Can You Control Your Dreams?

Something unbelievable is happening to you.

You cannot fathom this as being reality: you get an insane promotion; you win the lottery and are able to travel the world to your heart’s content; you’re soaring above the clouds, living in harmony with birds and dragons; you’re transforming into a Super Saiyan for the first time—that might just be awesome for me and my geeky-ness.become-a-professional-pilot.jpg

Reality?

Fantasy?

Truth?

Myth?

You realize all is too good to be true—except I still believe to this day that the yellow-golden hair transformation is achievable and not too good to be true, all in due time—and that is because it isn’t.

You come to a sudden realization: this is not reality; I am dreaming!

Time to take the reins and fulfill my wildest desires [insert grin].

This phenomenon happens at least several times a year to me; I realize I’m dreaming, I manage to remain inside it, and I take control. It is a delight! I become an omnipresent entity capable of controlling things ranging from the animate to the inanimate, from the corporeal to the surreal. I am able to lead my dream in the direction I want, and I can explore circumstances that would never be possible for me—or anyone, really—within the boundaries of our world.

Here are some of my highlight “self-induced” dreams from the past few years:

  • I inherited the ability to read people’s minds.
  • I was able to hover a few feet from the ground. I have yet to be able to fully fly without any restrictions, although I have tried countless times. This seems to be one of the limits of my dream controlling capacities.
  • I managed to cast several kamehamehas—although all were below 9000.

I brought this topic up while chatting with some people this week, and they told me that they couldn’t control their dreams. One of them said she is able to re-enter a dream if she falls back to sleep fast enough, although he affirmed that he can’t control it upon entering his dreamscape. It seems I was the only one present capable of controlling dreams.

That piqued my curiosity: are you able to control your dreams? Either way, what would you do if you could?

Side-note: this post’s theme definitely seems to be Dragon Ball Z. I have already opened up a tab with the first episode of Dragon Ball Z Kai. Now, decisions decisions…

What Music Makes You Productive?

For as long as I can remember, music has been a ubiquitous part my studying—and life. I remember how at first I needed to swap CDs in and out of my Walkman [(knowledge insert: the first CD Walkman, or Discman, came out in 1984], essentially alternating between the handful of CDs I loved—oh the times spent listening to that Meteora CD by Linkin Park.

87584838.jpgBack then—I’m making myself sound slightly prehistoric, albeit this “era” of mine I’m referring to was roughly 10-15 years ago—no one had the luxury of choosing between millions of songs at any given place, at any given time.

Today, with the copious amounts of music applications, people have the possibility to virtually[insert reaction: Is that pun intended?] [Ominous response: yes, yes, yes!]— listen to anything they want. I find this amazing! It allows me to discover music easier and quicker than when I had to go to HMV, put on a set of headphones available on the second floor in the CD section, and sift through the different CDs that were on “audio display”. But to be honest, I enjoyed doing this quite a bit.

Moving on to the topic of this post: what type of music makes me productive.

I listen to a wide array of musical genres. My choice is often contingent on the task at hand. Over and above that, I tend to go through phases that last a few months at a time. However, I have a pith set of genres that I outrightly prefer—these are ranked in the order that they are coming to mind as I write this and not in order of preference:

Heavy Metal: I have loved heavy metal ever since I hit the double digits. My first concert was Linkin Park in 2003. Not really considered heavy metal, but they did have some relatively heavy songs on some of their first albums. Whenever I need to get into a mindset of “s**t needs to be done, right now”, I put on some In Flames and the ball gets rolling—and banging and screaming.

Classical: another genre that has withstood the test of time is classical music; my grand-father was a pianist, and as a result I heard him playing the piano quite often in my childhood. I listen to classical—my favorite is solo piano classical music—when I want to relax at night when I’m on my laptop or for the same reason I mentioned for heavy metal—although I choose classical when my ears request softer sound sources.

EDM—drum and bass; slow deep house: I started listening to electronic dance music (EDM) around 8-10 years ago. It is a genre for me that comes and goes with time, and thus my listening habits of EDM are paroxysmal. To name a few artists I appreciate: Camo & Krooked, Metrik, David August and all the latest Anjunadeep albums.

Pop-rock: my selection of artist in this genre are the ones who ressemble Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, or Drew Holcomb and The Neighboors. I went through a phase this past summer of about 6 months listening only to this genre, and it has slowly started to fade to give way to some drum and bass [loud sound insert: wanh wanh wanhhhh].

There are several other styles of music that I listen to, but these four represent the majority of the fodder for my ears.

What are your favourite genres for getting productive? Are they different from when you want to relax? Do you need non-vocal music if you need to be productive?

Side note: music with vocals are not detrimental to my productivity. Feeding music that elate my ears is all I need to put my instant gratification monkey back where he belongs—reference to this TED talk.

What Is Endometriosis?

I recently met someone who has endometriosis. If this had been 6 years ago—before my studies in osteopathy—I would have perplexedly gazed into the horizon and thought: What the heck is endometriosis? Is it a parasite? A pathology? Maybe even a super-power?

Thanks to a course I took 4 years ago—hooray!—I know what endometriosis is. Since that course 4 years ago, I have only met two people with endometriosis even though I know it is somewhat prevalent among women.

After discovering that this person—let us call her Joan—had endometriosis, the flood gates opened; I could not withhold from reading about it all over again to re-discover every nook and cranny there is to know about it.

That’s it for this post!

[Insert reader’s thoughts in the parentheses]

[Ummm…

Wait, aren’t you going to tell me what it is? The class you took, was it a class on super-powers or something?!

I want to know if this is a super-power or not!]

I’m glad that you ask. Of course I’m going to tell you! However, please take a moment to commend me on the dad joke I just pulled. It was just that funny.

Anyways.

Sadly for you—and more importantly those with endometriosis—I must inform you that this is not a super-power. Furthermore, if you’re a male, even if it was a super-power, it would be one reserved for women. Why, you ask?

Do you have a uterus?9a1b2bd8e595c1c8ee497547dda53db5.jpg

I didn’t think so, and that is why!

Briefly put, endometriosis is a health issue regarding the endometrium, which is the inner lining of the uterus.

Image note: I find all women are Wonder Woman for dealing with an ever-changing internal equilibrium once a month. You go girl(s)!

To you I share a short summary I put together after spending about half an hour reading on endometriosis:

  • To understand endometriosis you must first know what the endometrium is. The endometrium is a tissue present in women; it is the inner most tissue of the uterus. About once a month, a part of the endometrium is expelled via menstruations at the end of the menstrual cycle if no fertilization occurred.
  • Endometriosis is defined as the presence of endometrial cells outside of the uterus. These could be nearby (such as the ovaries or the fallopian tubes) or at a distance (such as in the lungs or in an arm).
  • 5% to 10% of woman old enough to bear children are affected by endometriosis and it is most often diagnosed from 25 to 40 years old. In many cases there is no pain associated with endometriosis and it does not affect fertility. However, there are still 30% to 40% of women diagnosed with endometriosis who are infertile.
  • The symptoms of endometriosis often occur in synergy with the menstrual cycle. Regardless of their location, endometrial cells will react to the change of hormone levels at the end of the menstrual cycle and will “bleed”. Normally, this bleeding is evacuated through menstruations; however, when the endometrial cells are located somewhere else than the uterus, there is no escape route for the cells that shed.
  • The most frequent symptoms of endometriosis are low abdominal pains similar to menstrual cramps which increase during menstruation, sexual activity and urination. It is often difficult to differentiate them from typical menstrual cramps.
  • Several alternative approaches exist that may help women affected by endometriosis, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine, yoga, meditation, osteopathy, and dietary changes.

Joan told me to add one more point—which comes from experience—:

“I would add that once the endometriosis becomes advanced, the pains no longer follow the menstrual cycle and appear sporadically without an identifiable cause.” (Joana, 2017. Retrieved from the prestigious scientific database known as Facebook Messenger).

I hope I managed to help you learn something new with this post!

Do you know anyone who has endometriosis? If so, did you know what it was before they told you? Or did you learn about it thanks to them?

Footnote: I still wish this was a super-power.

References: passport santé; Facebook Messenger, the prestigious scientific database.

What’s Your Go-To Meal?

It’s Thursday night. You’ve had a long day. You forgot your umbrella on your way to work this morning—hair and clothes soaked. There was a truck stalled on your way home. The traffic added 43 minutes to your usual 27 minute return itinerary. You finally park your car in the driveway. Saving grace; you walk to your doorstep. But you still don’t have that umbrella.

thai-style-vegetables-in-coconut-milk.jpgOh, and now I need to make supper?

Hmm…

What will I make?

Nothing?

No. I need to eat something at least.

So what will it be?

(At least 15 seconds pass—your brain isn’t quite in an optimal functioning state, credit to the aforementioned described day).

Ah, I know! I will make my favorite go-to meal—in my case a vegetable stir-fry in coconut milk!

20 minutes later you are sitting on the couch watching some TV—or browsing a social media platform—and life feels better.

I’m sure you can relate to a day such as the one described above; one of those days where everything seems pitted against you, urging you to get angry, tugging and grudging to deplete your patience reserve, gnawing ever so slightly but persistently.

Ok, maybe I put a little much there, but you get the point.

When I have a difficult day—or even good days, because it is my go-to meal, and I think I deserve the satisfaction regardless of the day—I’ll have a tendency to cook up a hearty meal that satisfies me. Recently for me that has been a vegetable stir-fry cooked in coconut oil, coconut milk and toasted sesame oil.

Speaking of which, I just finished my last bite of supper, which was…

You guessed it!

I cook this meal frequently regardless of the circumstance; however, I tend to cook it even more on lengthy, challenging, and time-deprived days. It always raises my spirits and makes my stomach smile—yes, a stomach can smile, trust me!

Over time, my go-to meal does change—as I’m sure it does for everyone—, but for the past few months this has been my uncontested #1 favorite meal. I am already eager for tomorrow since I’m sure I will be making it for at least one of my meals, as I have been for the past month almost everyday without fail (**Insert stomach smile**).

What is your go-to meal? When do you make it most often? And how does it make you feel?

How A Fever Works

Have you ever wondered the following:

  • How does a fever work?
  • Why does my body become so cold?
  • How exactly does the fever help me?

I certainly have.

I took the time to read on it several years ago, but for the sake of this post I read it all again.

I’ll try to summarize it in simple terms—without too much jargon:

What Is A Fever?

A fever is an increase of body temperature to an abnormal level usually caused by pyrogens. Pyrogens are substances that produce a rise in body temperature. The hypothalamus—a structure of the brain—is the area in charge of controlling body temperature. The control of body temperature is named thermoregulation. For this reason, the hypothalamus is sometimes called the Body’s Thermostat.

How Do Pyrogens Affect The Hypothalamus?

Pyrogens affect the thermoregulation control center. When this happens, the reference value for the body’s normal temperature is temporarily increased. This leads to your body feeling that it is colder than it should be. This sensation leads the body to attempt to heat itself up—and to achieve this, symptoms can occur, i.e., shivering.

Ok, I Am Cold Now. I Take My Blanket. I Am Still Cold. Is It All Worth It?

If the fever is slight, here are two reasons why it is beneficial—I am sure there are other reasons as well:

  • It increases the speed of the body’s defensive reactions to aid in killing pyrogens faster. 
  • It—by means of the liver and spleen—lowers the amount of iron and zinc. Bacteria needs iron and zinc to multiply. This lowering of zinc and iron is done to hinder bacteria proliferation.

Therefore, instances of fever that do not rise the body temperature too much are considered to aid in defense against external agents. However, when the body’s temperature increases drastically, certain enzymes—substance in your body that are essential to producing chemical reactions—deactivate and this can be dangerous.

Here is a passage taken from a Science Daily article from 2011:

“Having a fever might be uncomfortable,” said John Wherry, Ph.D., Deputy Editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, “but this research report and several others are showing that having a fever is part of an effective immune response. We had previously thought that the microbes that infect us simply can’t replicate as well when we have fevers, but this new work also suggests that the immune system might be temporarily enhanced functionally when our temperatures rise with fever. Although very high body temperatures are dangerous and should be controlled, this study shows that we may need to reconsider how and when we treat most mild fevers.”

That just about sums it up without going through the details of everything occurring in the body when you are swarmed by some unwanted pyrogen visitors.

 

How much of this did you already know? And do you know of other key reasons as to why fevers occur?

References: Atlas de poche de physiologie (1992); Vulgaris Médical; Science Daily.

What’s Your Morning Routine?

And so my day begins; I wake up, do my routine, and go on with my life, oblivious to the early morning mechanics. Only recently did I stop to ask myself questions such as:

  • How do others begin their days?
  • Has my morning routine changed over the years?

I’ll answer the latter; your job is the former.

cool-alarm-clock-wallpaper-2.jpg

As a matter of fact, my routine had been the same since—as long as I can remember—high school. However, I changed my routine a few months ago. I’ll get to that in a bit.

I adhered strongly to the belief that I needed a shower to start my day. I was under the impression—as a consequence of self-indoctrination—that without one, I could not rise from the protective slumber of my oh-so-comfy blankets.

Such nescience.

I recently receive the book Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss as a gift from two generous friends—thank you. Briefly, Tools of Titans is a compilation of the habits and routines of successful individuals, and is split into three chapters:

  • Healthy.
  • Wealthy.
  • Wise.

I read the chapter about Tony Robins (p. 210) the night I received the book at 2:00 AM when I got home from one of the aforementioned friends’ house. I was instantly dismayed. It took all of 15 minutes to dismantle my belief system of the mental shackle of the “holy morning shower” I had created.

In the chapter, Tim Ferriss explains how Tony Robins immediately gets out of bed when he wakes up, and start his priming routine. His routine consists of:

  1. 30 to 60 second cold-water plunge (very different from my 15-20 minute warm shower wake-up call).
  2. Quick breathing exercise—or alternatively his “breath walking” exercise.
  3. 9-10 minutes—split into 3 sections of 3 minutes—of cueing and prompting enabling emotions for his day.

I implemented a similar routine 6 hours after reading the chapter. Since then, I no longer need to bathe under the once-believed “shower of awakening”. Now I am walking outside with my jacket and boots on—it is still somewhat winter in Montreal—two minutes after my alarm rings. I walk around the block for about 10 minutes, and have applied my own adapted priming routine.

What is your priming routine? Do you have a must to kickstart your day?

Although my self-indoctrination has been abolished, my love for a hot shower has not dwindled. As I finish writing this post, I am imagining how nice the imminent shower will feel.

What’s Your Favorite Convention?

For the past few years, I have been attending the Expo manger santé et vivre vert (henceforth called Expo Convention in this post for simplicity) convention held in Montreal. I must say is my favourite convention I have attended to date. I have been to some others—such as Montreal Commicon—and enjoyed them tremendously, but nothing compares to the Expo Convention for me.

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I am presently sitting on my couch writing this post because there is still some time left before meeting up with my friends for the convention. I am eager to slip on my boots shortly, walk over to the convention, and start tasting!

Here is a brief summary of what it is:

Frequency: it happens once a year, and normally lasts three days: Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It’s a heap of fun, for quite cheap too.

The space: It is held at the Palais des congrès de Montréal, a center where many conventions are held (such as the famous Montreal Commicon). It takes place in a very large warehouse-style size room. The exact dimensions escape me; however, let me tell you one thing: it is huge. Each year I spend at least 5 hours there and it doesn’t even allow me to visit all the kiosques—let alone taste all the ones I do get a change to visit.

Fee: the entrance fee is definitely fair: 14$ for a regular entrance, which includes the day pass and food/product samples from every company offering them (almost all do offer a least a few). 14$ is the price of quick lunch, and every year I fill up on food here, tasting all kinds of stuff. I normally don’t even eat supper when I get home, because I’ve been munching on tasters for 4-5 straight hours. There are discounts for students and senior citizens, and it is free for everyone under the age of 16! I love how they trying to promote healthy lifestyles to adolescents by making this a cost-free experience.

The layout: there are hundreds of kiosques of all varieties, ranging from nuts and oils, new state-of-the-art home water filtration, natural body creams, and everything in between. In general, if you’d like to stop at each kiosque, get to learn about their products and taste some samples—normally they have many—you’d best plan more than one day at the Expo Convention.

The main concept of the convention: showcase products that are deemed healthy. Most of the food products are organic (I’m always skeptical to know what actually is a well certified organic product and what has less high standards, making it inevitably similar to the non-organic counterpart). All non-dietary products are in line with healthy methods of living, such as natural body creams and natural supplements.

And there we have it! If you’d like to read more about it, the link in the first paragraph brings you directly to the official website.

I have skipped out on breakfast this morning to be able to taste everything that appeals to me without becoming bloated too quickly (this happened in a previous year).

For you:

Which convention is your favorite? I am curious to know what other kinds of conventions are out there—I am sure there are plenty I have never even imagined existed!