Car maintenance and body maintenance

Many of us take better care of our cars than we do our bodies and that’s madness when you think about it. It is pretty much guaranteed that I (and you) will buy another car at some time in the future. I will not, however, be able to buy myself a new body (bionic technology being what it isn’t!!) I’ve known this for sometime but had a blinding flash of insight (see recent post) which recently led me to make some dramatic changes in how I have been treating my body.

Two weeks ago, I cut out all added sugars (including honey, maple syrup, agave etc….). It’s amazing where you will find added sugars – in the sliced turkey at the deli counter, for heaven’s sake!! I have become a much better label reader.  Occasionally I have a craving but can usually side step it with a cuppa or some nuts.

water

I also stopped drinking alcohol. Now my dinner drink is sparkling water in a wine glass and I am not missing the real thing. (Full disclosure: I had a glass of wine last night after spending the day in the ER with my beloved and his newly broken elbow.)

Another dietary change I made was to cut out grains as much as possible and avoid wheat completely. I miss the ease of toast and a boiled egg for breakfast and my tongue misses its mid-afternoon snack of cereal but my body is feeling lighter and healthier for having fewer grains traveling through.

Physical health is the place to start (for the body and for your car) but there are other aspects to taking care of both. For your car, you have insurance, registration, maybe a toll pass etc… and for my body I knew I needed to address two other areas – mental and emotional.

I started a new writing course which has forced me to study, read specific articles and engage my brain in a way I have avoided for quite some time. It has been interesting and invigorating and I feel new possibilities bubbling around the edges of my life.

Many of the things I enjoy are solo pursuits and I tend to avoid group activities; habits which lead to isolation and depression. We joined the gym near our new home and I have been going to group classes, meeting new people, initiating conversations and generally putting myself out there. It will take time but I know it will reap untold benefit (kinda like the regular oil change!!)

Not sure if any of this can be of any help to you as you figure your way to abundance but I hope so. We all know what we need to do but fuck it, it’s hard to make change. Maybe the idea of treating your body as well as you treat your car will help you make the shifts your body craves.

Namaste.

 

Do you have IDD? (Intention Deficit Disorder)

IDD – Intention Deficit Disorder… I heard this expression yesterday from Dr Michael Beckwith and I thought it was a perfect way to head into a new week and prepare for a new month.

Do you suffer from IDD? Do you have the abundance you want and deserve in your life? Are you deeply happy? Can you feel the free flow of love, grace, joy, peace and abundance on a daily basis?

If your answer to any of these questions is “No”, it might be time to look at your intentions and realign them to better reflect the life you want.

My current intention, when I wake each morning, is to use every opportunity to appreciate my health and my strong body. I have been dealing with lots of pain issues and it is easy to get caught up in that. Instead, I have committed to noticing the many wonderful aspects of health I enjoy. I still do what needs to be done (physical therapy, yoga, supportive exercises, ice, heat etc…) but my focus is on gratitude and appreciation.

Some examples of intentions that might work for you (choose one for a week or more):

  • Today I will not complain (about weather, traffic, the kids, work, anything at all)
  • Today I will not judge another person
  • Today I will smile as often as possible
  • Today I will notice my breath moving through my body

Try it for a week, a month, or a lifetime, and watch the abundance flow freely in your world.

If you have an intention you would like to share, please post it in the comments.

Namaste.

The Ugly Side of Depression

The most challenging aspect of depression is never knowing when it might show up. There you are, sitting in your abundant world, enjoying your many blessings and all of a sudden your life is crashed; depression pops in with its party dress on, ready to take over

I have been absent from this blog in recent weeks (months) because, well, because…

As someone who has dealt with depression for 30+ years, I am still taken aback that I do not recognize it immediately and put into action the many tools I have discovered work for me. But I don’t and that is okay.

I wanted to share some of my tools in the hopes they can offer some respite and light during the dark days.

  • Get outside: I walk in rain or shine because I know this works for me. I prefer to walk a trail or somewhere quiet but neighborhood streets will work in a pinch. About half the time I walk in silence, the other half I listen to one of my spiritual teachers.
  • Stress relief: For me this translates to yoga, for you it may be Tai Chi, meditation, swimming. Anything you see as your practice works. Once I step onto my mat and into my body, I feel more present, more aware of who I am.
  • Gratitude journal: I mentioned this a few months ago and it bears repeating here. Every night before I go to bed, I write 5 things from my day. It can be tough to do this in the darkest days and that’s when I write something like “grateful for food” “grateful for house”.
  • Do the list: When things were really bad I had a list of 10 things posted in my bathroom, for example – brush teeth, shower, eat an apple, and my goal was to do 3 of them a day. It helped keep my head above water.
  • Reach out: This is probably the hardest step for many of us who deal with depression. The best place to start is your doctor but a good friend or family member can be a step.

My prayer today is that it’s 5am and the party is over; depression is going home to sleep off another hangover.

Namaste.

To hell with it…let’s open the Chianti

Returning home is hard when you no longer have a home. After more than 8 months on the road we are back in the Seattle area, trying to figure out what we will do from here.

We sold our house and have been fortunate to rent it back for a short time; at least we don’t have to sleep in tents for a while. It has allowed us the space we needed both physically and emotionally to finish our travels, take a breath and ask the big questions.

  • Who have we become over the past 9 months? None of the three of us is the same person who left here last July/August. For Tom and me, this means overwhelming gratitude that B has grown into the young man we always knew existed. Tom and I have also changed, though perhaps not quite so dramatically. IN many ways we are more flexible, in others, less so. For example, the idea of compromising to live a life we do not want is anathema.
  • Where do we want to live, for now? How I wish one of us had a place we longed to live. I miss Dublin but am not sure I long to live there. I love new experiences and am open to almost every foreign city I hear mentioned. While I do not want to continue travelling the way we have been, I am very ready to try another city, country, continent for a few years. Tom is less a wanderlust than I; he likes the idea of a home but as soon as that thought is out of his mouth he brings up a job in Belgium or some other interesting place. Brendan is by far the most decisive – he wants to play rugby, on a good team. Anything else is gravy!! When we threw out the idea of Belgium his second question was if real Belgian waffles are better than those he has tasted in America!!
  • What kind of work do we want to do? Brendan’s only job for now is to finish high school and that can be done in myriad ways all over the world, much to his dismay!! I am also decided on this; I want to write. This too can be done in myriad ways all over the world. Unfortunately, Tom cannot answer the job question so definitively.

Big decisions are always difficult, too many huge decisions have left me suffering with decision paralysis; and so I find myself spinning in circles, unsure what is next. Thankfully we don’t need to decide today; instead I walked the dog, Tom rode his bike, and B ran. Sometimes (actually, always!!) life happens in the small experiences, the teeny-tiny decisions. And for now I choose to indulge my love of food and cook dinner, and of course, have a glass of Chianti.

Namaste.

Does abundance = cash flow?

WordsAbundance is a word that often brings money to mind and while that is not where my thoughts go when I use the word, there is nothing wrong with looking at the money (or lack thereof) in your life if you want to step into the abundance that is your birthright.

How much money do you need to live your dream life? Have you ever calculated it? Do you have a clear vision of what your dream life is? What are the things that fill your heart, make you smile?

Go ahead and write your dream day schedule, then consider what other elements you want in your dream week, month or year. Don’t just think the list…write it down; makes a huge difference!!

When I have done this exercise I better understand what is important to me, and the funny thing is that the most important aspects of my life are almost free – a daily walk and yoga practice, a weekly hike or bike ride or the annual gathering of our growing family.  Not everything I enjoy is free but most of what fills my bucket at the deepest soul level is. What does that say about abundance and the human spirit?

As always, I wish you a life of abundance, whether or not that includes a decent cash flow.

Namaste.

 

 

 

Fully alive ’til I am fully dead!

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How does your body feel today? On a scale of 1-10, where would you rank your body today, in the past week and 5 years ago?

Aging is a natural process, I often hear people saying they hate getting older and I can never understand why; aging is a gift for the alternative is death!! I am sure every reader has known someone who did not have the opportunity to age and if you are reading this, it is our responsibility to embrace life while we have it, including the grey hairs, aching bodies and sagging skin.

Today I feel  at a level 7, this past week drops to a 5 (I did not walk daily and only practiced yoga once),  5 years ago was consistently an 8+ – I was still running, practicing yoga daily, swimming pain free and doing those crazy spin classes. Now I walk, swim as my shoulder allows and cycle at my own pace out on the trails and I try to go to my mat daily. I do not intend to grow old gracefully; I think that is a cop-out. I plan to fight it every step of the way; I plan to be out walking on my last day; I plan to practice yoga hours before I head off to the great beyond; I plan to stay strong, active and go out in a ball of flames.

Yes, I am passionate about being fully alive till I am fully dead and I hope to inspire others to be the same. Being fully alive is a mental attitude rather than a physical practice; we take what gifts and abilities we have and we suck the marrow from them. In this way we are guaranteed to find abundant health, joy, happiness and perhaps even the meaning of life!

Don’t get me wrong, I certainly wish I did not have arthritis, epilepsy, hearing loss or deteriorating eye sight but I prefer to enjoy what I can rather than ponder what I cannot. But I have two choices, I can wallow or I can live; I choose to live. What about you?

Gratitude journals

I have missed several posting days for very good reason; we have spent the past 10 days immersed in family, exploring new places and learning more about each other. It is an abundance feast and my heart overflows with joy and love. I feel blessed to have time with 4 of our kids (though it makes me miss the other 2 even more), I feel blessed to visit places that fill me with happiness and I feel blessed to still enjoy being with my beloved. All in all, I feel blessed!!

Sequoia National Park

It is easy to be aware of the blessings in life when they are as obvious as a family picnic on the beach at sunset or an amazing hike to see the oldest living beings on earth (the Sequoias). It is much more challenging to feel blessed when it is another tough day at work, traffic is lousy, you didn’t sleep well last night etc…

I have found a gratitude journal to be of great support at all times and especially on a daily basis in my normal, everyday life. I began keeping a gratitude journal in 1999, taking the time to write 5 things I felt thankful for each evening as I went to bed. Over the following months and years, it was the journal that kept me breathing through the death of my dearest friend, through the many months while Tom was deployed, through the challenging days of single-parenting 4 rambunctious and opinionated children. There were nights when all I could write was “I am grateful to have food to eat…an inside bathroom…a car to drive…” For those of us connected to the internet, these may not seem like big blessings but they are and they can be a life raft through the stormiest of seas. It is possible to be thankful for the rain to nourish the land, the sun to bring forth the blooms, the clouds to protect us from the heat, all on the same day (especially if you live in Dublin or Seattle!!).

Even in the darkest times, there is always something to be grateful for. If you struggle with the concept of abundance, if you feel you have little to be happy about in your life, keep a gratitude journal. If life is going great and you are on top of the world, keep a gratitude journal. In good times and especially in bad, keep a gratitude journal; you just might find yourself noticing the blessings that surround you every day.

Namaste.