The sun warms not just our physical selves, but our emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and social selves as well. Like all good things, though, it can burn if we get too much.
I learned that lesson the hard way, when I developed skin cancer at the age of 18. I saw an unusual mole on my leg, and found my way to the dermatologist. Fortunately, I caught it in time.
I was left with a scar that will stay with me for life, inside and out, though. How could something I loved so much be so bad for me?
For a very long time, I couldn’t enjoy being out in the sun without starting to worry about the ramifications. Instead of basking in its warmth, I felt a burning heat.
I stayed in the shade as much as I could, and applied chemical free sunscreen whenever I planned to be out for more than half an hour.
On the beach, I became the parent who wore a hat and a coverup. No matter how hard I tried, though, I’d always get a tan. It didn’t take much exposure at all.
Over the years, I tried to protect my children, but refused to let it overshadow their time spent outdoors. Having a very active and athletic son, I couldn’t say no to him spending full days on baseball fields or at the beach. I know how crucial sunshine and nature are to human development.
No matter how much sunscreen I put on him, he’d always get a nice, golden tan. It concerned me, but at the same time, I knew that the stress of worrying about it was probably worse than the sun exposure itself. So, I did what I could, and learned to let go.
What I’ve learned over the years has only confirmed that I’d made the right choice. My gut has always told me that we should not fear the sun. We actually need it to live happy, healthy, stress free lives. Just not too much, that’s all.
Sometimes, you have to trust your gut, over the so-called “experts,” who may be so “inside” a situation that they can’t see the big picture.
Decades later, I’m finally able to catch a few rays here and there without a shred of guilt. I’ve had my theory confirmed that a little bit of sunshine goes a long way toward a healthy lifestyle. Without it, we all start to wilt.
Mike Adams, of Natural News.com, sums up my feelings on the subject when he states:
“Sunlight exposure is truly one of the most powerful healing therapies in the world.”
He also points out the it’s an essential source of vitamin D, which many of us are deficient in these days. Being that sunscreen can block its absorption, it makes sense that we let ourselves get just a few minutes of sunblock free sunlight a day, right?
“Sensible sun exposure (usually 5-10 min of exposure of the arms and legs or the hands, arms, and face, 2 or 3 times per week) and increased dietary and supplemental vitamin D intakes are reasonable approaches to guarantee vitamin D sufficiency.”
On page 8 of a research paper he co-authored with WB Grant, PhD, the research shows that the best time to absorb vitamin D from sunlight is at solar noon, or between 10 am and 3 pm. That’s the exact time frame that many health care providers recommend avoiding the sun altogether, or at least covering up with sunscreen, in order to avoid sunburn and damage from UVB rays!
Based upon the evidence, and the fact that the sun is part of nature and we should be able to enjoy it in moderation, it seems that exposing our skin to sunlight for 5 or 10 minutes without sunscreen a couple of times a week seems like a pretty reasonable recommendation to me. What do you think?
We each have to make our own choices, based upon the information we have. So, if your head is spinning from so much conflicting information, then I suggest you read The UV Advantage for more details.
For the many times that you will need to apply sunscreen this summer, are you familiar with the Environmental Working Group’s sunscreen guide? You can find non-chemical, zinc oxide based sunscreens here.
Okay, so there are actually two 5 minute miracles! Let me explain…
Sometimes, I lie in my backyard, feeling the warm breeze, and soaking it all in. Even if it’s just for five minutes, I carry the feeling with me throughout the day. Like a song that just won’t get out of my head, the sun stays with me, even on a cloudy day.
Having stored up little snippets of the sun’s energy over time, I have plenty of light in my life. I may not be as carefree about my sun exposure anymore, but now I know how to turn a cold, dreary day into a bright, flaming hot one!
It’s called my 5 Minute Miracle. To experience it, I don’t even have to be outside. All I have to do is close my eyes.
Are you ready to give it a try?
It doesn’t matter where you are. Just make yourself nice and comfortable.
Close your eyes and imagine a warm memory or a favorite outdoor spot. Feel the warmth of the sun and the gentle breeze. What is nature whispering to you? Take it all in.
Relax, and take some deep breaths.
Find your happy place, and feel free to visit it again and again. No plane ticket or sunblock required. All you need is 5 minutes.
Make it a great weekend, everyone!
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Wishing you much peace, joy, and sunshine,