Finding Serenity

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Life can be pretty nuts.  Not only do we have to worry about what’s going on in our own lives, but there is also the human suffering that we all see every day – and a lot of that is not just somewhere “out there” in the world, but here at home.

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So, what to do?  How can we deal with all of this?  The stress of just daily life can be overwhelming. How can we find some form of serenity?  There is only so much that we can do as individuals.  Yes, there are letters to write and petitions to sign, but how do we find a way to cope with the stresses that need to be dealt with?

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Personally, at the end of the day I realize that there is only so much I can do to influence what’s going on “out there”.  I try to influence people who I come across each day.  If I think that someone who I don’t know looks really nice, I’ll tell them.  Just the look of surprise and happiness that I see on their faces lets me know that even though I may have hesitated to give them a compliment, it was the right decision.  And, although talking to a total stranger is hard for me, it was worthwhile.  So, let me know what you do to throw a little happiness out there in the world.  I’d love to hear your stories and advice.

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Happy Things This Week

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I love the Minions!

Even though I’ve been in somewhat of a depression lately, there were some happy, joyful and glorious things that have happened over the past week or so.  The first of these was that after almost a year of not being able to use my oven, I got a new stove.  Yes, I was able to use the top of the stove, but I haven’t made any baked goods in a long time.  So, this week I bought apples and am looking forward to baking a pie over the weekend.  Yum!

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My daughter and I went to see Beauty and the Beast this week.  This movie was just wonderful.  Belle was portrayed exactly the way I always felt that she was.  A strong, intelligent woman who found her small town to be more than a little too small.  Belle has to be the one Disney “princess” with whom I feel an actual affinity.  Books, books, books!

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This was a big week, since my daughter and I also went to see The Sleeping Beauty by the Russian National Ballet this week.  This was actually my birthday gift from my birthday way back in September.  You have to wait for the good things.  I love, love, love going to the ballet, and this one was wonderful!  What a great time.

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Tonight, we’re going to see a middle-school production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.  I know that a lot of people dislike going to these events, but I love them.  The kids put their hearts and souls into the play, they work really hard, and often-times they are the biggest surprise regarding the talent some of the performers have.  One of the girls my daughter babysits will be in the play, and I really look forward it seeing her.  She’s very talented, and I enjoyed the play she was in last year.  Lots of fun!

Those are my good, happy and fun things lately.  Please share your good things!

Giving Things Up?

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I know that it’s the Lenten season for those of you who are practicing Christians.  Oftentimes people choose to give something up for the forty days of Lent.  I used to do that myself.  When I was a child I usually gave up chocolate.  This was not a big deal, since at my house there was never any chocolate allowed, with the exception of chocolate chip cookies and brownies.  Since I was the designated baker of the family (one of my Saturday chores was to bake cookies for the upcoming week), I simply made snickerdoodles or oatmeal cookies for those few weeks.

When I got older, instead of giving up things, I would make sure I visited one of my grandparents every week during Lent. Not only had I done something the made them happy, but I was also the only family member to hear the stories about Speakeasies, Jazz and illegal drinking in NYC during Prohibition.   Looking back, I realize that was a much better way of observing the spirit of Lent.

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Now that I’m an adult, I try to be more spiritual.  I don’t think that we should limit our spiritual lives to seasons, although it’s more difficult to reflect on the state of the world in a consistent manner .  In my own life I’ve found that if I try my best to follow the “golden rule” I can look at myself in the mirror.

Are you giving up, or giving this Lenten season?  Let me know your plans, and we can share suggestions to celebrate the spirit of Lent.

Winter Wonderland

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For most of the winter we haven’t gotten much snow, as a matter of fact the winter has unsurprisingly been fairly warm.  However, just a few days ago, it was 60°, (and we were battling mud), then the next day we got 17 inches of snow.  One of the old quotes about New England is “If you don’t like the weather, just stick around for a few hours, it’ll change.”  This winter is stretching that truism quite far.  However, with all the snow, it’s turned into a winter wonderland, and I just wanted to share some of my pictures with you.  Enjoy!

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This is where you put the Frisbee to avoid it getting caught in the snow blower.

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Some Information on Ayurveda

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I’ve been thinking about health for a while now.  My Fibromyalgia has been gradually getting worse as I’ve been getting older.  I let myself stop working out and now that I’m back at it, it seems to be taking me a long time to get some flexibility back.  I don’t want to be a little old lady who can barely walk at the ripe old age of 60 (when I do get there).  One of my resolutions this year was to go to the Doctor for a physical, so I’ve got to do that.  I don’t think that other than my Fibromyalgia I’ve really got anything else going on, but since I haven’t been to the doctor for quite a few years, I think a physical could be a good idea.

Since I like to research things, I found myself looking up information on Ayurveda.  For those of you who don’t really understand what it is, here is an explanation, copied directly from the website.

“The two main guiding principles of Ayurveda are 1) the mind and the body are inextricably connected, and 2) nothing has more power to heal and transform the body than the mind. Freedom from illness depends upon expanding our own awareness, bringing it into balance, and then extending that balance to the body.”  http://www.chopra.com/articles/what-is-ayurveda

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When I read that, I thought it was a great way to look at health.  Of course, everything is interrelated, and we really do need to learn how to meditate, slow down and care for ourselves.  This is such a problem for me.  I’m one of those people who, when told in an airplane that I would have to place the oxygen mask on myself before placing one on my child, recoils.  Intellectually I know it makes sense, but why would I put myself before my child?  See my problem?

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I’m determined to explore this “self-care” more this year, and encourage you to do so too.  Since I hate pharmaceuticals, I don’t want to be put on any.  I want my health to come from natural sources such as what I eat, how I think and how I take care of my body.  Let me know what things you do to stay health in mind and body.  I’m going to explore this Ayurveda path, and I’ll probably talk about it in some future posts.

 

Finding Motivation to Create Personal Change

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Okay, so we’ve made goals and resolutions for the New Year.  Now comes the hard work to actually commit to change.  Change is hard.  It’s uncomfortable, it’s scary, and it can hurt.  I know that I’ve been doing things in the same way for years, and now when it comes time to change what has become comfortable, easy and normal, I don’t want to!  I know all the “bad” things that can happen if I don’t change.  My life, which I’m not happy with, won’t change, it will continue on the same safe path for the rest of my life.  That fact has finally become so upsetting to me, that I am now finding the motivation to begin my change.  I feel much more enthusiastic and looking forward to the changes that I want to make.

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So, now that I’m committed, my question is how do I stay on the path?  This time (yes, like many people I’ve been here before) is that this time I’ve been using affirmations like my life depends on it – and, in a way I believe that is true – that my actual life does depend on it.  Every year I get older, and every time I stop trying, it just gets harder and longer to make the physical changes that I want to make.  It also gets more difficult to make the emotional changes also.  My belief in myself was at an all-time low before I started with the affirmations.  I had been beaten down (not physically, but emotionally) by some of the people in my life.  They had me convinced that I was pretty worthless.  I still feel that way sometimes, but not as much as I did before.  I’m still fighting the battle, but it’s getting a little easier ever since I started with the affirmations.  Say it often enough, and you’ll begin to believe it.

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I hope that I’ve given some of you hope.  This was a difficult post to write…I like to pretend that my life is all sunshine and roses, and that if we believe it, we can achieve it.  Deep down, I really think that way, however, there is a huge bridge to cross between belief and achievement.  My hope is that you, too, are on that bridge fighting for your personal changes with me.

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‘Twas the Day After Christmas

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I don’t know about you, but I seem to simply wear myself out over Christmas.  First of all, I worry mightily over the gifts that I’ve bought.  Will they be “good” enough?  Did I spend fairly?  How will they like them?  Were they the “right” thing?  The list goes on and on.  Can I afford all the gifts that I bought?

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Not only did I have all the gift worries this year, but I also had the most difficult time making the pie.  I always make the pie and the sweet potatoes the day before, since there is all the gift opening, breakfast making and wrapping paper cleaning to do on Christmas, not to mention the three different dinners I had to make this year.  My pie crust rolled out exceedingly dry – I had no idea how it would bake.  However, that worked out well, and it ended up being quite flaky – which is how we all like it.  This of course, just added to my list of worries until we finally ate it last night (in lieu of supper).  It turned out fine, of course.

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So, on to today, the “day after”.  I’m exhausted, emotionally depleted, and in need of a vacation.  Is this how you feel?  I tell you, thank goodness Christmas is only once a year.  I don’t think I’d survive more than one day.  I hope that you had a wonderful day with your loved ones.  All in all, it’s more than worth the emotional aftermath.  Don’t you think so?