Keep Them Near...

A few weeks ago, I had a really strange dream, followed by a similar dream a few days ago. In the first dream, I'm at my Grandma Preston's house, a place where all my weird-sometimes frightening dreams occur. In my dream, I'm running from what seems to be a person at first, but ends up being a snake. It catches up to me and I get bit twice on my right hand, the first time right below my knuckles and the second time above the wrist. I can remember very vividly and in complete detail the point of contact between the jaw of the snake and my right hand - from the unlock of jaw to the penetration of its fangs. With each bite, I dare not move, avoiding any further pain. Its almost like I don't fight it, surrendering to it in a way. Instead I begin meditating, waiting for it to exhaust and eventually unlock its death grip from my hand. It hurt, but again, I never attempted to fight back. My reactions are all thought - I think of how to escape but it's almost like it reads my mind because its talking back to me, telling me I can run but I know he'll just follow me again. And he does follow me after I attempt to trick him and run, biting me that second time. I wake up scared.

Then, a few days ago I had a dream that the same snake bit me at the wrist. It all played out the same, the point of teeth puncturing and all. This time, I see blood drawn and I attempt to pry its jaws open to release myself - then it says, "Just let me, you know you'll just end up doing it to yourself eventually". This dream was shorter, but it all remains clear in my mind for days.

I'm Navajo and as Navajo culture and belief would have it, snakes are not a good sign. We don't touch them, avoid looking at them, and there can be several explanations for any encounter we might have with them. I've heard people say that if you see them, someone is plotting against you and sending bad energy your way. Also, I've heard that it can mean someone is talking with "a forked-tongue" about you, also known as someone talking behind your back. After the first dream, these things came to mind right away when I woke up. I couldn't stop thinking about how it was so determined to get my right hand, and it scared me a bit because these hands are my "tools" for creativity, especially my right beading hand. I also felt a bit uneasy about the idea that I had conversation with the snake, almost like I knew who it was - like a familiar voice. So you can imagine how much I started to scare myself, thinking about who it could be.

The days following that initial dream brought a few strange messages from people of my past – I questioned if they were the snake. I attempted to relate little things about those encounters with those two people to my dream. I even went as far as thinking the snake was my sub conscience talking to me but I didn't really even feel that was it. I even came upon a bead design that I had sketched out in June, that when rotated 180 degrees, freakishly resembled the eyes of that snake. By this time, I decided I was really starting to scare myself so I literally had to tell my brain to stop taking it further with thoughts of what the dreams could mean. I smudged and put some food out for whatever it was that could be visiting me; thanking it for the message, and letting it know it could leave.

I was good real quick, even now; I know that by blogging about it, I've squashed whatever might have scared me about those dreams. I don't feel anything negative, but you see, that takes training of the thought. I realize that dreams like that can be taken two ways, good or bad, it all just depends on the energy you give back to it - this is true for anything in life. I think now on it and realize that in both dreams, the snake's venom was never an issue - I was never disabled or slowed by it. I had fear - yes, but I wasn't slowed down in my dreams, I was okay. This led me to the thinking that everyone has to be their OWN good medicine. Your own inner medicine lies within you refusing the poison of others, by always keeping positive in thought. Those positive thoughts ARE your good medicine - keep them near :-)

Be blessed...

"Don't Be Wack!!" $45.00

DreLynn Design & MeaB'Fly Design are happy to introduce "Don't Be Wack!!", the first featured earring of our beaded collection.

We will be releasing a limited 40 pairs of one featured design every 6-8 weeks. Each design will only be made available online.

Keep tuned in for future upcoming release dates for each featured pair of earrings!!!


UCLA Study On Friendship Among Women

I received this article from a friend (thanks Katie) last week and I wanted to share it with other women because it confirms my belief in how vital women friendships are. I'm so thankful for the friendships/sisterhoods that I hold close - they've most definitely helped me through stressful times!

A landmark UCLA study suggests friendships between women are special. They shape who we are and who we are yet to be. They soothe our tumultuous inner world, fill the emotional gaps in our marriage, and help us remember who we really are. By the way, they may do even more.
Scientists now suspect that hanging out with our friends can actually counteract the kind of stomach-quivering stress most of us experience on a daily basis. A landmark UCLA study suggests that women respond to stress with a cascade of brain chemicals that cause us to make and maintain friendships with other women. It’s a stunning find that has turned five decades of stress research—most of it on men—upside down.

“Until this study was published, scientists generally believed that when people experience stress, they trigger a hormonal cascade that revs the body to either stand and fight or flee as fast as possible,” explains Laura Cousino Klein, Ph.D., now an Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health at Penn State University and one of the study’s authors. “It’s an ancient survival mechanism left over from the time we were chased across the planet by saber-toothed tigers.

Now the researchers suspect that women have a larger behavioral repertoire than just “fight or flight.”

“In fact,” says Dr. Klein, “it seems that when the hormone oxytocin is released as part of the stress responses in a woman, it buffers the “fight or flight” response and encourages her to tend children and gather with other women instead. When she actually engages in this tending or befriending, studies suggest that more oxytocin is released, which further counters stress and produces a calming effect.

This calming response does not occur in men”, says Dr. Klein, “because testosterone—which men produce in high levels when they’re under stress—seems to reduce the effects of oxytocin. Estrogen”, she adds, “seems to enhance it.”

The discovery that women respond to stress differently than men was made in a classic “aha!” moment shared by two women scientists who were talking one day in a lab at UCLA. “There was this joke that when the women who worked in the lab were stressed, they came in, cleaned the lab, had coffee, and bonded”, says Dr. Klein.” When the men were stressed, they holed up somewhere on their own.

I commented one day to fellow researcher Shelley Taylor that nearly 90% of the stress research is on males. I showed her the data from my lab, and the two of us knew instantly that we were onto something.” The women cleared their schedules and started meeting with one scientist after another from various research specialties. Very quickly, Drs. Klein and Taylor discovered that by not including women in stress research, scientists had made a huge mistake: The fact that women respond to stress differently than men has significant implications for our health.

It may take some time for new studies to reveal all the ways that oxytocin encourages us to care for children and hang out with other women, but the “tend and befriend” notion developed by Drs. Klein and Taylor may explain why women consistently outlive men.

Study after study has found that social ties reduce our risk of disease by lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol. “There’s no doubt,” says Dr. Klein, “that friends are helping us live.”

In one study, for example, researchers found that people who had no friends increased their risk of death over a 6-month period. In another study, those who had the most friends over a 9-year period cut their risk of death by more than 60%.

Friends are also helping us live better. The famed Nurses’ Health Study from Harvard Medical School found that the more friends women had, the less likely they were to develop physical impairments as they aged, and the more likely they were to be leading a joyful life. In fact, the results were so significant, the researchers concluded, that not having close friends or confidantes was as detrimental to your health as smoking or carrying extra weight!

And that’s not all! When the researchers looked at how well the women functioned after the death of their spouse, they found that even in the face of this biggest stressor of all, those women who had a close friend confidante were more likely to survive the experience without any new physical impairments or permanent loss of vitality. Those without friends were not always so fortunate.

Yet if friends counter the stress that seems to swallow up so much of our life these days, if they keep us healthy and even add years to our life, why is it so hard to find time to be with them? That’s a question that also troubles researcher Ruthellen Josselson, Ph.D., co-author of Best Friends: The Pleasures and Perils of Girls and Women’s Friendships (Three Rivers Press, 1998). “Every time we get overly busy with work and family, the first thing we do is let go of friendships with other women,” explains Dr. Josselson. “We push them right to the back burner. That’s really a mistake because women are such a source of strength to each other. We nurture one another. And we need to have unpressured space in which we can do the special kind of talk that women do when they’re with other women. It’s a very healing experience.”

© 2002 Gale Berkowitz