Easy & effective acupressure for a stiff & painful neck.

Spending too much time hunching over your phone or computer screen? Do one too many overhead presses at the gym? Sleep with wet hair? Acute neck pain can be debilitating – fortunately, just as it comes on quickly, it can also leave quickly too.

Try these two acupressure points to help reduce pain & improve mobility. This treatment is simple, safe & effective.

Acupressure to reduce pain from teeth grinding (TMJD)

Have you ever woken up with a headache or a painful jaw? Have you noticed that your jaw is sore when you chew or you hear popping or clicking when you open your mouth? These could all be signs that you are grinding your teeth at night. Your dentist can confirm that by the wear and tear on your teeth or misalignment of your jaw.

This video demonstrates a treatment that will help alleviate pain in some of the most commonly effected areas such as the jaw, the temples, the temperomandibular joint, the sternocleidomastoid muscles (SCM) on the neck.

Although this treatment helps treat the branch of the issue, it does not address the root cause. Some helpful tools for eradicating stress is being able to identify the trigger and work to reduce their effects on the mind, body & soul. Carl Jung calls this the shadow work – journaling and analyzing the triggers can help unravel the problem.

Give the treatment a try & let me know what you think!

8 Virtues of Bushido and why they are relevant now more than ever.

Bushido is translated to mean the Way of the Warrior. The Eight Virtues of Bushido are the core values of the Samurai that were essential to the warriors way of being and action.

The Samurai were an elite class of warriors that lived in Japan from about 900 to the 1800’s. Being a samurai was a noble and coveted position in society. The Samurai, or bushi, were trained in the arts of warriorship, including physical and mental strategy and were fiercely loyal to their Lord. Not only did the Samurai need to be the most effective and well – trained warriors, they had to abide by a code of moral behavior that was as strong, if not more so, than their physical skills.

Screen Shot 2018-11-12 at 8.16.22 AM

There were also female warriors called Onna-bugeisha  “female martial artist”. These women engaged in battle, commonly alongside the samurai men. They were members of the samurai class in feudal Japan and were trained in the use of weapons to protect their household, family, and honor in times of war.

That code of behavior is called Bushido or the Way of the Warrior. There are 8 Virtues of Bushido and has a similar structure and tone to

The Ten Commandments from the Bible, the Ten Commandments of Chivalry, the Nine Noble Virtues for the Vikings and the 7 Core Values of the US Army.

The Eight virtues of Bushido define the road map for making a great human being. I will list the eight virtues and give my perspective on how these virtues are severely lacking in our culture today.

  1. Justice or Rectitude
  2. Courage
  3. Benevolence
  4. Respect
  5. Honesty
  6. Honor
  7. Duty & Loyalty
  8. Self – Control

#1: Justice or Rectitude:

Screen Shot 2018-11-12 at 8.45.37 AM

Considered the most important virtue of all the virtues, Rectitude means having a good overall moral character. Without this trait, the others could not exist. It is the core of all Samurai and Onna – bugeishi because warriors make a full commitment to their decisions.

“Rectitude is one’s power to decide upon a course of conduct in accordance with reason without wavering, to die when to die is right and to strike when to strike is right”.

“Rectitude is the bone that gives firmness and stature. Without bones the head cannot rest on top of the spine, nor hands move nor feet stand”.

In today’s society we are having a Prison Crisis. The US Bureau of Justice states:

  • Over 2 million people or 1% of the American population is incarcerated.
  • There has been a 500 percent increase in the number of inmates over the last 40 years.
  • The United States has 25 percent of the world’s prison population.
  • Local spending on prison is 3 x as much as spending on education.
  • 80 billion spent annually on prison.

These figures do not include the mental incarceration of living lives that do not fuel the soul or being locked into a way of thinking about yourself that is not beneficial such as low self – esteem and weak self – worth.

Could this issue be curbed by people adopting early a strong code of justice within themselves?

#2 Heroic Courage:

“Hiding like a turtle in a shell is not living at all. A true warrior must have heroic courage. It is absolutely risky. It is living life completely, fully and wonderfully. Heroic courage is not blind. It is intelligent and strong.”

Having the courage to get up every day and face the challenges presented to us takes courage. You can live in a first world country, have all your physical needs met and still need heroic courage to navigate the day to day struggles of life.

Now more than ever, one needs courage to stand up for what you believe in – to challenge the status quo. The courage to know thyself and to be yourself,  to think differently and to trust that suffering is an essential part of developing and growing stronger.

This is where the spiritual or mental or physical practice comes in – adopting a practice helps anchor the day and set goals for improving oneself.

The sad reality is that suicide rates are increasing exponentially.
The NIH reports on suicide are that nearly 47,000 people died from taking their own lives in 2017. Males have a higher rate than females.
Among people ages 15 – 34 suicide is the second leading cause of death. I shudder to think what the numbers will be for 2020…

#3 Benevolence: Love for the good of the whole.

Be individual and love thy neighbor. “the bees surrender themselves entirely to Venus, unfolding a life of love throughout the whole hive. This life will be filled with wisdom; you can well imagine how wise it must be!” ~Rudolph Steiner

The pharmaceutical companies are not taking a benevolent approach to healing. Did you know that one family owns Purdue Pharma, who make OxyContin. The Sackler family earns 3 billion annually from the sale of OxyContin!

Forbes ranked the Sackler family, the sole owner of OxyContin, one of the richest families in the United Sates, having earned $35 billion from the sale of OxyContin since 1999.

When OxyContin hit the market in the 1990’s it was misrepresented as an opiod that was less habit forming than other opiods. It was considered a “product to start with and to stick with”. This article in the New Yorker entitled “The Family that Built an Empire of Pain” details the Sackler’s Family involvement in the opiod crisis.

Opiod abuse & overdose statistics according to the NIH.

  • 115 people die daily from opiod abuse
  • 80% of the people who start using heroin do so after opiod abuse.
  • nearly 200,000 people have died from opiod overdoses from 1999 – 2014.

Question: Why isn’t this being talked about on the news?

#4. Respect. The ancients knew that respecting the Earth was critical for longevity of our species. Today people are thinking short term and have lost the thread.
Respecting the Earth

Screen Shot 2018-11-12 at 9.42.04 AM

Half of the 300 million tons of plastic produced each year is used only once.

Plastic Oceans: More than 40 percent of plastic is used to create packaging, including the hundreds of billions of plastic bags used around the globe. Each minute, one million of them are used, and the typical bag is used for 15 minutes before being discarded.

Of the material in the collection of garbage in the Pacific Ocean, 80 percent comes from the land (coastal deposits of plastic from North America take six years to reach the patch), and 20 percent comes from oil rigs, boaters, and cargo ships – most of this is fishing nets. Shipping containers lost at sea dump plastic items such as parts of computer monitors, and even LEGOs, directly into the water.

#5. Honesty:
There is so much untruth out there. Listen to your instinct, observe your reality & draw your own conclusions. Following unthruths and taking information into your heart from the news can having detrimental effects. Know your Truth.

#6. Honor:

According to economist, author & politician, Nitobe Inazo, “The sense of Honor, a vivid consciousness of personal dignity & worth, characterized the samurai. He was born and bred to value the duties and privileges of his profession.”

How many people you encounter who exhibit great honor? This needs to be restored.

#7. Duty & Loyalty:

Have a purpose & serve that purpose.

The US Army defines duty as one of it’s core values:

“Fulfill your obligations.
The essence of duty is acting in the absence of orders or direction from others, based
on an inner sense of what is morally and professionally right….
Duty begins with everything required of you by law, regulation, and orders; but it
includes much more than that. As a professionals do your work not just to the minimum standard, but to the very best of your ability. Commit to excellence in all aspects of your professional responsibility so that when the job is done they can look back and say, “I couldn’t have given any more.”

Take the initiative, figuring out what needs to be done before being told what to do.
What’s more, take full responsibility for your actions and those of your subordinates.
Never shade the truth to make the unit look good—or even to make others feel good.
Instead, follow your higher duty to the Army and the nation. “

#8: Self – Control

One place to look at for a lack of self – control is the obesity epidemic in the USA. The latest estimates are that approximately 34% of adults and 15–20% of children and adolescents in the U.S. are obeseObesity affects every segment of the U.S. population.

Good questions to ask yourself are:

What are the Tenets that you live by?

Which virtues do you excel at?

Do any of the virtues seem to be lacking in your life?

Thank you for reading. Please leave a comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Homeschooling & Unschooling- the Why & the How?

It is amazing how you can look at any situation and think “This is happening for me” which, in a way, all of life is happening for you not to you. If you take a step back and see that there is power there – knowing that there is a plan for you and it’s time to embrace it.

Due to COVID-19 our family martial arts school in NYC is closed, we’ve left the city and are experiencing a major refocusing. It is uncomfortable and there have been times when I’ve woken up crying, spiraling down the poor me tunnel and wishing things were easier. HA, how embarrassing and ungrateful that is….everyday I make a conscious effort to dwell in GRATITUDE and abundance for the things I’ve been given, so I can avoid the self – indulgent path. People have had (and are having) far greater challenges than this. We are blessed with complete abundance of health, family and faith.

It’s been said that the quality of your life is determined by the questions that you ask yourself. (Thank you Tony Robbins). Asking empowering questions motivate people to move forward, lame questions – like “why me?’ make one a victim of circumstances.

What are your empowering questions that are steering you towards a better version of yourself? Mine are:

  • How can I help my children tap into their power and be as great as they can possibly be
  • How can I be a better wife & mother?
  • How can I love myself more fully and completely?
  • How can I serve more people? How can I be more disciplined?
  • Can I defend myself and my family if need be?
  • Can I provide food for my family?

The uncomfortable and undeniable answer to the last two questions is NO. Although I’ve spent years learning stuff, I have very few actual life skills. I cannot hunt, I cannot fish, I cannot build shelter, I cannot make fire and I cannot identify the plants in my area……in other words I am completely reliant on others for my basic human needs. This is completely unacceptable. Thank God, we’ve been training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for years, which has helped me have a platform for understanding strategy and practical hand to hand combat skills.

Rather than wallow in the idiocy of this predicament the realization has sunk in that there is no time like the present to arm ourselves with REAL LIFE SKILLS.

What better time to homeschool or Unschool? No work, fewer distractions and the intense and burning desire to get some life skills and avoid the indoctrination of subjects that are absolutely irrelevant. My husband has been talking about homeschooling for a long time but we never pulled the trigger. It is amazing what you will put up with because it is easy. Sometimes it take a major life event to shake you from your duldrum. Although I didn’t love the education the kids were receiving, I felt that it was sufficient enough to get the job done. This is not a reason to offer up your most treasured resources to the state.

Reasons we chose to avoid the public school curriculum for 2020 – 21:

  • Individual choice for curriculum
  • Want the kids to explore their unique passions
  • Want them to spend more time outdoors / less time on screens
  • Do not want them recorded in any classroom
  • Want to avoid unnecessary anxiety about covid
  • Do not want them wearing masks in school

Now that I know Why we are homeschooling, the next step is How?

Step I. The first thing that I did once we made up our minds to homeschool was to go online and join a bunch of facebook groups for homeschooling in our area. All of the following information came from parents who have been doing this for a while and are eager to help. Finding a community is by far the most important first step in my opinion.

Step II: Let your Superintendent know that you intend to homeschool. Here is an example of the letter that I sent:

Step III. Submit an: Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP) Required # of hours:  Grades 1-6   900 hours per year / Grades 7-12   990 hours per year.

Here is an example of an IHIP for a 7th grader. I have been informed to not cite any specific programs and / or resources in case you change your plan mid – way you do not want to be locked into anything too specific.

Grade Level: 7

Quarterly reports will be submitted November 2020, January 2021, April 2021 and June 2021.

Basic curricula and resources: Freya will use a variety of methods and tools in her education this academic year, in compliance with Section 100.10 of the Regulations of the New York State Commissioner of Education. The topics will include, but may not be limited to the subjects required by the Regulations. Freya will attend the equivalent of at least 990 hours of instruction. Instruction will be provided by Freya’s mother, your name here, and other instructors as necessary.

Mathematics: Freya will continue to learn mathematics through a hands-on approach using resources including but not limited to games, workbooks, online programs, apps and worksheets.

English: 7th Grade Freya will continue improving her reading skills by using books suited to her interest and reading level. While some books will be from home, she will also use the public library as a resource.

Grammar: Freya will continue to improve her grammar using workbooks, reading & games/ games, correction and review of misspelled words in everyday writing, and use of the dictionary to learn the spelling and meaning of words.

Writing: Freya will create stories, poems, lists, notes, cards, letters and emails. She will continue her formal writing course and add creative writing this year.

English language: Freya will explore the English language through the writing and dramatization of original plays, stories and poems. She will participate in discussions on various topics of interest, including, but not limited to her current reading and ethics. She will research topics of interest on the internet and in the public library.

Logic: Freya will begin an introductory Logic course this year, using a formal textbook course with extra activities online.

Geography: Freya will learn world and New York State geography through travel and studies of both maps and the globe. Emphasis will be on local and New York State geography and history.

Modern World History and NY State History: Freya will continue her chronological study of world history while adding in-depth New York State history this year through the use of local hiking and tours, books, videos, and online sources.

Science: Freya will study science by participating in online classes, workshops and special events, as well as home experiments.

Health education: Freya will learn by studying healthy living practices, nutrition, planning healthy meals, shopping, cooking and cleaning.

Music: Freya will study music through online learning, usage of Garage band and tutoring from a professional. 

Visual arts: Freya will create arts and crafts projects at home and will study great artists and their works from books and other resources. She will also receive private instruction from a Professional artist. 

Physical education: Freya will continue martial arts training with her family at home, namely Kickboxing & Jiu Jitsu. 

Freya will learn about the following subjects in classes, books and through home instruction: patriotism and citizenship, alcohol, drug and tobacco misuse, highway safety and traffic regulations and fire and arson prevention and safety.


Laurel Carroll

Parent and Instructor

IV. Speak with the school liason. Our school liason has been extremely helpful & supportive. She has made general suggestions about resources (because I asked) and was very encouraging about the homeschooling process and results. She encouraged me to RELAX, do not obsess about curriculum and have fun.

I’ll be following up with more tips and tools that I’ll be learning on the ground. Would love to hear what you have going on?