Spring Equinox

The Spring Equinox is the time in the year when we can start to walk away from winter and enter a time of new life, rebirth, and growth. At Equinox there is a perfect balance between the hours of night and day. It is a wonderful time to do some self-reflection and find balance within our lives. This is because balance is important when working to achieve overall wellness. Winter is a harsh time, filled with darkness, cold, and hibernation. As we say goodbye to winter, it is a good time to reflect on the defeat of the season. Defeat or failure is a part of life. We all face it in different ways throughout our lives. We tend to see it as a negative, but what if it is really freedom?

Reflect on:

What happens when we reframe the experience of failure to see it as freedom?

What happens when we start to see it as a shedding, like when a snake sheds it skin?

What if we see it like a chipping away. Imagine chipping away at stone to find the crystal hidden within.

This is a time to shed ways of thinking that no longer serve us and create self-imposed blockages. We can now tear down the walls of self-imposed limitations. What self-imposed limitations or blockages would you like to be free from?

Spring is a time of many things; fresh growth, new life, and a clean start. It is also a time of storms. When we step into the chaos of the spring storms, we can embrace the power of change that is waiting there for us. When we do not suppress what is in us, yearning to get out, we have the opportunity to grow. I want to be ready for the changes that are coming to the surface within me. It is now, in the spring, that those things that have been incubating come to life. This is a profound transformation, if you think about it. We can all enjoy this same profound transformation. Through upheaval, renewal is found.

On the equinox there is a balance between day and night. Let us call on this balance within ourselves and bring forth the beauty that is within us yearning to come forth. This can be a balance of many things.

  • Work and play
  • Feminie and masculine
  • Positive and negative
  • Progress and rest
  • Light and dark
  • Those things we judge to be assets and those we judge to be detrimental
  • And many more…

As we move forward into spring, it is a great time to take your personal wellness to the next level. Reflect upon what is waiting to be born from you. Look at the judgements you have placed on what is good and what is bad and see if you can find the light in the darkness and vise versa. Allow the transformation of Spring to transform you too.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you find growth awakening within you as new life brings forth in nature. Many blessings to you.

Capeesh?!

Life in a pandemic has taught us how very little control we have. For me, and perhaps many of you, feeling out of control can be very frustrating and induce a lot of stress. I have long heard that control is an illusion and truthfully the only thing we have control over is our reactions. I feel sometimes I don’t even have much control over my reactions. Being self aware and noticing how you are reacting and exploring where those reactions are coming from can be very helpful; but also very difficult to do in the heat of the moment.

The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.”

Captain Jack Sparrow

I catch myself getting all wrapped up into what seems like the problem. I get stuck spiraling into unhelpful thoughts about what I think the problem is. But when I breathe, and take a minute to look at why I am feeling the way I am feeling, often there is a different cause. I am not saying that there are not problems. There are, everywhere. So unless we understand what triggers us to respond to these issues in the way that we do, we will be forever whipped around, a prisoner to our emotional response. Emotions can be very helpful in motivating us, but they also can be detrimental when we find ourself in a situation where the outcome we desire is not achievable.

There are things that I know trigger an emotional response in me. I like to be in control, so when I feel out of control, this can cause a lot of stress for me. When COVID first started I had a job where I experienced change on a weekly basis, sometime more often. Those changes were predictable changes. Once the Pandemic started, I was experiencing unpredictable changes. It cause me a lot more stress. I am flexible person. I enjoy change. Being fluid and in the moment, is how I do my best work. So I was surprised in how the unpredictability of life really got to me.

Awareness is the first step. When we examine the thoughts we have around the “problem” we can better understand why we are shaken when presented with the problem. Having this understanding gets us closer to being at peace; despite the situation we find ourselves within. Once we can see what is bring up our emotions and that it is really more about us than the perceived problem; we can start to work on this aspect of us.

It is important to have some strategies to get past these emotions or as Captain Jack Sparrow says, “…[our] attitude about the problem”.

  • Breathe – take a deep breath, center yourself, and just feel the emotion.
  • Acknowledge – emotions are not good or bad, they just are. Acknowledge what you are feeling. Give yourself permission to feel it.
  • Be Present – be present in the moment. Notice what is around you. What do you hear, see, smell, feel, taste? Notice that in this moment you are safe and everything is okay.
  • Understand – attempt to understand what is causing you to feel so …whatever you are feeling. If you can name what is behind the emotion it can be helpful in gaining understanding. For example: I feel frustrated at a lack of control because I have a fear of failure.
  • Calming ritual – create yourself with a calming ritual. What this is may differ on where you are and this will be very individualized to each person. Some ideas are:
    • cup of herb tea
    • lighting a candle
    • carry a “worry stone” that you can hold or rub your thumb against
    • take a series of slow, deep breaths
    • recite a poem, prayer, or mantra (out loud or internally)
    • have a mint or piece of gum
    • take a walk outside
    • rub some lotion on your hands
  • Carry on mindfully – once you have gained awareness you can carry on with your day. You will have a better understanding of why you were so upset and have taken some action to become present and understand you cannot change the problem – only your reaction.
  • Take action if it still seems necessary – once you have done all of this, depending on what the perceived problem was, there still may need to be action taken on your part. Now that your mind is clearer and you are not as caught up in the emotional response, you can attempt to make a plan.
  • Repeat as necessary – depending on what is going on you may find yourself needing to use these strategies over and over again. It will get easier as you practice.

I love the Serenity Prayer.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, 

courage to change the things I can, 

and wisdom to know the difference.

I think there is a lot of wisdom in this prayer. There are things we cannot change. Things we have no control over whatsoever. Then there are things we can change. Often that is us and how we deal with what we cannot change. Working on ourselves is some of the hardest work, but also the most beneficial work we can ever do. Knowing what things we can affect and what things we cannot affect will give us much more peace, rather than banging our heads against the wall trying to change the unchangeable.

I also believe in the benefit of planting seeds, but that is for another blog. Thank you for reading my blog today. May you find peace within the storm. May you find the calm pool of serenity within yourself.

I am 50

This morning, When I awoke, I had entered my 6th decade in this lifetime. I am half a century old. When I was a child, 50 seemed so very ancient. Now that I am here, I feel like it is the best age of my life, so far!

I have never dreaded getting older. Age is a state of mind. I certainly do not feel like what I would have thought 50 should feel like. I intend that my 50s will be amazing! I feel there is a freedom to this stage of my life. I care much less about what anyone else expects of me. I work hard and play harder. My husband and I have a beautiful symbiotic relationship. We work in harmony but also have our independence. Our children are grown and doing well. Our grandchild are a joy and remind us to stay young at heart.

As my heath goals take front and center; I reflect on how my age may play a role in my determination to make progress to the best shape of my life. Perhaps it does have something to do with turning 50. Ultimately the reason does not matter. What matters is that I feel inspired. I love my life! I enjoy each run, hike, and mediation. Each day I find that I am seeing improvements in my emotional and physical health and wellbeing and my spiritual connection remains a place of comfort and support.

Whatever age you are, enjoy it! Make it the best year of your life, so far! You deserve to enjoy every moment! They won’t all be perfect but breathe through the tough moments and embrace the joyful ones!

Thank you for reading my blog today! I love you. May you live you best life!

Self-Sabotage?

Over and over again in life, I will be plugging away at some goal or some dream, when it suddenly falls all apart. It feels like a failure. It is frustrating to see all that hard work end up being for nothing, or so it seems. How anytime in our lives can we look back and see this same pattern? We have almost touched the finish line, after striving for so long and so hard, then we trip and never get across it. In reflection on my own history I can’t help but wonder if some of these instances were self-sabotage. Were there feelings of not being “good enough” or “worthy” that cause excuses to come up and block progress. Let’s look at some examples and dig a little deeper into this idea.

Weight loss: How many times have I been making great progress losing weight. I am working out, eating right, and the pounds are coming off. Then all of a sudden I completely binge on something and all bets are off. The diet is out the window and I am putting the weight back on. If I was successful for so long, why am I all of a sudden no longer capable? I have heard the idea that people may keep extra weight on as a type of protection. Could I be using weight as a way to feel safe? Could I be using it to hide from whom I am meant to be?

Running: I have thought, over the years, of running a half marathon in each of the 50 states. I have had goals of running a full marathon. I successfully trained and finished 3 half marathons. My time was not fast, but I was only in it, to do it. The joy of running and participating in a road race is amazing. It is fun and invigorating. I have done multiple 5Ks and a few 10Ks and even a 10 miler, over the years. I love doing them. The last half marathon and 5K I did were in 2015. I had been running for several years at that point but I hurt my knee and that was it. I believed that I couldn’t do it any more. I would feel the urge, year after year. Usually the autumn would call me to the running trails (as that was the start of the running season when I lived in Florida). It didn’t work so well for me to get back to running in the North country. I would use the Snow, the cold, my knee pain, my busy schedule, and every other excuse not to run anymore. Even at one point saying I was too old and that part of my life was over. Now, 7 years later, I am signed up to do a 5K the end of April. My training is going well. There is nothing in my body that “can’t” do it. The only thing that has been holding me back is my head.

These examples are both related to the physical body and fitness, but this could hold true to all kinds of goals. Career, gardening, education, meditation, spiritual or religious aspirations, home renovations could all be affected by our own self-sabotage. Any goal we set for ourselves, could be subconsciously derailed by our “protective” mechanisms. Somewhere deep inside we believe that we should not achieve that goal because we are not worthy, not capable, not enough, don’t have the right skills or attributes. I remember once when I was a child I over heard my grandmother and my mother talking. We were all in the garden picking weeds and my mother said to my grandmother, “Stacy is a strong starter, but she doesn’t finish things”. On some level my child brain took that in as a “truth” and held on to it. For the next 3 decades (or so), I held on to the belief that I started things but never finished them. I was reading the book Worthy by Nancy Levin and there is an exercise she has you do in the book that helped me became aware that I had this belief about myself. My own self-sabotage was helping to keep this belief true while sacrificing my goals. I did not realized this on a conscious level, at the time it was happening.

If you reflect on the goals you have fallen short of, do you see any hints that what stood in your way was actually you? It is much easier and more comfortable to blame it on exterior factors. I didn’t have time to do the training. My stress was too high to focus on committing to that goal. I am not the kind of person that achieves those results. The truth is we are capable. We can do it. We are the type of people who achieve those results. I watched a documentary the other night about an overweight young adult who grew up on a hog farm, who became vegan and ran an ultra marathon. That is 100 miles in 30 hours. Human beings are capable of amazing things! The documentary is Once is Enough. It is on Prime Video, if you are interested in checking it out. He didn’t fit in the box of what an Ultra Marathoner looked like but He didn’t let that stop him.

When road blocks pop up to prevent me from taking care of myself, I plan to reflect on what is really going on. Am I blocking my progress? Is this self-sabotage? Do I have a belief about myself that is not in alignment with what I am about to accomplish? Being aware is the first step to overcoming.

We can do this! We are the people who will cross the finish line! We are the type of people who do amazing things! We will push on despite being busy, stressed, overloaded, insecure, and/or being completely in over our heads in unmapped territory. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do the thing or be the person, because you can. Don’t let anyone else set your course for you. It is not too late. You are amazing! You are capable. I am proud of you. Believe in yourself. And in those quiet moments when you hear the whispers of the subconscious, holding you back, tell it that you can and will cross the finish line!

Thank you for reading my blog. May you accomplish what you set out after, because you are the type of person who lives the life of their dreams. Believe!

Don’t Judge Yourself by Others

With today’s social media it is easy to see what is going on with friends, family, acquaintances, and even total strangers. It is so easy to look at what everyone else is doing and feel discouraged about your own progress. How we judge our progress, our life, our success, or our value needs to be compared only to what we did in the past up to now. If we are making progress by our own measures, against our own past performance, or even according to our own goals, then we are a success. We will always do better than some and not as well as others.

My husband and I joined a Spring Fling Trail Challenge. The goal is to hike 75 miles from March through May. With this there is a Facebook page for everyone to post and share their hikes. People all over the United States have been excitedly showing their progress. People are posting that they just did a “short” 4.5 mile hike. There are a lot of people who are sharing 7+ mile hikes. Some post only pictures and no mileage and still other are posting hikes just over a mile. It is easy to understand how those who are clocking shorter hikes could feel less successful than those who are marching away on much longer treks. In light of this the only person any of us should be comparing ourselves too, is ourself. It is the only true gauge of our progress or success.

What really matters for Marty and I is that we are getting outside and enjoying the beauty of nature. The challenge keeps us motivated to get out there. We are improving our bodies strength and endurance with each hiking trail we complete and we are getting to see some of the most beautiful scenery. The State Parks near us look very different in the snow, then they did in the bright light of summer. Slowly but surely we are making gains. In December we didn’t hiking. January we only did 3 hikes with less than 3 miles logged. February, we got out there 15 times for almost 20 miles. Now in March, 5 hikes has us just under 7.5 miles. We could compare ourselves to those individuals who have done in one hike, what it took us 5, or we could look at how much we have progressed since December and celebrate our success. We’ll celebrate us.

Another thing to look at, with all of this, is the amount of effort. A hike along a flat clear trail, is not the same as a hike with multiple elevation changes and rough terrain. This is true of all areas of your life where you may be making progress. Everyone is different and just looking at one aspect of something, like mileage, does not tell the whole story when it comes to effort put forth. If my goal was to cook a homemade lasagna dinner, that is great. Though there are many of things that play into this. Is homemade, to you, defined as putting it from the freezer into your oven at home? Is it using boxed noodles and sauce and assembling at home? Are you making the sauce by simmering it for hours? What about the noodles, homemade or store bought? Did you raise the meat and vegetables? You see that not all home cooked lasagna meals are created equal. Also, if I have been making lasagna for 30 years the effort for me will not be the same as someone who has only cooked a few things from scratch. This is why it is important to only judge your improvement based on yourself. Otherwise the comparison is just not fair. Have you seen the posts on social media of the cool looking cakes and then someone posts what theirs turned out like when they tried to make it? It wasn’t an apples to apples comparison because the original cake maker has likely made hundreds of cute cakes.

There will always be someone able to do more, have more, have a better life, be more fit, have a more seemingly glamorous career. It is important to remember the things we see on social media are snapshots in time. They do not tell us the whole story about someone else’s journey through life. Trying to compare our life against theirs is not fair to us or them. It is not a good measure of the progress we are making and have made. It does not help our happiness. A wise young woman shared with me that she decided to leave social media and since doing so she is so much happier. She is no longer inundated with everyones perfect appearing lives.

You are amazing! You make progress and grow everyday. Look at where you were last week, last month, 3 years ago! There may be areas of your life where you have lost some ground, but that is okay. It means there are areas of opportunity for improvement. What are the areas you want to improve? Take small bites at progress towards your outcomes, it makes for an easier time. Pick one area or maybe a few small areas, look realistically at where you are, were you have been and then where you want to go. Then set a realistic goal. For example, it is realistic that I can hike 75 miles between March first and the end of May. It would not be realistic for me to log 15 miles of hiking every weekend, although that is perfectly realistic for others. So your goal needs to fit you.

Know yourself, be true to yourself, and judge yourself on your own progress and no one else. Be proud of where you are, compared to where you have been. Set realistic goals for yourself. Remember that 3 steps forward and 2 steps back is still a step ahead of where you were. Slow and steady wins the race. You can do this. The only race that is worth it in the end is the race against your self. Your journey does not need to look like anyone else’s. Your journey is your journey. Be proud of your progress! Share it on social media if you like, because it is something to be proud of. Share and celebrate other peoples’ success! What a beautiful world it is when we all celebrate each other but not judge ourself against them. A rose and a daisy are both beautiful flowers. No point in comparing them. Just enjoy the beauty of each of them doing their own thing.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you have many successes to celebrate, that feel good to you. Your success is for you and you alone.

Meditation “Practice”

For years I have been attempting to perfect my meditation practice. I have tried several different types of mediation: Buddhist, Kundalini, walking, guided, yoga Nidra, etc. After all of these I have still felt like an amateur when I sit on my cushion. This morning I realized, it is “practice”. I don’t have to be perfect at it. There are days when I sit on my cushion and the 20 minutes passes easily with myself in the zone. There are other days when I check my timer, twice, sure I must have forgotten to start it. Some days I sit and spend the whole 20 minute thinking. Other days I am listening to the sounds in the house. It does not have to be perfect to be beneficial. I just have to keep practicing.

Some of the helpful things I have learned about mediation are:

  • We only get upset at noises we think we should be able to control. We don’t get upset at birds or wind, but family members or our pets, we think should stay quiet for us. Meditation is about being able to still quiet our mind despite someone doing the dishes, watching TV, or barking at the delivery driver.
  • The mind will think, that is what it does. It is not my job to stop it from thinking but rather to notice that it is thinking. Meditation helps us be aware of how our mind works and to notice what it is doing. By practicing with it, in a calm environment, we better understand it and can notice what it is doing in stressful situations.
  • Giving the mind something to do can help you meditate. Kundalini meditations, involve chanting mantras and sometimes performing certain movements. This can be very helpful because the mind is busy focusing on the mantra and/or the movement. It allows you to get to the mediative space.
  • No one is good at mediation when they first start doing it. It takes practice and commitment. “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
  • For all the imperfect meditations I have, the ones that work are worth all the ones that don’t.
  • You have to find the mediation that is right for you. I have had amazing experiences with many different types of mediation but my favorite is sitting silent mediation. It is not necessarily the easiest but it is the one that I have the riches experiences with.
  • There are many layers to your mind. I have identified a thinker, a narrater (who thinks they have to tell me what I am doing and what I am thinking like I am not there experiencing it), there is a watcher, a judge (who scold when it thinks I am not doing it right), and back behind all these other layers, somewhere deep within, is me.
  • Making a nonnegotiable habit makes it much easier. I get up in the morning and I mediate for 20 minutes every day. There is no option to do it later. When I get up, it is time. I go and sit.
  • I feel more ground, connected, and at peace now that I have established a meditative practice.
  • Meditating daily helps with other commitments. I know that a temptation will pass and am better able to stick to my other self-care initiatives.

If you have ever considered doing mediation, do it! It is worth it. Be gentle with yourself. Practice is practice. Anything else you were practicing you would not expect yourself to be perfect. Let meditation have the same grace. Notice that the mind is thinking and come back to your breath, your mantra, or focusing on the flicker of a candle flame. Be willing to experiment with different types of mediation till you find the one that works for you. Wether you have a deep experience during mediation, you find it easier to pass on the candy bowl, or you notice how you are reacting in a stressful situation, you will know that the effort of your practice has been worth it.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you find the perfect way to make meditation a beautiful part of your self-care practices. You are worth it.

Other blogs on Meditation:

9 Ways to Improve Mediation

Mediations: A Beautiful Experience

7 Mediation Myths

11 Types of Meditation

There is an App for That: A review of Mediation Apps

Permission to Be Yourself

This morning as I started my run, the song This Is Me from the Greatest Showman soundtrack played. As I ran along the rural Wisconsin roads, in the cool 17 degree weather, I realized how scary it is to be blogging very publicly and running. How childhood trauma of other children making fun of me, as children will do to one another, still effects me as adult. In the deep recesses of my mind,where I put what i don’t want to acknowledge, it is still there. I turn 50 this month. My healthcare professional would label me as obese. Do I have any right to be out here running into the sunrise? I came to the realization that I still fear being judged for the choices I make. As my legs carried me along the rolling Wisconsin hills, I realized that a lot of people feel this same way.

Do you filter who you are to fit in with society at large? Do you express yourself as less than authentic in order to not stand out from the crowd? You do not need permission to be your truest self. But… if you would like permission, I give it to you. Your special form of “you” may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it does not need to be. If people read my blog and judge my words or even my right to be putting myself out there, it matters not. What does matter is that I show up for myself. I keep putting one foot in front of the other on my runs, despite my age or my weight. My actions in this life are for me alone. When I show up for myself I show myself that I matter and that I am worthy of living the life of my dreams.

This morning was only my second morning running, after years of believing I couldn’t run anymore. The C25K program includes a walk/run algorithm to help you slowly increase your endurance. I am very early in the program; about 22-26 runs remain to bring me to successful completion of a 5K. It is the journey that is important. This running journey has me feeling amazing! I smile more. I feel completely unstoppable. I feel radiant. Where I am running there is a good size hill that hits early on in the run. It is intimidating and I freaking love it. By the time I am cresting the top of the hill I know I will complete todays run, because the hardest part is behind me.

When I slip into my sneakers and secure my knee brace, I am doing it for me. I am doing it because I want to show up for me. I saw running as something I was doing for my physical health. As I dip my toe back into the running waters, I realize that for me, running is for my emotional health. Once the run is done I am glowing.

That glow has an amazing side effect. It is contagious! I see how my elevated mood effects those around me. My exuberance for life rubs off on my friends and family. Even my co-workers get caught up in it, even if they don’t know what they are caught up in. The affects goes beyond that. My work days have been more productive, passing with ease, flow, and contentment. All of this because I won’t let the naysayers in the dark corners of my mind talk me out of my self-care goals.

How easy it would have been to tell myself I was too old, or my knees too bad and talk myself out of this. I could have put it off until I lost some weight or the weather was better. I could have made up excuses about being to busy or needing better shoes. No one would have faulted me for any of these things. They would have agreed with me and nodded, feeling supportive. All of those things, for me, would have been giving in to the childhood taunts and fears. Isn’t it interesting that we have fears we don’t even know about or acknowledge? If asked, I would have said I don’t have fears related to being judged by others. I believed I had proceed and move beyond any childhood teasing. When you consider things you have wanted to do, but talked yourself out of, can you trace it back to a fear?

It is worth exploring what might be holding you back from setting off towards your dreams. When those fears are brought out of the mists, in which they hid, into the bright light of day, you can see them for what they are. They don’t necessarily slip away. It still takes a concerted effort to push beyond them, but at least I know what I am pushing beyond. It does not matters what anyone thinks of me, past or present. The mean kids in life reflect on themselves, not me, with any judgement they may pass. Why would I make myself small in fear of their judgement? If I had, I would have missed out on this feeling of invincibility. I would not have felt this glow that started in my solar plexus and spread golden light all throughout me, until it was spilling out into the world around me.

I get that running is not for everyone. This same truth holds true for whatever is calling to you. Painting, yoga, writing poetry, cooking, body building, collecting stamps, rebuilding motors, growing vegetables, raising fainting goats, it doesn’t matter what it is or if it makes sense to someone else. What matters is that it lights you up. You feel like “you” when you are doing it. Your glow will rub off on those around you. My grandmother was the type of woman who walked into a room and it lit up. I have always aspired to be like her in that. When I run, I am.

After my run this morning I texted a friend letting her know how ama-za-zing I was feeling. She told me she was so glad to experience me feeling great again after having been down for so long. Talk about a serious blind spot. I had no idea I had been “down”. Apparently those around me knew.

I enjoy being a bright and shiny, positive, being. I delight in the emotional zeal for life that courses through me. After a run, I look forward to writing a blog to share my morning’s insights. My vibration is higher, raising the vibration of those around me. For all of these reason I will run on. I am having the time of my life learning to take care of me. Who knew it could be so fun? Life looks rosy and I can’t wait to see how amazing my 50s will be!

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you find that thing that lights you up and do it, no matter what anyone else thinks! I love you.

Self Care in 2022

I had claimed 2020 as my year of health. Ironically COVID hit the US that year as it continued to expand across the planet. I ended up working on shadow aspects of myself. My health took a back burner. Over the next two years, COVID became my scape goat for everything. My health deteriorated and my self-care was virtually nonexistent. 2022 has become the year I will reclaim my health. Let me share with you how. 

In 2022 I felt a new found hope. Simultaneously various self-care activities started to drift into my consciousness. I came to a deeper understanding of how taking care of myself, really and truly, allows me to be a better wife, mother, grandmother, friend, coworker and employee. Some personal medical health concerns along with a desire to be a better version of myself have driven me to really strive to take care of me and lovingly put my health first. When I say health, I am not just speaking about my physical being. I am talking about true mind, body, and spirit health. I have also include the component of financial health into that overall wellness. Anyone who has had financial difficulties understands how that can affect overall health.  I have healthy initiatives well underway in all these realms. Most started to slowly pop into practice the end of January and throughout February. Now as March begins, I feel I am well on my way to reclaiming my year of health and overall wellness. 

So, what am I doing? First let’s talk about financial wellness. I started budgeting and using the phrase, “It is not in the budget” to decrease unnecessary spending. This works well because I am not putting energy toward whether or not I can afford it. It is simply something I chose not to put in my budget this month.  Doing this relieves the stress or feelings that I can’t have it in the future, because I can choose to put it in next months budget, if I still want it at that time. The budget becomes a negotiation between my husband and myself. It really helps us prevent wasteful spending and relieves so much stress. 

For my body wellness I have a couple things going. First, since I have been diagnosed with severe osteoporosis, I am following the advise of my healthcare providers. I am taking my prescribed medication and supplements. I am attending follow up appointments and getting lab work as ordered. Because my weight has crept up over the last few years I am working to bring that under control. After reading a couple of books, Atomic Habits by James Clear and Healthy as F*ck by Oonagh Duncan, I came to the understanding that habits could really help me cement my health and overall wellness goals. So I heroically set off on a journey of habit formation. I am using the habit setting in many areas, but specifically in relation to my body; my husband and I are doing intermittent fasting. This works well for our weight loss and allows it to be slow and steady. We start our fast after supper (which we try to eat by 6pm) until around 10am the next day. The goal is 16 hours of fasting. Because we are looking at overall wellness, we do not get stressed if life happens and we eat supper at 7:30pm. We simply start our fast after that and carry on. The other things we are doing is focusing on eating a lot of veggies. Oonagh Duncan in her book advocates for half of your plate in veggies. Some meals; almost our whole plate is veggies, other meals we are adding extra veggies to what we would ordinarily have ate. Once again, this is not about perfections. Which brings us to our emotional wellbeing. 

I ask for grace. I know I am not a perfect person, so I must understand that my initiatives will also not be perfect. In the past I have tried to over do it. If 30 minutes is good than 60 minutes is great. I would burn out on what I was doing. Now, I am allowing myself the Grace to do the program as written and not having to over do it or try to out think it. This morning I started the C25K program. This is a running program that gets you from the couch to a 5K in 8-9 weeks. I am using the app by Zenlabs and it works really well. I have not run consistently since April of 2015. This year I am reclaiming that ability. I feel so great and energized after my first time out this morning; why would I not want to continue?! 

Wellness for my spirit is the final area I am working on. This encompasses so much and I feel it really helps with all other areas. I am meditating for 20 minutes every morning. Affording myself grace in the mornings and rewarding myself with beautiful candles that I burn with intention while I am working and while I meditate. The other major self-care item that my husband and I are doing is hiking. Getting out in nature… even though it has still been winter and the cold and snow have to be overcome, we are still doing it. We are still pushing through and getting out there. We hiked about 20 miles in February and now we joined a challenge for Spring that has a goal of 75 miles between March through May. Hiking is amazing for my spirit. I feel the best out among the trees. Also, we are looking forward to spring when the natural world wakes up and comes to life around us. Having the goal of the challenge, friends and my dear sweet husband to march along side me through the snow, has been so inspiring. I feel as if I am coming back to myself. I feel after years of self neglect I am finally learning to lovingly put me first. 

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you find the beauty and healing in caring for yourself. 

Sharing Joy

When I was in Kundalini Yoga teacher training, I had a fellow classmate named Nancy. Nancy was a fascinating woman with a rich background who was always happy to share her knowledge. She had a mantra which was, “Feel joy and share it”. She used it so often that I can still hear her saying it in my head. Nancy has left the physical realm but her mantra lives on.

I can remember her telling stores of people being unkind to her. They were caught up in their everyday reality and just muddling along not thinking how their actions might affect this loving woman. Her response to them was to shout, “Feel joy and share it”. What a lovely response! I can’t think of a better one.

Imagine a world where it becomes everyone’s desire to leave a room happier than it was when they entered it. There is not magic formula for this. It may be smiling at someone, making a light hearted comment, or complimenting a person. If everyone embraced their inner Pollyanna and really looked to see the positives, even in difficult situations, the world could be transformed.

I am asking you to embrace Nancy’s mantra and “Feel Joy and Share It”! Sometimes you will feel anything but joyful. You will need others to bring the joy to you. Other times you will be the deliverer of joy to those who need it. Let’s pick each other up and spread joy all around.

Lessons from a Dandelion

During a recent Shamanic Journey I had the experience of being a Dandelion. I got to experience being in all it’s different phases of life and the non-attachment to how it turned out. It was a beautiful and peaceful experience. I learned so much that I hope to bring forward into my day to day life.

I am a Dandelion with a bright yellow head. The Sun is shining on me. I am blowing gently with the breeze. The Sun comes and the Sun goes. The Moon rises and then disappears behind the horizon. Time passes and I age. I change from having the bright yellow head to a fluffy white head. I am tall and proud but I am changing. The wind blows and my seeds release.

Now I am a seed floating peacefully on the wind. I have no destination. I have no time table to be where I need to be. I have no particular place I need to be. Drifting with the breeze is a beautiful feeling of weightlessness. There is a peacefulness that I can’t seem to describe; just being carried along without a care in the world.

I land in some nice soft soil. Winter comes and I sit beneath the Earth. Blanketed by my Mother Earth. Her protection keeps me safe and nestled away all through the Winter. When Spring comes I can feel the soil heating up. I can feel myself changing and growing. The urge to rise up starts to vibrate within me. I start pushing up, shoving against the dirt. Forcing my way through the soft Spring Earth. I am growing and changing.

I burst forth into the Sun. First my leaves grow to capture the sunlight. Then a tight green head starts to form and it reaches up to the Sun. All at once the green head burst open into yellow happiness. I am growing in a meadow with many of my brother and sisters.

Children come and play here. They giggle and laugh and roll around on us. They pick happy yellow bouquets and proudly present them to their Mothers. The Mammas smile and hug the children and happily accept the bright yellow bunches of happiness. The children make bracelets and necklaces from our bright yellow blooms. They hold us up under each other’s chins to look for our beauty reflected on their skin. It is joyful being a Dandelion.

As I continue to grow in the meadow, Bunnies and Deer come and eat my leaves. They use my nutrients to nourish their nursing babies. I feel purpose that my sacrifice will help others live and thrive. At the end of my life I die. My small plant body decays into the Earth. The trees and grass around me benefit from my death.

I am once again a seed floating on the breeze. There is no stress in being a Dandelion. I am free of any attachment to what happens to me. There is no concern about where I land. It matters not how long my life is. There is no fear if I live or die. When my first yellow head peaked up from the Earth, I smiled at the Sun. As I aged into a white headed elder, I danced in the moonlight. My seeds of wisdom travel far and wide. I will always go on. I am eternal and the seeds I spread will provide joy, nurturing, love, and nourishment too many.

There is no waste in my life. My purpose is to be and I will continue to be. There is no need for worry in the cycles of life.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. I love you!