Tag Archives: health

Work It, Girl…

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A good mom teaches us a lot.  If we’re lucky enough to become moms one day, we realize more and more just how much we learned from her.  In general, moms get a bad rap, held to a much higher standard than anyone else who might enter our lives.  Her missteps are often severely judged, not just in her own mind and heart, but in those of her children.  But for better or worse, she’s the one we turn to most, the one who is always there, a constant gardener in love and care, in her way.

‘Her way’ may not always be something we agree with, but even if she’s made a mistake, we’re going to learn something from it.  She’s human sure, but beyond that, she’s mom, which means she impacts your life in a way like no other.  As we grow and become adults, it’s important to consider her not just as mom, but as a person on her own journey.  Puts a little different perspective on her mistakes, doesn’t it?

Considering her this way should likewise put an improved perspective on her love and constant gardening.  She’s just another human being on a journey, yet she devotes the majority of her thoughts, energies, decisions, and dreams toward your well-being, the epitome of unconditional love.  And though it may not always seem as though her love comes without strings (she actually expects things of you!?!) it ultimately does, because every demand is made with your best interests at heart.  And we cut her some slack, she’s lived longer than we have, she likely knows more than we do about a thing or two, so we try to listen more and judge less.  We have some faith in her love for us.

My mother struggled to raise me on her own, a struggle I’ll never completely understand because I have not had to experience it.  She worked…HARD.  Sometimes more than one job at a time when things were particularly lean or I needed something special for school or sports.  She did what she had to do.  And she made me do.  Whether it was “Go outside and play”, “Get up, you’re going to work with me today, I need help”, “Clean up this room!”, they were each lessons.  She was teaching me about work and life.  She was teaching me what work does for you, how it makes you feel, how to use it to empower and enable good things to happen in your life.  Translation, please?

  1. “Go outside and play” teaches that there is a whole world out there just waiting for you to experience it, but you’ll never encounter its mysteries unless you get up, get on with it, and get out there.
  2. “Get up, you’re going to work with me today, I need help” teaches several lessons.  First lesson: The value of gumption, of getting about the business of living, instead of sleeping it away.  Sleep is necessary of course, but like most things in life, in moderation and good health.  Second lesson: It’s good to help others.  We all need a little help every now and then, but a child who isn’t taught to recognize it and follow through, will never help anyone but themselves.  Third lesson: “You’re going to work with me today” teaches that work is necessary to life.  The perception that work is drudgery, something to be avoided in favor of relaxation, is an incorrect perception.  Actually, work (especially hard work) makes you.  What does this mean?  Work makes you by instilling a sense of confidence in your own abilities.  It teaches self-reliance.  It’s the only thing that helps you understand what being productive feels like; that to endeavor is to burn, to be alive and on fire with activity.  It’s a positive, worth-building thing, and the best thing to keep one depression-free and feeling optimistic. Having goals is necessary.  Without it, we sit static, motionless and helpless in a world that is moving all around us, leaving us behind.  Fourth lesson: By requesting that I go to work with her, she demonstrated a belief in my ability to help.  This is often the first experience a child has that helps them understand they can positively impact others through action.
  1. “Clean up this room!” teaches self respect.  It may seem like a demand, but in reality it’s a request to benefit both of you.  Mom has likely already figured out self respect and she has it, therefore she values her space, which includes the one you occupy.  But she’s also teaching you, because she learned (maybe the hard way) that respecting yourself directly impacts the decisions you make for yourself in life.  Decisions are choices and they ultimately influence life and happiness.  Choice in partner, environment, work place, health, even rest and relaxation, are all governed in some way by self respect.  Without it, we are a punching bag who believes we deserve less, which leads to things like poor performance, pessimism, lethargy, and stress, ultimately things that can have real affect on personal health and wellbeing.  Living in a pigsty translates to believing you deserve to live in a pigsty.  Essentially, think it, believe it, do it.  Believing in yourself, recognizing your value, merit, and goodness means you are less likely to accept less than the very best situation you can create for yourself.  Your environment is a direct reflection of how much you value you.  And beyond its impact on you, any devaluation of life and endeavors, purpose and potential, means you will fail to have a positive impact on others.

Mom lessons extend past instruction, into the realm of behavior.  My mom has always maintained an excellent work ethic.  She’s always doing.  This doesn’t mean she can’t relax or won’t, it means she is on fire with activity.  When she relaxes, she earned it.  This enables her to exhibit an extraordinary generosity and a hopeful, endless love.  Her spirit shines with exuberant energy, resulting in a vigorous, fun-loving attitude that always brings a smile to others.  As a result, she belies her age, often mistaken for being much younger (not a bad thing, right ladies?).  She loves to learn, read, and experience.  I’ve always found much admiration for these things, and I find that in my admiration of them first in her, I now seek them out in others.  More importantly, I seek them out in myself.  I am proud of those aspects of myself that I can directly attribute to her influence.   I am an incredibly hard worker, because I enjoy being productive, endeavoring, living on fire.  I love, appreciate, and respect life.  And each day, I wake with a passion to live that drives me in many different directions at once.  These things and more are the direct result of her impassioned efforts, her love and life lessons.

Thankfully, we never get too old to learn something new.  Work it, girl…work it.  Mom wants you to know YOU ROCK…

🙂

**Image creds go to: http://www.andherlittledogtoo.com**

3 Minute Shower Meditation…

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I haven’t been keeping up with my blog as well as I’d like lately, but our daughter is a senior this year and so the added load of college applications, scholarship searches, and campus open houses is upon us.  Although we’ve been through the senior year routine before, with our son, those of you with children understand every situation is different and presents its own challenges.

In light of these circumstances, I thought it might be nice to blog about a small stress reliever I practice in the hopes you, dear reader, might find some relaxation in it as well.  I find it quite centering…

A lot of people have told me they don’t have time to devote to meditation every day.  But because I believe meditation is very important, this might be worthwhile, because though most of us don’t have time for anything ‘extra’, typically we all shower.  This kills two birds with one stone…enjoy!

Note:  These are tiny movements!  Keep eyes closed for the duration of the meditation and feel the effect of the water on your body….

  1.  After you complete your shower, increase temperature of water to as warm as you can stand and still be comfortable.
  2. Move forward until completely submerged, stand with arms at your sides and close your eyes, concentrate on your breathing.  If face is forward, you should have no trouble breathing through your mouth under shower stream.  Hold about 30 seconds…
  3. Once breathing is steady, begin to move fingertips slowly up the sides of your bodyConcentrate on the feel of your touch, NOT how your body feels to your fingertips.  Give thanks for your living body.  Continue until arms are above head.  Hold about 30 seconds…
  4. With arms overhead, lean back slightly until head and face are clear of water flow and stream is only on your chest.  Give thanks for what this area does for you each day; the heart that pumps your blood, the breath in your lungs, the bones and muscles that support you and give you strength.  Hold about 30 seconds…
  5. Lower arms to your sides.  Lean back until shower stream is only on your abdomen.  Give thanks for what this area does for you each day; the processes and filtrations that make use of the things you take into your body, the miracle of the reproductive system.   The core muscles that support and give strength.  Hold about 30 seconds…
  6. Turn, face away from the shower streamExtend arms out in front of you and support yourself against the shower wall (if shower is too large, use hands on hips).  Posture should resemble a standing wall pushup.  Spread feet shoulder width apart, bend slightly at the hip until you feel the stream only on your lower backLet your abdomen release.  Feel the soothing warmth of the stream on your lower back.  Hold about 30 seconds….
  7. Maintain posture in slight bent position.  Now begin to slowly move upper body backward and forward, feeling stream move up and down your entire back.  Think of a tree in a gentle breeze.  Give thanks for your back; its ability to bend and straighten, giving you strength and support.  Continue for about 30 seconds…
  8. Straighten and turn to face shower streamSubmerge entirelyMove only your head using a long, slow up and down ‘yes’ motion.  As you do, feel the water moving over your face in a line from neck to top of head.  As your head moves down, imagine the line is removing negative thoughts, while as your head moves up your mind is opening to all of the potential contained within the universe.  Give thanks for the miracle of your mind, thought, and its power to heal.  Give thanks for your face and its ability to reveal your goodness to others.  Repeat for about 30 seconds…
  9. Facing forward as you started, step back out of shower stream, stand with arms at your sides and open your eyes.  You should feel a sense of center, calm, and rejuvenation!  🙂

Fear SUCKS…

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If we sit around waiting for ‘others to change’ or ‘things to change’, or ‘a sign’, the end result will be inactivity and regret. This type of personal dialogue shares a single commonality, fear. And fear is the absolute opposite of faith.
Fear on its own is not always a bad thing. Some fear is even helpful, such as pulling your hand back from a hot stove or avoiding a suspicious looking snake. But more importantly, fears are learned behaviors. Likely, we learned not to touch a hot stove by being burned, or not to mess with snakes because someone taught us they were dangerous. Through our natural aversion to pain, we learn to avoid things that hurt us, as well as those we believe possess the potential to hurt us. This is a key point, because anything learned has the potential to be unlearned. It is important to consider this when examining the difference between fear and faith, in relationship to action.
If we are afraid to make a decision (to act), it is because we know we cannot predict its outcome or consequence. They are ‘unknowns’. Now consider for a moment that fear of an unknown is irrational, because it possesses equal potential for good and bad. Therefore, it is irrational to fear what is not known, because that fear stems from a fabricated rationale, the result of our own construction.
When we are presented with something we haven’t previously encountered, we draw conclusions through comparison. In the case of fear, we draw conclusions based on comparing unknown things to things we know to be harmful or potentially harmful, thereby allowing the unknown to be relabeled as ‘known’, or the irrational, as ‘rational’. By this process, we ‘know’ and we can realize the ‘benefits’ of rationalization to justify our fear and inaction, so we don’t have to risk the unknown… the gamble… which works great…until we begin to regret. Regret follows fear-based inaction, because fear prevents us from living fully by imprisoning and paralyzing us from accepting possibility, potential, and growth to enter our lives. Fear is stagnating…it is death. Faith, in contrast, is informed, but willing. Alive with potentiality that opens us to all possibility by denying fear the power to compel irrational, unfounded decisions.
Fearful living does not prevent bad things from happening to us. We cannot absolutely control, predict, manipulate, or will things into being. Unfortunately, we keep trying, because every now and then we have some success with the predictions, our manipulations. Those little ‘successes’ only serve to support our delusions and lend credence to our belief that our fears are warranted. This in turn, prompts us to apply them to every other situation causing a similar fear response.
The good news is as previously stated; learned can be unlearned. A propensity to fear is not easily conquered, but absolutely possible. Past does not have to dictate future. Let every new, unknown situation present itself as a challenge…a curiosity…a chance to choose faithfulness over fear 🙂

Kindness…it’s what’s for breakfast…

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Blog 9 PicI’ve always liked the phrase ‘you get what you give’, but there’s a kink…

You don’t always get what you give when it comes to kindness.  Ouch.  I just ripped that statement off like a Band-Aid…

No worries, there’s a silver lining…it doesn’t have to impact you in a negative way.

Is it frustrating to be treated like crap when you’re being kind to someone?  Are there times when it feels as though there is a complete lack of justice in the world, especially when some seem to make it their life’s mission to make other people miserable by being mean, rude, or uncompassionate?

When our frustration stems from the inability of another person to return our kindness, than our kindness wasn’t given freely.  It came with strings attached…strings of expectation.  In fact, those individuals necessitate greater compassion, rather than frustration.  It is incredibly sad when a fellow human being doesn’t have the capability to receive kindness.

Damage manifests many ways and although we are all damaged goods to varying degrees and crossroads, we are also each on a unique journey of learning and healing.  There is no certain formula for the amount of time or circumstance required for a person to heal, to be healthy.  Unfortunately, some damage runs too deep; intersections with connections never made, when a lifetime isn’t enough time to fix all the issues.  This kind of hurt continues to haunt and spread pain.  Healing is as complex and unique as a fingerprint.

Motivations for kindness are the key.  Kindness isn’t something we give because we expect people to return it by treating us the same way.  Kindness isn’t for show or a method for getting into Heaven.  Kindness is just because.  Because a kind person is the type of person we choose to be, regardless of circumstance.  We strive to say with honesty that we treat everyone with kindness not because it makes us better than someone else, but just because it is in our power to do so; because we choose to put kindness out into the universe, just because we believe kindness matters.

A truly kind spirit is one that cares, loves, nurtures, and chooses to propagate kindness just because.  Kindness is its own hope, with the capacity to soak into souls like a summer rain into parched earth.  Let’s do ourselves and the world a favor and be a source of expectation-less kindness…

🙂

*image courtesy of: http://headlinebistro.typepad.com/.a/6a00e553f9f2f388340133f4d5a2f1970b-pi *

‘Better’ is Always a Possibility…

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Blog5 ImageLiving well and being grateful for our journey is a constant process of change and growth.  Changing our thinking will change our world, but it is up to each individual whether that change works toward their betterment or detriment.

It is helpful to recognize ourselves as beings that are in constant transformation.  Transformation occurs unscripted, so while it is certainty that it will occur, how it occurs is up to each of us.  Choose well, live well.  Improvement = happiness.  With this line of thought, change is not scary, it is renewing and hopeful   🙂

Individually of course we are accountable for our thoughts, reactions, and the navigational choices of our journey.  We impact one another through the collision of individual choice, which in turn creates greater ripples of change that transcend time in ways we could never have fathomed.  In this, there is a level of responsibility to our fellow man to individually strive to be better than we were yesterday, to improve the world during our short time, rather than leave it worse than when we arrived on the day of our birth.

So…..

If you are abusing yourself, STOP.  Stop it…  In everything be grateful, because we cannot know the possibility and potential of everything.  Abusing ourselves is neither gracious nor grateful; it denies us a life well-lived.  It kills happiness.  SO STOP IT, because it is in your power to do so…tell yourself a different story of you.  Empower yourself as you would empower a friend   🙂

Be kind.  Kindness never hurts, destroys, or causes pain.  It adds to the world and to your life.  There is never reason or cause to be unkind   🙂

Never be the victim.  Unhappiness is a self-chosen reaction and state of being, and it breeds unhappiness in others.  No one can force us to feel.  Therefore, other people are not capable of making us unhappy.  We may be disappointed, hurt, or suffering, but we choose to be unhappy.  In this way, we negotiate our own happiness or unhappiness   🙂

Love honestly, freely, and unconditionally.  You get what you give, so give love away without expectation of its return or reception.  Love is the ultimate renewable resource; we can give it as often as we like and never run out   🙂

Potentiality exists in equal measure, good and bad.  Focus only on that which nurtures and grows, the good.  Ridding our vocabulary of negative potentiality automatically increases mood and outlook.  And research has shown that speech and thought patterns are intimately linked to outcome, so we should endeavor to fill our minds and the universe with the good stuff   🙂

Be honest.  If you hurt someone, apologize.  If you hurt yourself, apologize.  Don’t lie in an effort to avoid taking responsibility.  Learn, forgive, and move forward with love and strength   🙂

We should not be reluctant to admit our faults.  Only by acknowledging them can we ever hope to improve.  Do not repeat behavior you are working to stop.  Do not focus on the faults of others; it is unproductive and repetitively hurtful   🙂

Do not be fearful, be courageous.  Fear is paralyzing.  The outcome of fear is regret.  Put the act of attempting the things you fear into practice; if you fear it, do it.  Forward motion exists even in the smallest step, so be brave and it will eventually become habit   🙂

Suffering is a matter of perception.  Suffering exists in all forms, physical, emotional, and mental, but the degree to which it influences our life is completely up to us.  You will fall down, but get back up.  Do not give power away to things like suffering and fear.  In its own way, suffering is a force for good.  Through our suffering we are presented with a greater appreciation for life   🙂

Monitor expectation.  When we attach an expectation to a moment, an event, or a person, we are setting up disappointment.  The world is a dynamic place, so why believe we have the kind of control necessary to expect a particular outcome?  Most frustration, hurt, and disappointment is directly connected to an expectation we placed on a particular outcome.  In all things be hopeful; be optimistic, but never expectant   🙂

Laziness denies you the personal fulfillment of a job well-done.  Do the work; each time better than the time before.  Living better and being better is literally, always, a small change away…

🙂