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Author: Cris McCullough

Mind KEY / Articles posted by Cris McCullough
Winter immunity tips for body, mind and soul

Strengthen body, mind & soul with these winter immunity tips

by Cris McCullough With winter comes a new slew of stressors. The holidays, shorter days, cold weather, midterms and flu season all combine with other life stressors of the season to create weakened immune systems. Boosting immunity isn’t as simple as taking a supplement, not when so many factors come into play. These winter immunity tips go beyond the common and cover all aspects of one’s mental and physical well being with a focus on body, mind and spirit. Good health is more than just a healthy body Chiropractor, Dr. Michael Gottfried reiterates the importance of each individual’s body, mind, spirit connection in addressing immunity.  “Think in terms of enhancing your mind, body, and spirit (known as psychoneuroimmunology),” he said. “Try some of the following suggestions and see what...

how to prepare

PREPARE for winter with The Daily Key

by Cris McCullough PREPARE, the title of this month’s issue, is predicated on the hidden power of expectation/anticipation for an event, and our very human need to retain a modicum of control over the unknown. As we welcome a change of seasons, and the changes that inevitably face us as we move into the future, The Daily Key offers insights on how to prepare for those changes.  Preparing for the ebb and flow of change The seasons are part of a Universal “tide.” We go inward, and then move outward. There is a flow to everything. When humans find their flow within their own life, everyone around them benefits. We harvest what we have planted… be that an idea, a piece of art, money, food, or investments of time,...

Solar power choices

The energy of the Sun; solar power is a choice

Intro by Cris McCullough As a culture, we have become dependent on fossil fuels. We need to heat and cool our homes, along with powering our vehicles and supportive devices too. But now, since we’re faced with supply chain issues and other disruptions we cannot control, many are seeking alternative solutions. Among the possibilities, solar power seems like a no brainer. However, solar power isn’t a cut-and-dry option. Two common solar power choices for the everyday consumer are solar panels (such as those installed on a roof), or solar farms where consumers “buy in” to a solar-powered cooperative to run their homes. When you start exploring the options, buying into a solar farm or investing in solar panels, the information shared on websites can be confusing....

Bonsai meditative art

Nourishing nature and Bonsai at the National Arboretum

By: Cris McCullough On a recent trip to our nation’s capital, I discovered a hidden gem among the many museums and attractions of Washington, D.C. The National Bonsai and Penjing Museum at The National Arboretum contains miniature masterpieces of this extraordinary horticultural art. The Chinese art of penjing and the Japanese art of bonsai use woody plants in shallow containers as a medium to portray the natural growth habit of ancient trees in the landscape. These are living sculptures which require continual care, nourishment, and training to maintain their artistic design, and it’s also an example of bonsai meditative art, which can be used for nourishing ourselves. The museum’s collection began in 1976 with a gift of 53 bonsai trees from Japan to commemorate the United States...

Past lives and healing

Back to the Future: A review of “My Autobiographies” by John Koenig

By: Cris McCullough “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”  ~ Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard Hypnotherapist, John Koenig, took the time to explore past lives and healing in his new book, My Autobiographies, An Introduction to Past Life Exploration for Personal and Spiritual Growth. In the book, John shares his personal experience with the process of past life regression, how it brought him to an awareness of various facets of his soul, and how he used this information to understand himself better and grow spiritually and emotionally. He relates, through story and verse, 14 of his past lives, and shows how they helped him understand the “why” of his life journey here and now. Past lives and healing Many of us express an interest in...

Summer Solstice rituals

Nourish your soul with these six Summer Solstice rituals

By: Cris McCullough What is the Summer Solstice? The word “solstice” comes from Latin solstitium—from sol (Sun) and stitium (still or stopped). Summer Solstice is an astronomical event occurring yearly when the Sun reaches its northernmost point in the sky and  does not change for a brief period of time. After the solstice, the Sun appears to reverse course and head back in the opposite direction. For a time, the sun appears to stand still! Mother Earth is at the height of her magic during the Summer Solstice. You can celebrate this special day with simple Summer Solstice rituals. The timing of the June solstice is not based on a specific calendar date or time; it all depends on when the Sun reaches its northernmost point from...

Save the Bay is for the children

Save the Bay’s Exploratorium has a lifelong impact

By Cris McCullough Save the Bay’s Exploration Center and Aquarium located at Easton’s Beach in Newport, RI, has been teaching visitors about the abundance and variety of sea life found in Narragansett Bay since 2006. The mission of the Exploration Center is to impart an understanding and appreciation of the diversity of sea life and how the health of our oceans affects our own wellbeing on shore. Through its many outreach programs, Save the Bay invites citizens to participate in the work to protect and improve the Bay. Most of those visitors are children, whose first encounter touching a sand shark or horseshoe crab at the Aquarium’s touch tank has often blossomed into a lifelong dedication to supporting the environmental health of the Bay; from this, we...

Why You Should Use a Travel Guide

Why you should use a travel guide

By Cris McCullough With restrictions lifting around the globe, new travel adventures are calling to many. While it’s true that many of us may be out of travel practice, you don’t have to do it alone. Hiring a travel guide is a great way to get the most out of your experience. Here’s why you should use a travel guide post-COVID when planning your next trip. Why is a tour guide important? After two years of isolation, a majority of folk are taking to the highways, skyways and sea to experience the many flavors of our world. A veritable blossoming of renewed interest in the bouquet of variety offered by other cultures and other places. The sights, sounds, tastes and smells beckon our senses and our curiosity. Should...

wedding tips for couples

Love in Bloom: Wedding tips for couples

Christine McCullough, Non-denominational Celebrant With spring wedding season in full bloom, happy couples around the globe are preparing to tie the knot. But for newly engaged couples, planning a wedding can feel a bit daunting. Even after scouring the internet for wedding prep tips, you may wonder how to make your day unique and special. Below, find four wedding tips for couples that will help make your day as unique and precious as your love. Four Wedding Tips for Couples The seed of love is planted in astounding ways. Sometimes through a unique shared hobby , like skydiving. Sometimes it’s a quick glance across the room on girls’, or boys’ night out and you’re instantly entranced. Other times, you may have cultivated that seed since you shared a...

Celebrating Beltaine and trees

Beltaine and Arbor Day: Celebration of Earth in bloom

By Cris McCullough Beltaine. May Day. Many of us associate mid-spring with the quaint traditions of dancing around a May Pole or the crowning of the May Queen. This is a time of exchange with nature, a time to celebrate renewal in all its forms. Buds begin to form on the trees, encouraging us to slow down and pay attention. Celebrating Beltaine and trees is an ancient tradition, one that translates contemporarily to a sweet stop in the woods. Anyone who has placed a hand on a tree to intuitively “listen” to the sap beginning to flow can agree. Even exchange: Celebrating Beltaine and trees Beltaine is an ancient Celtic festival of renewal and fertility dating from Roman times. Entire villages would gather and sleep under the stars,...

Murder mystery in Newport RI

Murder, mystery and mayhem in Newport, RI

By Cris McCullough Murder Mystery in Newport, Rhode Island? Newport has been the home of numerous mysteries throughout the decades. A number of books have been written about murders in the extravagant mansions of the 19th and 20th centuries. Some are true accounts, and others fiction, but each story shines in the opulence of historic Newport. Looking to experience your own murder mystery in Newport RI amid a unique theater experience? As we emerge into the season, eager to laugh and become physically engaged with our surroundings, the Marley Bridges Theatre Company offers immersion into a world of mystery and mayhem. Discover how at Beechwood Manor and beyond where spectators are encouraged to take on the role of sleuth. History and imagination collide The Marley Bridges...

Post-covid reintegration

Hacks for reintegrating into a post-covid world

By Cris McCullough, MA, Holistic Counselor Post-covid reintegration  It’s been a challenging two years! But here we are, gazing into what has been described as, “the new normal.” We all have made sacrifices of one kind or another, and now we are faced with the challenge of reintegrating and finding our personal rhythm that helps us be and stay healthy. There are many ways to find healing that can assist us in embracing the new normal. The Daily Key editorial team asked some of our trusted colleagues from various disciplines the question: “What are your suggestions/tips/hacks to help folks recover, renew, and master the act of post-covid reintegration?” Reintegrating with New York State therapist James M.:  How can isolation affect a person’s well being? For many, at the start of the...

Organic versus pesticide farming Chemical free food Organic foods

Salad with a side of piperonyl butoxide: Making the move to pesticide-free

Spring is a time of renewal of mind, body, spirit and environment. Many of us greet the new season by renewing our garden spaces in preparation for the growing season. Spring brings an abundance of fresh bitter greens at this time of year. The body craves these nutrients as it begins to shed winter fat. Becoming aware of pesticides, how they affect the body, and how to avoid them, is a timely focus for better health. This article, by registered dietician Melissa Kirdzik, was first published in Newport Naked. In it, Melissa explains the pervasive use of pesticides in our environment and why organic versus pesticide farming can be better for both your health and the environment. Making the move to pesticide-free By  Melissa Kirdzik for Eat...

nature as an ecosystem versus machine

Your body is nature: a guide to connecting with nature wherever you live

Our bodies reflect the patterns of nature. Each of us has an innate rhythm that responds to the time of day, the flow of seasons and the ecosystems we inhabit. Herbalism treats both the human body and nature as an ecosystem versus machine that resonates with the environment it inhabits, utilizing energetics to manage these connections. This article by herbalist, Sajah Poplum, discusses the role of energetics in herbalism and suggests techniques to more deeply connect with nature no matter where you live. By Sajah Poplum, School of Evolutionary Herbalism The body can be understood as either an ecosystem or as a machine.  The more you understand that your body is but a mirror to the natural world, the more you see the elemental and energetic cornerstones that form...

Take a breath: Walking the labyrinth for stress reduction

We have managed to thrive during the tumult that is the holiday season. As we enter a New Year, filled with both hope and uncertainty, we may need a gentle prompt to reclaim mindfulness. The action of walking the labyrinth can be seen as a metaphorical journey. It gets us out of our heads and into our hearts, from the stress of the day-to-day grind and into a state of peace. Walking the labyrinth for stress reduction is as easy as breathing in and breathing out. It is perfect for maintaining peace of mind. Walking the Labyrinth for Stress Reduction A labyrinth is a walking meditation that centers our mind and brings us calm. At first glance it may seem like a puzzling and confusing pathway of...

labyrinth spring renewal ritual

Celebrate spring with a labyrinth walk

by Cris McCullough, Certified Labyrinth Facilitator Spring equinox is a yearly astrological event which occurs when day and night are of equal length, this year occurring at around noon (EDT) on March 20th. A labyrinth spring renewal ritual is an easy, mindful and simple meditative way to bring intention and hope into the coming season. Traditionally the spring equinox has focused on prosperity and thanksgiving for new growth and new opportunities. After a two year world hiatus due to Covid, I think we could all use a little hope. Walking a labyrinth, alone or with a group, is a beautiful way to affirm a return to the positive in your world. Your personal labyrinth spring renewal ritual  Ritual is a way to keep us mindful, focused and in...

Ancient christmas traditions

Light the darkness: Grasp the Common Spirit of Holiday Traditions

By Cris McCullough Ho! Ho! Ho! It is Christmastide, Hunnakah, Dwali, Los Posadas, Kwanzaa… The world over, there are some sort of holiday traditions for hope and celebration of light and generosity, during this festive time of year. We associate the season with so many traditions—decorating a Christmas tree with lights, placing candles in the window, parties and the giving of presents… and ultimately a deep-seated belief in Santa, a jolly old fat man with a bottomless bag of gifts who can fly through the air and visit the entire world in one night! Holiday Miracles! Besides being made famous by Clement Moore’s beloved poem, The Night Before Christmas, these holiday traditions stretch back across time and continents, and ultimately point to an annual astronomical phenomenon,...

Healing with the chakras: Where the physical and spiritual meet

My first experience with chakras and energy fields happened about twenty years ago. Although not directly related to chakra healing, it came as a result of two weeks worth of intensive of ritual and meditation in Colorado with Native American teacher and medicine woman, Oh Shinnah Fast Wolf. The experience was so powerful that it stopped myself and three other students in our tracks. My chakra experience We had just finished our intensive with Oh Shinnah Fast Wolf and decided to explore a nearby sacred site, Canyon de Chelly. We pulled up to the visitor center, the three of us got out of the car, came to a full stop and quickly got back in the car. Simultaneously we all blurted out, “Did you see what I...

(Chakra healing)

Understanding chakras: An introduction to the chakra system

Chakra is a Sanskrit word that means “wheel.” These are energy centers that exist along the central axis of the spine in living beings. Chakras are an ancient and often neglected aspect of our physical anatomy. Understanding chakras, their history and how they intersect with the physical body can go a long way toward achieving physical and emotional wellbeing. Understanding chakras throughout history For thousands of years, many cultures’ philosophies and healing practices have incorporated the concept of chakras. These cultures include Native American, African, Maori, Egyptian, Asian and Indian, to name a few. Chakras were first described in the ancient Hindu religious texts known as the Vedas, written between 1500 and 1000 BCE, the Upanishads, the Puranas and in other works from the Tantric period of...

Hogfather solstice tradition

The gift of the Hogfather: A holiday tradition shared with family

by Cris McCullough, MA This time of year I am always grateful to an author who offers a little hope and levity when the Christmas madness is too much. British author Terry Prachett was a satirist of the most delicate kind who wrote the holiday story, Hogfather. Because it brings our family so much light during what can be a stressful time, the Hogfather solstice tradition is celebrated every year at the McCullough household. My husband would read Hogfather to our three children each holiday season. Then, quite delightfully, it was turned into a three episode mini-series starring Michelle Dougherty (of Downton Abbey fame).   What exactly is a Hogfather? Pratchett works his magic commenting on the world and humanity's foibles through the workings of his imaginary world, Discworld,...

Winter solstice ritual celebrations bring us back to our natural rhythms

Celebrate winter solstice with ritual

by Cris McCullough, MA We live at a delicate and dangerous time in history. We are threatened by the accelerating erosion of culture, a crisis of change brought on by our own lifestyles, values and technology. Now more than ever we need cultural forms that assist us in celebrating life in all its diversity, amidst suffering and the day-to-day grind. Historically, the celebration of the continuance of life around the Wheel of the Year served that purpose for communities cross-culturally.  By seasonally aligning themselves with the grander rhythms of Mother Earth, people from every culture renewed their connection and inter-relatedness to their world and to each other. The celebration of Winter Solstice is one such festival. Especially in northern locales, humans throughout time have awaited the...

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