Why It’s Important to Keep Your Mind’s Eye Alive

With my eyes shut tight I searched for any colours or shapes that would suggest that my mind’s eye has not calcified and prematurely died just because I’ve gotten older. My mind’s eye, the part of me that draws in light, sparks imagination, drives dreaming; it’s this tiny ball of retinal tissue similar to our two seeing eyes that sits in a pocket between the two of them, my yoga teacher explained. For whatever reasons, over time it can become calcified, she said – “Perhaps too much fluoride?” – and that’s why we don’t dream as vividly or as brightly or as often as we did as children. But I’m still dreaming vividly, brightly, and often, I wanted to say. I’ve been dreaming this way until recently, that is, and this wave of hot panic came over me from behind; its strength compressing my shoulders and charging me with worry. Has my mind’s eye gone sour? Lost its touch? Grown mouldy with age?

“We’re going to do the entire class blindfolded,” my teacher said. “We’re going to try to light up our mind’s eye, especially for those who have lost it.” She instructed us to take a face cloth and a yoga strap and to fasten them tightly around out temples to block out all the light. “After 75 minutes, I hope you’ll be able to see colours and shapes again,” she said, encouragingly. The most discouraging sight, however, was what I saw when I shut my eyes tight and fastened the yoga strap around my head. Complete darkness. All I saw was black.

black

Maybe it doesn’t work right away?

For the entire class I tried my best to see colour. Is that purple? We tried to balance in tree pose in complete darkness. It wasn’t purple. It was black. Maybe it’s deep purple, I thought, trying to appease myself. Focus on yoga, I barked internally and in frustration.

What if these images and stories and sights were gone forever, I feared. It was one way I vowed to never live: without imagination. There have always been people in my life telling me to stop, slow down, quiet down, get down… I despised those words but they also taught me to move on and up and to continue dreaming; to continue climbing and yelling and breathing and seeing all the stories and places others were incapable of seeing… Incapable – it was clear to me, now – because their mind’s eye has calcified. And now I’m in this yoga class, blindfolded, rocking side to side in happy baby pose, wondering if I’ll ever see colours and shapes again.

As we practiced and moved through a flow a little too quick for the unbalanced black mud I was wading through, I began to see something. I began to see cracks. As the black behind my eyes cracked, a white light shone through. Is that yellow? I thought. No, it was white. I stretched and breathed to a black cracked wall of white light peeking through. I’m getting somewhere, I gleamed, but I was still searching for colour.

cracks

The cracks began to form shapes. The emotion I felt could only be described as being too short to peek over a tall brick wall, and knowing there was something incredible on the other side that I just couldn’t see. As the jagged corners formed curves, I wondered about what could be beyond them. Where was the white light coming from? What did I want to see? I knew one thing for sure: I wanted to see the source. I wanted to be on the other side.

When class ended I felt this insatiable need to solve this mystery; the same charged feeling of picking up a Nancy Drew book or Babysitter’s Little Sister book as a young girl. I didn’t stop reading until I knew how it all ended. A daughter of art and narrative and not one of science, I’ve grown increasingly interested in this peculiar form of study. It explains a lot and I pinch myself for not harbouring even a bit of interest back in high school. I furiously typed in ‘mind’s eye calcifying’ in my search engine to learn more about this common blockage. Here’s what I found:

The ‘mind’s eye’ is scientifically referred to as the pineal gland, “a small, pine-cone shaped endocrine gland in the brain that produces and secretes the hormone melatonin.” It is this gland that releases DMT, or Dimethyltryptamine, a psychedelic compound found in nearly every living organism and also, strangely, us. (As an aside: watch this awesome doc called DMT, which I believe is also on Netflix Canada.) Descartes even described this gland as the “principle seat of the soul.”

The gland’s importance and awareness is growing in popularity and the idea of ‘awakening’ it so that we, as humans, can function optimally is rapidly gaining momentum. I mean, this pineal gland has made its way into my yoga glass and I would love to awaken or arouse my own from it’s nap. The problem with calcification of our pineal glands is that it causes us to become sluggish. With a strong correlation with Alzheimer’s disease, the pineal gland’s rate of calcification is directly affected by our diets, mentality, and lifestyle choices.

The solution? A healthy, chemical-free habit of consuming. In short: eat real food.

As my teacher mentioned, fluoride is a huge impacter of this calcification, being rapidly collected and held in the gland itself. Fluoride also has the ability to inhibit our ability to get a deep, rejuvenating sleep, simply because it decreases melatonin production. So what can we do to prevent calcification of the pineal gland?

  • Stop further calcification by cutting out fluoride, mainly found in toothpaste and improperly filtered water
  • Avoid processed calcium intake (calcium phosphate, calcium carbonate and dicalcium phosphate) which can be found in most processed foods and also as fillers in calcium supplements
    • A tip! The best form of calcium comes from natural and/or organic foods like sesame seeds, chia seeds, spinach, kale, broccoli, quinoa, and oranges
  • Take apple cider vinegar to detoxify and to make your body more alkaline (balanced)
    • A tip! Add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to your 1 litre reusable bottles of water!
  • Eat iodine-rich foods to reduce sodium fluoride in the body
    • A tip! These are foods like seaweed, kelp, cranberries, green beans, kale, darky leafy greens, bananas…
  • Subscribe to healthy fats like coconut oil, ghee, and butter from grass-fed cows
  • Eat raw cocoa to stimulate the brain and pineal gland
  • Up your garlic intake! Garlic dissolves calcium and acts as an antioxidant
  • Consume natural herbs like alfalfa sprouts, and parsley to heal and de-calcify
  • Chaga mushroom – the most powerful mushroom of them all – is a great source of melanin that feeds our pineal glands
  • Let the light in by ditching the sunglasses and exposing your eyes to indirect sunlight
    • A tip! Vitamin D helps fight depression and improves brain stimulation while stimulating the pineal gland; when we are low on natural sunlight in the winter, consider supplementing with Vitamin D pills

As an aside, I also did some research on white light. Looking for answers, connections, and possibilities is something I love to believe in. White light is said to be completely absent of colour, yet containing every wavelength of the visible spectrum at equal acuteness. In a spiritual sense it is where positive energies are stored and is often used for transformation or purification. I’ll take that as an internal sense of encouragement; like I had spent the class cleansing my aura and I am, in a sense, recharged and refreshed; a clean slate of sorts.

(A big thanks to True Activist, our primary source, as well as decalcifypenialgland.com)


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What Stops Us From Getting Outside?

If I haven’t talked about this before, then I constantly think it. I sometimes feel so bogged down in the city that I feel this urge to get out and into nature. The trees and wind and stars and sky don’t judge me, bother me, poke me, or invade my privacy. They just… exist.

What’s amazing about The Peakbaggers and, now, Discover Your Wild, is that it’s given me an opportunity to get outside without any excuses. I’m motivated by the goals of both projects and always surrounded by people who sometimes feel what I do and want the same – to get out of this busy buzz of city living. One of the neatest things about Toronto is that this can happen right outside my front door.

I never saw Toronto as a city that could provide this for me until I actually moved here. I took up residence in The Beaches and ran the boardwalk every morning at 6am because it was there and it was beautiful. I never thought I’d be a runner, or want to run for that matter, but I did and I shocked myself and most my friends. That little decision to change is what has brought me here, to this point, today.

Two weekends ago we took The Peakbaggers to MEC Outdoor Nation where 135 like-minded people gathered to discuss things like motivation and barriers. Shannon Lyon of the Natural Leaders Alliance created and led an amazing activity where the group of us each took little dots and placed them in a variety of categories. She first asked, “What stops you from getting outside?” and I went up and put my three dots on three of 13 categories. Then she asked, “What isn’t a problem for you to get outside?” I basically ran to motivation, cultural connection, and friends to go with (factors that would be so different for me only a few years ago). Shannon then flipped the question. “Think of someone you know who doesn’t get outside. What, in your opinion, stops them from getting outside?”

Shannon compiled the data and found the following:

  • What stops us: money, time
  • What we think stops them: motivation, self-confidence
  • What sometimes stops us: friends to go with, skill level, time
  • What we think sometimes stops them: motivation, skill level, body type
  • What doesn’t stop us: motivation, cultural connection
  • What we think doesn’t stop them: time, friends to go with, transportation

– Results from Natural Leaders Alliance‘s motivation/barrier workshop

Our smaller barriers of motivation and self-confidence are our friends’ biggest barriers, Shannon explained. But one observation in particular validated my love for this blog, itself, and that’s Shannon’s observation that “we all sometimes get stopped by not knowing the skills.” If we want the Peakbaggers and Discover Your Wild to be a success, we want to focus on these elements – motivation, self-confidence, friends to go with and time and ability to learn the skills. This is our goal and this excites me so much. I feel all these barriers, and here is a program to combat them.

Last weekend Brian and I booked and Air BnB cabin (get $32 off your next trip here!) on the back acreage of a farm in Kawartha Lakes. One of my favourite feelings over the time I spent there was the same one I feel when I’m hanging in a park like Christie Pitts or running the boardwalk in the Beaches. It’s that of connection – to the earth and sky and air… and bugs. Oh, and the people around me! Alone or in a group, I’m never the only runner, slackliner, smiler… The only difference between this secluded farm and Christie Pitts is that you can feel the subway come and go below you if you’re lying on the south side grass of Christie Pitts park – and whole other set of emotions comes with that!

hepeakbaggers-andreawrobel-horsie

The Peakbaggers and Discover Your Wild are yours as much as they are ours. I sound preachy but, hey, it’s working for me! We’re all climbing mountains of different sorts and, if I’ve learned anything since we’ve started, it’s that we’ll all get much farther if we go together. So, let’s go together.


What stops you from getting outside? Let us know in the comments below!

We’re heading to Trinity Bellwoods Park on Wednesday, July 15th at 7pm for a WOD in the park – that means we’re going to do a workout in the park! Bring your runners, water bottle, fury friend, or non-fury friend! Stay tuned to @ThePeakbaggers for more details.

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