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Mar
23
Lynn Greene
How I Helped Myself Feel More Beautiful Every Day
Fashion & Beauty, Spirituality
0
feeling beautiful

As I have aged there have been many emotions regarding beauty and self esteem, ranging from loss to freedom. Once I hit 45 there was a whole new journey. My beauty self esteem was based on what I looked like when I was 20 and it was not serving its purpose anymore. Along my journey I learned a few things… I’m sharing in the hope that they may help you to re-evaluate your beauty self esteem and launch into every day feeling fabulous.

Your Beliefs: How do you define your self image?

Defining your own self image can be much more powerful than simply placing value on what society believes to be beautiful. Write down three aspects of your personality that make you smile — that really make your heart sing with happiness. This will help you remember that physical beauty is only one aspect of our attractiveness…. Hold your head high and cherish your amazing personality traits.

Learn to Love Your Imperfection

Each of us has flaws. The sooner we realize that everyone has flaws the easier it gets. How boring would it be if we all looked alike every single day of the year? It is our diversity (aka flaws) that make life interesting. Struggling with this thought? Choose one physical facet of yourself that you adore. Now comes the fun part, say something complimentary about this feature. For example, I might say: “My red hair is stunning.”

Put the Self Critic in a Box (Don’t let her out!)

Beating ourselves up won’t help us accomplish anything. The person you spend the most time with is yourself. Start treating yourself like a loved one. Step in front of a mirror and notice what you say to yourself. Are you kind and complimentary? Mean? Just start with observing where your thoughts go. After two or three days of this exercise, step it up a notch and treat yourself to at least one nice thought. I always ask myself, “What is working?” My answers might be my hair, my teeth, or my outfit.

These cognitive behavior techniques helped me learn to love my 45-year-old body. It did not happen overnight but gradually I found I was more mindful of my thoughts and I became more loving of my current self. The more I accepted myself, the greater my long-term self-confidence and beauty self-esteem rose, which in turn increased my happiness.

We all deserve to feel fabulous! Let me know if any of these techniques work for you.

Mar
21
Haralee
My Favorite Holiday, Purim!
Home & Garden, Spirituality
0
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Purim

Hamentash2Purim for kids is like Jewish Halloween/Mardi Gras. Kids dress up in costumes, usually limited to just a few options and there is a parade and noisemakers, (groggers) and cheering, jeering and eating.

Of course there is a certain food that accompanies the holiday, hamantashen. Hamantashen happens to be one of my very favorite cookies. I fill mine with ‘mon’ that is German for poppy seed.

The Holiday of Purim found in the Book of Esther and the reading of the whole Megillah make a religious service in synagogue not scholarly and solemn but a whole lot of fun! If you don’t enjoy watching the 3-10 year old set and noisy events, stay home, otherwise head for your local synagogue for Prim.

Every time the name of the villain, Hamen, is read, the audience is encouraged to drown out the sound of his name with noisemakers and jeers. Pretty fun? You bet it is.

Most girls dress up as Queen Esther, one of the heroes of the story. As a little girl this is very cool! You can read about the story of Purim if you are not familiar with what happened in the 4th century BCE, here:

http://www.chabad.org/holidays/purim/article_cdo/aid/645309/jewish/What-Is-Purim.htm

After all the cheering, and jeering, the eating of hamantashen begins. Many bakeries make hamantashen with apricot filling or raspberry jam filling. I am a traditionalist when it comes to hamantashen and only poppy seed will do for me.

So this week, Wednesday night March 23 and Thursday March 24th, celebrate the Holiday of Purim with this tasty treat.

Here is my recipe:Poppy Seed Hamentash

8-ounces butter

1-Cup Sugar

2 eggs

½ Cup Orange Juice

½ tsp. Vanilla

3 – 4 Cups Flour

1 T Baking Powder

2 cans of Solo Poppy Seed

Beat the first 3 ingredients. Alternate adding the flour and Baking Powder and Vanilla with the OJ. Dough should be able to roll out on floured board. Cut in circles.

Place 1 teaspoon of poppy seed filling in each round. Fold sides up to make a triangle. Place on greased cookie sheet.

Bake 350, 15-20 minutes until just barely lightly brown on the bottom.

Makes about 4 dozen.

Mar
21
Flower Bear
Straining to Grow: Sometimes “trying” just sets us back
Other Topics, Spirituality
2
Straining to grow

 

This time of the year is always difficult for me. I begin seeing the first shoots of the daffodils and crocus starting to push through the dirt and I get the urge to haul out all of my gardening paraphernalia and get moving. I want to clear away all of the dead branches, the fallen leaves and the dead foliage from last year and start preparing beds for their new plants … and then I have to stop myself. I have lived up in these parts long enough to know that just because we’ve had a few warm days and the green is starting to return in tiny increments, it doesn’t mean that it is time to garden. I would be surprised if we did not yet get hit with some snow or a late frost. Doing all of that clearing would take away any protection the plants beneath would have against such a drastic weather change, and delicate new plants would hardly survive.  Even though I am straining at the bit (to borrow a little horse wisdom) to get the gardening season underway, wisdom and experience tell me that by being patient, watching the weather and starting slowly, the end result will be well worth waiting for.

It is natural to get excited when we are hit with the creative urge, or when a new idea takes hold. We want to jump in with both feet and “get it done.” However, sometimes by pushing and forcing our will on the project because of our attachment to the outcome, we are unhappy with the final results. Last month when we looked at the Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra, he reminded us that: “Grass doesn’t try to grow, it just grows … Flowers don’t try to bloom, they bloom.” When we calm down, sit back and sense where our idea or project wants to go, and then take one small step in that direction, we will be lead naturally and without strain to the next step, and the next, and the next. It is in our detachment to a specific outcome, and our allowing for the infinity of possibility to open up to us, that we not only end up with a much better outcome than we could have imagined, but we find that we have enjoyed the journey even more.

So yesterday on the first day of Spring, while the sun was shinning but the wind was still blowing cold, I walked around the garden beds and started making a list of what I could do now, and what I would hold off doing until later. Then I took myself back inside to sit by a window and watch the robins, back from their winter vacation, pecking at the bread crumbs I’d left them while I sat in silence to see what message from my gardening muse might be trying to surface – but I left my gardening work gloves out, just in case!

And so it is.

Mar
7
Flower Bear
Making Our Own Music: The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success – Week Seven
Other Topics, Spirituality
0
7 laws of success

Image result for free images of a flute

“When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music.”

Kahlil Gibran

he seventh, and final, spiritual law of success is the Law of Dharma. The Law of Dharma states:
Everyone has a purpose in life … a unique gift or special talent to give to others. 
And when we blend this unique talent with service to others, we experience the ecstasy and exultation of our own spirit, which is the ultimate goal of all goals. 
 
You have a gift. I have a gift. Each and every one of us has a gift, a talent, something we can do that no one else can do exactly the same way that we can. It is why we are here. It is what we were put on this physical plane to do. It is that one thing that, when you are doing it, time passes without your notice and the Universe speaks to you in a way that only you can hear.
I would be willing to bet that the most asked question on the face of the earth is: “Why am I here?” You are here to fulfill your purpose. Which, of course, is followed by, “But what is my purpose?” There are three tools you can use to find the answers to your questions:
1. Finding our true self – inside each and every one of us is “a god or goddess in embryo that wants to be born to express our divinity.” The best way to do this is through prayer and meditation. There is a reason why just about everywhere you turn you are hearing people praising the rewards of meditation: it works. When you sit in the stillness and silence of your innermost soul, and listen for the answer to your questions, in time, they come. I start my meditation every morning by asking the three soul questions: Who am I? What do I want? What is my purpose? Sometimes I only get one answer. Sometimes I don’t get one at all. What I do get is clarity. When I let go of the past and the worries of the future, the present moment opens up to me in all its infinite possibilities. In that moment, I can be anything and I can do anything.
2. Find what makes your heart sing – as the opening quote from Kahlil Gibran tells us, we are the flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music. What makes your heart sing? Is it being out of doors in nature? Is it playing a beautiful piece of music or, even better, composing it? Is it putting words to paper and expressing the dreams and desires we all share? Is it caring for children? What do you do that makes the hours fly by? Make a list of those things and keep it handy because we will use it to address our third tool.
3. How can I serve – How can I take something from my list, infuse it with my own brand of spirituality, and use it to serve others? How can I make a difference in even one person’s life? It can be anything as simple as smiling at everyone you encounter during the day, or holding a door for someone, all the way to using your time and talents to save the planet, the animals, the children, or to lift someones spirit and help them to soar.
When you can put the answers to these three questions together, you will have found your dharma. Then you can live each and every day with purpose, clarity and joy. As dear Dr. Wayne Dyer was always fond of saying, the only thing we can do with our lives is to give it away. Find a way to serve.
How will you make your own music today?
And so it is.
Note: My sincere thanks to Deepak Chopra for writing The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success and sharing your own gifts with the world. You are surely living your dharma. 

Mar
2
Lynn Greene
My New Meditation Craft: Mandala Rocks
Home & Garden, Spirituality
3
mandala stones 2

Over the years I have tried every craft imaginable. Some crafts are more time consuming that others, ie knitting, needle point and painting. I have found a new love! Mandala Rocks.

Mandalas are Hindu or Buddhist graphic symbols of the universe. They consist of a circle enclosing a square with a deity on each side that is used chiefly as an aid to meditation.

What I love about this craft is that you can finish a stone in an hour. The practice of designing and completing your stone is meditative. While painting, you have to concentrate and there is a rhythm when you begin working.

Supplies Needed

  • Tiny paint brushes with made with synthetic fibers(holds up better while dotting)
  • Dotting tools – they are small metal tips that allow you to have consist dots.
  • Stones – flat and round are best, 2-4″ in diameter.
  • Paint

Tools like these help create consistency in your designs.

Here are a few examples to get your creative juices flowing:

mandala stones 2mandala stone 1 mandala 3

Colorful Crafts has a great step-by-step tutorial for creating Mandala rocks. Let me know if you try it!

Feb
29
Flower Bear
Law of Detachment: The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success Week 6
Other Topics, Spirituality
0
The Law of Detachment

The Sixth of the Seven Spiritual Laws of Success is the Law of Detachment.

In detachment lies the wisdom of uncertainty …” – Deepak Chopra

Wisdom in uncertainty? How can that be?

We touched on the idea of detachment a bit last week. This week we take a closer look.

The quote above refers to the fact that by allowing ourselves to dwell in uncertainty, we are free from the things in our past that tie us to fear in moving forward. When we open ourselves up to uncertainty, those things have no hold over us and we are free to move into the realm of infinite possibility where we can manifest anything.

“Easier said than done,” you might say, and you’d be right. Attachment is based on fear and insecurity. We all want to feel safe, and the idea that fear of the unknown is more scary than fear of the known is a trap we all fall into. We may not like it where we are, but what if what is ahead of us is worse? Better the devil that you know than the one you don’t right? Wrong! With the Law of Detachment, when we step into the field of uncertainty, we get to choose. We get to set our intention, fuel it with desire, and then send it out into the Universe to bring us all kinds of choices and opportunities to manifest our dreams.

One of the hardest parts of using this law is the idea that if we want to be free to make our own choices, we have to be willing to let others do the same. We cannot deny others the right to change and grow just to make our own change and growth easier, for that is also a form of attachment. Moving into uncertainty means giving others the freedom to do the same. If you love them, you have to let them go on their own journey of discovery just as you go on your own.

Here are three ways you can put the Law of Detachment to work in your life:

1. Allow yourself and others the freedom to be who they are. Do not seek to force your solutions and ideas on your own problems or theirs for that is only creating more problems.

2. Let go of the idea of having to be certain. Do not let fear and insecurity keep you from the totality of possibility. When seeking a solution or a desire to manifest something, factor uncertainty into the equation.

3. Let yourself get excited about being uncertain instead of being afraid of it. Turn it into an adventure! See where being open and not locked into a particular outcome can lead you!

Like looking for buried treasure, the Law of Detachment can take you on a journey of fun, excitement and magic, and who couldn’t do with a little fun and magic in their lives?

And so it is.

Feb
22
Flower Bear
Wishing and Hoping – The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Week 5: The Law of Intention and Desire
Other Topics, Spirituality
1
The Law of Intention and Desire

” Inherent in every intention and desire is the mechanics for its fulfillment … intention and desire in the field of pure potentiality have infinite organizing power.” Deepak Chopra

The 5th of the Seven Spiritual Laws of Success is the Law of Intention and Desire.

When we desire something, we usually have a specific outcome in mind. I “want” a new job, I “want” that amount of money, I “want” the perfect relationship. But desire without intent is weak because by locking our sights on a specific outcome, we rob ourselves of the infinite number of other possibilities that are out there. There could very well be something even better in the field of pure potentiality. Intention is the power behind desire. Intention is desire without being attached to a specific outcome. We are then open to the millions of possible outcomes that are out there just waiting for us. Once we state our intention, born out of our desire, and then put our attention on it, the Laws of the Universe will find its matching energy and send it to you.

In 1992, I found my perfect, happy home, the first place that had felt like my true home in my entire life up to that point. I spent 8 very happy years there. Then economics forced me to move closer to where the jobs were. I was suffering both physically and financially from the expense, wear and tear of a 50 mile round trip drive to work 5 days a week over often treacherous winter roads. For the next 15 years I swore that I would find a way to move back home again. I could see the town in my mind’s eye, could see the little streets, the open fields outside of town, the blueberry farm and the maple trees. Most of all, I saw the house I’d had to leave and could not get that particular house out of my mind. In 2014, after fracturing my hip and leg on a poorly patched city street and being confined to my 3rd floor walk-up apartment for 8 weeks, I sat in my kitchen and cried out, “I just want to go home. I don’t care how. I just want to go home.” Not more than a month later, the people I had rented my former home from, who had sold the house and moved away only to return, had purchased another house 2.5 miles outside of town and had a ground floor apartment for rent … right up the hill from the blueberry farm. It was not in town where I had originally wanted to be, but it was home. I have been here just a little over a  year and, as Joseph Campbell would say, I have found my bliss. Once I gave up my attachment to having to move back to a particular house on a particular street, the Universe led me home.

Here are three steps you can take to implement the Law of Intention and Desire:

1. Make a list of your intentions and desires. Carry it around with you. Set aside some time each day to go into the stillness and silence where you can focus your attention on your list.

2. Release your list to the Universe and trust that it has a plan for you in keeping with what you desire. Let go of any attachment to a specific outcome.

3. Practice present moment awareness each and every day. Refuse to allow obstacles and challenges from taking your attention away from present moment awareness because it is in that precious, present moment that your desires and intentions will manifest. If your attention is elsewhere, you may miss a golden opportunity.

This morning as I looked out of my window to greet the day, I was blessed with the presence of some badly needed sunshine and blue skies. Even though the temperature was still a chilly 28, the snow that had all melted on Saturday was gone and even the birds seemed to be happier with all of their soaring and singing in the sun. I’m setting my intention for the Ground Hog to be right this year and for spring to come early. How about you? What are you setting your intention for?

And so it is.

Feb
18
Charmaine Coimbra
A Silent Retreat to Enable Life’s Mission
Spirituality
5
New Camaldoli Hermitage

Silent Retreat

 

It’s not the Esalen Institute. It is definitely not a Ritz-Carlton, yet the New Camaldoli Hermitage is heaven on earth for those seeking a retreat lush in silence and contemplation.

Perched above Lucia in Big Sur, about an hour north of Cambria, sits the hospitable hermitage — a type of monastery — where Camadolese Benedictine monks live in solitude, prayer and work. You and I are invited to partake. The hermitage offers rooms for those who feel it is time to live and breathe in silence and contemplation.

I fully expect 2016 to be a busy year. So I designated January with a self-imposed 30 Mindful Days project. The fitting end of the 30 days was two nights and days at the hermitage. The goal was to summarize my 30 mindful days — days where I limited my social life, consumed books, scribed my thoughts, and cleared my mind. It was an imperfect experiment. The final retreat, however, fulfilled my purpose.

The monks welcome retreatants from all walks of life and faith but insist that silence is the golden rule — except in the bookstore, and if one chooses to walk with another along the two-mile road that winds its way to the property from Highway  1.

For about $130 a night, my room was sparse, with a toilet and sink, and a private garden that overlooked the Pacific Ocean. The price included three vegetarian meals a day. The unspoken benefit was exactly that — no speaking.

When I arrived, an overwhelming emotion swelled like the stormy sea below, and brought me to tears. I stood in my room (one of nine rooms linked to a communal kitchen, two private showers, and a borrowing library), and I gazed out the window while the sun transformed the sky into 50 shades of gold. A forlorn manuscript in a three-ring binder, that I hoped to finish, along with a stack of three books, seemed to stare back at me and ask, “Now what?”

In truth, I had no agenda or concept of what would happen during this stay. But I did know that my iPhone and computer were without cell or Internet, there was no television or radio — and definitely no talking to other retreatants.

The literature on the desk invited me to attend the monks’ liturgies, which begin at 5:30 a.m. and run throughout the day, ending at 6 p.m. followed by a half-hour meditation. The literature also noted that spiritual counseling was available.

I was drawn to the 5:30 a.m. vigils. The candle ceremony and procession, followed by sung prayer and recitation resonated with inspiration in the architecturally spare chapel. The sun was yet to rise at the conclusion of morning vigils. It set a perfect tone for a day of solitude. In fact, I so loved the silence and the freedom to contemplate without fear of interruption, that I skipped the midday Mass, which, I was told, is a must-do for its particular style of prayer. But I did close out my day with evening vespers followed by a meditation. The experience was so energizing that I read for hours and way past my usual bedtime.

I’m not spiritually conflicted, nor is my life in a knot. But as one who writes, therein is my dilemma — so many words to share; so little time. Where do I focus these words? So I requested spiritual counsel.

My counselor, in his cream-colored, hooded robes of a Camaldolese monk greeted me and gently grasped my hands. Again, I fell into tears and began to shake. My guess is that he expected me to seek counsel for some horrible life event or experience. When I explained the reason for my emotions and what I sought in counsel, it was as if he rejoiced in discussing the state of our world, our spirituality, creativity, and our place in the universe. His advice didn’t surprise me, but I needed to hear it from an objective and learned voice.

My 30 Mindful Days project was finally wrapped and handed to me as a most priceless gift.

And with that, I shall take on 2016 and speak truth to power and better understand my life’s mission.

Additional information about the New Camaldoli Hermitage retreats is available at www.contemplation.com, or by calling (831) 667-2456.

Feb
8
Flower Bear
Sowing and Reaping: The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success – Week Three – the Law of Karma
Other Topics, Spirituality
2
The law of karma

The Third Spiritual Law of Success is the Law of Karma, or Cause and Effect.

We’ve all heard the expressions, “What you sow, you reap,” or, “What goes around comes around.” The Law of Karma tells us that for every action there is a reaction. Or, as the great teacher Swami Vivekananda teaches: “… Our thoughts, our words and deeds are the threads of the net which we throw around ourselves.”

When we are asked to make a choice, often the first thing we ask ourselves is, “What’s in it for me?” We don’t always stop and consider whether this is the best choice, not only for ourselves, but for any others who might also be affected by our decision. We also don’t always listen to our intuition when we feel that little tug that is telling us we should stop and reconsider our choice. We let others, our culture, our peer group, tell us that to be one of the crowd we have to follow along with society’s choices. Most of the time we are making our choices unconsciously. We’ve programmed ourselves to react like Pavlov’s dog to the sound of the dinner bell. Then we wonder why we don’t feel happy with the outcome, or find ourselves on the receiving end of a bad feeling or situation. Sometimes someone else is negatively affected by a choice that we have made without considering others in the decision making process.  This is the Law of Karma. For every choice we make, consciously or unconsciously, there is a result.

So, how can we make better choices? By taking the whole process from the unconscious to the conscious realm and becoming a witness to our choices. In this way we empower ourselves to make the best choices we possibly can and harm no one else as well.

The first thing we need to do when making a choice is to step back and actually witness our options. There is always more than one choice in any situation even when you think there is no way out. There is an infinity of choices available to us in every moment and we have only to slow down and be open to them. As you consider a choice, ask yourself: “What are the consequences for myself and others if I choose this action?” If the consequences bring no harm to you or others, move on to the second question: “Will this action bring happiness and/or fulfillment to me and others who may be affected by this choice?” Finally, check in with your body and ask yourself how this choice makes you feel. Do you feel happy, elated, content, peaceful? Or do you feel uncomfortable, unsure, agitated or have that knot-in-the-stomach reaction? At our very core is that place that knows what the right decision is in any given situation. Trust it. It’s there for a reason, to guide and protect you.

In the beginning, you may find it difficult to catch yourself every time you make a choice. It took us a long time to allow ourselves to be on automatic pilot and it will take some time to take back control of the decision-making process, but if we make a commitment to train ourselves to be a witness to our choices,our lives will feel more peaceful and in harmony with the people and the world around us. Then we will find that the fruits of our karma are happiness and success.

And so it is.

Feb
2
Liz Kitchens
Fiesta Ware: The Ultimate Color Coach
Other Topics, Spirituality
2
Fiesta Ware

The title of my blog is Be Brave. Lose the Beige. While my blog is not just about color (although most men who hear the title of my blog think it’s about make-up or fashion), I am pretty crazy about colors…all colors, the more the better. So it may not come as a surprise that I love Fiesta Ware. Fiesta Ware is a line of dinnerware in a rainbow of colors, which flooded into homes during the Great Depression.  In 1936, William Wells thought America’s spirits needed a boost.  He went to his designers and said, “This is what’s going to be good for the Depression:  People need to brighten up their table, people need something to be happy about.”  And that is how Fiesta got started. (A wonderful episode of CBS Sunday Morning detailed the history of this company. Click here to see the episode.Fiesta Ware

I stumbled upon a set of authentic Fiesta Ware at a recent yard sale. I was thrilled, and amassed a collection of plates, bowls, and mugs in vibrant saturated multi-colors.

garage sale fiesta ware

garage sale fiesta ware

There was such abundance I bought cups and saucers for my daughter, mugs and bowls for my son and his wife. It was s much fun. The most fun of all, however, occurred when my granddaughter and I unwrapped our colorful booty. “Blue”, “yellow”, “green” I would say as she studied each new find. I was struck thinking how not only is Fiesta Ware a highly useful cupboard item but an excellent way to introduce our one-year-old to colors. Of course teaching my granddaughter about color is a role I gladly take on. I’m just happy Fiesta Ware is still around to help with the tutorial. grandchild

Jan
25
Flower Bear
“What If?” The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: Week One
Other Topics, Spirituality
0
The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra

 

Since the beginning of the new year, I have decided to pull out a book that I have worked with in the past and make it a part my daily practice again. The book is, “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success” by Deepak Chopra. In it he lays out seven spiritual laws, one for each day of the week, that guide us through those things that are stopping us from living the life of our dreams, and fulfilling our purpose. I read one a day, but I thought it would be fun to take one each week for the next seven weeks and explore how each one can move our lives from where they are to where we aspire to be.

The First Spiritual Law of Success is the Law of Pure Potentiality. Did it ever occur to you that everything we see in the physical world came from someone asking themselves the question : “What if? ” What if I could harness the power of an electrical storm and create electricity? What if I could invent a way for people to talk to each other over long distances? What if I could find a cure for polio? In the Law of Pure Potentiality we learn that everything in the Universe came from pure, consciousness … “pure potentiality seeking expression from the unmanifest to the manifest.”

Consider this: There is never only one way to do something or create something. If that were the case, we’d all be living in the same types of housing, driving the same types of cars, and eating the exact same kind of food. But we don’t. There is an unlimited number of possibilities of how we can do something, or how, if we don’t like what we do have, we can make something better.

Take me, for example. I grew up in the era where good girls went to school, got a job out of high school, got married, had kids, etc, etc etc – you know the drill. Then some people came along and said, “not necessarily.” People like Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan opened our eyes to other possibilities, and gave us the tools we needed to be the creators of our own lives.

Here is another example. I am a writer. I have wanted to be a writer from the time I was 5 years old. However, even though I “moved around the edges” of being a writer, like writing copy for someone else, or doing a company newsletter, I firmly believed that real writers were the ones that had books sitting on book shelves in bookstores with their names on the spine and great reviews. I depended on some lowly junior editor somewhere to decide if my work was worth of being published. For all I knew, they were having a really bad day and I reminded them of their mother (who was the cause of their bad day). I gave my power to someone else. Then came the Internet and the world of self-publishing. At the age of 63 I started writing a blog, which became an ebook, which inspired a second ebook. The potential for me to be a writer, and call myself a writer, was always there. Someone had to ask the question: “What if we created a place where people can publish their own work without depending on the whims of the traditional publishing houses?” The potential was always there for that, too. Someone just had to first ask “What if?”

So how do we come up with those “What If?” ideas? We have to connect to our most authentic selves, that place of stillness and silence where we can hear our thoughts and the whispers of our souls. Yes, I’m talking about meditation. I am a firm believer in the powerful way that mediation can change our lives, and living proof that anybody can do it. It doesn’t require special training, or equipment, or going to India to live in an ashram. What it does require is that we find the space and time to sit quietly, focus on the our breath flowing in and out, and, simply listen. Start with 10 minutes in the morning, right after you get up. Your mind is fresh from sleep and open. Ideally, see if you can work your way up to 30 minutes, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. However, the 5 or 10 minutes you do will certainly serve you better than the 30 minutes that you don’t do. If you go to the Chopra website, you can find dozens of guided meditations you can download. You can also go to Davidji.com which is the website of the meditation teacher I currently follow and who taught me that you can meditate any time, anywhere. By the way, it took less than a year from the time I sat back down and committed to a daily meditation practice, to the time I started my blog and began to call myself a writer.

Another way to connect to your spirit is to spend some time in nature. It can be a few minutes walking outside, watching birds fly overhead, sitting and listening to the rain, or anything that brings you in physical and spiritual contact with the natural world.

Finally, tell yourself that for a specific amount of time, you are not going to judge anything or anyone. Yes, I know, that can be extremely difficult given the shape of the world today, but being judgemental clouds that connection between ourselves and our Source of Inspiration. Non-judgement creates silence in your mind, especially if the one you are judging is yourself. No one is perfect. Everyone is doing the best they can, from where they are, and with what they have. So are you. I don’t suggest that you try this for a whole day at first. Try it for half the day, say from breakfast until lunch. Then check back in with yourself to see how you’re doing. You can then give yourself from lunch until dinner, or until bedtime. Slowly work yourself up to a whole day and see what happens.

Every day, when I sit down at my desk to write, I look up at a sign that is hanging over it: “I live and dwell in the totality of possibility.” What can’t I do with an affirmation like that? More importantly, what can you do with it? I’d love to hear what you create. If you dream it, you can create it, guaranteed!

And so it is.

Jan
18
Flower Bear
Standing In Our Power
Spirituality
0
Boomer standing in our power

” On a buffety, blustery early summer day, when the news was bad and the sky turned yellow, a strange thing happened in the town where I live.”

So begins the story of one woman who felt the need to make a difference in the world, to take a stand for what she believed in. The story is contained in a story book for adults called, “The Great Silent Grandmother Gathering,” by Sharon Mehdi. I first became aware of this book while sitting at work several years ago listening to a program on NPR radio as I entered endless pages of numbers into my computer. I was especially taken with the sub-title of the book: “A story for anyone who thinks she can’t save the world.” I won’t go into the entire story because that would spoil the fun of reading it for yourself, and read it you should. The lesson contained within it’s small covers had an unexpected and undeniable effect on me and how I live my life today. In a nutshell, someone’s Grandmother decides that she is going to “stand for peace,” and that is exactly what she does – she “stands” for peace. There is no noise, no protesting out loud, no chants and slogans, just one determined Grandmother standing up for what she believed in. What happens as a result of the belief that one woman, and an old woman at that, can change the world, even for one day, is a testament not only to the human spirit, but to the belief that anything is possible.

The idea that we are all capable of making lasting change in the world is a subject I am passionate about, especially as it pertains to the role of women of the Boomer Generation, who cut their youthful teeth on change and were in the forefront of social and national change in the 60’s,70’s and 80’s(see my ebook, “Song Of An Extraordinary Life” available on Amazon).

Today we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King and the legacy he left us. Of all the things I learned from him, learning to stand in my own power was probably the most important and one that has stayed with me these many years. I grew up in New York City. I attended public school in Queens where we shared our classrooms with children of all races, religions and ethnic backgrounds. It was just accepted. New York City was the shining example of The Great Melting Pot. Our friendships were never divided by race. That idea was severely put to the test as the Civil Rights Movement gained momentum. Suddenly it was not okay to have a friend of a different color. Our parents asked us not to bring “them” home from school because they were worried about what the neighbors would think. They started talking about things like “property values.” But we kids knew better. We stood our ground. Nothing had changed the love and support we gave to each other and nothing would. If we couldn’t go to each other’s homes, we could meet at the park, or at the movies. We could offer each other our ears to listen to their fears, and our shoulders to lean on when it got too intense at home. We graduated together, one class, one heart, one school. It wasn’t until years later, on the day Dr. King was shot, that our world finally crumbled and things were no longer the same. We had to fight tooth and nail to build it back up again and we are still building.

One person can change the world. One person can make a difference. You don’t have to march, protest, or cause civil unrest. You can stand in your power. You can stand at the ballot box. You can stand with your wallets. You can stand in your truth. Your ripple will join with other ripples and collectively cover the earth. And Boomer Women need to be at the forefront again, using their years of wisdom and experience to show them how it’s done. Look what we’ve already done – there is a grandmother running for President! Don’t you believe for one minute that one determined Grandmother can’t change the world.

And so it is.

Jan
12
Flower Bear
Magic Seeds (It’s Seed Catalog Time!)
Home & Garden, Spirituality
1
Seed Catalog Time

While most folks are not fans of this time of the year, with all of the snow and cold, I see it as an opportunity to enjoy my two favorite winter pastimes: getting caught up on all those books I’ve been wanting to read and … going through seed catalogues! What? Seeds? Like in gardening? “But it’s January,” you might say. To anyone who calls themselves a gardener, gardening does not begin in the spring and end in the fall. Gardening goes on all year, in our minds and imaginations if not actually in the dirt. It’s like having a catalogue filled with dreams delivered to your door!

Taking that idea just a little further, what if we could order our dreams from a catalogue? Let’s pretend, just for a moment, that we opened our mailbox to find a catalogue that only sold magic seeds, and that those seeds, when planted, nurtured and watered, would grow into anything we desired or could dream of. The only catch is that you are only allowed to order one packet of seeds. Now the big question: which dream are you going to plant?

Our intentions are like those seed packets. They are where dreams begin. If we plant them in good, healthy soil, give them water and attention, and keep them in good light, they bloom into the most amazing things.

A word of caution here: sometimes, despite all our efforts, some seeds don’t take root. It happens. It may be that the soil wasn’t right, or they got too much or too little water, or they needed to be planted in a better location that received more daylight. So often we have an intention to create something but for some reason it just doesn’t manifest. Perhaps the time wasn’t right (soil), or we expected too much too soon (water), or maybe we need to re-examine our intention to see it in a better light – like asking ourselves why we wanted to do this in the first place. Sometimes when we come at an idea from a different perspective (a better location), we start to see the fruits of our labors right away. When our intentions come from a place of love, compassion, service and integrity, we can grow miracles.

Today is a blustery, cold day outside, but I am quite warm and cozy inside with my cup of tea, my favorite fuzzy slippers and blanket, and a nice, fat seed catalogue on my lap waiting for me to open its pages and discover the magic inside. What kinds of magic seeds can you plant today?

And so it is.

Jan
4
Flower Bear
5 Keys to a Better “Downsized” Life
Spirituality
2
two_pennies_cents

Quality rather than appearance,
Ethics rather than rules,
Integrity rather than domination,
Knowledge rather than achievement,
Serenity rather than acquisitions.

I cannot remember where I first saw those words (please, if you know the reference, let me know so that I can give it the credit it deserves). I only know that they became very important to me over this last year as I explored a whole new life in a new home. The location of my move (out in the country) and the decision to fully retire there left me with lots of time to explore my inner life as well as my outer life. As I spent my first winter surrounded by mounds of snow, hunkered down with my books and journals around me for guidance, I came across these words and somehow knew that they would be my guide for the year that followed. Today I am in a new and wonderful place both spiritually and emotionally, the woman that downsized her old life and built a better one. What better time than the start of another new year to take a look at these statements and see how making the time and space to look at “the other side of the coin.” so to speak, can make a huge difference in how we live our lives.

1. Quality rather than appearance

I remember that every year right before the beginning of school in the fall, my mother would take us shopping for our new winter coats. Despite all of the begging we did to try and get her to purchase the latest styles and colors, my mother would always opt for something that was a better buy and would serve us better in the long run. Even if she had to spend a little more, she always taught us that it was worth it because “quality was more important than fashion.”

I now use that yardstick in my own life, not only with clothing purchases, but with day to day decisions. I especially took that advice to heart over the subject of eating and dieting. I know countless numbers of folks have listed losing weight as one of their top New Year’s Resolutions, and I also know that countless numbers of them will have that resolution fall by the wayside before the month is over. So I have decided to apply this idea to how I take care of my body. I will eat what is healthy for me, not what the latest diet fad tells me. I will participate in exercise that gives me energy, is fun, and makes me feel good about myself. I will not judge my body by what size I am (or am not), but by how I feel.

2. Ethics rather than rules

One of the most important teachers in my life, if not THE most important teacher, was Dr. Wayne Dyer. Of all the things he taught me, the one I remember most is this one: “if you have a choice between being right and being kind, always pick kind”. To me, that also means that just because our culture, or our families, or our friends, tell us that we need to follow the rules if we want to get ahead, it doesn’t mean that they are right. My truth may not be the same as your truth, but my truth includes behaving in a way that does no harm to anyone in thought, word or deed. How society sees me has no influence over my decisions. The only one I have to answer to is the person I see in the mirror each morning.

3. Integrity rather than domination

So much of what is going on in the world today is a huge mirror image of what goes on, for the most part, everywhere, every day, only on a much larger stage. When did we decide that the only way to get what we want was at the expense of someone else? When did it become okay to belittle or demean someone to make ourselves feel better? When did we determine that in order to secure our own happiness, we had to make others lose theirs? I have always been a pro-peace/non-violence person, but when I decided to become a vegan, this idea became even clearer to me. In the morning, when I say my daily affirmations, I know that when I say, “I am whole and complete as I am,” I am not only certain that this is true, but that no one else has had their integrity, or their lives, for that matter, taken away from them so that I could have mine intact.

4. Knowledge rather than achievement

Of all the things that I have experienced in this last year, I think the knowledge and wisdom that have come to me has been more valuable than anything I could have achieved in the material world. I have learned so much about myself, both my strengths and my weaknesses, and about the world that I am free to create, one that allows me to grow and stretch my wings if I choose, but that also welcomes me and accepts me as I am. Perhaps the greatest piece of knowledge I uncovered was that, in every moment of every day, I have a choice. I can choose how I will spend that moment, how I will react to what is going on around me, and how I can adjust my response from a grievance to a blessing all on my own.

5. Serenity rather than acquisitions

When I pared down my personal belongings in order to move from my large apartment to this tiny one, I knew that I wasn’t really losing anything but, rather, I was gaining something I didn’t have where I was – peace. When you have spent the last 15 years of your life surrounded by the sounds of cars, trucks, buses, and the never ending sirens of police cars and fire engines, the idea of serenity can be like a beacon on a hill. No more cars driving by with their windows open wide and their radios booming at all hours of the day and night, and no more unwanted access to the arguments and TV preferences of the neighbors. What I actually got by letting go of my stuff, was the acquisition of my true self, the witness inside who was trying so hard to speak to me of what truly mattered, but who was drowned out by the cacophony of daily life. To be honest, after over a year, the only thing I miss that I got rid of was one book, and I replaced that one with an electronic version so it wouldn’t take up any space. My inner space remains wide open to explore.

I wish you all a happy healthy New Year filled with a quality of life that allows you integrity, peace and the knowledge that who you are is enough. The rest is just stuff.

And so it is.