…That brief moment when

you’re still dreaming but feel the morning hovering above you. Opening of doors, water splashing, the squeaks from a drawer until the warm breath of a child is so close to your face.

You breathe her in. And with it another chance.

Time to walk out

into it.

Those brief moments in bed are the Alpha state, 7-12Hz, a space where creativity is heightened. Research shows emotions associated with Alpha encompass love, awe, gratitude, hope, inspiration, pride, serenity.

Reach out if you’d like to learn how to increase the Alpha state throughout the day. I’ll be teaching a series of meditation classes to new parents in March.

Hu X, Yu J, Song M, Yu C, Wang F, Sun P, Wang D, Zhang D. EEG Correlates of Ten Positive Emotions. Front Hum Neurosci. 2017 Jan 26;11:26. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2017.00026. PMID: 28184194; PMCID: PMC5266691.

The Honest Kitchen

The Honest Kitchen

My family is always on the hunt for healthy and easy meals that will please the picky palates in the family. When we first began the switch from an overly processed food diet to one that incorporates more whole foods, it was overwhelming to say the least. If you are looking for some simple ways to incorporate whole foods into your family’s diet, consider trying out some of these recipes. Remember, be honest with what you and your family can handle. Try one new recipe per week or maybe two if you’re feeling ambitious! Try to make it fun and get the whole family involved. Children are often more willing to try something that they have had a hand in creating.

  • Try a smoothie for breakfast in the morning. Nutrient-dense greens mixed with fruit and yogurt will help you start your day on the right track. For a dairy free option, replace the yogurt with goat milk yogurt, almond milk, coconut milk, coconut water or plain water.


  • Spruce up your water! Fill a pitcher with filtered water and add one or a combination of your favorite fruits and/or herbs. The options are endless!
    • Pineapple
    • Cucumber and mint
    • Apple and rosemary
    • Lime and raspberry
    • Strawberry and melon
  • Make a traditional meal new again by making it grain free. One of our favorite alternative pasta brands is Tolerant Foods. They offer Organic Red Lentil or Black Bean pastas with only one ingredient. Prepare a simple meat sauce by sautéing onion, garlic, and zucchini with ground meat, add a large jar of tomato sauce and simmer for 20 minutes. In less than 30 minutes you have a quick and easy meal that will please the whole family. Also try serving the pasta drizzled with olive oil, salt, and pepper; with a medley of sautéed vegetables; or tossed with grilled meat or fish. A favorite in our house is red lentil pasta mixed with broccoli, bacon, and olive oil.
  • Have you worried that you’ll have to miss out on ice cream if you’re making an effort to cut back on processed foods? This recipe for banana ice cream couldn’t be easier, and it only contains one ingredient! Milk is optional and could easily be replaced with another dairy-free milk of choice. Find the recipe at http://www.chopchopmag.org/content/one-ingredient-banana-ice-cream.

Good luck and enjoy the road ahead. Be honest and true to yourself as you navigate your way through your personal journey. May the joy and excitement that the New Year brings continue with you throughout 2015!

-Crystal Holmes, Boundless Well-Being Patient Ally

The Threshold

st.kitts2Quiet fills my chest.  I watch my children splash with their cousins and my husband walks toward shore after a swim with sea turtles.  It’s April and I’m in St. Kitts for a wedding with family and friends.

The water crashes on coral as the sun illuminates droplets of color in mid-air, freeze framed for posterity sake before joining the ocean again.  It’s been a long time since we felt the hot sun warm our bones.   As I look towards the water’s edge, I feel an inherent urge to be in the water.  Grabbing goggles, I walk, then run towards the ocean’s mouth and dive in.   The acceptance is immediate, and the warmth of the Caribbean envelops me completely.  With each stroke, I shed a layer.  And then a next, with each one exponentially larger than the last:  the week’s frantic office push to get there, waking my kids up at 4am so we can get on the 6am flight, rechecking my packing list to make sure I have enough 3 year old “diversion toys” in-flight, conversations with my accountant for the inevitable office income tax returns….

Suddenly, time widens into an everlasting underwater galaxy and I am reminded why people take vacation.  Daily, the LIST can run through our minds like the sound of the ticker that is appointed to count people as they walk through the door.  The metronome of seemingly necessary errands clicks along until robotic, we are either so frantic we think we can’t keep up, or so exhausted we’re left painfully numb.

Experience has shown that the heart will tell you it’s time for a reprieve if you acknowledge it and listen.  And when you don’t, your body will.  Through premature greys, restlessness, an extra inch or 2 around the middle,… our bodies go on strike.

I’d like to say, that since I’ve committed to helping others toward better health, that I’ve always listened.  But as the common denominator of being human is my reality, I haven’t.   Today I give my honest best, but sometimes, like everyone else, I push because I feel that I need to.  Kids need parenting, older parents need assistance, significant others and friends need mindful attention, and work is always a spiral of more…if you let it.   Inevitably, when this happens, I get tired, feel off, and if I am aware of it and don’t listen…sick.  Working for me, is a self-imposed passionate reinforcement of practicing what I preach.  And some days I fail.   But I do what I know to keep my body sustained, healthy, and in the interim help those who need it.  There’s a healthy threshold in each person; that line between pushing yourself, and pushing yourself even though you have nothing left to give.  The key is getting to know your threshold way before becoming “empty” and stopping to fill yourself back up. Learning when and how is a commitment to keeping your body and mind well.  

We daydream about escaping after that morning rush of packing lunches and dressing kids, when the Xerox machine gets stuck again after a recent tune-up, during the extra long red light when you’re late, and when the toddler has the late evening tantrum after a day focused on everything other than yourself.  WHY? Because we forget to breath, and live life holding our breath believing that we can only exhale when we’re blowing bubbles on vacation.  The truth, is that we lose our center: who we really are, amidst the checking of lists and obligations.  It is being reminded of our true gifts and purposes in life that brings us fully breathing again.       

In the ocean, my body is lighter now.   I realize that even in “paradise”, I struggle with unraveling the identities I impose on myself; the mother, the wife, the practitioner, the “wanting to do it all” human being who in the end wants to say, “why did I schedule another thing?”.  As I look towards shore and see my children’s faces with loved ones, I pause.   I acknowledge that what I’m feeling now should not be “because I’m on vacation”, but carried into myself to share once home with family, friends, and patients.  And some kept just for me.  Giving myself permission, I take a slow inhale, and dive deeper.

Underwater it is gloriously silent and a few kelp strands float aimlessly through my fingers.  I realize that here I AM.  Holding my breath in daily life I have muted life’s experience, and yet here I am, holding my breath underwater, eyes wide open, feeling more alive than I have in months.

© 2013 V.H. Gantous