came when a coworker made an unkind comment to me, back on that Monday or Tuesday. It broke my spirit to the core. I went out of the office, to the end of the long unused hallway, sat on the floor with my arms wrapped around my knees. I soaked from my tears. What was happening to me? How do I stop this monster of a boss from making me feel like this?

I figured I had two choices – fight or flight. I pulled myself together and went back to the office. I prayed to the angels to please give me some kind of a sign.

A few days before, I planned to attend the seminar by C S (Suryanarayana Chennapragada) on ‘Focusing on breathing’  at the local library, but I couldn’t make it. On coming to know about my interest from my coworker, CS offered the classes at his office. I saw CS that day.

He patiently let me unload everything that was making my life miserable. He taught me the different breathing methods to control stress and help with relaxation (5). He made me practice the techniques briefly sitting in his office.

I experienced a sense of calmness almost immediately. I could feel my tense shoulders drop. In his weekly classes he shared with me his own life experiences and some healing thoughts (1). I began to understand things in a whole different way. I knew I was 100 feet under water but after a few sessions with CS, I knew I had crawled up by 10 feet, inch by inch.

I had a long way to go but I knew I was on the right path. I practiced the techniques every day and several times a day when things got bad. I could thus create my own calmness to some degree. I created sanity in my work space by including things I love and a few ‘props’ from C S, to insulate me from further emotional trauma (2).

After several months and many visits later. I can honestly say that I am ‘riding the waves’ instead of drowning underneath them (3). I have learned so much from the relaxation techniques and guidance from C S,  that now I recognize the bad behavior before it comes to me. I learned how to respond to it in appropriate ways, to throw “IT” (the ‘bug’, meaning the abusive behavior) back and put the fire out before it burns me (4).

I had a revelation not too long ago inspired by the experiences C S shared with me. It became clear to me, that I was causing my own frustration because I was expecting my boss to change into someone he could never be. I realized that I could only change myself. I had to only keep my mind clear without confusion and my heart clean without any negative intention or attitude. I am now stronger, more confident and more aware of my own being. I am a better person now. When confronted with difficulties and bad behavior at work, I know I am going to get even better. I have eliminated all expectations about him! I feel can do this! I keep a small sign on my desk with a chant that CS introduced to me. It reminds me frequently that my boss’s abusive behavior is not because something is wrong with me. The sign has the letters “koerauoyavE”. It does not make sense to any other person. I am the only one who knows that reading it backwards, it gives me the healing message “Eva you are OK” (I am OK, it is my boss who is suffering from the ‘blame bug’).”

The report ends happily here!

Some unexpected developments
My boss realized that I was not cowering anymore when he behaved intimidatingly. On the other hand, he saw me replying to his accusations calmly, boldly and factually, looking into his eyes, all the time. He then changed his behavior dramatically. He started behaving like an immature child and making jokes, trying to make up with me! Unbelievable!” “A few days back, at the end of the day, I asked him “Doc! are we closing the office?”. He replied “You tell me.” I said “You are the boss. You are the one to decide.” He said “No. You are the boss!”. Imagine this one coming from the micromanaging and intimidating boss who used to say in all petty matters of the office “I am the boss. You have to follow whatever I say.” What a transformation!”

***

My comments

Eva is an unique personality, unlike any others with whom I worked so far. In her past career she always had kind and caring bosses. This abusive boss was a great shock to her.

She instantly grasped the concepts and techniques I shared with her, internalized them and used them right away, to manage the situation on hand. She benefited remarkably from the stories and articles that I shared with her in the classes.

After a few weeks of practicing the breathing and the new thought processes, she discarded her previous practice of wearing the green smock to the office, like a medial staff. She wore the normal office dress like a receptionist, with pride. This small step boosted her morale, one notch.

(1) She quickly absorbed the messages of these stories/articles and ideas and practiced them in real life.

  • “He insulted me” on how we can refuse to receive the insult being thrown at us or internalize it.
  • “The walker who laughed at A, B and C” on how we think we have some problem, instead of the abusive person.
  • “The blamer is hit with the blame bug” due to which he can’t help displaying the symptoms of blaming disease.
  • “My brother Ramu dies at the age of 10” describing how my unrealistic expectation was the cause for my suffering.
  • “We do not see the first parts of people’s lives” making  judgments of other people, based on their current behavior, without knowing the experiences they were subjected to till that point of time.
  • “To speak or not, to act or not” illustrating that as long I have a clear mind without confusion and a clean heart without negative emotions, I can speak and act appropriately without being afraid of any one, including GOD.
  • Unrealistic expectations sap our motivation and abort our attempts at making small forward moving changes in our routine. The president of an African country was asked by a journalist to describe the achievements of his government. He said ”My dear friend, I am not in the happy position of seeing what heights I have reached. I only see from what depths I am coming up!”. The personal change process is such that we may not experience any waves of happiness even after many many years of practice. The few daring people that attempt this process have to sustain their efforts and draw deep inspiration from the tiny reductions in their daily suffering.

(2) I helped Eva in creating reassuring and calming props, right in front of her, while sitting in her chair, in spite of any objections by her boss. This was also to break the spell of controlling and being controlled, under which both her boss and she lived, for more than two years. She also had to demonstrate her right to arrange her undisputed physical zone as she liked, without being challenged by her boss.

  • I described the story “He insulted me” using my pen for practical demonstration and at the end, gave her the same pen to take with her and place it right in front of her on the desk. This pen would remind her of the message of this story during the abusive interactions of the day, thus protecting her from distress.
  • I used a piece of crumpled paper to represent the bug in the story “The blamer is hit with the blame bug” and asked her to keep it on her desk, to remind her that her boss could not help behaving abusively because he was having the blame bug in his head.
  • I made a card in the shape of an inverted V (like a name sign used in meetings) and wrote “koerauoyawE” on it with a colored sketch pen. This was the message “Eva you are ok” written backwards as one word, so that only she could decipher the hidden message. Whenever her boss made a statement putting her down, she looked at this card lying on her desk, reminding her she was OK and it was her boss who had the bug (problem). Looking at this message helped her shake off the negative messages about her that her boss was trying to inject into her mind. Her coworkers saw the card and asked what was the meaning of that word. She quietly smiled in reply.
  • I asked her if she had any plants or flowers on her desk or around her, to look at and care for, as her own. She said her boss did not like any such things. I said this is a very good chance to assert her right by bringing some flowers from her garden or buy a small plant in a pot and keep it on her desk. She followed these suggestions.
  • She heard western classical music being played in our office when she came to the classes. She remarked that it was very calming whereas the music channel in her office radio blared hard drum sounds and disturbed her as well as the patients sitting in the waiting room. I asked her to change the station to classical music. She was not sure he would allow it but she made the change anyway without his noticing it, to her great relief. Listening to this soothing music all the time also contributed to reducing her stress.

(3) A spiritual teacher said that the meditative techniques like ‘Focusing on breathing’ do not eliminate the problems which are a part of life. But they help us manage them without getting distressed. He said  “You can’t avoid the big waves coming at you. But you can use the meditative techniques as a surf board and ride over the waves”.

(4) Her boss was throwing the blame (bug) at her and she now learned how to throw it back at him, instead of getting infected by that bug. She protected herself from being infected by the blaming disease that her boss was suffering from.

(5) Six different modes of ‘Focusing on breathing’

(6) Seminars and classes 

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* Reduced my anger, road rage ….

Received this feedback from a NY state employee who has a busy and stressful customer service job. He attended a few of my classes in May 2010.

My practices (See ref (1) for the different modes of ‘focusing on breathing’)
I practice the ‘Tip mode’ or ‘Segment mode’ to get sleep while in the bed and when I wake up during the night or in the morning and need to fall back asleep.

I practice the ‘Counting mode’ while driving or walking during the day.

I practice the ‘911 mode’ when I recognize I am getting stressed, frustrated, worked up or pent up with anger or frustration.

The benefits  I gained
These practices have improved my self control and reduced my anger. They have increased my tolerance for things out of my control. They have improved my health. I can feel the difference. I don’t have anxiety or chest pains or tightening, like I had before or nearly as frequently as before.  They have reduced my road rage. There is improvement in how I react with or accept other drivers. I have improved my tolerance and anger for mistakes and towards the “general public”. They have helped me in my job and career. I think before I react which has helped me deal with “difficult customers”.

I just have to work on making it more of a routine so that I don’t have to think about it. I don’t do it as much as I should or need to!!

I really like your Rope/Snake story (2) that you told me in the class. I just found that on the website.

I can’t thank you enough. You have helped me tremendously.

(1) How can I do it?
(2) Is it a snake or a rope?
Reducing or eliminating anger – Success stories

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