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Monica Cassani
Adventures into the ordinary...
Adventures into the ordinary...

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This will aways be in my heart: that people will be offered meaningful options to toxic psychiatry and that a kaleidoscopic infrastructure of care will rise up as a result of our holding this vision and passing it on. Multiple options are offered that change as people grow and change. Healing is not stagnant…what we need changes daily and by the minute. That the system will be fluid and alive, growing and changing just like those who need healing within it. That the “system” will actually be the village. Real egalitarian community…a world in which every human being is equal to every other human being.

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Lotus seeds roasted in a pan with a wee bit of ghee, cinnamon, salt and ground Nigella sativa and fennel seeds. That’s a tasty crunchy medicinal snack. Food is good. This is a recipe that would have made my friend Yasmina proud. (the photo, not so much – she would have made it stunningly beautiful!) This recipe is, in fact, inspired by Yasmina. I have been thinking a lot about my friend and colleague since she passed. Her work was truly sublime and her generosity knew no bounds. I really miss her in that painful way that only happens when someone dies. Grieving allows us to see how we missed opportunities so that we can practice stepping more fully into our present moment now as we move forward into the ever-present now.

This recipe (experimentation) came about because since her premature passing, I’ve been hanging out a bit on Yasmina’s site, Healing Histamine a little more than usual while remembering and revisiting her. I reread old correspondence and found bits of wisdom I need now. She remains present in a big way through her work.

Anyway, back to the post at hand. I’ve been intending on adding lotus seeds and roots to my diet for some years. The inspiration has always been Yasmina since she mentioned the roots in one of her early books with a recipe included. Finding the lotus seed and or roots has been a bit more challenging. Lately however I’ve been using a Chinese Medicine framework to better understand my body and that’s led me to find more herbs from the chinese apothecary. Long story short, I finally got a hold of a large bag of dried lotus seeds. Yasmina’s recipe calls for fresh frozen lotus root which I’ve not found. She does refer to using the dried lotus for tea but the fact is the roots and seeds can be cooked with and there are now lots of various asian recipes online. (for recipe etc click to website)

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There is a lot of talk about "light workers" in some spiritual circles these days. I'd like to ask: what about those of us who are doing SHADOW work? The shadow of humanity is that which largely remains unconscious in most human beings...thus, shadow work is very important! Coming to full consciousness demands it.

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When we're healing our needs are a moving target. Healing is not static! We need to respond to our body and be willing to change up what is helping at all times. This is a good thing. It is the opposite of taking a drug for the rest of our lives for maintenance. It means our body is alive and changing. Getting in sync with it's language to come to understand it takes time and what is needed changes all the time. (that might include pharmaceuticals for some folks at least some of the time. We are all endlessly variant and our needs, based on our history, are all going to be different. Practicing love for whatever our bodies need right now is also difficult and highly desirable. We can only come to ourselves right now in this moment...with whatever chaos or lack of chaos we might be in the midst of.

found this old article getting traffic again lately about my dietary's sometimes good to read old stuff and see how things have changed and/or remained the same. Sometimes I've forgotten my own insights...or not thought about them for a long time and they are again helpful. my dietary adventures have since gone through many other permutations yet the foundational insights seem to continue to be useful. (that means the details are now different and not exactly the same as what is explained in this post)

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A dear friend and colleague passed away yesterday from breast cancer. it was a rare and ultra aggressive type. She had the triple negative breast cancer which has a minimal survival rate of no longer than just a few months. She lived with it for over 2 years, outliving all odds. This is because Yasmina understood how to support her body and she shared that information with all her readers.

Yasmina Ykelenstam and I were both running websites in the early days of blogging and we did a lot of bouncing ideas off one another back in the early days of that foment … Yasmina and the community she formed around her helped me figure out my particular dietary needs more than any other health oriented site…Yasmina’s site, Healing Histamine, is now the most well respected sites for anyone dealing with histamine intolerance and mast cell dysregulation disorders.

Yasmina was a CNN journalist and knew how to do research. Her work on histamine intolerance, mast cell disorders and the power of healing foods is well documented as well as a source of profound personal wisdom, hard earned from coming back from disability. We have lost a warrior for health and well-being…and for me I felt she was a soul sister too…that is true even though I have never met her and in the last couple of years I’ve not been in close touch with her. The age of the internet is a weird one in which we come to dearly love and feel connected to people all over the world. Sometimes we get to meet them and sometimes we don’t but when we’re heart connected, we’re connected. I know many others who have lost a dear friend and my heart is with all of us now as we remember this wonderful woman today and always. Much love to all of us who loved her.

One of the things I loved about Yasmina was how she shared all she learned with great generosity and always reminded everyone to remember that we’re all different so what was true for her might not be true for others. That is something we talked a lot about in the early days of our blogging and it’s something that has stayed with both of us over the years, reflected in the body of both our works. We are all different.

I have many posts on histamine on this site and they’re all at least in part influenced by Yasmina’s work…her work helped me on my own way.

See Yasmina Ykelenstam’s work at HEALING HISTAMINE

I still use her site for quick reference when I need it. (which is pretty often really) … I avoid most other health oriented sites at this point, but Yasmina’s work still helps me figure out my own body in ways that are constructive.

and my work on histamine issues, often inspired by Yasmina on this site is here.

So, it’s not too late to come to know Yasmina through her work and here is her about page where you might go get started. ABOUT Yasmina (click to post for links)

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for access to links in the text (and additional info) the site must be visited:

Below is a collection of links in which suicide and suicidal feelings and/or the desire to die are explored. We need places where people can openly talk about suicide and death and dying so they can stare it in the face, hold it, feel it and come to their own conclusions.

Everyone should have a safe place for this deep work. Despair generally disappears in the light of day but if people aren’t allowed this process and instead locked up and put on drugs that suppress and stop the process of healing one cannot move through these states. Given such safe places are not available most of the time for most people, many find they have no choice but to choose suppressive means (drugs and hospitals) at this point. Because there are no viable options quite often this is a reasonable choice for many and must also be respected. We do need to change this status quo if we want to allow for profound growth and healing as well as simple self-determination.

While pharmaceuticals may help some folks some of the time, those of us who know we do not do well on such substances need to be respected and allowed to heal in safe situations otherwise we are retraumatized.

Right now, mostly, we are creating these places in our own private lives. That’s not enough. People everywhere need these safe places so that new possibilities might be made known to folks who’ve never even considered options because they’ve never heard of them in contexts that felt safe.

Let us find the will and the right communities and networks that many such safe places will be available for everyone regardless of social and financial status. Let us make it happen. We are in the midst of a time where these ideas are beginning to take root. We can keep holding the vision and sharing what we know from our own experience. We need to listen too. Everyone’s perception of their own reality is important and must be considered seriously when we meet them. Respecting those we don’t agree with is also important. Everyone with labels have been traumatized and hearing their experience from their perspective is critical to allowing the healing process regardless of whether pharmaceuticals are in the picture or not.

These are a couple of new pieces…the link is followed by a brief excerpt:

When suicide ceases to be taboo there will be less suicide — “We can all start working with our issues around death, too. That’s a place to start with ourselves so that we might be able to offer better support. We can start that right now. I’ve worked in hospice and with the death and dying off and on most of my career. It’s a very good thing to get familiar with the idea and the fact that we all die and that life is a mystery that no one understands. From that place we can start to more meaningfully grapple with the pain of one feeling like it’s time to die. We’re all in this together really. Grappling with the mystery and learning to be okay in the chaos and pain that is life.”
Suicidal thoughts are treated like a crime: that’s why people don’t seek help. “A system that criminalizes pain rather than supporting that person with love is sick.It’s not rational or sane to forcibly lock people up while they’re in their deepest despair. It’s not help and to call it help is double speak. It’s also a sort of gas-lighting experience to be told that you’re getting help while you are losing your freedoms. True service: recognizing every human being as peer.”
this year I lost a dear friend. I share this in loving memory:

Rest in peace my dear friend and comrade in madness…Ian Scheffel (formerly Bill Scheffel)
More on this topic from Beyond Meds:

● DIVINE SUICIDE: Depressive Breakdown as a Call to Awakening – “I have seen far too many people in the care of social services and standard mental health care grossly retraumatized rather than helped when feeling their most vulnerable because people do not understand this loving, accepting and healing approach. It’s based in deep trust for the process of the individual who presents themselves in front of you. Listen. Love.”

● A conversation about suicide – “This conversation in the below video with Adyashanti is so refreshing. It’s absolutely true that those who are suicidal are all too often met with terror and control. Most people who feel suicidal need to talk about it. Approaching people with love and openness means NOT being terrified of that persons dark places. And not reacting in a knee-jerk and controlling manner. That has never allowed anyone to feel safe to open up about the painful vulnerability they are most assuredly experiencing when feeling suicidal.”

● Six Ways You Can Really Help Prevent Suicide – by Leah Harris “I tried to kill myself when I was 14. It wasn’t the first time. My psychiatrist had just upped my Prozac, a whole lot of unresolved early childhood trauma had flared up at puberty, and the baseline sadness and confusion I felt mushroomed into an overwhelming desire to die. The thoughts wouldn’t leave me alone: Everything I could think of circled back only to suicide. I wrote out a suicide note and made an attempt. I won’t go into the horrors of waking up alive in an emergency room where the staff was clearly annoyed they had to deal with me and my “attention seeking” behavior.”

● Suicide Prevention for All: Making the World a Safer Place to Be Human – Leah Harris

● Living with suicidal feelings — By Will Hall “It’s time for a new understanding of suicidal feelings. Is it really best to force someone into the hospital when they are suicidal? Do suicidal feelings plus “risk factors” really mean professionals can predict whether someone might try to kill themselves? And are suicidal feelings the symptom of a treatable illness that should include medication prescription?”

● A suicide prevention poster from the Icarus Project – “Most of the suicide-prevention posters I’ve seen (admittedly not that many – the topic is still pretty taboo in our society), are aimed solely at the loved ones and close friends of the person in danger. How to recognize the signs of suicidality, who to call, etc. Somewhat helpful, I guess, but shouldn’t we be addressing, in some way, the person who is actually considering this extreme action? It’s as if the assumption is that person is beyond reason, beyond understanding (if you want to get explicit about it, not really human anymore), so there’s no point talking to him.”

● Many psychiatric symptoms remit upon drug withdrawal – including suicidal impulses – ”Something that comes up quite often in discussions with my friends and readers who have been on meds and have come off of them is how many of the “psychiatric” symptoms they were being “treated” for disappear upon discontinuation of the medications. This is widely known and experienced among those of us who have decided to stop medicating ourselves.” (**warning – rapid or cold-turkey withdrawal can often inflame psychiatric symptoms (including feelings of hurting oneself) for some time. For safer withdrawal practices see here.)

● Psychiatric Drugs as Agents of Trauma — “Drug Stress Trauma Syndrome” – ”This article is written by Charles Whitfield, MD, a psychiatrist, who has recognized the trauma these drugs can create for a very long time. It’s clearly an important read.”

● A video with Will Hall on this subject: On suicidal thoughts

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The eternal child
The eternal child

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Narrative and story are tools of interpretation. They do not and cannot represent absolute truth. Within the evolving persons life a narrative can change many times. Alternately one might apply a multitude of narratives to a single issue so that in effect one can see themselves simultaneously through many prisms and thus have a more holistic and profound understanding of their experience.

Imposing our narrative on another is violence, just as their imposing theirs on us is too.

Narratives carry what might be called energetic information. If one cannot find the energetic truth of another’s personal narrative one cannot communicate with the other.

Ultimately when one frees themselves from attachment to any particular narrative, then narratives cease to have energetic impact and clarity comes.


…our entire society loves to dissociate because it’s painful to be here not knowing what the heck is going on. Dissociation is a legitimate coping mechanism but coming to consciousness requires understanding when we do it — at the very least. And heck yeah, I feel like an alien too…most of us do…hence the multiple varieties of ways to dissociate called spirituality and/or religion…the stories are endless. Getting grounded can be painful….


from last year, but never published to this site:

This is a story that emerged last night. It points to the mystery but is not the mystery. We can’t really know the mystery.

Seems to me there is a sort of access of levels to consciousness this body/mind has. There is the ego which is the least conscious but when in cooperation with body awareness is not a problem at all. Then there is the body. This body with access to all lived experience in the human race and beyond via our DNA. Our DNA communicates to us that which might be referred to as the collective consciousness (to use a Jungian term). Then, there is the intersection of this body with the unknown — that which has never been lived and that only this body is in a unique position to discover and thus add to the collective knowledge of all humanity and sentient life. Each body is specialized and in that way we all learn something different that will benefit the whole.


when you discover grounding let’s go into freefall. There is no ground…

more links and info on site!

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A friend of mine who is a highly ethical and unusually tuned in yoga teacher is offering some courses. Kristine Kaoverii Weber gave me the basic foundations of yoga that got me out of bed when I was bedridden. Really it felt like a transmission because with her early coaching/teaching I literally rose up out of that bed and became a yogi. I love yoga. So much. I’ve shared many posts on yoga over the years. What Kaoverii told me when I was bedridden and my muscles were totally atrophied was that yoga for me in that condition could be simply lifting a leg up and rotating my ankle. Lifting my arm up and rotating my wrist. Doing this mindfully and slowly several times a day while I lay in bed is how I started. Yoga, practiced like this, in baby steps is how I started. Later and even now sometimes just a couple minutes of yoga once or twice a day is what is appropriate in my still very delicate body. Sometimes I can also do a full-length class-like practice too. Responding to the body now means that our practice can look different every single day. You can learn more about my own practice here: Yoga tips for those with challenged nervous systems

I mostly practiced in my home and have used youtube and my body’s sense of how to progress with occasional check-ins with my two yogi teacher friends. (Leaflin too has been a great support). Kaoverii, my first teacher, really gave me such a profound sense of what yoga really is while I was still in bed and so I never felt the need to compete or be like everyone else in classroom settings. I listen to my chronically ill body and to this day continue to do what is appropriate for it now and nothing else. Kaoverii remains an inspiration and a friend whom I check in with on occasion when something weird is going on in my yoga world…she always illuminates my understanding.

BELOW IS Kristine Kaoverii Weber's invitation to her class. The sort of information she shares is directed towards teachers yet getting to know and understand this sort of information can help anyone better understand what is happening in their bodies and the bodies of those they may be supporting and/or teaching in some way. These insights can also be especially helpful to those of us struggling to learn how to use our bodies again after or during chronic illness. Kaoverii is a teacher’s teacher while remaining accessible to anyone.

her course:

“The Yoga and Neuroscience Connection: An Online Training for Yoga Professionals.”

Ever frustrated to find yourself in situations where you can’t explain the scientific benefits of yoga?

Or, you’re good with the science, but you can’t translate it simply and convincingly?

Are you:
Frustrated because some students think yoga is just exercise?
Wanting to make a bigger impact on the lives and health of your students with a more holistic and science-based approach?
Stuck teaching fast, fitness yoga because that’s what students seem to want?
Feeling like your work is undervalued or dismissed?
Lacking the confidence to seek out referrals from healthcare providers?
Wanting to be the best yoga teacher you can be & stand out from the crowd?
(visit site for more info and registration!!)
Neurobiology and yoga
Neurobiology and yoga

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Whatever is our process is our process, we can’t alter that. The only thing that can be changed is how we direct attention towards the process — letting that attention become a habit so that we pay attention to every moment now. How that comes to be is completely out of our control and will look different for everyone. We are not in control. Yup, everybody is completely out of control, but no one actually wants to notice that. Once we notice that – nothing matters – just as much as everything does. Kick back. Watch the show. Meet the moment with integrity. The immediate met with integrity takes care of all one can do.


Instead of assuming people are stupid when they don’t know something we think they should perhaps we should instead assume the context of the others life is different than our own and therefore different things have taken priority. (I don’t remember all sorts of stuff from my own daily life to household names of famous people of all sorts…politicians etc…I also don’t clearly remember major events – political and catastrophic or joyous etc, since my brain injury. I’m not an idiot and it’s teaching me to not assume that about anyone ever)… human beings are cruel across the board assuming the worst about those they do not know or understand. (given we rarely know or understand ourselves, it’s all the harder to know others if we dismiss them) I am now practicing meeting people as they are…with ignorances and bigotries too. We’ve all got them. I want to meet people in my community…rather than listen to the choir…mirroring back my own biases. (that’s what social media generally does).

See: Community, by Paul Woodward


You have given yourself respect. You have allowed yourself to be who you are. You have not allowed the process to be stopped. This is good.


and from Vernon Howard:

“You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need. “
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