diamond digging in Arkansas

 We must play. If we do not play, we wither and die, a slow, agonizing death of the spirit. And so, we decided to play at Diamond Crater State Park in Murfreesboro, AR. We had gone on a trip to Virginia earlier this year and stopped at the welcome center coming into AR. Brian Michael, our oldest (7), looks at all the brochures of all the welcome centers of the country as his own personal FREE bookstore. So, now armed with at least 60 brochures and pamphlets about the wonders of this beautiful state, we loaded back into the van and for the next 200 miles heard about all the things we absolutely needed to do as we passed through AR on the way home. In a moment, our fate was decided. He opened the Diamond Crater brochure, and said, “oh, man, we have got to do this!” So we made a plan for fall break.



On Oct 7th, we packed the van with all the typical vacation things, at least for an ND – a cooler full of healthy food: coconut milk, gluten-free bread, Earth Balance, Kind bars, gluten-free pretzels, hummus, red licorice (for Brian K), PB and J, & organic potato chips because driving in a car makes you ravenous for salty & crunchy things. Also packed were sun hats, sifting screens, a large red wagon, two 5-gallon buckets, shovels, suitcases, pillows and blankets, Asia and her bed, and the doctor’s bag. We were READY! We had spent the last month reading books, looking at pictures of diamonds in the rough and picking up tips and tricks from innumerable online blogs.



We stopped at the Cherokee Nation Headquarters in Tahlequah, OK to turn in the kid’s tribal registration, not exactly on the way, but had to be done since they lost our application sent in 2 years ago. On the road again, 4 hours to destination, Queen of Diamonds Inn. As you can imagine, excitement was rampant in the van, dreams of finding the next Hope Diamond were shared (by the kids who had just seen it in June at the Smithsonian) and how maybe we could even fit in panning for gold. Thankfully, riding in a car is a great way to rock a child to sleep, and Brian and I enjoyed some peaceful time just enjoying the countryside.

We arrived in Murfreesboro around 7 pm. Here are a few things to note – this is a dry county! So if you enjoy a cold beer with your Mexican food, or like to sip a glass of wine as the sun sets, BYOB. Also, for eats, there is Em’s Cafe (good old southern cooking) and Los Agaves (the BEST Mexican food ever!). So if you are on special diets, cart in your food items. And everything closes at 9 pm sharp!

IMG_20151011_092706127We pulled into Em’s Cafe, a small-town, locally owned spot, with yummy food and super friendly staff. Right across the street? The Queen of Diamonds Inn, our home for the next 5 days. We had planned to camp, but with unseasonably warm temperatures in the forecast, and knowing how dusty and dirty we would get at the mine, we opted for a bit of luxury. Right to bed, with a plan to be up early and get to the mine.

Diamond CraterNow, Brian and I did this diamond digging thing with Tony, Miki and her kiddos, like 20 years ago. So we knew what we were in for – hot, dusty, dry, hours of sifting through dirt, and a very low probability of finding a diamond. But – the finding of diamonds was not really the end goal, so off we went with smiles and a spring in our step. $24 dollars later, we had checked out the map of where all the big diamonds had ever been found, watched the video on how to mine, and were headed down the ramp to the BIG field of dirt.

diamonddigging11 diamonddigging7 diamonddigging8 diamonddigging6

diamonddigging11 diamonddigging13 diamonddigging9 diamonddigging10

The excitement that bubbles out of a child on an adventure needs to be bottled and sold. It makes life new and sparkly and I felt like I was 7 again. We chose our spots and the mining began. Every little shiny thing was put into a bag! I heard, “I think I found one!”, “Oooooh, Ahhhh” and “Grandma, is this a diamond?” at least a hundred times that day. But, 7 hours later with a bag full of interesting things, we headed to the identification desk to find out what we had. Calcite, Jasper, Volcanic rock, an old piece of metal, quartz and random other pebbles and rocks. And we made a plan to decide in the morning if we wanted to come back.

Ems CafeA quick stop at Em’s, a good night’s sleep, and believe it or not, those two were ready to do it again. So, we went back for a few hours, but enthusiasm soon waned in the heat of the day.

diamond_digging2Never fear, I had a back-up plan, the Ka-Do-Ha Indian Village complete with museum, mining for crystals and an authentic Indian trading post. This is where we hit the jackpot! For a mere $50, one can purchase a big bucket of sand and dirt, take it over to the sluice and “mine” for crystals, gems and diamonds.

diamond_digging3We hit the motherload. Two beautiful diamonds, bags of crystals and gemstones (including a garnet). Here at Ka-Do-Ha, we met Heather from Australia. She invited us back the next morning to go through all the left-over dirt lying on the ground and tables from people who had come before us that day. The kids were so thrilled, we were happy they were happy, and off we went to try out Los Agaves.

diamond_digging4 diamond_digging5 Los Agaves

The food and service at this little, out-of-the-way restaurant was just what we needed. And, when we found out the county was dry. Brian and I were going to share an ice-cold beer with our enchiladas, but alas, no drops of brew were to be found. We did end up driving the 15 miles to Footsies, in the neighboring county a couple of days later, but that night, iced tea was our beverage. I have to tell you, their food was REALLY good and the service was outstanding.



The next morning we trekked back to the Indian Village and spent the next four hours collecting bags of gemstones. It was really a great time and a special thanks has to go out to Heather.

Also, we tool a spin to Lake Greeson where we were going to hike. But hunting season opened that morning and the guy looked at us like we had lost our minds when we asked about hiking trails. “You know, hunting season opened this morning, not a good idea to me a moving target in any woods around here!” So we walked in the water and back to hotel we went.

We talked and dreamed, played and adventured, explored and spent 5 wonderful days being a family together. My spirit is refreshed and renewed. Make a plan to go do some adventuring with your family. No cell phones, no computers, nothing at all to do except live and laugh in each moment that comes your way. It is transformative.

Have a wonderful day!

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from grandparents to parents – a second chance?

Well, I have officially entered the second age and with that have cut my hair! It is interesting to me, that with the shedding of hair, and not necessarily planned to coincide with the cutting off of my hair, I also made some other big decisions in my life (more to come on that in future posts).

When we became the guardians of our grandchildren, I had intended to write regularly about our experience. One, because I found out that over 175,000 known grandparents in our country are raising their grandchildren. No telling how many are not known, but I would bet double. Second, because I am learning so much about life that I am not sure I would have learned otherwise, I wanted to share it. And last, because I wanted to contribute good energy to the world.

Well, here we are YEARS later, and this is my first post about it all. But, one of those decisions I made as I watched the hair fall to the ground, was to rededicate to writing about our experience.

So, when our grandson was 2 and our granddaughter, 1, we welcomed them and their parents into our home. And, at that point, we became caregivers to some degree. But, because Mom and Dad were present, Brian and I could come and go as we pleased. We just had a big, happy and full home. Of course there were the typical sleepless nights when the kids were not feeling well, but in general, our life continued much as it had before. Fast forward, omit many details for the sake of privacy, we soon became the primary caregivers and now, with Mom not in the picture and Dad around a day a week, Brian and I have become parents again. It has been several years and emotions are rebalanced, everyone feels loved and our (Brian and I) life is completely different.

This has been quite the journey and now, with a 7 and 6-year-old, I have learned some important lessons.

  • Major lesson – we are the parents we are taught to be. So the first time around, to some degree, I was the parent I had learned to be from my own parents. I parented the first time in an age pre-internet, where my best sources of information on how to do it came from library books, other people and of course, the television 🙂 The second time, I am parenting from the experience of having done it before and knowing what I did well and what I could have done better. Now I KNOW the LONG term results of doing or not doing certain things.
  • Second lesson – every moment is a teaching/learning opportunity. It is not about getting the kids to do what you want them to do in each moment, but rather, at least as I see it, it is about teaching them the potential of each moment and how the choices each person makes to act, feel and think in that moment will affect the rest of their life. Life happens all around us, but what those events mean, and therefore, what “life is all about” are up to each and every one of us. But unless we are taught this at a young age, we grow up with the idea that we are powerless, that life happens to us.
  • Third – keeping your room clean does matter.
  • Fourth – many people lose their innocence and therefore love of life as they grow but it can be recaptured and cultivated.
  • Fifth – you have to play and laugh, listen to music and dance, explore and adventure, and treasure every moment that comes along because we really only have the moment of now.
  • Sixth and last for today – your children will NOT necessarily become the person you are, BUT they will learn to see life the way you do UNLESS you teach them the power of making their own choices, developing their own perception and encourage them to be open to the idea that there is no limit to the way you can get 4.

For those of you who are parents the second time around, leave a comment, share your stories, help support the hundreds of thousands of people out there who are trying to do a good thing.

Have a lovely day!


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Vaccine Court Awards Millions

Eli Camp NDI just finished reading this article and thought I would share it with all of you.

Vaccine Court Awards Millions to Two Children With Autism


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The Healing Journey of Others – Words of Wisdom

Eli Camp NDOK, let’s face it – walking the health journey can be downright challenging at times. It can take more money that we have to spend (or want to spend and not that it has to), more time than we’d like, hours of reading and trying to understand what should be simple and at times we just want to go through the drive-through and have a burger and fries. At least this is what many of my patients tell me 🙂 Not that I’d ever go through the drive-through for a burger or fries, LOL.

I am a problem solver, and I love finding ways to make things work the way I think they should work. Many times I have gone into a hardware store looking for pieces and parts to build something that exists only in my mind. Of course the guys at the store will just look at me and say, well they don’t make anything like that. And of course, I say, ok, but can I use all of these gadgets to make it? It really seems to bother them that I want to use a thing, clearly designed for a specific purpose, for something else. But, I usually figure it out and happily use my new gadget, made up of pieces of things the makers never even thought they would be used for.

Well, I thought what I might do is start a blog post and ask people to name a challenge they have faced on their journey to health. But then, can you also offer what your solution is to deal with that challenge? Maybe, by putting all our heads together, we can come up with solutions for people out there who start and stop, who never start at all, who feel overwhelmed, and who really, really want to become healthy but are not sure they will be able to walk the path. If you see a challenge listed, but have a different solution, go ahead and add it! Feel free to comment – all input will help someone. I will start us off.

Challenge: Time – I find that eating well, exercising, taking my supplements, meditating, breathing and immersing myself in community takes a lot of time. I used to try so hard to fit in everything that by the end of the day, even though I had done all this healthy stuff, I was so stressed about what I didn’t do that I am convinced I cancelled out all the benefits of the good stuff I did.

Solution: Breathe. I picked one thing off the list and made a commitment to do that every day. I chose breathing because I can use it to center, it is really good for me, it slows me down, I can clear my mind, slow my heart, stretch my back and muscles, realize I am hungry for something good and I have to do it anyway. So, 10-15 times a day, at least 1 time an hour, my alarm on my cell phone goes off and it tells me to breathe, deep, slow, purposefully, for at least 3 minutes. Now I find myself doing that most of the time and I cannot explain but I actually seem to have more time to do everything else. All the other healthy stuff – it works its way in, some on one day, some on another. The most important thing – I am not stressed at the end of the day – I just choose to feel good about what I have done for me and my health today.

OK -your turn! Looking forward to what everyone has to say. EC

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parasites – eveything I never really wanted to know…

Eli Camp NDSo, I am getting ready to do a teleseminar on Monday evening about parasite testing. I was reading and preparing a basic overview of parasites – and have decided I will never walk barefoot again, probably won’t let me dog kiss me on the lips, may never eat out again and I am even contemplating never drinking water again! Seriously, the presence and easy transmission of parasites is really scary.

So, what have I found out? Here is a really brief overview, and if it catches your interest, come visit us on Medicine Talk to register for the Teleseminar or to download the audio archive (available sometime early Aug 2012).

  • about 50 million American children are infected with worm parasites
  • approximately 90% of all parasitic infections are due to microscopic single-celled parasites
  • a parasite is an organism that needs a host to live – us and they inhabit our body and feed off tissues or body fluids
  • there are parasites for every single tissue of the human body
  • they get in through: Drinking water • Skin contact with contaminated water  • Food • Insects • Air • Pets • People • Soil.
  • Symptoms: GI symptoms include pain, bloating, diarrhea, flatulence, constipation, cramps, poor digestion and poor absorption of nutrients, bleeding, irritable bowel, leaky gut and excess mucus secretion. Systemic symptoms include anxiety, depression, allergies, fatigue, nausea, neurological issues (brain fog, memory loss, poor coordination), eczema, psoriasis and other skin rashes and disorders, joint and muscle pain and other problems, fever, headache, immune deficiencies, insomnia and weight loss or gain.  We can see mild to serious symptoms and many parasites can be fatal over time.
  • Another class can be even more serious, the helminths. These are parasitic worms that are ingested, they hatch and the larva migrate through the intestinal lining, lymphatic/blood vessels, the hepatic portal system, liver, right heart and lungs. They are then re-swallowed and establish as an adult worm in the small intestine. Allergic responses to the metabolic byproducts of adult worms are known to cause asthma,  insomnia, eye pain, and rashes. If the larva migrate in other patterns, which they do, we can see inflammation and reaction in places like the spleen, liver, lymph nodes, and brain. The lungs may become infected and symptoms like coughing, fever and difficult respiration may show up. Pneumonitis is a possible complication and this can be lethal. The intestines may become blocked and this can lead to a state of toxemia and death. Adult worms are able to penetrate the wall of the intestines and cause complications like hemorrhage, infection in the abdominal cavity and appendicitis.
  • Not everyone who is infected with parasites has symptoms.
  • Not everyone who has symptoms tests positive for parasites.
  • The Naturopathic Approach
    In general, Naturopathic Doctors and practitioners with similar training are always striving to accomplish several things: find and fix or remove the deepest underlying cause of any illness, help with relief of symptoms, and stimulate the healing ability of the body to fix any damage that has occurred. What might we do: Diet, Lifestyle, Botanicals, Supplements and of course:
  • Homeopathy: This is perhaps one of the deepest and most curative modalities, especially for clearing parasites from the body. There is much historical discussion and case evidence that homeopathic treatment can effectively clear the organisms and induce healing. However, there may be instances, especially in long-term infection, where homeopathy is not enough and has to be combined with other treatments.
  • Additional Resources: I have read every single publication by Dr. Omar Amin. If you are interested in reading his work visit the following page: http://www.parasitetesting.com/publication2.cfm
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which wolf to feed?

Eli Camp NDI have been doing some reading since I went on my June sabbatical. Lately, I find myself drawn to the writings of people who are exploring the idea that through our thoughts, emotions and actions humans can change the current course of mankind. That seems like a no-brainer – right? Of course how we think, feel and act determines the course. As obvious as that concept appears to be, I simply cannot wrap my mind around why humans have  chosen to think, feel and act in a way that is apparently bringing us, thousands of other species and perhaps the entire planet to extinction. Do we simply forget to think, feel and act in every moment as a guardian of earth and all its inhabitants? Is the house we live in, the clothes we wear, the things we own, the PROFIT of it all truly the motivation for why so many people do the things they do?

It is easy to get caught up in a wave of concern especially given the state of our ecology, economy, community, health and dwindling water and food resources. Add to that the very scary reality that someone (no names mentioned), with the barest understanding of what the long-term consequences are, is altering the very genetic code of many of our food crops. Does anyone else have a concern about this? Really, a judge would rule that now “corn” can be owned by a single company. Ahh, the forest seems to be obscured by the trees. Yes, I have to stop quite frequently, take a deep breathe, and remind myself that at this moment I am ok, for now.

So many of our greatest mentors simply lived it, led by example, and yet the message of how to live in harmony with one another and with the planet appears to have fallen on largely infertile soil. I say largely because there are so many people out there who get “IT”.

Folks are consciously choosing to think in ways that are loving, healing, compassionate and connected. People are teaching what they know to anyone who will listen. We are buying local and not to excess. Many are walking, riding a bike, car pooling and using public transportation whenever possible and often choose to not own a car. We plant food whenever possible and share the extra. People are helping and volunteering in their free time to care for our homeless, our unwanted and unloved children, our elderly. They put no time and energy into mindless media and do not allow themselves to be brainwashed into purchasing things that only speed along the destruction of our planet and its inhabitants. What else? They recycle, cooperate, accept, love and live consciously.

There is a snippet of a conversation my sister and I have a couple of times a year. I cannot remember how we get to this in each of our conversations but we end up discussing how people seem to want to deny their darker side preferring instead to pretend it simply does not exist or drug it away, shop it away, eat it away, play it away – anything seems better than to have to look at it and exist with it. And I intentionally do not define “darker” side because that is an individual perception. I think it is whatever we are taught or believe should not be there – and that differs based on the societal wave.

But, all of this brings to my mind, a Native American proverb, and I do not know which tribe this should be credited to nor how it might have changed in the telling, but I hope I have the essence. It is of Grandfather talking to grandson.  Grandfather, who is always wise,  says, “Inside of me live 2 wolves and they always seem to be at war with one another”. Grandson’s eyes grow big and round at the thought of wolves living inside Grandfather. Grandfather takes his long pause and gazes at the sky and just when grandson thinks Grandfather might have fallen asleep he speaks again, “One of the wolves is greedy and finds fault with everyone, he feels he never has enough although he has more than any other wolf, he cares not for where he lives and leaves the bones of his kill lying around.”Grandson asks, “And the other one?” Grandfather is quiet for a minute but then he says, “Ah, the other is completely the opposite – he is steadfast, calm, kind, loving, forgiving, cares for the mother earth and is all a wolf could hope to be.” Grandson thinks about this for awhile as he watches sun travel across the sky. Finally he asks, “Grandfather, do you know which wolf will win?” And Grandfather turns, “Of course.” He smiles at his most loved grandson, “Which ever one I feed.”

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Eli Camp NDI taught a class a few months ago at Everglades University about Antioxidants and in the course of preparing for and teaching that class I read a book called the Antioxidant Miracle by Lester Packer PhD. Wow! This was a great book and I learned some very important things about antioxidants over all. In medical school and on my every day journey of being a doctor and patient I have learned the importance of antioxidants to our health but my understanding of how to use them changed in dramatic ways after reading Dr. Packer’s book.

So, perhaps I should start with a brief explanation on antioxidants. Every day we create free radicals in our body and in addition, we are also exposed every day to a number of free radical producing chemicals and toxins in our food, in the air we breathe and in the products we use.  Free radicals create something called oxidative stress.

Free radicals can be damaging in a number of ways: they lower immune function, cause us to age more quickly, set the stage for various cancers, cause inflammation and pain, lead to degeneration in our tissues, joints and bones and affect our cognitive function. This is just a glimpse of what I usually review over 2 or more weeks in class but it gives you the basics of the damage free radicals can cause.

Antioxidants are substances that deal with the free radicals. Thankfully, we have built in antioxidant pathways in our body to deal with free radicals to some extent and many wonderful medicines of the earth that also act as antioxidants. We can stimulate our antioxidant pathways in our body by eating healthy, staying hydrated, getting good sleep, thinking in a positive way and dealing properly with stress. In addition to all these wonderful strategies we can also use a variety of natural medicines to boost our antioxidant activities even more. For an approach using food see my post, “mom made all our meals from scratch”. I will post about the other topics eventually, but here I am going to review the substances Dr. Packer discusses in his book.

So, he puts forth this idea based on an enormous amount of research, that antioxidants actually function within a network. He shows that to get the best antioxidant action these network members must be taken together. In addition, he discusses other substances which are needed for the network to function at its best. So here is the overview:

Vitamin C

  • Vitamin C is vital to the production of collagen; enhances iron absorption
  • Water soluble (located in watery portions of cell) but helps protect fat-soluble like vitamins A and E and fatty acids from oxidation
  • Is easily damaged during food preparation such as chopping, exposure to air, cooking, boiling and being submerged into water
  • May block the formation of nitrosamines-carcinogens formed in the stomach from nitrates in the diet
  • Critical for well-functioning immune system
  • Can reduce length and severity of common cold and viruses
  • Bolster’s immune system’s ability to resist cancer
  • May also prevent cancer by shielding DNA from FR damage
  • FOOD SOURCES: bell peppers, citrus, broccoli, cranberries, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, kiwi
  • Recommended intake per text: 500 mg daily of ester C, split dose

Vitamin E

  • Exists in 8 different forms of tocopherols
  • We need a blend of tocopherols along with something called tocotrienols
  • Located in fatty portion of cell
  • Protects cell membranes and tissues from damage by oxidation
  • Prevents oxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids (cardiovascular protectant)
  • Prevents oxidation of Vitamin A
  • Sources: raw vegetable oils, nuts, nut butters, olives, rice bran oil, corn, barley, wheat germ small amounts in leafy greens
  • Recommended intake (per Dr. Packer): 500 mg

 Lipoic acid

  • Can recycle itself and ALL of the network antioxidants
  • Is the only antioxidant that can significantly boost glutathione levels
  • Allowed in both watery and fatty portion of cell (unique to this substance)
  • Takes over Vitamin E’s function in its absence
  • Crosses blood-brain barrier
  • Helps break down sugar for production of ATP (energy)
  • Technically “Non-essential” (synthesized by body in small amounts)
  • Important implication in PREVENTION and treatment of many diseases.
  • Declines with age
  • Recommended intake (per Dr. Packer): 50 mg twice per day


  • Is a compound naturally made in the body and is synthesized in the heart, liver, pancreas and kidneys
  • Body uses it to enhance cell growth and protect cells from damage
  • Fat-soluble molecule that works synergistically with Vitamin E to protect the fatty part of the cell from free radical attack
  • Stimulates the immune system
  • Has been shown to help with side effects from cancer treatments
  • Sources: produced by humans but also found in seafood and organ meats
  • Body’s levels will peak at age 20, levels decrease in the body with age
  • Recommended intake (per text): 30 mg daily; increase to 50 mg cardiovascular risk


  • The most abundant antioxidant in the network
  • Primary water-soluble antioxidant
  • Is found in every cell and is an important weapon in the battle against free radicals
  • Glutathione production begins to decline at age 40, it can drop almost 20% by age 60
  • Low levels of glutathione have been linked to premature death and disease
  • Is produced by the body from three amino acids:
    • Glutamic acid
    • Cysteine
    • Glycine
  • Recycles Vitamin C
  • Vital detoxification function in liver
  • Levels reduced by Acetaminophen (ie Tylenol)
  • Important for strong immune system
  • Sources: abundant in fruits, vegetables, freshly cooked meat
  • Recommended intake: none, levels boosted by Lipoic Acid

Co factors – these are other substances needed to help the antioxidant network and while I do not go into great detail here about these you can read about them in a variety of places including Dr. Packer’s book.

  • Flavonoids
  • Carotenoids
  • Selenium
  • Phytochemicals

Dr. Packer suggested that these work best when combined together. So, I searched out a product and reviewed over 150 different antioxidant formulations until I found the best one. The one that used the right forms and the right amounts. It is called Quench, made by Bio Tech. However, it has recently been discontinued and so I am on the hunt again. I am trying to find someone who will make this specific formula such as a compounding pharmacist or one of the other nutraceutical companies…if I cannot find anyone to make it I will find the next best option and will let you all know. You can still find Quench a few places but you have to hunt for it. If you find it, buy several bottles, I did.

If you get a chance to read the book it is great!

The Antioxidant Miracle, Lester Packer, PH.D., ISBN 0-471-35311-6

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Eli_Camp_n_Brian_KuhnI believe the community one is part of offers a healing power all of its own so naturally, I must talk about a part of that community, friends. My grandmother used to tell me that by the end of my life I would be able to count my true friends on one hand. She often said to me that I would know many, many folks throughout my life, and would care for each of them in different ways, but that true friendship was rare and to be treasured. I remember thinking that perhaps that might be true for her but that I would have so many friends that I would not be able to actually count them…ah, the naivety of a 14 year old.

Miki Finnin and Eli Camp

Miki Finnin and Eli Camp

Perhaps at the end of my journey I will ask myself who my friends are but for now I find myself asking the question, “what is friendship”? and even before I can answer that I find myself needing to define “what is a friend”?

Of course I am a little biased to define this from a female perspective but I would venture to say that the core of “friend” is the same for many people. On my journey to define “a friend” I ran across a really cool little posting by Paul Hersh and others in the forum of wordreference.com. He was working on a project that looked at the etymology of the word “friend” in various languages. I put a few of my most favorites here, ones that are very relevant to my own definition, but to see the whole post, here is the link: http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=789897.

  • Vriend (Dutch & Afrikaans) – Old English: freond, to love – In turn, “freond” comes from “fri”, which is Germanic for “to like, to love”, and which is also connected with the Norse goddess Frigg, the goddess of love.
  • Sadeeq (Arabic) صديق, from Sadaqa صدق, to tell the truth. He is called so because a freind does two things: he tells you the truth and he believes what you say. i.e., between two friends is only truth (no lies).
  • Caraid (Gaelic) – Irish, Old Irish cara, g. carat, *karant-; Old Irish verb carim, caraim, I love, Welsh caraf, amo, Breton quaret, amare.
  • Arkadaş (Turkish) – someone that you can lean on (back to back)
  • Bandu (Sinhalese) – Indic bandh – to tie
  • Kaibigan (Tagalog) – the root word “ibig”, meaning “to love.” Putting “ka” before a rootword signifies a state of being, such as “kasama” (ka + sama “to go with”), literally “being someone to go with” or “companion”. Putting “an” or “han” after a word makes the focus of the sentence the direction of the action, such as “simba” (to worship) + “han” becomes “simbahan”, a church, literally, “a place to worship”. Thus, “kaibigan” could literally mean, “the state of being someone to share love with”!
  • приятель (Russian) are derived from the Proto-Slavic verb prьja-ti (by the suffix telь), derived from IE base *prei to be fond of, hold dear (> friend), Sans. priyá- dear, desired
Miki and Tom Jow Finnin at Keystone Lake

Miki and Tom Joe Finnin at Keystone Lake

So what has “friend” come to mean to me at this point in my life? Well first off, it is someone I like, am fond of and hold dear. This is someone who tells me the truth as  she or he sees it, who accepts me and who believes in me but does not judge me and expect me to live my life as she or he does. No lies traverse our bond, I can lean on this person and can be there to catch him  or her if needed; there is definitely a tie, a bond. This person, as is said in Tagalog, is in a state of being someone to share love with me. Friendship, therefore, is the mutual exchange of all of these.

Camp_Family_Robbers_CaveWhat could be more healing than to spend time with someone who holds me in such high esteem, tells me the truth, accepts me for who I am, does not judge me, is always there for me, is bonded to me, needs me and loves me? And, perhaps even more important, is someone I can, in return, love the same way. It is healing to me just to think of such a person.

Eli_Camp_n_Spophia_ConwayAre we the best friend we can be to those we call friend? I see the opportunity to enter into friendship with another as a gift and I thank all those beings who journey along with me in friendship.

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the healing power of community

Eli Camp NDI was recently at a medical conference and a quote from the late Dr. Bill Mitchell was shared with the group – the gist of it was that docs forget to prescribe people and community (communion) as a healing modality. I spent some time reflecting on this and what it means for my patients and myself. How often do I prescribe or self-prescribe communion? Is this really a treatment that can be given out like one prescribes Ibuprofen, Ignatia, Vitamin C or hot chicken soup? How about in place of Nexium, Lisinopril or Lipitor? Could it induce more powerful healing than acupuncture, meditation or 30 minutes at the gym? The research indicates that it very well could be just as powerful, if not more, for some people than other kinds of medicine and therapies.

What can it do for you? Well, it can help boost and regulate immune function, lower stress hormones that are abnormally elevated, increase feelings of peace and well being which in turn lead to better functioning in the body overall, improve the health of your GI tract, help your body get rid of cancer cells, help you sleep better, help you absorb nutrients better and the list goes on. The field of Psychoneuroimmunology has a vast amount of research and evidence that shows us people who regularly commune with supportive and loving members of their family and social group live longer, healthier and happier lives.

Some of my favorite communing activities: a weekend cookout with friends, and some mellow music, a hike along the beach with my grandchildren, a girl’s get together at our local sushi restaurant, sipping hot tea with my best friend as the sun is setting over my pond, watching Star Trek with my husband at night, Sunday morning breakfast where the whole family is helping to prepare something for the meal, a stroll with my puppy Asia, lunch with my students and of course, communing with myself in a long hot bath on Sunday afternoon.

I regularly prescribe this for my patients and while it may be hard at first for some of them, it quickly becomes in integral part of their healing journey. Consider this “therapy” for yourself and build in regular times in your day and week where you are simply interacting with people.

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a perspective on self-enlightenment

Eli Camp NDWell, I was talking with my sister the other day about a journey we are both on, self-improvement, and we had the best discussion. It created such a cascade of thoughts for myself, healing thoughts, that I thought I would share.

Over the years I have read hundreds of books and writings about how and why to change one’s perspective. A favorite site of mine, containing many of my favorite authors, is www.hayhouse.com. I had come to understand that my perspective, how I think about the things which come to be part of my awareness, could shape my health, my future, my now. What has just recently dawned on me is how to integrate this information, how to use it in my healing journey in a more powerful way.

So predawning of this awareness I would read something and if it resonated with my spirit I would attempt to integrate it into how I viewed, thought about and processed current and new experiences. I would almost, at times, attempt to leave the old thinking behind and go forward with this new idea. Of course, one cannot abandon old thought patterns necessarily, and often new information is simply assimilated and then available for use. But, it was not an active and conscious practice of mine to simply add to my existing repertoire. It was more like changing a piece of clothing instead of adding a layer.

I have come to view this quest of self-improvement in a different way and am using the information and realizations in a new way, an active way. First, I have simply started to add to what I already know and allow the new information to meld with and transform my way of seeing the world. I no longer think of it as self-improvement, but rather, now I see it as self-expansion. Next, instead of devouring new concepts and ideas as quickly as I can, I am studying, integrating and re-evaluating what what has happened, what is happening and the unlimited potential of what is to come. I sort of review my life experiences over and over, not dwelling on things, just relooking at them to see if they hold a different meaning. I find, as I do this, my perspective of the now is often dramatically different. In contrast, I previously used the information only in the processing of current and future experiences. Now, with my new method, it is the difference between night and day and it has altered some key beliefs I had previously held about myself and my role in the world.

Here is one concrete example – For years I have read about the concept – a person will find exactly what they are looking for. We have all heard that one, it is simple, straight forward and easy to apply. But what does it really mean to the whole of who a person is? What does it mean to what has happened, what is happening at this moment and to what will happen? For me, it meant I had to relook at why I have done many things in my life. What was I looking for or what did I see at any given moment as I experienced life, the earth and people around me? Of course the answer to that shifts, like blowing sand, as I tour the years of my life. As I reflected I could understand clearly why I had chosen certain actions, or why I had chosen to think in certain ways. I could see how and why, I had found what I was looking for in each experience.

This immediately translated to my life at this moment – each day, as the world unfolds around me, I can actively find exactly what I look for – love, peace, happiness, understanding, joy, sorrow, pain, suffering, kindness, selfishness – It takes less than a second to find something I had not seen before, simply because I never looked. And yes, it takes effort because it is so easy to be on autopilot. But it is also powerful and rewarding to see and understand what “is” in a deeper and more connected way. And, the future, what is yet to come, explodes with potential and excitement, not that it was not those things before, but not to this degree. Every moment now becomes an opportunity for something new. What else is there? I keep looking, in a way I never looked before, at what else, a glimmer of a new thought, new feeling, new understanding. The point is, I am looking now and clearly finding what I am looking for.

I have added to my daily journaling the question: What did I look for today and did I find it? How powerful to be able to experience exactly what I choose.

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